Good immigrant, bad immigrant

I’ve been re-reading a wonderful book that I first read when it was published a little more than a decade ago: As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin, by Laurence Bergreen. As anyone who enjoys popular music knows, Irving Berlin was one of the most extraordinary composers on the popular music scene, able to convey through simple melodies and clever, vernacular lyrics, a huge range of emotions. Listen to the song below, sung by Mr. Berlin himself, and enjoy such lyrics as

Some day, I’m going to murder the bugler,
Some day, they’re going to find him dead,
I’ll amputate his reveille,
And step upon it heavily,
And spend the rest of my life in bed.

What most people also know about Irving Berlin is that he was an immigrant. He arrived in the United States in 1893, as part of one of the largest mass immigration movements the US has seen. As Bergreen says, “At the time of the Rhynland’s arrival [Berlin’s ship], immigrants were pouring into New York at the rate of thousands a day, and the immigrant authorities were struggling to process them all.” (p. 4.) People came from everywhere: Russia, Italy, Germany, France, Ireland, with the largest group being the Russian (and Polish) Jews escaping the deadly pogroms that presaged the Holocaust. When they arrived, they spread out over the United States. (Golda Meir, for example, started in Milwaukee, Wisconson and ended up in Denver, Colorado, before her historic immigration to Palestine.)

The vast majority of new immigrants, however, ended up in New York’s Lower East Side. Census figures for this time indicate that the Lower East Side had more people per square foot than Calcutta. If you find yourself in New York and want to get a sense of the overwhelmingly claustrophobic, poverty-stricken existence these immigrants experienced, check out the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which ranks as one of the best museums I’ve ever seen. It’s narrow, dark hallways, minuscule apartments (that housed as many as ten people), and almost non-existent sanitary facilities, give you a sense of what immigrants to America experienced — and this was high class living compared to where the Baline family ended up. Their apartment was located in the most squalid part of the Lower East Side, a block from the East River. These are just buildings, though. The day-to-day sufferings these immigrants experienced is best recounted in a contemporary book, Jack Riis’ 1901 classic How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York. Suffice to say, you wouldn’t want to live that way and, in modern America, no one does.

Despite the horrors of the tenements, Bergreen describes Berlin as being peculiarly cheerful about his slum childhood:

“Everyone should have a Lower East Side in their lives,” he was fond of saying in years to come, when success had dulled the sharper edges of his memories of the neighborhood. Still, he was sincere. [snip] “You never miss luxury until you’ve had it,” he said. “I never felt poverty because I’d never known anything else. I was a boy with poor parents, but let’s be realistic about it: I didn’t starve; I wasn’t cold or hungry. There was always bread and butter and hot tea.” (p. 8.)

This sunny outlook persisted despite the fact that, at 13, after his father died, he left home to live on his own so as not to be a financial burden to the family. This was no sunny, Huck Finn, picaresque adventure. As Bergreen writes:

He was now a foot soldier in the city’s ragged army of immigrants. Along the Bowery and nearby side streets an entire subindustry of loding houses had sprung up to shelter the thousands of homeless boys choking the Lower East Side streets. They were not settlement houses or charitable institutions: rather, they were Dickensian in their meanness, filth, and insensitivity to ordinary human needs. They were, in effect, warehouses for unwanted human beings. [snip] Fifteen cents bought Izzy a night’s stay; a set of filthy yellow sheets cost twenty-five cents extra. The bed on which he slept often crawled with lice. (p. 15.)

(You can get a sense of this existence if you read Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick, an absolutely wonderful historic document and quite an uplifting read on its own terms — and that’s despite the wooden, often unintentionally funny prose.)

Bergreen doesn’t limit this almost bizarrely sunny outlook to Berlin alone. Although many immigrants, especially the elderly, were simply swallowed up in the maw of New York’s slum communities, and all immigrants suffered what we would consider unendurable work and living conditions, to most of them it was still a step up from where they’d been before:

Izzy’s [Irving’s] acceptance of the harsh living conditions in the New World was echoed by many of his neighbors, for as bad as things were on Cherry Street, the situation had been far more desperate in Russia, especially for Jews. On March 1, 1881, seven years before Izzy was born, revolutionary terrorists assassinated Czar Alexander II. Under his reign Jews had managed to eke out a precarious existence in Russia, but restrictions crippled their lives.


After the assassination the new czar, Alexander III, abolished even the limited freedoms granted to Jews. His aggressive brand of anti-Semitism gave rise to a wave of pogroms throughout the Pale. Inflamed by fantastic tales of evil Jewish rites, government agents destroyed and burned Jewish settlements, eventually driving much of their population beyond the borders of Russia. (p. 9.)

In other words, a dirty, crowded, disease-ridden community is pretty darn good when one is safe from the government and the neighbors. Despite the horrific living conditions, the immigrants felt that America was good. This feeling was reflected in the fierce patriotism they felt and in their intense desire to assimilate. They never forgot at home that they were Russian Jews, or Irish and Italian Catholics, or German Lutherans but, first and foremost, they were Americans. Irving Berlin exemplified these strong feelings the immigrants of yore had for their new home. Writing about the (mostly forgettable) patriotic songs Irving Berlin started cranking out as America hovered on the brink of WWI, Bergreen has this to say:

It would seem that Berlin’s patriotism was merely a commercial ploy to sell songs, but, in fact, it was only now that he began to see himself as more of an American than an immigrant. His patriotism was a genuine belief, one of the few he ever held outside the values of Tin Pan Alley. His first marriage had failed him [his wife died five months after their honeymoon], his homeland had destroyed his family, his parents had provided little comfort; in his exceedingly uncertain world, the United States offered a sanctuary and made him rich. In comparison with foreign governments, it was incredibly benign, especially in its attitude toward Jews and other immigrants. These values made a genuine impression on him, and he took them as seriously as he did the copyright laws that permitted him to grow rich. (p. 128.)

This attitude was not limited to Irving Berlin. Indeed, I think it has a lot to do with the hyper-patriotism Hollywood showed during the war. While the writers may have been Communist sympathizers who leapt at the opportunity WWII offered to churn out Communist claptrap, the studio bosses were straightforward in the patriotism. They churned out dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of movies lauding the war effort and encouraging ordinary Americans to get involved, whether in the military or on the home front. And think who these studio bosses were: Louie B. Mayer, of MGM, born in Minsk; the Warner Brothers, born in Belarus; and Adolph Zukor, of Paramount, born in Hungary. All saw America as a golden, promised land, an image they vigorously promoted in their movies.

In other words, it’s not just the misty distance of time that makes these people look like “good immigrants.” That is, their place as part of American history isn’t established simply because they’re dead and can do no harm. Instead, these were people who viewed America with tremendous gratitude, and throughout their careers did everything in their power to assimilate themselves to American values and to advance American goals.

I think these immigrants stand in stark contrast to the immigration ethos that now exists. I’m sure that there are millions among the rank and file immigrants who want to take advantage of America’s myriad benefits, in the process, to become real Americans. However, today’s immigration leadership, whether it comes from liberals at home or the immigrants themselves, sings a different song. As the failed immigration reform last year showed, the loudest immigrant voices today do not speak of a yearning to assimilate and do not hope for America’s well-being. They want America’s benefits to fall into their laps, without their having to make the effort to ally themselves with American values or goals. This picture of a flag that Hispanic students at Southern California high schools hoisted pretty much tells the tail:

These high school students didn’t spring up in a vacuum. They are the product of what they are taught, and they are taught to revile America by their and our community leaders. A hundred years ago, immigrants understood that America was the land of opportunity because, if you worked hard and embraced American values you or, at least, your children, could succeed.  Instead, the shrieking voices of immigration leadership (and I exempt many in the rank and file from this charge) understand America as a land of opportunity because you can arrive, claim benefits, demand that you and your children be taught and treated as if you were still in Mexico, and that’s the end of it.

Sadly, what this new generation of immigrants doesn’t realize is that their leaders’ approach is a zero sum game. While the old attitude allowed people to hang onto their culture at home, but to leap into the mainstream outside of their home and thrive (or, at least, let their children thrive), the new attitude is a recipe for perpetual social isolation, poverty, and racial hatred. As long as they don’t jump into American culture, current Americans will not regard them as nascent Americans, and that holds true even if they are hard workers. Instead, they will be viewed as alien parasites, coming to America to drain its resources, without adding their vigor and identity to the great American tapestry. They also will never be able to tap America’s economic potential, because their insistence on rejecting broader American culture also ensures that they will be barred from greater economic opportunities.

All of this means that, until the new immigrants make “God Bless America” part of their mental furniture, they will never be Americans, nor will their children, and we will be right to regard them with suspicion, as a perpetual Fifth Column on American soil:


Illegal immigrants

No comment (’cause you can guess what I’m thinking):

The Mexican government reported the results of recent studies on Tuesday showing that 68 percent of Mexicans who migrate or try to migrate to the United States do so without documents and 55 percent of them hire immigrant smugglers.

The report, timed to coincide with the U.N. International Migrants Day, also noted that the Mexican-born population living in the United States increased from about 800,000 in 1970 to more than 11 million in 2006.

The majority of Mexicans now living in the United States — 6.2 million — are undocumented, according to the report, which was based on surveys of migrants and information from the government’s National Population Council.

Almost 30 million people in the United are direct descendants of Mexico migrants, the report stated.

In contrast, the report said the immigrant population in Mexico is quite small and has not experienced rapid growth.

The number of foreign residents in Mexico grew from 340,000 people en 1990, or about 0.42 percent of the population at the time, to about 493,000 in 2000, or about 0.5 percent, the last year for which data is available.

More than two-thirds of the foreign residents are from the United States, and many of those are of Mexican extraction.

All I ask is that, having read the above, you now read this.

Stop the presses! Poll points out the obvious.

You and I know that children — thank goodness! — are remarkably adaptable. Indeed, the younger they are, the more adaptable they are. It’s for this reason that pricey private schools and public schools in wealthy communities offer foreign language classes to the kindergarten set, rather than waiting, as they used to do in the old days, until the kids were in high school before exposing them to another language. You and I also know that the best way to learn a language is to be immersed in it. Those old high school classes didn’t work very well because we got grammar drills three times a week, instead of spending hours and hours surrounded by that language. Take the same high school kid and ship him off for a year abroad in Spain or France or Italy, and he’ll be chattering like a native in months.

You and I know all this. Liberals, however, while they grasped it for their own lily-white children, with ever more enrichment programs, stubbornly refuse to believe that the same might hold true for people of browner complexions. Hence, the insanity of bilingual education, which might have started as a humane way to ensure that a child wasn’t totally abandoned in a strange country, but morphed into a vast industry that prevented Hispanic children from ever coming into contact with the English language — all for the children’s own good, of course.

Given this mindset (“my little white children can learn a new language, but I love your poor little brown children so much I’m going to make sure they never get the chance to try”), I wonder how many of these educationally insane liberals are going to read and understand the latest study about immigrant children and English:

Most children of Hispanic immigrants in the United States learn to speak English well by the time they are adults, even though three-quarters of their parents speak mainly Spanish and do not have a command of English, according to a report released yesterday by the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington.

Only 23 percent of first-generation immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries said they spoke English very well, the report found. But 88 percent of the members of the second generation in Latino immigrant families described themselves as strong English speakers, a figure that increased to 94 percent for the grandchildren’s generation.

To which I say, in my best English, “Well, duh!”

Interestingly, the New York Times spins this report, not as a blow to the anti-assimilation bilingual education cadre, but as a blow to those who are opposed to illegal immigration. They don’t seem to get that there is a difference between legal and illegal immigration, with the language debate having nothing to do with the latter issue.

Additionally, the Times-ites don’t understand that, as to legal immigrants, this study supports those who are opposed to government policies that keep all immigrants, legal and illegal, from assimilating into American society through that most basic tool of assimilation: the English language. Indeed, just recently, people who believe in language as an important vehicle for immigrant aid were appalled that Nancy Pelosi allied herself with the Hispanic caucus and the EEOC to force the Salvation Army to stop its quaintly antiquated policy of requiring English language skills for holding a job:

In March the EEOC sued the Salvation Army because its thrift store in Framingham, Mass., required its employees to speak English on the job. The requirement was clearly posted and employees were given a year to learn the language. The EEOC claimed the store had fired two Hispanic employees for continuing to speak Spanish on the job. It said that the firings violated the law because the English-only policy was not “relevant” to job performance or safety.


“If it is not relevant, it is discriminatory, it is gratuitous, it is a subterfuge to discriminate against people based on national origin,” says Rep. Charles Gonzalez of Texas, one of several Hispanic Democrats in the House who threatened to block Ms. Pelosi’s attempts to curtail the Alternative Minimum Tax unless she killed the Alexander amendment.

The confrontation on the night of Nov. 8 was ugly. Members of the Hispanic Caucus initially voted against the rule allowing debate on a tax bill that included the AMT “patch,” which for a year would protect some 23 million Americans from being kicked into a higher income tax bracket.


After testy negotiations, the Hispanic Caucus finally agreed to let the tax bill proceed after extracting a promise from Ms. Pelosi that the House will not vote on the bill funding the Justice and Commerce Departments unless the English-only protection language is dropped. “There ain’t going to be a bill” with the Alexander language, Mr. Baca has told reporters.

Incidentally, if you want to see what happens when a government engages in policies that prevent its immigrants from assimilating, just check out what’s going on outside of Paris (riots, incidentally, that Sarkozy seems to have quelled thanks to an aggressive response). All of the MSM outlets are waffling on about how not enough government money is flowing into the banlieus, but you and I know that not enough French/Western culture and too few Judeo-Christian host county values (assuming Europe has any left) are flowing in — and one of the ways in which they flow is on language’s back.

Incidentally, regarding values and language, I will remind you that ivory tower types love to point out that the Inuit language has practically a gazillion different words for snow. Language very much reflects value and culture — something George Orwell pointed out with startling clarity in 1984.

Racist or taking matters into their own hands?

I’ve got a few news stories to throw out at you, all of which, in my mind, are related. At the end, I’ve got a couple of questions for you. First, the news stories, many of which are just from the last couple of days:

Under the Labour Government, England has had an overwhelming influx of immigrants, which is balanced out by the almost equally high number of native Britons leaving the country. In a few decades, immigrants will be in the majority. The country’s social services are crumbling under the strain.

Although the media is playing coy, reading between the lines we understand that Arab and African immigrants are running riot in France, again.

Half of the 3.5 million immigrants living in Texas are illegals. Nationwide, one third of immigrants are here illegally.

Illegal aliens are behind drunk driving deaths and murders.

In North Carolina, state funded colleges and universities are being forced to admit illegal immigrants.

San Francisco is handing out official IDs to illegal immigrants.

And now two more news stories:

In Australia, which has had a huge influx of Muslim immigration, pigs’ heads were placed on the site of a controversial proposed Islamic school. (Hat tip: RD) This rendered the land unclean by Muslim standards.

In Padua, Italy, native Italians arranged to have a pig run over land that was being slated for a controversial mosque. Again, the land was made unclean.

These last two headlines can easily be classified as racist or, at least, religion-ist. Nimby-ism in its nastiest sense. But I think that’s a bit too simplistic.

What people are seeing, both here and abroad, is that their governments have failed to control immigration, whether by having open border policies or by allowing unchecked illegal immigration. They’re also seeing that their governments, having failed to stop immigrants at the borders, are either encouraging further illegal immigrants or destroying their economies handing out benefits to immigrants, both legal and illegal.

These government policies would be fine if the people actually agreed with them — but they don’t. Americans, for example, are overwhelmingly opposed to illegal immigrants and to extending benefits to illegal immigrants. (See here and here for examples of poll results.) Native Europeans are also disturbed by the enormous influx of immigrants. None of the polls, incidentally, indicates overwhelming xenophobia, with immigrants being castigated as evil. Instead, people are mad at their respective governments for losing control over a situation that is desirable under limited circumstances. After all, immigration, especially in America, is a very healthy antidote to societal stagnation. In other words, immigration, like medicine, can be wonderful in small doses and toxic in large doses.

So what I think those last two stories show isn’t racism or religion-ism. I think they show an exasperated population trying, without violence or overt face-offs, to step in and act in the vacuum their governments have created. Heck, it’s not even a vacuum. All of these governments, whether deliberately or through inaction, are flouting the will of the people. If governments would control their borders and stop handing out benefits like candy, local populations wouldn’t feel obligated to exert some minimal control over their own environments.

Do you agree or disagree? Alternatively, do you have a whole different theory I didn’t even think of?

UPDATE: As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve got a real bee in my bonnet about dishonestly presenting actual facts. The sin of omission especially gets me, because the author of a particular report self-righteously points to the accuracy of what he did say, without having acknowledging the inaccuracy created by what he didn’t say. Into that category falls a new study out of UCLA that announces that illegal immigrants are underutilizing the free services offered to them at American emergency rooms. Below, you can read the headline and the first few paragraphs in the LA Times version of the story:

Study finds immigrants’ use of healthcare system lower than expected

UCLA researchers find that Latinos in the U.S. illegally are 50% less likely to visit emergency rooms.

By Mary Engel, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 27, 2007

Illegal immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries are 50% less likely than U.S.-born Latinos to use hospital emergency rooms in California, according to a study published Monday in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

The cost of providing healthcare and other government services to illegal immigrants looms large in the national debate over immigration.

In Los Angeles County, much of the focus of that debate has been on hospital emergency rooms. Ten have closed in the last five years, citing losses from treating the uninsured, and those that remain open are notorious for backlogs.

By federal law, hospitals must treat every emergency, regardless of a person’s insurance — or immigration — status. Illegal immigrants, who often work at jobs that don’t offer health insurance, are commonly seen as driving both the closures and the crowding.

But the study found that while illegal immigrants are indeed less likely to be insured, they are also less likely to visit a doctor, clinic or emergency room.

“The current policy discourse that undocumented immigrants are a burden on the public because they overuse public resources is not borne out with data, for either primary care or emergency department care,” said Alexander N. Ortega, an associate professor at UCLA’s School of Public Health and the study’s lead author. “In fact, they seem to be underutilizing the system, given their health needs.”

Reading that headline, sub-headline, and packet of six paragraphs, you are of course meant to understand that the illegal immigrants are not, in fact, a burden on health care, and that it is racist, classist, imperialist, capitalist, and any other -ist you can think of for the anti-illegal immigration crowd to base its arguments on our overburdened health care system.

But did you figure out what’s missing from the story? The question isn’t whether the illegals are under-using the system relative to their own health care needs. From the point of view of the American tax payer, the only question is whether they are over-using the health care system compared to their contribution to the system. And only in paragraph seven of the story does Mary Engel touch upon that pivotal point:

Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that lobbies for tougher immigration controls, said that usage rates are just one measure of illegal immigrants’ effect on healthcare. The other factor, he said, is the cost to taxpayers, which Ortega’s study did not examine.

Cost estimates vary widely. A Rand Corp. study published last year in the journal Health Affairs put the cost of healthcare for illegal immigrants nationwide at $1.1 billion a year, excluding care for those younger than 18 and older than 64.

FAIR called the Rand number a “low-ball” estimate. Its own study of healthcare costs of illegal immigrants and their dependents, including U.S.-born children, estimated California’s portion alone to be about $1.5 billion a year.

Mehlman said $1.5 billion “is still a significant amount of money, unless you’re Bill Gates.”

Having made an intellectually honest women of herself, Engel goes right back to her dominant point, which is that the immigrants are sacrificing their health so that we don’t have to bear their burden. Really, it brings tears to my eyes — NOT.

By the way, if you’re wondering why I included this story in this post, it’s because it’s kind of part of the package of stories I included at the top of this post, regarding the enormous stresses illegal immigration places on American society, and it can be analogized to the enormous stresses legal immigration places on the social welfare societies of Europe.

“Youths” honor decedents of “ethnic descent” by continuing to attack French police

I kid you not — the language I put in quotations in this post caption is the precise language the BBC uses to describe those who are engaged in a little bit of urban unrest In France. You know, the kind of innocuous urban rioting that results in more than 80 policeman being injured from beatings and bullets. Here, let me show you:

At least 10 cars have been burned and a fire broke out at a library in Toulouse, southern France, following consecutive nights of rioting in Paris.

There was also more violence in the capital as youths set cars on fire in the suburb of Villiers-le-Bel, the Associated Press news agency reports.


Relatives of the two dead teenagers, who were both from ethnic minorities, have insisted that police rammed their motorcycle before leaving them to die. (Emphasis mine.)

And that’s it. That’s all the information the BBC is going to give you about those rioters. But in this internet day and age, “ve haf vays” of finding out more information, even though it’s tough, very tough to do so. The Bloomberg report, for example, coyly hints at the ethnic nature of the “unrest” (Bloomberg’s word, not mine), by stating that “In France, poor neighborhoods and housing projects where many immigrants live tend to be far from city centers.” Hmm. Immigrants from where, I wonder? But we’re putting the pieces together. We’ve now got immigrant communities with people of ethnic descent.

AP, surprisingly is fairly forthright about the nature of the suburbs in which this year’s batch of riots is taking place, although it can’t resist implying that the poor innocents doing the attacking are doing so righteously because of their alienation: “The unrest showed that anger still smolders in France’s poor neighborhoods, where many Arabs, blacks and other minorities live largely isolated from the rest of society.” And again, “Youths, many of them Arab and black children of immigrants, again appeared to be lashing out at police and other targets seen to represent a French establishment they feel has left them behind.”

I’m sorry to say that the British paper The Independent is no help at all. While it boldly calls the youthful attacks on police something akin to “guerrilla warfare,” it places the blame firmly where it belongs: on the police. You see, last year, long after the riots ended, it turned out that the two youths who were electrocuted had been acting innocently when the police chased them into the power substation, knowing it was dangerous. (It does not appear that this was known when the actual riots happened, of course.) In other words, The Independent agrees with AP that the current crop of youths is righteously upset about the two kids killed while on the motor scooters, clearly justifying anarchy.

So, both at home and abroad, the MSM narrative is as follows: Young people are rioting in Paris and, in true “if it bleeds it leads” tradition, the news reports will happily tell you that they’re organized, they’re armed, and they’re incredibly aggressive, so much so that scores of police have been injured, and we’re not even talking property damage. If you insist on knowing more about who these people are, we’ll hint that they’re friends of youths of ethnic descent, and that they live in neighborhoods that have primarily Arab and African immigrants and their children.

If you suspect that part of the problem might be that these Arab and African immigrants are Muslim, please be assured that you are wrong. In the ponderous language of social scientists, the reporters will assure you that the riots/unrest/guerrilla warfare problem is entirely due to (1) the government’s treating these youths badly and (2) the fact that it emerged after last year’s riots that the police might have lied about their run-in with two of these same types of youths.

By the way, I don’t have any doubt but that part of the reason — even a large part of the reason — that these riots happen is because French society, indeed most European society, is set up so that there is no path to integration and assimilation for immigrants. That societal failure to absorb immigrants means that they’re going to be sitting in slums that become powder kegs of anger, unrest and, eventually, violence. Believing that, though, doesn’t mean that I don’t also believe that another, possibly significant, part of the problem is that there is a connection in this day and age between Muslims and violence. And when news reports play so coy, rather than my ending up believing that Islam has nothing to do with the violence, I tend to believe that Islam does have something to do with the violence and that the press is simply avoiding an issue it does not want to address.

And by the way, this kind of media avoidance syndrome — where you have to read through scads of articles to gather the puzzle pieces that shape the whole picture — is not limited to youth violence. Over at Big Lizards, Dafydd has taken the time to investigate the hidden, and very sordid, connection between the Clintons and InfoUSA, with the latter being a database marketer that knowingly sells information about vulnerable populations (the old and the sick) to organizations that run scams on these same people. He’s also taken the time to smell a rat in the article that purports to show a racist/religious-ist Romney refusing to contemplate the possibility of a Muslim holding a high government position in his administration. (Note to MSM types: it’s the carefully placed ellipses that always end up giving you away.)

My bottom line to the media: either report the news or stop pretending that you do.

UPDATE: It’s currently hidden behind the WSJ’s subscription wall, but John Fund has written a great article about Nancy Pelosi’s current effort to make America more like France by working to ensure that the current generation of immigrants remains stuck forever in non-English speaking poverty. Consistent with fair use, I’ll give you just a taste of what Fund has to say, and we’ll hope that the WSJ soon releases the article for general consumption:

Should the Salvation Army be able to require its employees to speak English? You wouldn’t think that’s controversial. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding up a $53 billion appropriations bill funding the FBI, NASA and Justice Department solely to block an attached amendment, passed by both the Senate and House, that protects the charity and other employers from federal lawsuits over their English-only policies.

The U.S. used to welcome immigrants while at the same time encouraging assimilation. Since 1906, for example, new citizens have had to show “the ability to read, write and speak ordinary English.” A century later, this preference for assimilation is still overwhelmingly popular. A new Rasmussen poll finds that 87% of voters think it “very important” that people speak English in the U.S., with four out of five Hispanics agreeing. And 77% support the right of employers to have English-only policies, while only 14% are opposed.

But hardball politics practiced by ethnic grievance lobbies is driving assimilation into the dustbin of history. The House Hispanic Caucus withheld its votes from a key bill granting relief on the Alternative Minimum Tax until Ms. Pelosi promised to kill the Salvation Army relief amendment.

UPDATE II: More on liberal efforts to keep minorities ghettoized.

UPDATE III: For a literary touch, I’ll just throw in one more thing. Because I’m feeling lazy, I’ve been re-reading Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night, one of my favorite novels from England in the mid-1930s. (Even though it’s a mystery, I view it as a novel because, after many readings, there are no mysteries left in that book for me.) The book takes place at Oxford, and has a healthy respect for the old-fashioned idea of academic objectivity. Sayers therefore has one of her characters, during a discussion with someone about a history book, say the following:

“I entirely agree that a historian ought to be precise in detail; but unless you take all the characters and circumstances concerned into account, you are reckoning without the facts. The proportions and relations of things are just as much facts as the things themselves, and if you get those wrong, you falsify the picture really seriously.”

The whole book, incidentally, is a testament to examining facts without allowing private belief systems or loyalties to interfere with ones understanding of those facts.

Do the Republicans have an immigration problem?

Although the base loathes illegal immigration, Republican politicians have been trying to make nice with the vocal illegal immigrant community, and therefore helped scupper any hopes this past political season that Congress would pass a reform bill tightening our borders and removing the amnesty reward for existing illegal immigrants (as well as the amnesty incentive for future illegal immigrants).  In reaching this decision re immigration, the Republicans seemed to be operating on the assumption that anyone Hispanic is going to vote by race, regardless of social and economic interest.  This is, of course, a narrow and, if you’ll pardon me for speaking so bluntly, a racist point of view.

Given the political calculations in Washington, it was fascinating to read an article in a British paper stating that a lot of newly minted citizens are in fact hewing to the Republican side of the political divide. They seem to be motivated both by the same dislike of cheaters I have (“we did it the honest way, so they should too”), and by a sense that they don’t want to replicate here the social and economic anarchy they escaped there (wherever “there” was):

Minutes after taking the Pledge of Allegiance, new American citizens are urged to register as voters by Democratic activists who see them as natural party supporters who could hold the key to the 2008 election.

But with increasing illegal immigration threatening the economy and security of the United States, many legal immigrants anxious to uphold the laws of their adopted country are moving towards the more hard-line immigration stance of Republicans.

Even in California’s Democratic-controlled San Diego, sizeable numbers of America’s newly-minted potential voters said that illegal immigrants should be penalised rather than given an easy route to citizenship as most Democrats advocate.

“For a long time, immigration was OK,” said Sarah Wright, 49, a seamstress from Mexico who arrived in the US legally in 1986.

“But now, no more. A lot of really bad people come from Mexico and commit crimes.

“People are coming in and having two, three, four babies and going on welfare. Some are making money here and spending it back in Mexico.

“That’s not right. They should go back to Mexico and get a permit.”


Previously, new citizens could be relied upon to vote Democratic by a ratio of up to 10 to one. But in San Diego this week there were indications that this could be changing.

“I’ve had several people here, Hispanic people, say ‘No, I’m a Republican’,” said Bill De Risa, a Democratic worker eagerly registering voters outside Golden Hall.

His colleague Mary Kennedy said that one woman had told her she wanted to be a Republican because of immigration policy.

“She felt the Democrats were too soft. She wanted higher fences. It’s a very polarising issue.”

Sarah Thomas, 42, a restaurateur originally from Salway Ash, Dorset and one of about two dozen Britons who took US citizenship, said illegal immigrants should be sent home.

“They need to leave and come back legally.

“Just because somebody has been here for 10 years illegally, not paying taxes, does that give them equal rights? No.”

John Pauls, 46, a Canadian-born doctor, said that illegal immigrants were a major burden on the taxpayers who had to foot their health bills and that insecure borders could allow terrorists to come into the US.

“Those that do come into this country illegally are telling us that they are morally and ethically not trustworthy. They should not be here. It’s insulting to those of us who are here legally.”

Welcome to America, oh wise ones!  You are, of course, absolutely right.

(And does anyone know if Republicans are setting up registration booths outside these ceremonies, too?  If not, they should.)

Biggest invasion since 1066?

There are only two dates in British history that one needs to remember according to the authors of the wonderful 1066 & All That: A Memorable History Of England, Comprising All The Parts You Can Remember, Including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings And 2 Genuine Dates . The title actually gives one away: 1066, the year of the Norman Conquest, which was the genesis of England’s political and class system. The other was 55 B.C., when Caesar first landed in Britain, although the Roman conquest didn’t get into full gear for some time after that.

England has had other conquests, of course. The whole Anglo-Saxon and Danelaw era during the Dark Ages reflected the fact that England was alternately overrun by Angles, Saxons and Vikings. However, it was with 1066 and the Norman conquest that all that immigration stopped. People have, of course, immigrated to England in the thousand or so years since 1066, but not in any waves worth noting. Instead, England sent people the other way, seeding America, most of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In addition, England achieved dominance over, and sent many people to, parts of East Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Now, for the first time since 1066, the wheel has come full circle, and England is taking in more foreign nationals than she is sending out English people:

Britain is experiencing unprecedented levels of immigration with more than half a million foreigners arriving to live here in a single year, new figures show.

Last year, 510,000 foreign migrants came to the UK to stay for at least 12 months, according to the Office for National Statistics. At the same time 400,000 people, more than half of whom were British, emigrated.

An exodus on this scale – amounting to one British citizen leaving the country every three minutes – has not been seen in the UK for almost 50 years.

Overall in 2006, there were a record 591,000 new arrivals. Only 14 per cent of these were Britons coming home.

It is the first time the number of foreign migrants has topped half a million and the statistics do not include hundreds of thousands of east Europeans who have arrived to work in Britain in the past two years. This is because most say they are coming for less than 12 months and do not show up as long-term immigrants.

The figures suggest that only one sixth of the immigrants were from the states which joined the EU in 2004.

The biggest influx was from the New Commonwealth – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka – with more than 200,000 migrants.

Since Labour came to power in 1997, nearly four million foreign nationals have come to Britain and 1.6 million have left. Over the same period, 1.8 million Britons have left, but only 979,000 have returned.

More than 50 per cent of the British emigrants moved to just four countries in 2006 – Australia, New Zealand, France and Spain.

An organization called “Migration Watch UK” has more data about the huge influx of non-Brits into Britain over the past many decades. As the government records for the last year hint, the numbers are not trifling. Instead, assuming the organization’s numbers to be accurate (which I do, since they dovetail with the government’s own report), England has been taking in people wholesale, without any regard for whether the infrastructure can support this influx:

Immigration is now on an unprecedented scale. The Asians from East Africa who arrived in the mid 1970s amounted to 27,000. We are now taking more than 10 times that number every year. Indeed, net foreign immigration reached 292,000 in 2005 (of which just 11,000 was accounted for by the net rise in asylum claimants).

Much of the recent debate has concerned immigration from Eastern Europe. From 1st May 2004 when eight East European countries joined the EU 510,000 applicants have registered under the Workers Registration Scheme, 63% from Poland. (Workers from Eastern Europe can only claim full welfare benefits after they have worked here for 12 months.) However, the self employed are not required to register. A Home Office Minister (Mr Mc Nulty) has estimated the total over two years at 600,000. It is not known how many have since returned home. About half of those registered say that their employment is temporary. If they have all returned, net immigration from Eastern Europe would be about 150,000 a year (compared to the government’s prediction of a maximum of 13,000). The ONS estimate that net migration from the new EU members in 2005 was 65,000. This was based on the data collected from the International Passenger Survey. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that this estimate is too low. Migration from the new EU countries is, of course, in addition to immigration from the rest of the world .

According to Government projections, immigration will result in an increase in the population of the UK of 6 million in the 27 years from 2004 that is 6 times the population of Birmingham. Immigration (immigrants and their descendants) will now account for 83% of future population growth in the UK. The population projections took account of increased migration resulting from the expansion of the EU but they assumed that total migration flows would rapidly decrease from 255,000 in 2004-5 to just 145,000 in 2007-8. So far there has been no sign of a decrease in immigration from the new EU countries and the accession of Bulgaria and Romania (and possibly other East and Southern European countries) will add to immigration pressures.

Even this number does not include illegal immigrants. About 50,000 illegal entrants are detected every year but nobody knows how many succeed in entering undetected.

Legal immigration at the present projected rate will lead to a requirement of about 1.5 million houses in the period 2003 – 2026. England is now nearly twice as crowded as Germany, four times France and twelve times the US.

Meanwhile, asylum has been allowed to become a back door to Britain. In recent years over 60% have been refused permission to stay here but only 1 in 4 of those who fail are ever removed.

At present there is no reason why immigration should come to an end.

The pressure on our borders continues. Demand for visas has risen by 33% in 5 years and is now 2.5 million per year. In 2003 one in five visa issuing posts was consistently unable to cope with the daily demand for visas, despite the time allocated to each case being reduced to only eleven minutes. No one is recorded as they enter or leave the country.

Keeping those numbers in mind, you should also keep in mind the fact that Britain, despite Thatcher, still has economic elements of a socialist state, with huge automatic welfare benefits. The current infrastructure is expected, not just to provide economic opportunities for these immigrants, but to provide them with the full panoply of benefits, including medical care. This is proving to be a problem:

Yet despite high levels of emigration and a low birth rate, the population is still growing rapidly because of immigration by the equivalent to a city the size of Bristol every year.

This is placing huge pressures on public services, with councils claiming they are not getting enough financial help from the Government.

Sir Simon Milton, the chairman of the Local Government Association, said the Government – which earlier this month had to apologise for publishing incorrect figures on foreign migrants working in Britain – had no clear idea of where all the immigrants were going and their impact on services.

“No one has a real grasp of where or for how long migrants are settling so much-needed funding for local services isn’t getting to the right places,” he said. “The speed and scale of migration combined with the shortcomings of official population figures is placing pressure on funding for services like children’s services and housing.

”This can even lead to unnecessary tension and conflict.”

Reading about Britain’s travails trying to sustain an unprecedented number of people should have you thinking about current Democratic policies, which urge upon Americans something akin to an open border policy, along with ever expanding government benefits, including a national health care plan. Even if you have a pie in the sky belief that these are good ideas, common sense should prove instantly that they’re not sustainable.

UPDATEItaly is also having a huge invasion, probably the biggest since the Goths and the Vandals and, as is true in Britain, it is having troubles coping with the numbers of people it willingly allows in.  Incidentally, when I was in Italy last year, a young woman on the train, although clinging precariously to PC language, nevertheless spilled a boatload of complaints on me about the burden ordinary Italians were feeling from the overwhelming flow of immigrants, in terms of economic effects and criminal ones.  I heard the same on another train ride, this time in Switzerland, from a woman who told me that Switzerland was falling apart as a result of the demands on its economy from the immigrants, as well as from the crime they bring with them.