My friend Tim came across an article explaining how the Europeans were
having second thoughts about welcoming so many immigrants into their
countries, and wondered how come that any such talk here in the USA leads
to automatic accusations of "racism" and "xenophobia".
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 11:27:01 -0600
From: Jesus Ortega
To: Tim Kramer
Subject: Re: immigration
On Wed, Nov 27, 2002 at 10:52:14AM -0600, Tim Kramer wrote:
> Why is it that European politicians can talk about stemming the tide of
> immigrants in their countries, but whenever an American politician (like Rep.
> Tom Tancredo of Colorado) does it, the American Left accuses him of being
> racist and xenophobic? Maybe the Europeans are right on this: allowing
> massive amounts of immigrants, either legal or illegal, into the country is
> a recipe for disaster. Surely we in American should be able to talk about
> this without being lambasted as racists and xenophobes.
I am not familiar at all with Mr. Tancredo's actual proposals (by the way,
interesting last name, since it also is a Spanish _first_ name). However,
I must agree I cannot see why supporting a policy to control immigration
should be termed as "racist" in and by itself (I have heard quite often
people propose such measures though with a speech that is in fact racist
In any case, in this (as in many other topics), I'd rather avoid labels
and listen to the merits of the arguments. Once we enter the old tired
dynamics of "fascistic racists" versus "lunatic leftists" there will be no
way whatsoever to reach a constructive conclusion.
So, are we proposing a radical halt to all sorts of immigration? If we
do so, we should then answer quite a few questions on issues such as
family reunification, for instance. We should also make a decision on
what to do with those who already are in the country illegally, and if
we decide they should be deported we should then make sure we allocate
the resources that are needed to do so. These are just a couple of issues.
There are many more.
On the other hand, leaving the borders wide open to whoever wants to come
in (I've only heard the most extreme leftists supporting this measure) is
not practical. Whoever defends that idea should answer questions such as
what to do with the inevitable increase in cost, the also inevitable
pressure on the salaries in certain economic sectors, the implications on
our security, etc.
The terms of this debate, incidentally, are pretty similar here in the US
and across the ocean in Europe. As you can imagine, the major difference
is more the origin of those who are knocking on the doors.
There is one more thing that I consider quite important though. If we
choose to make our immigration policies stricter than they are, we should
also be aware that that will not necessarily stop the illegal immigration
by itself. In other words, did we bother to consider what are the main
causes of these waves of immigration into the developed nations? Did we
consider if perhaps our protectionist policies are not helping these
countries develop at all? Here, as in many other cases, policies that
appear to be unrelated at first sight are actually strongly linked.