Thursday, December 08, 2005

Former Ambivalence about Immigration Reform

I've always been of two minds on the issue. I've always felt that as a nation of immigrants, we should welcome those who come here to make a better life for themselves and their families. If they needed to cut corners to get here, so be it. If I were struggling to put bread on my family's table, I'd make like Jean Valjean and do what it takes.

Since 9-11 though, I've become uncomfortable with my position. Clearly, the possibility of terrorists crossing illegally changes everything. That's easy. The question of what to do to stop them is more difficult. I have no answers and that is not the subject of this post.

Another thing that has changed my feelings about the issue has to do with multi-culturalism (and its sister, political correctness) and the "balkanization" of our country (and Europe as demonstrated in France with the riots and the UK with the recent bombings there). It is the transformation from the "melting pot" to the "salad bowl" our country seems to be experiencing. I know the problems here are nowhere near that of France, Germany and apparently the UK, but I fear it is only a matter of time.

As she usually does, Peggy Noonan has asked some questions in her column today that offer some of the reasons why my thinking has changed. I think it primarily a matter of respect:

"What does it mean that your first act on entering a country--your first act on that soil--is the breaking of that country's laws? What does it suggest to you when that country does nothing about your lawbreaking because it cannot, or chooses not to? What does that tell you? Will that make you a better future citizen, or worse? More respecting of the rule of law in your new home, or less?"

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