The Corner

Immigration

Biden Admin Ends Use of ‘Assimilation,’ Makes Same Mistake as the Europeans

Migrants cross a river next to an construction crew working on a section of the new U.S.-Mexico wall between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, February 5, 2019. (Jose Luis Gonzalezz/Reuters)

According to the Washington Post:

The Left’s long-time aversion to the innocuous, accurate, legal term “illegal alien” — “alien” meaning belonging to a foreign nation and “illegal” meaning contrary to or forbidden by law — is part of a transparent effort to destigmatize a criminal act. But transforming the notion of “assimilation” into something undesirable is a dangerous attack on one of the most vital ingredients of American success.

Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tae Johnson, who, incidentally, has a crisis at the border on his hands, writes that “ICE will ensure agency communications use the preferred terminology and inclusive language.”

Europeans are learning the hard way what happens when you do not have any genuine expectations of assimilation. American cultural and political life has, for the most part, offered the space to honor the past, while making demands in the present. Despite sloganeering about “diversity,” it is not alone what makes us stronger — though it is the flavor that enhances our personal and cultural lives. It is the ability to convince disparate people and cultures to adopt American norms and surrender many of their own. It could not happen without a unifying ideology, a shared understanding of civic life, a shared language, a hierarchy of societal values, respect for law and order and liberalism, and acceptance of a meritocratic society and social contracts. All these foundational ideals are being corroded right now.

To integrate is to combine. To assimilate is to absorb. And if there were no difference between the meanings of those words, the Biden administration would not be sending out memos about which one to use.

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