ďGive me your tired,
your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The
wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless,
tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.Ē
ó Emma Lazarus,
inscribed on the Statue of Liberty
If we want to
intelligently discuss the immigration issue, itís important to start
at the beginning, and keep it simple.
In the beginning, God
created the heavens and the earthÖ. and eventually Adam and Eve were
told to go forth and populate the latter. Their descendants made
such a mess of the first populated lands that eventually a bunch of
them decided to move to a continent that had not yet been populated
with idiots who were always fighting wars over territory, religion
and whatever, making most people tired, poor and generally wretched.
If you prefer, leave
out Adam and Eve and start with hominid ancestors who evolved into
human beings, the results are the same.
The Hispanics who
settled South and Central America and Mexico took bad Old World
habits with them, set up a kind of caste system, and created mostly
poor and generally wretched populations. The other Europeans who
settled the United States and Canada brought with them a few
non-idiotic concepts from Mesopotomia, Greece, Rome and England.
Our country had very
wise Founding Fathers who created a constitution with a Bill of
Rights, and the new nation thrived. People who emigrated to it
either had the same values or quickly picked them up, melting
together into the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The Lazarus inscription
on the Statue of Liberty is just a poem, not a part of the
Constitution. In fact, the statue itself wasnít intended for
immigrants; it was a gift from the people of France to celebrate
American independence, which inspired their own revolution.
That became Americaís
world-value: to inspire other countries to become like us. It worked
for France so we donít get too many tired, poor and wretched French
immigrants. Other European countries also eventually made themselves
more bearable to live in, even Germany after a strong America
defeated it. Some countries in Asia, Africa and South America have
adopted variations of our capitalist economic system, set up
democracies, advanced their own freedom.
We can get all
teary-eyed at the idea of tired, poor freedom-seekers making their
way here, associating them with our own immigrant ancestors, but
seriously: all our ancestors found when they arrived was a lifted
lamp to light the way to opportunity. No one handed them welfare
cards and encouraged their dependence on the hard-working Americans
who were here before them.
Even though much of the
planet has more freedom than it had when the United States began,
there are still plenty of dictators, wars, even genocide that any
rational person would want to escape. Since God forgot to tell Adam
and Eve to stop reproducing when the shores started teeming, some
places are simply overcrowded, with more people than the land can
Here is the bottom
line: There are millions of good people who would be better off in
America but, logistically, they canít all come here to live without
making it as crowded as the places they left, or come here for
benefits without eventually making our government oppressive like
the ones they escaped.
We canít take in
everyone, so we need an immigration policy with criteria. Iíd like
to see us welcome those who have the original American spirit of
independence; we could make room for them by asking those who donít
have this spirit to leave. Americans who would prefer to live in a
free country with a socialist bent could move to France, and we
could take up a collection to send the French people a nice statue
to show our gratitude.
Instead of building, or
continuing to pretend weíll build, a wall between the U.S. and
Mexico, we should do two things: abolish our welfare state,
returning to our founding principles, and then ask the northern
Mexican states to hold a referendum on annexing themselves to our
libertarian Southwest. Weíll see if Republican fears that Hispanics
will always vote Democrat are valid when the Democrats have nothing
to give them but opportunity.
We need immigrants who
want to join the original American Dream: not the tired and the
poor, but the energetic, the potential wealth-producers, the
freedom-lovers. Until we can sort them out of the huddled masses
that canít all fit into our 50 states, immigration should be put on
hold except for those who are already legally en route.
Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.)
has introduced a new bill that focuses on full ďoperational control
of the entire border.Ē It requires E-Verify for all employers,
increases and empowers ICE agents (returning veterans?), and
increases the number of judges, clerks and prosecutors to process
immigration violators. This bill should be substituted for the 867
pages of complicated alleged reform that is now in the U.S. Senate.
Border security first.
Then, the 2014 election, in which we must try to re-create an
America that isnít slowly beginning to resemble the places
immigrants have always wanted to leave. Letís lift the lamp of
opportunity for all present and potential Americans again.