Accuracy in Media

When my father
came from Germany as a 19-year old the very
first thing he did was to enroll in a class taught at a local public school to
learn English. My aunt told me that he became proficient in English in only six
weeks. He wanted to be an American and to do so he had to learn the language. Of
course, he retained his German heritage.  However, assimilation was important to
him, as it was to most immigrants. 

For years
America has drifted away from
assimilation, which has become an unspeakable word among the cultural elite. 
Instead, we are told that we must recognize and celebrate the diversity of
various groups without demanding any compromise from them.  This has hurt
immigrants more than anyone else because many have become isolated in cultural
ghettos without a proper command of English, the American political and legal
systems or American history and culture.  That said, it also has fractured
American society.

For the past
several years pro-illegal immigration groups have rallied at the beginning of
May to demand citizenship
opportunities for the estimated twelve million illegal immigrants in the
United
States and an end to raids on and deportations
of these immigrants.  This year was no different.  There were
protests in California, Michigan, Florida,
Texas, Illinois and other places.  One slight change,
however, was the attendance: this year the protests were markedly smaller than
before.  In 2006, the first these immigration rallies were held, the attendance
was around one million people.  This year crowds were down to between 300 and
500 per rally. 

Many activists
were quoted as saying that the drop in attendance was due to fear of government
reprisal and deportation among the illegal immigrants themselves.  This is
highly implausible.  Since 2006 the Federal Government has made little progress
in enforcing our borders and deporting illegal immigrants. 

What worries me
is that all three of the remaining presidential candidates – Senators John S.
McCain III (R-AZ), Barack H. Obama (D-IL) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) –
support a general amnesty for illegal immigrants.  And this amnesty is without
any prior successful closure of the U.S.-Mexican Border that would halt further
waves of immigrants.  McCain pays lip-service to border security and
assimilation on his campaign website.  He states, “A secure border will contribute to addressing our
immigration problem most effectively if we also: recognize the importance of a
flexible labor market to keep employers in business and our economy on top, and
recognize the importance of assimilation of our immigrant population, which
includes learning English, American history and civics, and respecting the
values of a democratic society.”  Obama’s website is similar, listing border
security as his main priority, followed by “bring[ing] people out of the
shadows” to become citizens.  Clinton uses much more flowery language but
essentially posits the same
message.

It
should be noted that illegal immigrants do not live in the shadows.  They attend
American schools, use our hospital emergency rooms as though they were a general
practitioner’s office and work in specific businesses.  If the Federal
Government wanted to enforce our current immigration laws, which are sufficient
to solve the problem, it could.  But there is no willpower to do so. 

I
suspect that the reason for the drop in attendance at the rallies is not a new
burst of patriotism for America among prior attendees but
because the issue is not as pressing.  What we need to do is return the debate
to the topic of assimilation, of learning to speak English, of the value of
becoming a citizen, and of pride in a country that provides immigrants from
around the world with more opportunities for success than any other country on
earth.  The latter will be the most difficult.  Immigrants need to assimilate to
American culture but if we are to demand that they do we must first restore a
proper sense of patriotism among American citizens.  How can we demand that
foreigners respect our country when our own elites so vehemently criticize and
disdain everything connected to American history, culture, ideals, governance
and traditions? 

A
return to assimilation and a coherent culture will not begin until we put our
own house in order.  We cannot expect others to respect us when many Americans
themselves are ashamed of their country.



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