New immigration policy should not be based on fear

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu May 4 13:15:22 UTC 2006

from The Spectator.
Site URL:
New immigration policy should not be based on fear
May 03, 2006

President Bush believes our national anthem should only be sung in English
not Spanish. Why? It is for the same reason that many white, black and
Asian Americans were terrified at the sight of the over one million
participants in Mondays national day without immigrants rally and boycott.
The terror does not come from believing that the growing number of Latino
immigrants are putting hard-working Americans out of a job or overrunning
the nations social services although those points have been argued in
public debates.

The fear comes from realizing that this large group of people is here to
stay and with growing immigration and the large birth rates of Latinos the
look and feel of this country is changing. It is inevitable, for example,
that white Americans will have to step down as the majority. Soon, all of
the minorities combined will make up more than half of the U.S.
population, meaning that eventually politics will no longer be dominated
by whites. Another alarming realization is that our culture might change.
Letters-to-the-editor pour into newspapers asking how Latino immigrants
can possibly expect to be Americans if they refuse to assimilate.

To be afraid of losing our American way to immigrants who refuse to
assimilate is making the assumption that there is one American way and
that that way is somehow superior. The assimilation argument is old and
worn out and is reminiscent of the days of the Chinese Exclusion Act. On
the books from 1882 to 1943, this law prohibited any Chinese immigrants
from entering the United States. Like Latinos, the Chinese were accused of
taking jobs from Americans and causing wages to go down. The worst offense
they were accused of, however, was not embracing American ways. The
Chinese's unwillingness to assimilate sparked the same hatred and fear
that plagues many Americans today.

But this fear is unfounded. The United States is made up of immigrants
there is no one, all-encompassing American way. Perhaps that is one reason
why the United States is so strong. What does it hurt to have
Spanish-speaking radio stations and television shows in our
English-speaking United States? Spanish is already the United States
second dominant language anyway. Would the world end if Latino immigrants
gained political power proportionate to the size of their ethnic group?
The uproar caused by the immigration bill in Congress and the astronomical
number of illegal immigrants in the United States is evidence that we need
to consider a new immigration policy. This policy should not reflect fear
and bigotry, but take human rights into consideration, and be based on
what is best for the United States.

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