MASSIVE IMMIGRATION FROM MEXICO:
THE SERIOUS PROBLEMS IT IS CREATING FOR THE U.S.A.
By Thomas G. Tancredo
Recently California published a study which showed that, although there had been a very marginal improvement in job growth in the state, when it was looked at carefully, it was found that those jobs did not go to American citizens. They went to people coming here from foreign countries, aliens, some legal, most not. Those are the people getting the jobs. Interestingly, during our one hour of discussion about jobs and the problems with outsourcing, we did not hear a word about immigration. Not one word was mentioned by the Democrats during their hour here about the fact that immigration, massive immigration into this country, costs Americans their jobs.
Massive immigration also costs American workers wages. It cost American workers wages because, of course, we have a supply-demand system; and the greater the labor supply, the greater the downward pressure on wages. We see this happening all of the time throughout the country, but no one talked about it. No one dared mention the word "immigration'' in our discussion of one hour about jobs. The Democrats want to blame America's loss of jobs entirely on the Bush administration's policies regarding outsourcing. I am certainly critical of the administration's policy on a number of issues, particularly its immigration policy; but I ask people to be evenhanded in their criticism regarding the source or sources the problem.
For over a year now, I have had a bill before the U.S. House of Representatives -- a bill dealing with the matter of immigration and the loss of American jobs. The bill will be reintroduced, and I will be interested to see how many on the other side of the aisle -- how many Democrata -- will sign on.
It is a bill that abolishes the H-1B visa program. This is a program where companies are allowed to bring in for a short period of time, foreign workers with very specific skills, skills that supposedly are not available here in the United States. If no workers in the U.S.A. possess the required skills, the H-1B visa program permits companies to go overseas to get workers with such skills.
Now, we have to think about that. Really and truly, how many people do you think there are in the United States presently employed in the high-tech industry or have been employed in the high-tech industry who would not be able to meet the criteria that we have established for these jobs, these certain high-tech jobs? I suggest very few. I suggest that American citizens are quite capable. I believe that we are producing enough people in our colleges, technical institutes, and universities to take the jobs that may be available.
However, American workers demand higher pay. So, corporations began to look at H-1B visas as a means to bring in cheap labor. They soon forgot about the provision which said that, under this particular visa status, an employer can bring into the country only people who had special skills and who, within a short period of time, would go back to their respective countries of origin.
Guess what? Nobody has gone back. We have maybe a million people in the country with H-1B visas. Nobody has the slightest idea how many, if any, have gone back home after the five years were up -- the five years that they were supposed to be able to work in the United States. Most, if not all, of them are still here.
As I said, I have a bill before the House to abolish the H-1B visa category. I do not think -- no, I am positive -- that there is not a single Democrat who spoke here for the last hour that has signed on that bill.
How about the bill to attack the L-1 visas status, the status which is now being used by major corporations to bring foreigners into the country for the same reason they are brought in under the H-1B visa status -- because they will work cheaper? They are higher-skilled people. We are not talking about people working in low-paying jobs. These are highly skilled people, and companies are bringing them into the United States under the L-1 visas status.
As regards the people running the corporations, where are they when we are talking about what is happening to American people, due to the fact that our borders are porous and our immigration policy is dictated by politics and not by economics, at least not the economics of workers in the United States, but certainly the economics of major corporations? In fact, no one disagrees that massive immigration of both legal and illegal workers into this country is a benefit to employers. Cheap labor is a benefit to employers. Cheap labor is cheap to employers, but it is not cheap to the rest of us, to the people who pay the taxes for the schools, for the highways, for the housing, for the health care, for the incarceration rates. All those costs get passed on to the vast majority of the taxpayers so that there can be a higher profit rate for the corporations.
I understand that every corporation wants to achieve lower costs and higher profits; that is their primary goal, and it is, under our system, appropriate that they should be seeking the best returns possible for their investors. Is it not, however, the responsibility of the U.S. government to try to do what it can to protect the American economy, to protect it the extent possible, without becoming incredibly protectionist and starting trade wars? Are there not things that we can do in this country to protect American workers as well as American industries? It is our responsibility to do so. It is our responsibility as elected representatives of the American voters and as decision-makers and policy-makers in the U.S. government.
Should we not be able to control the flow of immigration into this country, recognizing that that massive flow of immigration has an effect on working Americans, if not taking the jobs, certainly in terms of depressing wage rates? But nowhere in the Democrats' diatribe that we heard for an hour was there one reference to this phenomenon, to the immigration phenomenon. Why? Because, of course, as the Democrats accuse the Republicans of being tools of big business, they forget that, for the most part, they are tools of political subgroups that they look to for votes.
It is a political problem we face. It is true that our side of the aisle -- the Republican side -- caters to the business interests who want cheap labor. It is also true that the other side of the aisle -- the Democratic side -- caters to the immigration community and looks at them as a source of voters and as a political support base, and they are fearful of ever saying anything that might discourage that political support base.
If you are going to talk about the issue of job loss and depressed wages, then you better talk about all aspects of that issue, about all of the problems that we confront in this country because of the fact that we have immigration policies and economic policies that are detrimental to American workers.
This issue, the immigration issue, is certainly one that is contentious, certainly one that causes a lot of very, very intense feelings to emanate out of the members of Congress, and, for a long time, an issue no one wanted to talk about. I would come to this floor night after night to bring my concerns to the body and to those people who were listening, but it was a lonely struggle.
I am happy to say that things do appear to be changing, that American voices are being heard. Not too long ago, the President of the United States proposed a new immigration plan, one that, although he said was not amnesty, was, from my point of view and, I think, from the point of view of most people, certainly an amnesty plan for people who would be coming here under some sort of guest worker arrangement, and all those people who are here illegally would be given the ability to stay, even though they broke the law of the land coming in here.
There has been a significant response to that proposal. My Denver and Washington offices combined received, over the course of a day and a half or 2 days, almost 1,000 phone calls after the President made the speech in which he announced his proposal for a new immigration plan. Nothing that has ever happened in this country previously, not the war, not any proposal for an initiative, ever generated the kind of response President's proposal received. 99.999 percent of the people calling were upset by the proposal, were furious, as a matter of fact, at the President for putting it forward. Some of my colleagues, in fact, many of my colleagues, heard the message because their phones rang off the hook also. Their e-mails came in by the hundreds and thousands, something that they did not expect.
I do not think it was something that even the White House expected. I think that they felt the President could make this speech, move on, satisfying a certain constituency, hoping that we would pass the bill eventually in this Congress, and that it would be something of relatively little note. But boy, oh boy, oh boy, were they wrong . People noticed, and they called, and they are still calling.
It is important for people who listen to this message to recognize that their voices can be heard. I know it is simply a frustrating experience to pick up the phone or write a letter to one's Congressman. Does he or anybody else in his office really care? Does anybody really read it? Believe me, you were heard. You were heard. So much so that I do not believe the President's plan will even evolve into a piece of legislation that we will see on the floor of the House. If it does, I predict that it will fail. And it should.
There are signs, as I say, that things are changing. Perhaps one of the most incredible things I have read in the recent past indicates that there has been a change in the attitude of the American people regarding the issue of immigration and immigration control. As a matter of fact, however, the change in attitude has been there for quite a while. Poll after poll after poll tells us that 70 percent, maybe sometimes 75 percent, of the people in this country say no more illegal immigration. A majority say they want a reduction in legal immigration, until we can get a handle on the problem. And it is a problem.
For the longest time, this fact would simply be ignored by major media outlets, as well as by the members of Congress and by the President of the United States, be he George Bush or Bill Clinton. They would all ignore the fact that those people were out there and that they were telling pollsters how they felt. The political leaders always assumed they could finesse the immigration issue. They believed that, although people were upset about and opposed to uncontrolled immigration, it was not their number one issue, and they would let it slide. And, by the way, there was this growing constituency the leaders were trying to grab onto, this huge constituency, the rapily increasing number of people coming into this country as immigrants, people who would become voters, and the politicians wanted to get their votes and were therefore very reluctant to attack the whole process that allowed these future voters to come into the country, legally or illegally.
How did the major media approach the issue? Their attitude was that anyone who suggested we need to look at our immigration policy was xenophobic, and probably racist. That is the only way the media ever looked at the immigration issue and at those who opposed uncontrolled immigration. That is the only way they could explain how someone would stand up on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives -- or in a state legislature anywhere in the country, in a city council or other public forum -- and talk about the possibility that massive immigration into this country could be problematic, that we had to be able to control immigration, and that we have to know who is coming into this country, how many are coming in, for what purpose, and for how long. The media could not understand and therefore rejected the proposition that, in order to call ourselves a nation, it is essential that we to be able to actually control our borders.
The major media followed the lead of papers like the Wall Street Journal, which, for many years, on every Fourth of July, had published an editorial saying that borders should be eliminated, that borders do not matter anymore. The editorial argues that borders now are insignificant and just impede the flow of goods and services. And, after all, only one thing that should determine the flow of goods, services and people, and that is the market. The standard July 4 editorial message of the Wall Street Journal was that borders are now irrelevant -- a message which all the major media outlets went along with, publishing similar editorials.
Then came the Islamist terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and a lot of things changed. One of those changes was the Wall Street Journal stopped printing its "open borders" editorial on the Fourth of July. It does not mean they stopped believing it, they just stopped printing it for obvious reasons. But something is happening.
I have here a reprint of a cover story in the Los Angeles Times Magazine (January 25, 2004) titled "Infinite Ingress" and written by a gentleman named of Lee Green. This is really an incredible, very profound article, an article well written and well ducumented. And surprisingly, the article appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
If the Los Angeles Times had a logo, if it had a masthead, it would be of the three monkeys, each with his eyes, ears, and mouth covered. The Los Angeles Times did not want to see, hear, or talk about the immigration problem. For this newspaper, such a problem did not esist; immigration was not a problem. The paper's editorial writers could go to their offices, their ivory tower offices, and look out over a sprawling city and think, gee, you know, I'm sure those people down there are having a great time and life is good for them, so, as long as I don't have to participate in any of this stuff, as long as I can get home easily, have my limo pick me up, and I don't have to worry about a lot of these kinds of things that the poor trash out there worry about, then we can continue to think about markets as being the only thing that should determine the flow of people.
But, as I said, something happened. And so the Los Angeles Times agreed to publish the article by Lee Green. I am going to read excerpts from the article. It starts out:
There are astronomical types of issues to deal with here, enormous problems. Certainly they are issues dealing with the environment. This article concentrates on environmental concerns. What is the impact of massive growth rates in this country? Is it always good? Is growth always good? Some will benefit, it is true. Many will not.
The President mentioned in his speech on immigration that we need to match every willing worker with every willing employer. That is a sentiment I know many of my colleagues in the House of Representatives believe in. It is an admirable goal. One can say things like that, and, at first glance, we would say, sure, that is true, absolutely. What is wrong with that, matching a willing worker with every willing employer?
What may be wrong with it is this: There are billions of willing workers out there, billions, willing to come, be matched up with millions of employers here in the United States who are quite desirous of obtaining cheaper labor. Do we really mean that? Do we really mean that we will match every willing worker in the world with every willing employer? Do we think that that will not have an impact on our society, on our system? Of course it will. And I do not think we really and truly mean that. At least I hope we do not, because, of course, there is a role for the members of the House of Representatives in dealing with problem of the flow of immigrants into the country, and that role is to control the immigration flow.
We hear all the time that there are all these jobs going begging, all these jobs that Americans will not take. I believe with all my heart that, when we have got 5.6 or 5.7 percent unemployment rate in a free economy, there is no such thing as a job an American will not take. It is just a matter of how much one is willing to pay to get the worker. And as long as we continue to import cheap labor, we will be absolved of the desire to actually provide a good job for Americans and will say that the better thing is to just simply have cheaper products as well as cheaper labor imported into our country. Such an arrangement will not work. a sound and prosperous economy does require consumers here in the U.S.A. who are able to buy the products produced by cheap labor, whether the production occurs overseas in low-wage, poverty-stricken countries or it occurs in the U.S.A., with the use of low-wage immigrant labor. Under this arrangement, we cannot have a sound and prosperous economy, we will have, instead, a two-tiered economy of most folks living at the lowest level and some folks at the highest. And the latter is the kind of economy we will have in the future, if there continues to be infinite ingress into the United States.
I do believe that it is true that there are a lot of folks here in the House of Representatives, maybe even in the Bush administration, who believe that borders are irrelevant, that they are of no constructive consequence, that they impede the flow of goods, services and people, and that soon we will be able to achieve a new world order in which there are no real borders, or if there are borders between countries, they will be like one that was described by a Libertarian from the Cato Institute, a Libertarian ideologue who said, yes, we will still have borders, but they will simply be like the borders between Kansas and Colorado and Nebraska, of no real consequence.
That is a particular world view. It is a world view held by a lot of people. It is not a world view I hold, nor one that I will accept without a lot of fighting. But it envisions a way of life that a lot of people want to see come into being. That is why there is this constant movement toward a world in which the whole concept of citizenship is completely and totally obliterated, where it just does not matter anymore if one is a citizen of the United States, of Mexico, of Canada, or of any other country. People are just residents of where they happen to be.
We see cities in the United States passing laws, calling themselves sanctuary cities, laws telling each and every person that he or she really does not need to show us anything, except perhaps a utility bill, to show that he or she is a legal resident and is legally entitled to vote in elections. Show us a utility bill, and we will let you vote.
One of those socalled sanctuary cities is not too far from here, College Park, Maryland, but they are all over the country The State of Maine is proposing that the State be the first sanctuary state.
Sanctuary states as well as sanctuary cities will not cooperate with or assist the U.S. Bureau of Immigration Control and Enforcement (formerly the INS, or Immigration and Naturalization Service). They will not allow their police forces, the state patrol and the local police, to help the federal government enforce U.S. immigration laws. Four cities in my state, the State of Colorado, have become sanctuary cities, passing ordinances prohibiting city police from cooperating with and assisting federal law enforcement authorities in the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.
What is the end result of this process? It is to achieve a place in which we are simply residents, not citizens, a place in which citizenship does not matter. If one comes here across our borders, even without our permission, we will give them free schooling for their children. (We already do that.) If they come here, cross our borders, even without our permission, we will give them access to our healthcare system. (We already do that.) If they come here, we will give them access to our Social Security system. (We are proposing that.)
The fact that they are here illegally will no longer matter. The President is proposing a totalization agreement with Mexico, providing that any Mexican worker who is here, legally or illegally, will, after only six quarters of a year's work in the country, be able to be vested in the United States Social Security system.
In effect, we are inviting foreigners to come to our country in very large numbers, crossing our borders and entering the country any way they can, legal or illegal. We are telling them that, if they come here, even without our permission, we will provide them with healthcare benefits, free education for their children, the right to vote in elections, and the opportunity to become vested in the Social Security system. We are creating very strong incentives to massive and illegal immigration, inducements that power the steady flood of illegal aliens across America's southern border.
If one can come into this country as an illegal immigrant, an illegal alien, and obtain all of these benefits and advantages, then what is the difference between that person and the person who has lived here all of his or her life and is, in fact, an American citizen? What is the difference? None. It does not matter. And that is a goal that a lot of people in the House want. It is certainly not what I believe is an appropriate goal. And it is one that I certainly will fight in every way I can.
Not too long ago, there was a bill on the floor of the House. We were fighting over the budget for the newly created Department of Homeland Security. I proposed that the Homeland Security appropriations measure contain a section or clause providing that no city that adopts and implements an amnesty plan or sanctuary policy for illegal aliens would be able to get any funds under the Homeland Security grant system. I got 122 votes out of 435. Everybody kept saying this is not the time or the place to talk about illegal aliens, and the debate got very contentious. It was about midnight on the House floor here, and people got very upset, did not want to fight this issue, and did not want me to even bring it up. They kept saying that it was too divisive an issue.
Why is it divisive? What in the world is divisive about our simply saying, okay, there is already a federal law governing the subject, a law already on the books, a law we passed it in 1994. It says no state or city can impede the flow of information to the INS or restrict the flow of information from the INS. It is on the books. We have it.
There is one little tiny problem. There is absolutely no penalty for violation of this law; so states and cities routinely violate it. And when I tried to say let us establish a genuine but tiny little penalty, all I was saying, at that point in time, was that a state or city should not be able to get a grant under the Homeland Seecurity grant system if it passed a law saying that it will not even tell the INS if the state or local authorities have arrested an illegal alien within the jurisdictional boundaries of the state or city. We who supported this amendment to the appropriations bill could not get it passed. We could not get the House to pass that amendment. Of course, we will try again, and we will continue to tell as many people as we can about the House members who chose to vote against it, and they will have to explain why to their respective constituencies.
I would love to actually hear an explanation of the reason for opposition to that particular proposal. An honest and truthful explanation of any opponent of the proposal would be that he or she simply did not want to alienate a segment of his or her constituency. I have had House members to come to me on the floor, after maybe a one-hour thing like this, and say: "You are right, Tom. You are right about the immigration issue, but I am not going to support you on this stuff. I have a huge Latino minority within my constituency. There is a politically significant Hispanic minority among the voters in my congressional district."
And I am saying, so what?
If you think I am right about what I say is happening to this country and the potential for what is going to happen to the country, how can you just cavalierly say, yes, but I cannot vote for your proposal?
I want to talk a little bit about another aspect of the immigration problem, an aspect that I think is quite disturbing. It concerns the problem of assimilation, the ability of the United States of America to assimilate huge numbers of immigrants into our society at the same time we are laboring with something else inside the United States. This something else is not the fault of any immigrant, and it is not the fault of massive immigration. It is a result of massive immigration, but it is not the fault of massive immigration. It is something we are doing to ourselves.
For a number of years now, we have been becoming increasingly wrapped up in an ideology that I sometimes call the cult of multiculturalism. Now, this ideology of multiculturalism I am talking about is not the multiculturist philosophy that simply references the value of diversity and the fact we have, within our society, many different ethnic subcultures which we can explore and enjoy. This is all true, and, as an Italian-American and the grandson of Italian immigrants, I am well aware of the value added by immigrants coming to this country from all over the world. I am certainly not arguing the case against the the value ethnic.diversity within American society.
I am talking about a different kind of multiculturalism, a different brand of multiculturalism. This multiculturalism is radical and ideological multiculturalism. It holds that, not only should we enjoy the diversity, but we should make it our universal characteristic. The one thing we should all strive for, and the only thing that is of value as a national goal, is diversity. Any idea that there is a common set of values, attitudes, and ideas that we call America, or, worse yet, Western Civilization, should be erased from the textbooks, taken out of the discussion in classrooms. We should encourage children to think of themselves not primarily as Americans, but mainly as part of some subgroup, usually some victimized class seeking a redress for that victimization from those who perpetrated it, "those" being the code word for Western Civilization itself.
Textbooks all over the country reflect the cult of multiculturalism. I am citing here a few things, as an example of what I am talking about. In the textbook, Across the Centuries, used for seventh grade history, the book defines the word "jihad'' as the endeavor "to do one's best to resist temptation and overcome evil.''
Does anybody really believe that is the true definition of "jihad" -- "to do one's best to resist temptation and overcome evil"? Is is not difficult to believe that such a textbook would be given to children in the United States, considering the fact that 9/11 was another example of jihad?
In 2002, the "New Guidelines for Teaching History'' in the New Jersey public schools failed even to mention America's Founding Fathers, the Pilgrims, the Mayflower. These were the guidelines for teaching history. What history? Whose history? Not ours.
Why did New Jersey's "Guidelines" omit any reference to teaching about the Pilgrims or the American Fathers? Because, of course, maybe somebody who read the "Guidelines" could not relate to the Pilgrims or the Founding Fathers.
My immigrant grandparents had a deep love and respect for their home country of Italy, but had absolutely no desire to have themselves or their families attached to that country in any other way than some sort of fond nostalgia and periodically going down to something called the Feast of St. Rocco, and another one called the Feast of St. Anthony.
But in terms of who we were as individuals, what was our heritage, what was the country we connected to, there was never any doubt in my mind, never any doubt, that my heritage was the story about the Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers. That is what I thought of, because that is what my textbooks taught me, that is what my grandparents taught me, that is what the schools taught me. But, today, we refuse to even mention the Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers in our history textbooks.
In a Prentice-Hall history textbook, used by students in Palm Beach County High School and titled A World Conflict, the first five pages of the World War II chapter focused almost entirely on topics such as gender roles in the Armed Forces, racial segregation and the war, internment camps, and the women in the war effort. That was World War II, okay? That was it.
Gender roles in the Armed Forces. That was the discussion of World War II. Now, maybe a discussion of gender roles deserves a line, maybe a paragraph. But should it be the analysis of World War II in a history textbook?
In Washington State, a teacher substituted the word "Winter" for the word "Christmas'' in a carol to be sung at a school program so as not to appear to be favoring one faith over another. The lyrics in Dale Wood's "Carol from an Irish Cabin'' was changed to read `"harsh winds blow down from the mountains and blow a white Winter to me.''
I was in an elementary school in my congressional district in Colorado not too long ago around Christmastime. I was leaving, and I said "Merry Christmas'' to the children I had been talking to. I noticed there was sort of a strange reaction. Some said, "Merry Christmas? Yes, what did he say?'' I thought that was weird.
As we were walking out, the teacher said to me, "The principal doesn't really like us using that word.'' I said, "What word?'' Her response: "Christmas.''
I went back to the school and yelled: "Hey! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!'' The children were all excited that somebody would actually say it; they could be actually allowed to say it in the school, Merry Christmas.
In a school district in New Mexico, the introduction to a textbook called 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures states this as the reason why the book was written: "In response to the bicentennial celebration of the 1776 American Revolution and its lies.'' The book's stated purpose is "to celebrate our resistance to being colonized and absorbed by racist empire builders.'' The book describes defenders of the Alamo as slave owners, land speculators, and Indian killers. In the book, Davy Crockett is referred to as a cannibal; and the 1857 war between the U.S.A. and Mexico is described as an unprovoked U.S. invasion. The chapter headings include "Death to the Invader,'' "U.S. Conquest and Betrayal,'' ``We Are Now a U.S. Colony in Occupied America,'' and "They Stole the Lands.''
I remember using a McDougal's textbook when I was teaching ninth graders in Jefferson County, Colorado. Well, the new McDougal's textbook, The Americas, states that the Reagan-Bush Conservative agenda limits advances in civil rights for minorities.
This statement in the McDougal's textbook is not represented as the personal observation or opinion of the author; it is represented as an objective, proven fact, as an absolute, undeniable truth that is not subject to debate. The book's characterization of the Reagan-Bush administration as being racist and ethnocentric is represented as scientifically proven fact. In a similar fashion, the textbook states that the Conservatives' bid to dismantle the Great Society social programs can be compared to "abandoning the Nation.''
The book goes on to include text stating that Communism had potentially totalitarian underpinnings. Potentially totalitarian underpinnings? Potentially totalitarian? Dissemination of this kind of garbage goes on and on and on and on in the textbook.
I have come across hundreds of examples of high school history and social studies textbooks like those I just described.
Now, why do I bring this up in conjunction with this discussion of immigration? Because it matters. It matters what we are teaching our own children and youth. And what we are teaching our children and youth is very relevant to the problem of immigration and assimilation of immigrant offspring into American society and its common and distinctive national culture.
Recently, I went into a high school in my own district, a school with probably 200 to 250 students. The entire student body was brought into the auditorium for an assembly program, a program which involved my speaking to the students and their teachers. At the end of my speech, some kid wrote a note to me asking, "What is the most serious problem you think we face in the Nation?'' In response, I said, "Let me ask you a question, and then I can answer your question.'' I asked, "How many people in here believe you live in the best nation in the world?'' At most, two dozen hands went up. Only a tenth of the entire group students in the auditorium thought they lived in the best nation in the world. There were lot of veru uncomfortable young people looking at their teachers and thinking, Gee, I don't know.
I had the distinct impression that a lot of kids wanted to answer yes, but they were afraid to, worried about what would they say if somebody challenged them? How could they actually defend that statement? So they just did not say a word.
So I said, "Let me ask you, should we be proud of the fact that we are a product of Western Civilization and are there some incredible things Western?" Has not Western Civilization brought highly valuable concepts to the world, including, among others, the idea that society should be based upon laws and not upon men, that individuals matter more than the collective? Again, there many confused, worried looks on the students' faces.
The concepts of the rule of law, the liberty of the individual under law, the rights and liberties of the individual guaranteed and protected by the fundamental law of the Constitution, and the freedom, worth, and importance of the individual person in a stable and orderly society with a constitutional democratic system of governance are uniquely Western thoughts, and we can be proud of them, and we should be proud of them. I know that American society has all kinds of warts. There are plenty of things we have done wrong. But to only emphasize the worst in America, the worst things that have happened, and even rewrite history to make events appear even more problematic for us is despicable. It is not education; it is radical political propaganda, an attempt at anti-American political indoctrination. It is designed to make America's children and youth wonder who we Americans really are, where we are going, and how are going to get there. It is intended to make our children and youth wonder whether America and the American way of life is worth defending and preserving, whether the American nation is worth our loyal devotion and our efforts to defend and preserve it. In short, the anti-American propaganda in school textbooks is designed to undermine and destroy American national identity, loyalty and unity, to erase from the minds of young Americans any perception of the United States of America as a single united nation, with a common national culture and identity.
If we have a hard time trying to transfer knowledge and appreciation of the American and Western heritage to the children that are coming out of our public schools, think how hard it is to transfer that knowledge to the people who are coming here as immigrants, many of whom are not coming for the purpose of being an American. Many of them are coming simply for the purpose of getting a better job. The whole concept of integration and assimilation goes out the window when it clashes with or comes in contact with the cult of multiculturalism. That is why education matters. That is why a discussion of elementary and secondary education -- particulary of history and social studies curricula -- fits into a discussion of U.S. immigration policy.
We need to rethink the way we teach our children and youth, and we need to rethink what we tell immigrants. We must emphasize the concept of American nationhood, the idea of a single united American nation, with a common and distinctive national culture. We must do this, rather than telling immigrants that there is no reason for them to integrate into our society, that we want them to stay separate, we want them to keep a separate language in the schools, we want them even to keep their political associations with the countries from which they came.
Presently, there are almost 10 million people living here in the U.S.A. who have dual citizenship. And dual citizenship means divided loyalties or very weak loyalty to the U.S.A.
I had an interesting conversation and argument with a Roman Catholic bishop in Denver. At one point in the conversation, Bishop Gomez said, "I don't know why you are worried about the Mexicans who are coming into this country.'' By the way, I am not worried about "the Mexicans''; I am worried about massive immigration. Bishop Gomez said: "I don't know why you are worried about the Mexicans who are coming into this country. They don't want to be Americans.'' Those were his exact words: "They don't want to be Americans.''
They are coming here for a job. They love Mexico. They want to keep their Mexican heritage, their Mexican citizenship. Of course, today it is a lot easier to do so than it was when my parents came from Italy, a land very far away, making it very difficult to get back and forth. Now, of course, all over the world it is a short hop to wherever it was we may have come from. The world has gotten much smaller, and it is a heck of a lot easier to retain ties with the country of origin than it was before.
Bishop Gomez said, "They don't want to be Americans.''
I said, "Well, Bishop, of course, that is the problem. To the extent that you are right, to the extent that what you said is true,'' that is the problem.'' While the Bishop's analysis is certainly not true for everyone coming from Mexico to the United States, to the extent to which he is right, immigration from Mexico is a serious problem. The crux of the immigration problem is the unwillingness of a significant number of Mexican immigrants, legal and illegal, to assimilate and become loyal members of American society.
That is what is fearful, and that is why we need to think about what we teach children and youth and what we say to immigrants. And that is why we need to get a handle on immigration, reduce even the number of legal immigrants, and certainly stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the country. That is why we must, in fact, get a handle on the immigration problem.
There is something of value in Western Civilization and the Judeo-Christian heritage, and in this place we call the United States of America, which is the greatest example of Western Civilization and the Judeo-Christian heritage. And, as I said, I know that there are warts, and I do not mean to ignore them. I am not asking that children and youth to be told that there are only wonderful things about Western Civilization or about America, I am just asking that they be told the truth, both the bad side and the good side. Today, America's children and youth will always be able to articulate a problem with Western Civilization, but I wonder how many graduating high school seniors can actually stand up and effectively say what is good about Western Civilization and about the country in which they live. How many seniors would be able to effectively defend America against the specious but clever arguments of the cynical and disloyal. Provision of young Americans with the knowledge and mental skills needed to successfully defend our way of life is something I certainly want to see happen, and to happen before we get more people here as immigrants, who are entering the country legally and coming with the intention of becoming loyal and law-abiding Americans.
Still More on Immigration & Illegal Aliens
Thomas G. Tancredo is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the Sixth Congressional District
of Colorado. Congressman Tancredo presented the foregoing statement, on February 24, 2004, as a speech from the floor of the
House of Representatives.
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