Here is what is true of my immigrants and of the immigrants of America’s past:
They fought for citizenship. They earned it. They waited in line. They passed the tests. They had to get permission to come. They got money that was hard-earned and bought a ticket. They had to get through Ellis Island or the port of Boston or Philadelphia, get questioned and eyeballed by a bureaucrat with a badge, and get the nod to take their first step on American soil. Then they had to find the A&S.
They knew citizenship was not something cheaply held but something bestowed by a great nation.
Did the fact that they had to earn it make joining America even more precious?
Yes. Of course.
We all know it is so often so different now. Perhaps a million illegal immigrants come into the United States each year, joining the 10 million or 20 million already here–nobody seems to know the number. Our borders are less borders than lines you cross if you want to. When you watch videotape of some of the illegal border crossings on a show like Lou Dobbs’s–who is not a senator or congressman but a media star and probably the premier anti-illegal-immigration voice in the country–what you absorb is a sense of anarchy, an utter collapse of authority.
It’s not good. It does not bode well.