As I have written many times I am from an immigrant family. However, like most Americans, even I think about “immigration” in the abstract. Typically you and I do not “break down” immigrants into their country of origin and “the success” of immigrants from any given nation to our nation. We are, after all, a “melting pot.”
Only recently, via the candidacy of Donald Trump, has the issue of immigration taken a front and center role in our national politics. Simply discussing the issue allows people like Hillary Clinton to label me as a “xenophobe.” Well, Secretary Clinton, I am not a xenophobe, but I am a thinking American.
Professor Thomas Sowell recently wrote about Abstract Immigrants in an Abstract World. I found his thoughts illuminating and I believe you will, as well. I will abstract his writings (pun intended).
Why would a country with the world’s largest Jewish population, outside of Israel, admit large numbers of immigrants from countries where hatred of Jews has been taught to their people from earliest childhood?
This question is ultimately not about Muslims and Jews. It is about discussing immigrants in the abstract, rather than in terms of the specific concrete realities of particular immigrants in particular circumstances at a particular time and place — that time being now and that place being the United States of America.
A hundred years ago, when immigration from other parts of the world was a major issue, there was a government study which provided voluminous statistics on how immigrants from various countries performed in American society — economically, educationally and in terms of social pathology.
Today, it would not be considered right — that is, not politically correct — even to ask such questions about immigrants, especially if immigrants were broken down by country of origin. Despite some among the intelligentsia who like to refer to the past as “earlier and simpler times,” it is we today who are so simple-minded as to discuss immigrants as if they were just abstract people in an abstract world, to whom we could apply our abstract principles… there are immigrants from some countries who swell the welfare rolls, while immigrants from some other countries almost never go on welfare. Immigrants from some countries are highly educated — more so than most Americans — while immigrants from other countries have little education and few skills.
America is no longer in a position to simply lump immigrants together. For example, I am a descendant of legal immigrants. The progressive/statist/altruists see themselves as “citizens of the world.” Their “one world” philosophy ignores some very real differences that exist across the globe and national borders. Looking at the “immigration policies” of Europe gives me great pause.
Once our “leaders” admit immigrants we must all deal with the problems, or even disasters, that particular immigrants may cause. American elites who say that we should learn from other countries almost always mean that we should imitate what they have done. But what we need to learn most of all is not to repeat their mistakes.
We need to look at our immigration policies with great care and, as always, “altruism” is a very poor way to run a nation.