The Corner

Favored Group

One of the lesser problems with immigration policy is that even restrictionists tend to have their pet groups, people they wouldn’t mind letting in.

The mood I’m in right now, for instance, I’d be happy to see a total moratorium on new settlement in the U.S.A. … except for cruise-ship personnel, to whom I’d hand out Green Cards for the asking.

The folk who look after us here on board are smart, hard-working, and unfailingly pleasant. I know, they are drilled to keep smiling, the way air hostesses used to be before they all morphed into surly “cabin attendants.” Still, these third worlders (almost entirely) would make great immigrants.

For one thing, they are the product of very intense selection pressures. I was chatting with my cabin maid, a young woman from the Philippines. How did she get the job? I asked. She: “Difficult, VERY difficult! You have to pass a lot of tests, a LOT.” I asked what the proportion was of people applying to people being accepted. She, laughing proudly: “HUNDREDS!” Her first job was actually with a Japanese line. First thing they made her do was learn Japanese. (Her English is excellent. She also speaks Spanish, Tagalog–her mother tongue–and “some German.”) This young woman works hard all day, smiles and wisecracks incessantly, and socks away all her pay “to start a business back home.” Give her a Green Card, I say.