MASSIVE IMMIGRATION, LEGAL & ILLEGAL:
THE GREAT HARM IT IS DOING TO THE U.S.A.
By Thomas G. Tancredo
This is a perplexing and challenging issue. Undeniably so. With so many Americans hurting, the tendency for many members of Congress and persons holding other elective public offices is to immediately ask: What can I do about this problem? How can I change the situation? What can the government do to create a better situation for those folks who are hurting? And this is enormously troubling and bewildering when we are talking about this brave new world of a global economy that we do not entirely understand.
For well over 100 years, we thought we really had this thing pegged. We thought we knew what it took to create a prosperous society and a vibrant economy, and it boiled down to two words: Free trade. We listened to and read the works of economists that adhered to the theory of an economist who lived and wrote in the Eighteenth Century, an economist by the name of David Ricardo. He coined the phrase, "comparative advantage.'' He said, look, when two countries are competing to produce a particular product, one may have an advantage over the other and we should concentrate on producing in that country whatever it is that they have the advantage in producing there, due to the country's climate, geography, and natural resources.
. Ricardo used two examples: He said, let us look at Portugal and England. Portugal could produce wine and textiles, but, in fact, would have to put a lot more effort into producing textiles. England could produce textiles and wine, but would have to put a lot more effort into producing wine. So, Portugal should produce wine, England should produce textiles, and, therefore, the comparative advantage would accrue to each one of those countries. Each one of them would be doing what they do best and, therefore, each one of them would prosper and would not be wasting their resources doing things they cannot do very well.
That is the theory we have been operating under for now well over 100 years. I believe that the theory had great merit and that it can work well. But we have added a new dimension to this whole discussion, and it is the dimension of labor. That was not an issue in Ricardo's day. Labor was not all that mobile. You could not move work to worker anywhere in the world. So labor was a constant in Ricardo's day and, therefore, you just dealt with your country's situation as regards natural resources, climate, and geography.
Today, of course, we know that, because of technology, we are no longer able to rely on just what nature has given us, in terms of resources. We also have to deal with the fact that labor is another one of those commodities that can be traded and for which there is a competitive advantage for some countries. Today, labor is a variable, and the labor advantage will accrue to one country over another. It is no longer a situation where one country can produce X, the other Y. Each of them will do that. Now, the world economy is such that, if your country can provide cheaper labor, it will win. The country that cannot provide provide cheaper will lose. It is no longer a win-win game. That is the situation we face.
American labor has become ever more productive, ever more efficient, and has been able to stay relatively competitive with the rest of the world, enough so that we have been able to maintain a standard of living that, for quite some time, has been far above living standards in the rest of the world. How long this will last, we do not know. We do not know exactly what we can do to make sure that American jobs and American workers are saved.
We can erect trade barriers, that is true. A law could be passed tomorrow by the House and the Senate and then signed by the President, a law that would erect trade barriers. Would that protect American jobs? Well, barriers to international trade can no longer protect American jobs, since there is no way to actually control the flow. Technology allows us to export work to worker anywhere in the world, and there are really very few ways which we can actually stop that phenomenon -- in fact we may no longer have any way in which we can actually stop the phenomenon. I am certainly willing to look at any proposal that is designed to slow it down, that is designed to protect American workers and American jobs. I would really like for us to accomplish this.
There is this natural desire of most of us here in the House of Representatives to get up and say: Here is what we have to do, and it will solve all of our problems. One House member said we should stop trying to bust the labor unions. Well, that will not solve all of our problems.
If we are also talking about the creation of some sort of tariff to stop the exportation of certain commodities or to increase the cost of certain commodities being brought into the United States, I do not think that will solve the problem.
We are at a comparative disadvantage because our workers make more money than workers in most other countries of the world. And I am willing to admit that this is a dilemma for which I do not have a solution, but I am also willing to state that there is something we can do that neither my friends on the Democratic side of the aisle nor my friends and colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle are willing to deal with, and yet it seems to me to be the most logical way of addressing this situation of the exportation of American jobs and the stagnant wages that result from the fact that we can no longer compete in the international job market.
What I suggest is that we begin to enforce the law, the law that actually determines how many people can come into this country. And that if someone comes into this country without our permission, they are eligible for deportation. And if someone hires someone who has come into this country illegally, they in turn can and will be fined. And if they do it often enough, they can and will go to jail.
According to estimates, there are between nine million and eighteen million illegal aliens in the U.S.A. -- nine to eighteen million people who are here in this country illegally. Most of them appear to be working, and we are told they are working in jobs that no Americans will take. Well, I would like to test that theory, the theory that illegal aliens here are coming to take jobs that no Americans will take. And there is one way we can test that theory. We can look at what is happening on the border today.
Now, we all know that the job increases in the most recent recovery have been minimal. Some people refer to it as a jobless recovery. The number of jobs we have created in the United States in the last couple of years is relatively low. And we have an unemployment rate now of about 5.6 percent. We have chronic unemployment that may go even higher. Since the rate of unemployment does not include people who have long since ceased looking for jobs, The actual proportion of the American people unemployed may be significantly higher than 5.6 percent.
. We know, right now, that there are not many jobs available out there. That is pretty much a given. Well, let me tell you what happened on our borders since October 1, 2003, in only one sector, the Tucson sector. According to Rob Daniels, the Border Patrol Public Information Officer of the Tucson sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, there have been more than 200,000 illegal aliens apprehended in that sector alone this year. This is an increase of almost 50 percent since last year, and much of it is a result of the fact that the President made a speech in which he put out the hope of an amnesty for illegal immigrants in the U.S.A.. Although he would not call it an amnesty, of course that is exactly what it is, and most of the world saw it for what it is, including the people who have come and those who are coming across the border illegally.
During March, 2004, alone, more than 60,000 people were detained in the Tucson sector, representing a stunning increase of over 85 percent over March of 2003. Those numbers were expected to rise, as April and May are typically the peak months for intending border crossers seeking to make the trip through the desert before forbidding Summer conditions set in.
I present these figures because I think they are important for us to know and understand, if we really and truly are talking about trying to do something important for the American worker. In the last 6 months, 200,000 people in one sector were detained. And everyone who is involved with the issue of illegal immigration will tell you that, for every single person we detain, at least three get through. That is a very conservative figure.
So in the Tucson sector, if you use that figure of three coming through for every one we are able to catch, 600,000 illegals, during a period of six months, made it into the country across one sector of the border. Now, think about what this means for the entire border, both north and south, and our ports of entry, both land, sea and air, and it certainly could be as many as a million people came across our borders without our permission in the last 6 months.
But let us say for a moment that those are just simply exaggerated figures, that somehow, some way, we have been able to actually stop more people from coming into the country than is the general rule, and that maybe only one or two get by for every one that is interdicted. That still means that about 500,000 people came across the border illegally and approximately another 500,000 came into this country legally, due to our very liberal immigration policy. So, in the last six months, the most conservative estimate possible for the number of people who came into this country both legally and illegally approaches a million people.
I ask you, if a million people came here in six months, what are they doing here? What jobs are they doing? Are they taking only those jobs that Americans will not take? Do you mean to tell me that, in the last six months, we have created a million jobs that have gone begging? Are you telling me that employers are out there saying, oh, my goodness, I have all of these jobs and I just can't get any American citizens to take them, so I'm going to employ the million legal and illegal aliens who have come across the border in the last six months? No, these aliens are not taking jobs that are simply out there that American citizens will not take. The aliens are taking jobs Americans have and they are taking them because they will work for less. It is a simple proposition.
The numbers are incredible. Most people cannot believe it when I tell them that these are the numbers that are actually provided by the Border Patrol. This is not my wild guesstimation of how many people are coming into this country illegally. So if, in fact, there are folks in the House of Representatives who are intent on doing something to increase the number of jobs available to Americans, I suggest that they look carefully at immigration.
The immigration issue is something that, of course, my friends on the Democratic side of the aisle will never, ever, ever bring up. In one hour's discussion of the problems that were identified by the Democrats, we never once heard anybody talk about the fact that immigration may be one of the problems we face when trying to create jobs for Americans. The Democrats never said a word about immigration. Why? Because, of course, the issue is incredibly political. Those on the Democratic side of the aisle know that massive immigration into this country, both legal and illegal, accrues to their political benefit. It means voters for the Democratic Party. They know it. It is the historical truth.
On my side of the aisle, the Republican side, you will not hear a discussion of this issue, either, because we look at immigration, legal and illegal, as being a source of cheap labor. So between the two parties represented in the House, between Democrats and Republicans, it is very difficult to get an honest discussion of this issue and what it means for America.
In a recent speech, the President said: I want to match every willing worker with every willing employer. It is a high sounding goal. But let us think about what that really means, if it is true, if he really wants to do that -- match every willing worker with every willing employer. There are billions of willing workers in the world desiring a job that pays them more than they are getting wherever they are but far less than is being paid to the person in this country who is doing that job.
So, do we really mean that we are willing to abandon the border? If so, let us say so. Let us say it, if that is the truth of the matter -- if, in fact, that is our purpose and our policy, to eliminate the whole complex process of immigration, erase the border and allow people to simply come here to take the jobs that some employer is willing to provide.
I assure you that is what every employer is looking for, and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. This is not some nefarious purpose on the part of employers. They are looking for a way to cut their costs. That is a part of the process we call free enterprise capitalism and a process to which I adhere and a process with an underlying philosophy to which I adhere. So they are looking to cut their costs. If a prospective employee presents themselves to you and indicates that he has all the skills necessary to do the job, but is willing do it for less than the person you have got working there at your place of business, you are probably going to hire him and fire the current employee. The new worker may only be there for a short time, working there until the next person comes in the door and says, you know what, I'll do it for even less.
This is something that has happened, of course. We know this has happened in our manufacturing economy, which is one of the things that has really and truly been problematic in the United States. It has happened to our low-skill, low-wage jobs. There is so much competition for those jobs, so many people seeking them, that it has had the effect of depressing the wage rates for all the folks who are making very little money. They have not seen an increase in their wages because there are so many people here who are willing to take those jobs, those low-skill, low-wage jobs.
Something new is happening. There is a new dimension here. We are now figuring out a way to export or import, either way, export the jobs to a place that will have workers who will do the job for less or import into the U.S.A. the workers who are willing to do the job for less. We are doing it for high tech industries, granting foreign workers H-1B status, the visa category for people who have special skills -- skills that are supposedly in very short supply in the United States. With education and trainining very much greater than that of aliens coming into the countery to do menial labor, these highly skilled foreign workers are quite capable and they will work for less. So American employers hire them, or, alternatively, they outsource the jobs that are here.
Employers have manipulated the visa category to bring in foreign workers, even though they do not fit the requirements of H-1B or even L-1 visas. They are bringing these folks in by the hundreds of thousands. We now have probably 2 million people in this country with those two visa categories, H-1B and L-1 -- foreign high tech workers who have displaced American workers. Why? Because, of course, we have succumbed to the siren song of cheap labor and we have agreed to essentially abandon and give up control of our borders.
It is amazing to me to see what I see and hear what I hear and read what I read about what goes on every day on our borders, to read statistics like those I just gave you, with over a quarter of a million people having been interdicted at the border in one single sector, the Tucson sector, in six months and far more than that having made it past our Border Patrol and are here in the country illegally. We have, nearly 20 million people here illegally. They are all working -- or most of them are working -- in jobs that Americans supposedly will not take.
In my congressional district, we have people who are unemployed, high tech workers who are driving cabs at night. We have people who will take jobs of any kind in order to keep a roof over their heads and who are right now unable to find those jobs. Or, if they find a job, it ivolves, of course, working for much less money than the job they had. So, their standard of living has decreased. That is what we face. That is, perhaps, an inevitability. Maybe there is absolutely nothing we can do about it because of this new world economy. How harsh that sounds. But it may be the case that we cannot stop it, that we cannot stop the exportation of jobs.
But should we not attempt to control our own borders? In this regard, we have only two choices: Either we control our borders or we eliminate the borders. We can tighten up border security and restrict the flow of aliens across our borders or we can erase the borders, pretend they do not exist, allow aliens to come into the country, and, whenever and however they get here, they immediately become legal residents of the U.S.A. and are treated as bonafide members of American society. The latter choice is an option which I think many people around here, in their heart of hearts, accept and, in fact, desire. There are folks in the House who believe that borders are simply anachronisms, that they really should not be there, that they do not matter anymore, that they are not important, and that they serve only to obstruct the flow of goods and services and people. If this view prevails, the whole idea of the nation state and the concept of national sovereignty, will be offered up on the altar of international free trade.
I can tell you that there is no way I am going to accept this situation without railing against it and without suggesting something that we can do, and that something is to actually control our own borders. It is fascinating. The Wall Street Journal used to print an editorial every Fourth of July that said that borders were no longer meaningful and that we should erase them. They stopped printing that editorial after 9/11, but it was not because they had changed their mind, but just because they were afraid to say such a thing subsequent to such a national tragedy perpetrated by aliens who were here in the U.S.A. and most of them, by the way, had, in some way or another, violated our laws and could have and should have been deported. So, the people at The Wall Street Journal do not talk about open borders anymore, but they still believe in them, and so do certain members of our own body, believing that ignoring or eliminating borders is the coming way of the world, that national boundaries will not matter, that pretty soon the United States, Mexico, and Canada will join together in some sort of grand alliance or confederation similar to the European Union, kind of hold hands and sing "Cumbayah,'' and that markets will constitute the only thing that matters, the sole determinant of how profitable it is to live where you live and how good a job you may have.
Let me suggest that there is another reason why we should try to control our borders, even if you do not believe that we should get involved with trying to protect the American jobs that are sacrificed to open borders, even if, for some reason, the whole idea of protecting American jobs just goes against your grain and you are willing to allow American jobs to be sacrificed to foreigners who are willing to come and do them for less. And, remember, there are billions willing to do that. There is no job here that someone out there cannot compete for. If we import the labor to do the jobs that, because of the service economy, must be done here in the U.S.A. and export the jobs that do not require the workers to be physically present in this country in order to do those jobs, what is going to happen to the American economy? I suggest that, at the minimum, the result will be stagnant wage rates, but almost assuredly there will be declining wage rates. Or maybe we can live with that. Maybe it is going to have to happen. No one wants to get up in front of his constituents and say, get ready, your wage rates are going to go down, your standard of living is going to be reduced because we are committed to the concept of international free trade, and that includes the free trade of labor.
As a matter of fact, we have asked the Congressional Research Service to try to identify for us those countries that are actually dealing with us on a free trade basis: we import the products that they produce and they import the products that we produce without any trade restrictions.
I have yet to find a country like that. We are the ultimate free traders in the world. That is for sure. To foreign countries and foreign nationals, we offer far more in terms of an allure to come here and bring their products to sell in the American market, far more than any foreign country is willing to offer us.
China is a great example. Since we opened trade with China, our balance of trade has been less and less favorable. In fact, the imbalance of trade has skyrocketed.
The same thing happened with Mexico. Before conclusion of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, we had an actual surplus, a trade surplus with Mexico, about $9 billion. Since NAFTA, we have gone to about $60 billion in the red, a trade deficit with Mexico. Right now, we have relatively few countries in the world with whom we have a positive trade balance, and most countries with which we trade do not trade on an even basis, on a level playing field. But we are committed to free trade, regardless of what it does to the American wage earner. And maybe, just maybe, we cannot do anything about that. But there is something that I would like to see us at least try. Even if it is not something that the free trade adherents will go for, maybe they are somehow concerned about the trade implications of actually controlling our own borders. Maybe they will think about the other implications, such as the costs to American taxpayers of massive immigration, both legal and illegal.
We hear all the time about the importation of cheap labor and how important it is, but I assure the House members that cheap labor is cheap only to the employer. It is not cheap to the citizen taxpayer who has to pay for the housing, the health care, the educational services, the incarceration rates. All of these things become very expensive to the taxpayers of the country, but they are passed on to them. They are not paid for by the corporations that bring foreign workers into the country or the businesses that hire foreigners after they get here on their own, legally or illegally. So, the employers of foreign labor do not really care about the costs of massive immigration.
But this concept of cheap labor has all kinds of additional implications. The concept of open borders, borders that really do not matter, borders through which, in one sector (the Tucson sector), at least half a million people, in a period of six months, could come through without our permission. That kind of a border provides us with all kinds of severe problems, even more severe than the economic catastrophe that is inherent in this concept of open borders.
As I said, it is a cost to the American taxpayer, but it is also something else. And this gets a little more esoteric. Nonetheless, it is a very important discussion we have to have. Even if the members of the House disagree with everything I have said about the economy and the impact of cheap labor -- the impact of open borders on the economy -- even if they think it is just great to allow people to come into this country and undercut someone who is presently working here, underbid them for the job, even if they think that is okay, let me suggest to them that there are other problems that I would like them to deal with. And one of these things is a problem that I believe is enormously important for us to talk about, and this is the problem of the effect of massive immigration, both legal and illegal, when it sort of meshes with what I call the cult of multiculturalism, a radical political ideology that permeates our society. We need to discuss radical multiculturalism, coupled with massive and uncontrolled immigration.
Radical multiculturalism -- the cult of multiculturalism -- is not just the philosophy or attitude that we should appreciate our differences and acknowledge that those differences have made us richer in many ways as a nation. Radical multiculturalism is the political ideology which holds that, in order to appreciate anybody else, one must degrade one's own culture and never suggest that what we have here is in any way superior to other cultures, that the product of Western Civilization we call the United States of America is superior to anyplace else in the world. To the multicultural radical, all cultures are relative. There is no difference. It is the ultimate "I am okay, you're okay'' view of the world. And we have spent an enormous amount of time and money telling our children and youth in our schools that this is the case, that they cannot be attached to anything that we had in our day, when I was in school, called the American experience, since the multiculturalist radicals would say it is just a reflection of a society and culture that were nothing but greedy, degraded and corrupt, and that, when Columbus came here to the New World, he began what was eventually to become the destruction of paradise.
This is what we tell children and youth. This is in our school textbooks, and this is what is rotting the core of American culture. We are doing it to ourselves. It is not the immigrants are who doing this to America's common national culture. It is the mass media outlets as well as the public schools that are feeding this garbage, this anti-American propaganda, to the American people and perpetrating all these falsehoods about the American experience. The immigrants are simply coming into this new environment in the U.S.A., and they are being fed the same garbage by the mass media, while their children are indoctrinated in the same vein by the schools.
All of this is dangerous to American society, dangerous to the American nation. In the longrun, it will be severely damaging to the viability and survival of the United States of America as a single united nation, with a common national heritage and culture.
As a nation, we are at risk when we tell our children there is nothing of value, there is nothing worth their sacrifice, there is no set of ideas or ideals around which we can all gather, that all cultures are the same, that all is relative. When we do that, our nation and its continuing existence are at great risk.
There are literally hundreds of examples of this cult of multiculturalism that is being propagated in the public schools. Let me give the House members just a few of these examples.
At Los Angeles Roosevelt High School, an 11th grade teacher told a nationally syndicated radio program that she "hates" the textbooks she's been told to use and the California state-mandated history curriculum because they "ignore students of Mexican ancestry." Because the students don't see themselves in the curriculum, the teacher has chosen to "modify" the curriculum by replacing it with activities like "mural walks," intended to "open the students eyes to their indigenous culture." A friend the teacher invited to help with the "mural walk" went on to tell the students that "Your education has been one big lie after another." The students were told that, essentially, there is nothing they should attach themselves to in terms of the American experience. It is white. It is Anglo-Saxon. It is not theirs, and they should never attach themselves to it.
In the textbook called Across the Centuries, which is used for seventh grade history, the word "jihad" is defined as "to do one's best to resist temptation and overcome evil." Why such a definition of "jihad"? Because, of course, we would not want to say that another interpretation of "jihad'' is a holy war against Christendom. Why? Because, oh, my heavens, what that sets up in the mind of the reader, even though that is exactly what the term "jihad" implies: a holy war.
We try to euphemise it. We try to change the definition so as not to create the impression on the part of a student that someone might hold a view like the people who hold this view actually have, and that is this: that their purpose, their reason to be, is to exterminate us. That is the truth of the matter, the fact that, for millions and millions of Muslims around the world, their one purpose is to exterminate any semblance of Western Civilization. According to their perception, Western culture and Western peoples constitute a threat to Islam.
I read a book given to me not too long ago. It was an actual diary of an Imam who said, to become a suicide bomber, is the highest duty and responsibility of every faithful Muslim. In his diary, the Imam explains that becoming suicide bombers is what all good faithful Muslims have to do, because we Muslims cannot live in the same world with the West. Western democracies have created a world in which people live the good life here on earth, and that is a world in which we cannot exist since, in our world, the only thing to which we look forward is the afterlife. Life here on earth is just a temporary status, and we are moving on to something greater, and, if we allow Western democracies, Western Civilization, to survive, it will essentially turn the heads of all of our people, turn their heads away from the joys of the afterlife to the joys of this life. Therefore, we have to set ourselves on a path of destroying Western Civilization.
This is what many millions of Muslims are committed to. Many millions of Muslims would not take up that particular sword, at least not physically. They may do so mentally. One wonders how many people of that faith, even though they would not themselves commit an act of violence, approve of such acts of violence on the part of Islamic jihadists. When one of those acts of violence is committed, how many Muslims, in their heart of hearts, think, when such an act of violence is committed against the West, that it is good, that those Western infidels deserve it.
Despite the war that is being waged against us by the Islamic jihadists, the fact of this war is not acknowledged in America's classrooms. We refuse to tell our students about the reality of Islamic jihadism. We refuse to actually define the word "jihad'' for what it really is. We refuse to tell young Americans the real meaning "jihad."
In a Prentice Hall textbook used by students in Palm Beach County, Florida, high schools, a textbook titled A World Conflict, the first five pages of the World War II chapter cover such topics as women in the Armed Forces, racial segregation in the war, black Americans on the home front, Japanese Americans being interned, and women in the war effort. Although 292,000 Americans died in that conflict, most white male soldiers are represented far less in photos and words than all others.
A Washington State teacher, in carol to be sung at a school assembly program, substituted the word "Christmas" with the word "Winter" so as not to appear to be favoring one faith over another.
A school district in New Mexico introduced a textbook called 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures, a book which states that it was written "in response to the Bicentennial celebration of the 1776 American Revolution and its lies.''
It stated its purpose is to "celebrate the 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.''
The book says that Davy Crockett was a cannibal and the 1847 War between the United States and Mexico was an unprovoked military attack on and invasion of Mexico by the U.S.A..
The book's chapter headings include: "Death to the Invader,'' "U.S. Conquest and Betrayal,'' "We Are Now a U.S. Colony,'' "Occupied America,'' and "They Stole the Land.''
Nicholas DeGenova, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University, told students he wanted to see "a million Mogadishus,'' which is a reference to an operation in Somalia in 1993 in which U.S. Army personnel were pinned down in a fierce firefight. Eighteen Americans were killed, 84 wounded.
DeGenova added: "The only true heroes are those who find ways to help defeat the U.S. military.''
Columbia University administrators expressed regret, saying they were appalled by DeGenova's statements, but they took no action to dismiss him.
At Royal Oak Intermediate School in Covina, California, students in Len Cesene's 7th grade history class fasted during the last week of March to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Cesene's letter to parents explained: "in an attempt to promote a greater understanding and empathy toward the Muslim religion and toward other cultures, I am encouraging students to participate in an extra credit assignment. Students may choose to fast for 1, 2, or 3 days. During those days, students may only drink water during daylight hours.''
Imagine what would happen if he tried to suggest that students do something to adhere to Lent, a Christian religious holiday and a time that Christians recognize for fasting. What if he tried to say that is what he wanted his students to do? What kind of an outcry would there be?
A Federal judge in Brooklyn interpreted a New York City policy on holiday displays in public schools to allow for the display of the Jewish Menorah and the Muslim Crescent, but not the display of the Christian Nativity Scene. The judge based his decision on the notion that the Muslim Crescent and Jewish Menorah are secular symbols, while the questioned Nativity Scene is not.
I want to bring one more example to your attention, because this one really was intriguing to me. In bringing this up, I am talking about a particular part of our contemporary culture, this multiculturist phenomena, this multiculturist cult that has control of a large part of our school system, the school textbook developers, the mass media, and on and on and on.
I bring this up in the context of a discussion of immigration, because I believe that these two issues are interwoven and you cannot really discuss one without discussing the other. As we increase the number of immigrants here, both legally and illegally, as we encourage those aliens who come here to be anything but part of the American experience -- whatever that may be anymore in anybody's mind -- and, as we encourage them to stay separate, as we tell them they should not learn English, that we will teach them in their native language in the public schools, that they should keep that language and that they should keep their culture and even keep their political affiliations with and connections to the country of origin, the cult of multiculturalism is enhanced, ethnic division and conflict are exacerbated, and, as a consequence of all this, here is the kind of thing that does happen.
In Victorville, California, there was a Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum on Highway 15 in the High Mojave desert. I have this clip from the Los Angeles Times about the fact that the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum had been moved from Victorville, California, to Branson, Missouri. Why? The Museum picked up and moved because of a transformation in the nature the local and regional culture in California, a cultural transformation that is still occuring, as new immigrants who settle in California are absorbing the neither culture and history of the region nor that the whole country.
The guy who was writing a newspaper story about this matter went into a bar -- El Chubasco Bar on historic Route 66 -- and met a lady by the name of Rosalina Sondoval-Marin. The newspaper reporter said: "I am doing a story about the fact that the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum is moving, after having been here for decades and decades and decades. What do you think about that?''
Ms. Sondoval-Marin replied: "There is a revolution going on here, and it don't include no Roy Rogers or Bob Hope.''
I thought that was a fascinating observation, and an indication of something that is going on here. It is a revolution. It is a cultural revolution, and we aid and abet those people who are desirous of separating themselves from the rest of American society and creating a balkanized America. We aid and abet the Latino separatists by permitting and encouraging bilingual education in the schools and encouraging and nurturing the cult of multiculturalism that permeates our society. So, it is that combination I am talking about. It is the combination of massive immigration with the multiculturalist cult, and that combination is the most dangerous thing we face.
Now, this has nothing to do with race or ethnicity per se, and it has nothing to do with the immigrants' country of origin. This is something that would happen to any country, no matter where it is situated on the globe, if it practiced the divisive kind of approach toward immigration that we are practicing, at the insistence of the radical multiculturalist ideologues..
Recently, I was recently in a school in my congressional district district, a brand new school that has been there only a short time, a school located in one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, a county, by the way, in which I do not live, I hasten to say. It is a beautiful school, and the students there are bright kids, coming from parents that are well-to-do, who have given them all kinds of advantages. The kids certainly have all the economic and educational advantages they could ask for.
The students -- approximately 200 kids -- came into an auditorium where I was to address them for a while, and we talked for about a half an hour, maybe an hour. And then they were sending up their questions. One of them sent a question up to me and it said: "What do you think is the most serious problem that we face as a nation?''
I said, "Well, I am going to ask you a question, and perhaps then I will be able to answer yours.'' I asked: ``How many people in this auditorium right now will agree with the following statement: I live in the greatest country on the face of the Earth?''
It was interesting, though troubling, to see the reaction. There was all kinds of shifting about and other signs of hesitancy, confusion, and discomfort. You could see it. And finally, maybe two dozen kids out of 200 raised their hand. Two dozen kids out of 200 said, yes, I think this is the best country on the face of the Earth.
I hasten to add, I think there were many more in that room that wanted to say the same thing. I do not mean to suggest that all of these kids disliked or hated America. As a former teacher who taught for many years and saw the same kind of look on the faces of students in my classroom when I would ask a probing question, I can say the meaning behind such a look is quite apparent to me. Each kid with the look is wondering and worrying: Well, if I put my hand up, he might call on me. I better not do it, because I am not sure I could defend the proposition.
That is what was happening. Even though they may have felt that they were living in the best country in the world, they also knew they could not have defended the position if I asked them to, if I had challenged them. They were looking toward the sides of the auditorium walls where their teachers were standing. The students were looking at the teachers and wondering. It was a very peculiar situation. It was definitely uncomfortable for the students.
I do not know how uncomfortable it was for most of the teachers, and I did not even notice whether they raised their hands. I do not think any of them did. But maybe they did not think the question was addressed to them. I am not sure.
It was nonetheless fascinating to me. It was an illuminating and illustrative experience. What I saw were young people who are intellectually unarmed to defend the proposition that they live in the best country in the world. They are intellectually unarmed because they have been taught over and over and over again by all kinds of textbooks and all kinds of teachers that they cannot ever say a thing like that, because it would indicate some actual existence of good and evil, of better and best, of good and bad.
We cannot think of ourselves as being special, and no matter what other cultures might do and what they might think about the human condition, we cannot condemn them, we cannot say anything bad about them, for fear of offending the multiculturist police that haunt our schools and our lives in many ways.
I fear this is the most serious problem we face as a nation, the greatest danger to our country. The answer to the question those kids asked me then is that I believe the most severe problem we face in America is the abandonment of the ideas and ideals of Western Civilization that actually came together to create this incredible country of ours, the United States of America.
There are things about which we Westerners can be so proud. There are things that are uniquely Western and that we have every reason to be proud of. We are the instigators. We brought the concept of the rule of law to the world. Western Civilization provided this concept. It was an outgrowth of the cultures of the ancient Greeks and Romans and eventually of the English. The concept was embedded in England's principal constitutional documents -- Magna Carta of 1215, the Petition of Right of 1628, and the Declaration of Rights and other parts of the English Constitutional Settlement of 1689. Greatly influenced by the concept, the British subjects who migrated from England in the Seventh and Eighteenth Centuries and founded and settled in the thirteen colonies of British North America brought the idea with them and the rule of law was incorporated in the colonial charters and, after the decision to declare independence and fight the war of the American Revolution, in the American state constitutions, and eventually in the Constitution of the United States of America.
It is a wonderful experience to take this tour of history to see how that string (constitutionalism and the rule of law) is drawn through the pages of history and how we have come to the position we are now in, including how we began our sovereign national experience as a nation unique among all nations of the Earth. We were started on the basis of ideas, English ideas of constitutional representative government that were applied by the Americans and their colonial ancestors to the conditions of a new continent, ideas which evolved in the new environment and became fundamental American ideas. America became a nation, not because a potentate, a king, or anybody else drew some lines and called it a country. We started because of ideas, ideas of great value and ideas that we must transmit to our children and to immigrants coming to this country.
There must be something, some set of ideas around which we can all gather, something that means we are different and special and that holds us together as a nation. To keep the American nation united, there is really nothing other than a common set of ideas, nothing other than fundamendal concepts, principles, and values shared by the American people. Being a people extracted from many different backgrounds, cultures, histories, languages and countries, there must exist a set of shared and highly valued ideas -- a common national culture -- to hold Americans together in a single united nation.
These ideas that we must continue to share in order to cohere as a nation are ideas promulgated out of Western Civilization, and we should never be ashamed of it. We should extol those ideas to ourselves, to our children and youth, and to immigrants and their offspring. Whether we do this will determine the fate of the American nation.
More on Immigration & Illegal Aliens
Government & the Economy
Political Culture, Patriotism, & American National Identity
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 Aprik 1, 2004, as a speech from the floor of the
House of Representatives.
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