I recently started reading Roger Kimball’s exceptional new book, “The Fortunes of Permanence” and am apparently in rather good company.
The inestimable Jay Nordlinger relates in National Review Online that he, too, is enthralled by Kimball’s latest offering.
The book touches on many important topics concerning culture, education, society and our intellectual inheritance, but centers heavily on the concept of cultural relativism. I thought while reading of how that applied to many of our current topics of contention, including immigration.
Immigration reform is once again front and center in the nation’s public consciousness. And once again, the debate seems to skirt the most important questions posed by immigration. For years, U.S. immigration policy has been more about emotional, tertiary concerns than answering pressing questions. How much immigration does the society need?
How much can the existing culture handle? What are the security implications?
Unfortunately, whatever else it might or might not offer, the Senate’s latest attempt at immigration reform doesn’t even graze these questions. The executive branch will prove no help. The appetite at the White House for cultural leveling prohibits any examination of the first two questions. And the current administration can hardly be counted on to apply a national security focus to the immigration issue.
The Obama administration can’t seem to apply a national security focus to international events involving weapons, allies and strategic threats, for heaven’s sake. Foreign policy blunders are so de rigueur for the Obama White House that one now expects them in much the same manner as one expects the proverbial crazy relative to say something inappropriately embarrassing at a family gathering. You hope furtively for the best, but know in your heart of hearts the awkward moment is inevitable. The problem of course, in terms of foreign policy, is that everyone else knows it, too.
But circling back to immigration.
If the administration can’t bring itself to develop a workable policy to deal with threats in the foreign arena, it’s not about to incorporate one in an immigration arena where the application of such concerns would soon be assailed by a withering barrage of accusations of xenophobia or racism.
So what criteria ARE referred to in the crystallization of an immigration policy? Despite certain verbiage designed to convince otherwise, the driving force behind immigration reform would appear to be a fanatical desire to not appear in any way (a) xenophobic or (b) unwelcoming of any immigration. This application of radical equality, aversion to national identity and multiculturalist fantasy to the immigration question has resulted in a system that places greater concern on avoiding any insult to the sensibilities of any detectable cultural group (including 20-something-year-old Muslim males from corners of the world renowned mostly for incubating fundamentalist tendencies) than on avoiding the importation of carnage.
The question admittedly remains of what to do with the nearly 2 million illegals already in the county. Resources simply don’t exist to incarcerate them all or to track them down and send them back to whence they came. It’s a question complicated, of course, by the commercial element — the continuing reliance on cheaper immigrant labor by a significant number of industries and Democratic congresspeople. The current effort makes a nod to attracting and retaining certain highly skilled individuals and entrepreneurs. But let’s face it: Immigration reform debate doesn’t center on the legal disposition of a few thousand doctors, engineers and university graduates. Meeting the market demand for certain classes of labor ought not, however, to be intrinsically at odds with ensuring the system permitting entry of those laborers doesn’t also permit the entry of people intent on placing explosives in populated areas.
The question of immigration reform is an undoubtedly touchy one. But surely we can agree that its resolution shouldn’t preempt legitimate national security concerns or accept that being a welcoming society includes the path to citizenship being strewn with homemade bombs.