Is it okay to admit that the whole question of immigration simply floors me? I can’t settle on an opinion.

The historian Victor Davis Hanson has a good piece today that challenges the what’s-wrong-with-the-status-quo crowd (to which I waveringly have belonged in the past):

“Many Americans – perhaps out of understandable and well-meant empathy for the dispossessed who toil so hard for so little – support this present open system of non-borders. But I find nothing liberal about it.

“Zealots may chant ÁSi, se puede! all they want. And the libertarian right may dress up the need for cheap labor as a desire to remain globally competitive. But neither can disguise a cynicism about illegal immigration, one that serves to prop up a venal Mexican government, undercut the wages of our own poor and create a new apartheid of millions of aliens in our shadows.

“We have the entered a new world of immigration without precedent. ….”
There is only one aspect of the immigration debate on which I have a firm, unshakeable opinion: assimilation. That means, almost above all other things, learning English. George Will has a good column today on this subject. Here is a snippet:

“In 1906, the year before a rabbi in a Passover sermon coined the phrase ‘melting pot” during torrential immigration from eastern and southern Europe, Congress passed and President Theodore Roosevelt signed legislation requiring people seeking to become naturalized citizens to demonstrate oral English literacy. In 1950, the requirement was strengthened to require people to ‘demonstrate an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language.”

“Hence, if someone needs a ballot written in a language other than English, that need proves the person obtained citizenship only because the law was not enforced when he or she sought citizenship. So one reason for ending ballots in languages other than English is that continuing them makes a mockery of the rule of law, including even the prospective McCain-Kennedy law that pro-immigration groups favor.

“It contains several requirements that those aspiring to citizenship demonstrate ‘a knowledge of the English language’ or ‘English fluency’ in order ‘to promote the patriotic integration of prospective citizens into the American way of life’ and into ‘American common values and traditions.’ How can legislators support both language like that and ballots in multiple languages?”