The Corner

What Derb Would Like Bush to Say

  Don’t get me dreaming, JPod.  Dreaming… dreaming…  Zzzzz…

“My fellow Americans:  Our nation’s lawmakers are currently debating issues of immigration reform.  The House of Representatives has passed a bill to deal with the problem of illegal immigration.  The Senate is crafting somewhat more general proposals, including a ’guest worker’ program of the type that we tried out, with unhappy results, in the post-WW2 period, the type that has caused grave problems in Germany, and that in any case vastly expands the responsibilities of a federal government department utterly unable to cope with its current tasks.  Agreement on a suitable compromise between House and Senate is not in sight, and may not be possible.  Any legislation that emerges from current proposals would, it seems to me, neither address our main problems in this area, nor answer the question so often asked about immigration reform: Why pass new legislation when existing legislation is not being, and in some cases cannot be, enforced?

“To offer a way forward on this issue, I am going to propose the following.  One:  That all legal immigration into the U.S.A., excepting only cases crucial to our national security, be halted forthwith.  Two:  That Congress authorize the federal government, as a matter of the highest priority, to construct high walls along our entire northern and southern borders, supplemented by electronic monitoring devices and manned patrols in much greater numbers than at present; and that Congress designate all necessary funds for this effort.  Three:  That by widespread and rigorous enforcement of employer sanctions, and greatly increased sweeps of suspect workplaces, and by responding with dispatch to citizen reports, the enforcement arm of our immigration services begin the human but speedy removal of illegal immigrants from our nation, by attrition and deportation; and that Congress designate all necessary funds for this purpose..

“My fellow Americans:  Since the passing of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments, our nation has engaged in the greatest act of generosity in human history, opening our country to tens of millions of people from all regions of the world, sharing our wonderful American dream in a way unprecedented in all the chronicles of humanity, and unequalled in the world of our time.  Generosity, however, must have a limit.  It is time now to take a pause: to cease the inflow for a while, in order that those who have come, and their children, can be fully, happily, and successfully absorbed into our nation’s fabric.  This is how the previous great wave of immigrants, the wave that ended in 1924, was assimilated.

“We are a large-hearted and generous nation, and may we always remain so.  We cannot, however, take in all three or four billion of the world’s poor and striving.  There are limits even to our hospitality, and I believe it is the general sense of the American people today that those limits have been reached…..”       

[Derb]  There’s no place like home… there’s no place like home…  Oh, here I am, back in Upper Mexico.  Darn it.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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