Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Know Nothings

We seem to be incapable of learning from history. Anti immigration sentiment goes as far back as 1843. Called the "Know Nothing" movement because when asked about it the leaders would say I know nothing. ( ) Its followers where driven by a fear of Catholic immigrants.

Once again immigration is a driving force in politics. It is driven by a fear of foreigners and a fear that they might not assimilate. Some even postulate that they plan to take back Mexican territory we conquered 150 years ago. Just like the Know Nothings feared that Catholics were part of a plot by the Pope to take over America. Of course those fears turned out to be unfounded.

That is not to say the anti immigration groups are not correct about a few things. We should encourage English only not print things in Spanish. We should encourage assimilation. We should not allow illegal immigration.

The flip side is we must allow opportunities for legal immigration. They would not be coming if we did not need them. They clearly fill a need in our labor market just as previous waives of immigrants did. They are hard workers and they share many of our values. Our current immigration laws do them and us a disservice.

The middle ground here is this. Crack down hard on illegals, seal the border, have English only laws and encourage assimilation but pass a fair, just realistic immigration law. One that recognizes the economic need and benefit of all involved. We should not have millions of illegal immigrants but we should have millions of legal ones. The Mexican and Central American immigrants share many of our values and they are hard workers. They will be an excellent addition to our country, just as the immigrants before them where.

BTW here is an article that inspired me to write this. also an enlightening article on the subject from today's news

Buenos Dias

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