You have seen me write often that my father was an immigrant. I am very proud of him and that fact. He and his family were part of the immigration that occurred in the early 20th century. That group of immigrants arrived in very different circumstances from the group that arrived in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Yes, of course, they arrived from quite different parts of the world, but that is not the fundamental problem. Were the immigrants of my father’s time more educated? Had they prospered in their home nations to a greater degree than later immigrants? Did they speak English? (They only spoke English if the emigrated from an English-speaking nation.) The answers to each of these questions is a definite, “No.”
Why was the Statue of Liberty emblazoned with the quotation, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”? Should that quotation be erased as we negotiate a new “immigration law?”
[Source: Immigration lies and hypocrisy, by Walter E. Williams]
Let’s for the moment forget that my father came to the United States legally and many of the immigrants in the latter half of the 20th century did not. Aside from “legal status,” education, and language skills there is a very big difference between when my father came to the United States and when the later groups came.
Was this difference the “fault” of the immigrants. No. Indeed, it was our own fault. And what was this “big difference,” ask you? Simple, answer I. In the first half of the 20th century there was NO WELFARE STATE. Immigrants like my father either worked or starved. That is no longer true. Call it “harsh,” but that’s the way it was.
They knew that getting a good job required English-speaking skills. They recognized from their own struggles that education was key to providing for one’s family and they made d*mned sure that their children went to school.
There is another big difference between immigrants of my father’s era and today. The children of today’s immigrants (again, let’s forget legal status for now) are taught “multiculturalism” in school. They are taught that one culture is no better or worse than another. Anything else is “deplorable racism and xenophobia.” As a result, some immigrant groups seek to maintain the cultural values of the very nations whose failures they fled – failures that led to the poverty, corruption and human rights violations in their home countries.
I always find Dr. Williams thoughts to be helpful and recommend you read his article in its entirety.