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The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia • Page 66
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The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia • Page 66

Atlanta, Georgia
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GZ Sunday, April 30, 1995 PERSPECTIVE The Atlanta Journal The Atlanta Constitution1-" IMMIGRATION; Time for a change? one who has got into an immigration Tli2 immfrnzticn sur In this century, legal immigration has increased steadily from lows during World II to record highs in 1 99 1 he latest year for which complete data is available. Immigration jumped in the late 1 980s, when millions of illegal immigrants were granted amnesty. Alien: America has lost all control of borders Immigration has become a sort of imitation civil, right, extended to arbitrarily selected foreigners. The trend of legal immigration ST Millions of immigrants admitted during tiscai years In the past 10 years, illegal estimated at 2.0 1.8 1.6 1.4 1.2 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 WEB I9S0 I960 1970 immigration is 1900 1910 Jjtl JWttCIMiiJKJUL ivM 27,783 AsiJC Europe North mm America 1 1920 1930 1940 3 200,000 peryear. 158,254 of its borders in every sense. A series of institutional accidents, of which birthright citizenship is just one, has essentially robbed Americans of the power to determine who, and how many, can enter their national family, make claims on it and exert power over it. The heart of the problem: immigration. 5 In 1991, the year of Alexander's birth, the Immigration and Naturalization Service reported a total of over 1.8 million legal immigrants. That was easily a record. It exceeded by almost a third the previous peak of almost 1.3 million, reached 84 years earlier at the height of the First Great Wave of Immigration, which peaked just after the turn of the century. The United States has been engulfed by what seems likely to be the greatest wave of immigration it has ever faced. The INS estimates that 12 million to 13 million legal and illegal immigrants will enter the United States during the 1990s. The Washington, D.C-based Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), among the most promi Continued from I Americans will no longer share in common what Abraham Lincoln called in his first inaugural address "the mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth stone, all over this broad land." And that when the time comes to strike those chords, no sweet sound will tesult. fty son is born i I Alexander James Frank Brimelow is an American although I was still a British subject, and his mother a Canadian, when he shot into the New York Hospi- 1 delivery room, yelling indignantly, me summer dawn in 1991. This is because of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It states in part: "All persons bora or naturalized in he United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein ihey reside." I The 14th Amendment was passed fter the Civil War In an attempt to stop Southern states denying their newly freed slaves the full rights of citizens. But the wording is general So it has been interpreted to mean that any child born in the United States is automatically a citizen. Even if its mother is a IxaTigrsiicn Immigration as a population growth from 1 910 to 2090 70; 50; 40 30 20 and population percentage of In the United States debate with, for example, Hispanic activists must be instantly aware that if some of them really are consumed by the most intense racial animosity directed against whites. How come what's sauce for the goose is not sauce' for the gander? I have indeed duly examined my own motives. And I am happy to report that ''I they are pure. I sincerely believe I am, not prejudiced in the sense of com-, mitting and stubbornly persisting in error about people, regardless of evi-' i dence which appears to me to be only rational definition of "racism." I am also, however, not blind Race and ethnicity are destiny in 1 American politics. And, because of the rise of affirmative action quotas, for American individuals too. My son, Alexander, is a white male with blue eyes and blond hair. He has' never discriminated against anyone in his little life (except possibly young 1 women visitors whom he suspects of being babysitters). But public policy, i 5 now discriminates against him. The sheer size of the so-called "protected t3 classes" that are now politically favored, such as Hispanics, will be matter of vital importance as long as he lives. And their size is basically deter; I mined by immigration. For Americans even to think about their immigration policy, given the political climate that has prevailed -y since the 1960s, involves a sort of psy-. chological liberation movement. In Eugene McCarthy's terms, America would have to stop being a colony of the; world. The implications are even frightening: that Americans, with-jj out feeling guilty, can and should seize control of their country's destiny. If they did, what would a decolonized American immigration policy look like? The first step is absolutely clear The 1965 Immigration Act, and its amplifications in 1986 and 1990, have been a disaster and must be repealed. It may be time for the United States' to consider moving to a conception of itself more like that of Switzerland: tol- erating a fairly large foreign presence that comes and goes, but rarely if ever. naturalizes. It may be time to consider 5 reviving a version of the bracero pro- gram, the agricultural guest-workers I program that operated from the 1940s to the 1960s, allowing foreign workers to move in and out of the country in a controlled way, without permanently -altering its demography and politics. This new conception may be a shock to American sensibilities. Many Americans, like my students at the University of Cincinnati Law School, are under the charming impression that foreigners don't really exist But they also tend to think that, if foreigners really do exist, they ought to become Americans as quickly as possible. However, the fact is that we foreigners are, in some sense, all Americans now, just as Jefferson said everyone had two countries, his own and France, in the 18th century. That is why we are here, just as the entire world flocked to Imperial Rome. The trick the Americans face now is to be an empire in fact, while remaining a democratic republic in spirit Avoiding the Romans' mistake of diluting their citizenship into insignificance may be the key. ENQUIRER ISS3 1980 1990 358,049 301,380 Knlght-Ridder Tribune as requiring schools to educate such children in their native language. To do so, according to one California estimate, requires spending some 65 per cent more per child than on an English- speaking child. And not merely money but, more importantly, teacher time and energy are inevitably being diverted from America's children. My thesis is mat the immigration resulting from current public policy: (1) is dramatically larger, less skilled and more divergent from the American majority than anything that was anticipated or desired. (2) is probably not beneficial economically and is certainly not necessary. (3) is attended by a wide and increasing range of negative consequences, from the physical environment to the political. (4) is bringing about an ethnic and racial transformation in America without precedent in the history of the world an astonishing social experiment launched with no particular reason to expect success. Some of my American readers will be stirring uneasily at this point They have been trained to recoil from any explicit discussion of race. And anyone who says anything critical of immigration is going to be accused of racism. Because the term "racist" is now so debased, I usually shrug off such smears by pointing to its new definition: anyone who is winning an argument with a liberal. Or, too often, a libertarian. And, on the immigration issue, even some confused tives. This may sound facetious. But the double standards are irritating. Any JIM B0RGMAN CINCINNATI Oceania 4 9oo South i-America 153,921 Indudei Mexico, The Unrted States and Canada Source: Immigration and Naturalization Service unspoken immigration dimension. Two further instances: The health-care crisis. Americans have been told repeatedly that some 30 million to 40 million people in the country have no health insurance at any one point in time. Typically, nobody seems to know how many are immigrants. But immigrants certainly make up a disproportionate share particularly of the real problem: the much smaller hard core, perhaps 6 million, that remains uninsured after two years. We know that about 6 million of the 22 million U.S. Hispanics are uninsured at any one point Since almost a third of U.S. Hispanics are foreign-born, it's obvious that immigrants and their children must be some and perhaps most of them. The hard core of uninsured, experts confirm, is substantially Hispanic. That probably includes many of the estimated nearly 2 million uninsured illegal immigrants permanently settled here, a heavily Hispanic group. The education crisis. Americans are used to hearing that their schools don't seem to be providing the quality of education that foreigners get Fewer of them know that the U.S. education system is also very expensive by international standards. Virtually none of them know anything about the impact of immigration on that education system. Yet the impact of immigration is clearly serious. For example, in 1990 almost one child in every 20 enrolled in American public schools either could not speak English or spoke it so poorly as to need language-assistance programs. This number is increasing with striking speed: Only six years earner, it had been one child in 31. Current law is generally interpreted JERSEY RECORD Uie twisted 'wreckage, humanity the 3 1- foreigner. Even if she's just passing through. I am delighted that Alexander is an American. Howev 10 I 1910 1950 Souroc Urian Imtltun er, I do feel slightly, well, guilty that his fellow Americans had so little choice in the matter. Butat least Maggy and I had applied for and been granted legal permission to live in the United States. There are currently an estimated 3.5 to 4 million foreigners who have just arrived and settled here in defiance of American law. When these illegal immigrants have children in the United States, why, those children are automatically American citizens too. And right now, two-thirds of the births in Los Angeles County hospitals are to iUegal-immigrant mothers. All of which is just another example of one of my central themes: The United States has lost control nent of the groups critical of immigration policy, thinks the total will range between 10 million and IS million. An independent expert, Daniel James, author of "Illegal Immigration An Unfolding Crisis," has argued that it could be as high as 18 million. I Estimate It's not just illegal immigration that is out of control So is legal immigration. U.S. law in effect treats immigration as a sort of imitation 2000 2050 2090 Staff civil right, extended to an indefinite group of foreigners who have been selected arbitrarily and with no regard to American interests. The American immigration debate has been a one-way street. Criticism of immigration, and news that might support it, just tends not to get through. For example, the United States is in the midst of a serious crime epidemic. Yet almost no Americans are aware that aliens make up one-quarter of the prisoners in federal penitentiaries almost three times their proportion in the population at large. Indeed, many problems that currently preoccupy Americans have an JIMMY MARGULIES NEW Searcher looking through seeking same Kijjh of Sunday Sampler Cartoons and comments on our times ftofuvsTom-mts to swcovr UfVlft.FDR,THE FWW. ARBITER OF wfkkposmoNs WCXiLDWtf ovwesas "I am very sorry with what happened and feel terrible about it" from statement issued by WILUAM McVElGH, the bombing suspect's father. "The court finds an indelible trail of evidence that starts in Junction City and ends up at the front door of the Murrah building." JUDGE RONALD HOWLAND, ordering that Timothy McVeigh stand trial. UFERH. OICftTHlttUftJui i i mm i in 1 1 i mil Big ft rttiuwrr i It, VV JOHN BRANCH SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS "I don't think It's time for politics. I think it's time we work together." Senate Majority leader BOB DOLE on President Clinton's proposals for tough new anti-terrorism measures. i "The finding shows that early humans in Africa invented sophisticated toolmaking long before their European counterparts." AUSON S. BROOKS, a George Washington University archaeologist, on the discovery in Zaire of barbed points and blades more than 80,000 years old. "That was )ust my way of saying, 'Hey, here's one back at BARRY KUHN, a Kansas Gty Royals fan who got a big cheer after he caught a foul ball and threw it back on the field during the first Royals game since the baseball strike. "He's led the country ably in this very difficult situation." House Speaker NEWT GINGRICH, praising Qinton. i I

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