How We Romanticize Immigration

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When I visited the top of the new World Trade Center last week, I had a bird’s eye view of Ellis Island. It made me think of how most Americans romanticize immigration. “Give me your tired, your hungry, your weary,” and all of that. But the idea behind immigration under the original American Constitution was not to turn the entire world into a big hospital, social service agency or welfare state. The “tired and hungry” were fleeing lands of oppression to come to a land of liberty. It’s called the Statue of Liberty for a reason. Liberty does not mean “take care of me.” It means “give me a place to make my own way, and to be left alone.”

Today, immigration has elements of that sentiment. But there are also two other factors. One is the welfare state. The moment people become citizens, they’re given free health care, free schooling, free food stamps, free cell phones — you name it. In fact, since Obama, they don’t even have to be citizens. All they have to do is arrive here and, particularly with amnesty, they know they’ll be granted citizenship regardless.

I’m not suggesting that all or even most of today’s immigrants come here for the welfare state. That honestly may be true, but I have no way of knowing if it is. What I do know is that they’re greeted with an entitlement state the moment they arrive. Social welfare entitlements make Democrats and other “social justice” types feel good about themselves, but government dependence does not mean liberty. And liberty was what the classic immigrants who came to Ellis Island were after, because — back then — it’s all that America had to offer.

The other factor about today’s immigrants? Not all of them love America. More than ever before, people are coming to the United States not to benefit from its liberty and freedom, but to destroy those very things. We ignore this fact at our peril. No, most immigrants are not coming to the United States to destroy it. But more are doing so than ever before. And it only takes a one or two percent minority to do things like bring down the World Trade Center, blow up citizens in airports, discos, train stations, schools or military bases. Minorities of that kind do matter.

Don’t misunderstand me. I agree with the romantic view of immigration. I’d love for the United States to restore its status as a land of liberty, not welfare or entitlements. And I’d love for our government to work tirelessly and guiltlessly to keep out people who wish to destroy us. Even if the majority of Muslims coming to the United States do not wish to destroy us, the overwhelming majority of those who do seek to wipe us out happen to be Muslim. It’s a fact, and facts are stubborn things. If our government must profile them to keep us safe, then don’t blame our government. Blame the people who do the destroying, because they’re the real victimizers here. Not Donald Trump.

I find it both shocking and sickening that so many people think it’s radical and fascist to face facts and empower our government to do one of the only things it’s legitimately entitled to do: protect us from dangerous persons and groups.

The reality is that today’s immigrants are not your granddaddy’s or great-granddaddy’s immigrants, because the United States is no longer the country it once was. If and when we become a land of liberty again, these problems will largely take care of themselves.

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