Not dhimmitude but attitude

Diana West does us a service by pointing to certain similarities between the Islamic concept of dhimmitude — the subservient legal and social status of non-Muslims subjected to Islamic rule — and the demands that illegal aliens are making on the U.S. government. However, it is also useful to note the differences, which I believe outweigh the similarities. The biggest difference is that very few illegal hispanic aliens subscribe to a faith or ideology that calls for hispanic domination of this country. This makes us very fortunate in comparison to Europe.

But this is not to say that we should be sanguine about the flood of illegal immigrants, or embrace immigration reform that does not attempt to do something serious to stop that flood. Illegal immigrants don’t have to hate the U.S. as a matter of ideology in order to pose a major problem. It is enough, in my view, if they are indifferent towards our country, and prepared to turn belligerent if their expectations are not met. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence (empirical evidence would of course be better) to suggest that the indifference exists in spades. And I’m beginning to worry about the belligerence part too.

It is a fair counter-argument to say that the indifference of illegals towards this country is a natural response to our unwillingness to welcome them no matter how hard they work and how much they may pay in taxes. If we would provide the illegals with a path to citizenship, the argument goes, they would start referring to Mexico, El Salvador, etc. as “the old country,” instead of “my country.” But I detect in the illegals I know (who hardly seem “hard core”) a sense of entitlement, and not just to a path to citizenship. Sometimes this attitude takes on amusing forms. In 2004, I performed many hours of free legal work for an illegal alien because I thought she had been badly mistreated by her employer. On election day, her husband (also illegal) asked me who I had voted for. When I said I had voted for President Bush he became quite angry with me. But what we saw during the pro-amnesty march in Los Angeles was not amusing. A large new empowered underclass prepared to take to the street is the last thing we need, dhimmitude or no-dhimmitude.

Nor is it relevant to object that our own culture probably should take most of the blame for creating a sense of entitlement and/or lack of desire to assimilate among immigrants that didn’t exist in the past. Our culture is what it is, and the impact of a large influx of illegal aliens must be assessed in the context of that culture, not a more ideal one.


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