Don’t miss Mark Steyn’s column on immigration. Like Confucius, Steyn believes that “characters” (that is, words) matter. Accordingly, he offers the following words of wisdom:
This is not an “immigration” issue. “Immigration” is when you go into a U.S. government office and there’s 100 people filling in paperwork to live in America, and there are a couple of Slovaks, couple of Bangladeshis, couple of New Zealanders, couple of Botswanans, couple of this, couple of that. Assimilation is not in doubt because, if you’re a lonely Slovak in Des Moines, it’s extremely difficult to stay unassimilated.
This is not an “illegal immigration” issue. That’s when one of the Slovaks or Botswanans gets tired of waiting in line for 12 years and comes in anyway, and lives and works here and doesn’t pay any taxes, so the money he earns gets sluiced around the neighborhood supermarket and gas station and topless bar and the rest of the local economy, instead of being given to Trent and Arlen and Co. to toss into the great sucking maw of the federal budget.
But a “worker class” drawn overwhelmingly from a neighboring jurisdiction with another language and ancient claims on your territory and whose people now send so much money back home in the form of “remittances” that it’s Mexico’s largest source of foreign income (bigger than oil or tourism) is not “immigration” at all, but a vast experiment in societal transformation. Indeed, given the international track record of bilingual societies and neighboring jurisdictions with territorial claims, it’s not much of an experiment so much as a safe bet on political instability.