Friday, November 10, 2006

Right Thinking About Immigration

One unique thing about America is that God continues to send the world to us. Since our beginning, we have welcomed those from other countries who sought a new start, a new beginning, real hope. The words inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty there in New York Harbor reflect that philosophy. It reads: “ Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame with conquering limbs astride from land to land, here at our sea while sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch whose flame is the imprisoned lightning and her name is Mother of exiles. From her beaconed hand glows worldwide welcome, her mild eyes command the air bridged harbor that twin cities frame. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Throughout the years we have welcomed to our shores those very people, and they have melted into a single entity called Americans. They learned the language, the customs, and the values of this land of opportunity. They built entire communities and contributed to the greatness of contemporary society.

Today a new breed has arrived on our shores. They don’t seem to want to become Americans, and seem intent on dividing the culture by refusing to learn the language and expecting society to accommodate them. They often seem more dedicated to perpetuating the cultural norms which have kept their countrymen in poverty for generations, than in becoming integrated into the real fabric of our country. This is not the true meaning of Lady Liberty’s inscription.

Official government policy appears designed to facilitate such attitudes. Bi-and in some cases tri-lingual government offices encourage these aliens to continue speaking their native tongue with little pressure to learn English. Teachers are recruited with the intent of making life easier for the children rather than for the purpose of teaching children to learn English.

Please do not misunderstand. Cross-cultural interaction is a sociological necessity if we are to maintain access to America by immigration. However, Cross-cultural does not mean facilitating those who refuse to do what is necessary to obtain a working knowledge of the language. America is an English speaking representative democracy. Cross-cultural means that we reach across cultural, social, linguistic, and ethnic barriers to assist immigrants as they become immersed in the American way of Life.

America is richer, more colorful, and more flavorful because the influx immigrants touch us and affect us. We need them, but we also need them to become Americans. We need them to learn about the heroes who lived sacrificial lives in order to make our present lifestyles possible. They need to learn the values which moved men to subjugate their thirst for power for the general good. They need to learn of the blood which was spilled through succeeding generations to bring about the current freedom. They need to learn about our holidays and the men and women who are represented in them.

This is not the time to return to the isolationism promoted by many prominent personages. Ours is a blessed country and should we close our borders, we might lose the moral high ground which has characterized our land. But we must emphatically declare that the privilege of living in America carries with it the responsibility to become Americanized.

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