6.25.2007

The Terrible, Horrible, Urgent National Disaster That Immigration Isn't

If you want to understand what's really going on with the whole immigration reform issue, you must read The Terrible, Horrible, Urgent National Disaster That Immigration Isn't by Lawrence Downes, NYTimes -6.20.07). It's as smart, clear and informative a piece as I've come across in my study of this debate.

The 9 page article is divided into two parts:

- What's Wrong With 'Getting Tough on Immigration'
- The Harder but Better Way

Each part is broken into myths and arguments. Downes examines these makes arrives at the following conclusion:

It's not only because the costs of security are so high, or because the contributions that legal and illegal immigrants make to this country are so positive. Those who have been working as hard as the hard-liners have been to close this country off to people who came here to seek work and a future have a radically astringent vision of what this country should be. To militarize the border, to turn illegal immigrants into felons, means trying to reverse the polarity on the American magnet, to repel the people who have struggled, dreamed and died to get here.

It means turning this singular country into just another industrial power with a declining birthrate and a self-defeating antagonism to the foreign born. It means defining down what America stands for, no matter what the cost to the American economy, its traditions and values and moral standing.

It's dangerous. It's not rational. But the argument on the restrictionist side isn't about being rational. It's about being afraid.
However, please read the whole article. Doing so will make you a lot smarter about one of today's most confusing and emotionally charged issues facing America.