Buchanan Blusters On
But this article on the blog ThinkProgress does a good job dismantling Buchanan's myopic analysis of immigration to the USA. (The blog comes from The American Progress Action Fund, "a nonpartisan organization.... that advances progressive ideas and policies.")
The article matches quotations from Buchanan's book with similar nativist sentiments by sources from various points in American history when fears of immigrants and immigration have flared -- including some surprising words from Benjamin Franklin. Here are a few examples:
Immigrants will not be able to assimilate:
Where the Italians wanted to be part of our family, millions of Mexicans are determined to retain their language and loyalty to Mexico. They prefer to remain outsiders. They do not wish to assimilate and the nation no longer demands that they do so. [Buchanan, p. 28, 2006]
Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Languages or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion. [Benjamin Franklin, 1751]
Immigrants are responsible for crime:
Many Hispanics, as a matter of fact, you know what culture they are assimilating to? — the rap culture, the crime culture, anti-cops, all the rest of it. [Buchanan, 8/22/06]
“The Irish fill our prisons, our poor houses. … Scratch a convict or a pauper, and the chances are that you tickle the skin of an Irish Catholic. Putting them on a boat and sending them home would end crime in this country.” [Chicago Post, 1868]
The article would benefit from an examination of The Dillingham Commission Reports, the Senate immigration reports from 1911 for which our some elected officials actually researched, personally, the facts about immigration to this country -- even traveling overseas to do so -- and accepted pleas from the public. (Compared to today's House "hearings", those earlier excursions seem Herculean.)
Many of the same fears that today form the basis of the anti-immigration/anti-immigrant platform have sprung up before in our history. They proved unwarranted. Despite that, their current incarnations still pose a threat, especially when (somewhat-) respected public figures publish them in widely-bought books and when our populace lives in a constant state of fear towards the rest of the world and, often, our own government. Tony Blankley lauds Buchanan's book in The Washington Times, echoing as truth and promoting as a guiding principal an equivalent to Malcolm X's denunciation that "The Seal and the Constitution reflect the thinking of the founding fathers that this was to be a nation by white people and for white people. Native Americans, blacks, and all other non-white people, were to be the burden bearers for the real citizens of this nation."
This must serve as yet another rallying call for rational thought and better dissemination of the knowledge that we have. Caving into mass panic with a blind eye towards reality, knowledge, and justice will surely lead us down a perilous path. Now, how do we proceed?
Technorati tags: Immigration, Politics, Border, Buchanan.