Regular viewers of Lou Dobbs Tonight (LDT) who have a critical eye (like me) have long noticed certain glaring omissions in the weekday news hour show's almost daily coverage of the immigration issue. While admirably strong on Washington's malfeasance regarding law and borders, LDT's reports about the cultural and environmental effects of an unrelenting tide of foreigners are rare indeed.
A brand new book (The Uprising by David Sirota) quotes Lou Dobbs as saying that tripling the number of legal immigrants would be a fine thing. Dobbs has stated more than once that he supports increased legal immigration, so the quote is entirely believable.
Here's the quote, from page 196:
" 'If we are to have a national debate and a national dialogue and a decision about national policy and we make a judgment that we're going to raise immigration levels—let's say that we double them, let's say that we triple them—sign me up,' he says. 'There's nothing in me that is a restrictionist whatsoever, and I realize that separates me from others who are against illegal immigration on the basis that there is too much immigration. I don't believe that. I do believe that we're not in control of our immigration policies or what's happening in this country. And that leaves me in despair.'
Dobbs has made similar statements on his show. But the "triple" is specific and new.
Curiously for an alleged populist, Dobb's idea is completely out of touch with the American people's desire that immigration not be increased. His own show reported that sentiment May 29, 2007:
"[CASEY] WIAN: A CBS-New York Times poll released Friday shows only 20 percent of U.S. residents believe legal immigration should be increased; 74 percent say it should be decreased or stay the same."
Does Dobbs believe that professing support for vastly increased numbers would take some of the heat off? If so, he severely underestimates the savagery of his critics. His repeated efforts to reasonably debate the issue with Raza boss Janet Murguia merely gave her a lot of air time on LDT before she lobbed the dreaded hate speech accusation that finally killed attempts at friendliness.
Lou Dobbs has avoided discussing cultural issues. Other than warning of the social consequences resulting from half of Hispanic males dropping out of high school, he has not explored the cultural dissonance of Mexico as a major immigrant supplier.
The southerly narco-state is one of the least attractive contributors of new immigrants one can imagine—with its social norms of negativity toward education, admiration for crime, corruption throughout various levels of society, crude sexism and strong Marxican tendencies. But Dobbs won't go there.
As usual, ordinary Americans understand the largely negative effect of immigration better than the media elite. Most of the problems incurred with chaotic illegal immigration would continue and worsen if Washington were to vastly increase legal immigration, even if illegal entry were completely ended. Some of the worst criminals and public health risks might be kept out….or maybe not. Given the backlog, inefficiency and corruption that exist now in processing legal immigrants, the bureaucratic overload alone should be seen as prohibitive.
More importantly, how many and which immigrants are accepted should not be determined by the would-be immigrants themselves—a common assumption among open-borders liberals. Nor should it be decided by the business owners, for whom workers can never be too cheap or too exploitable.
The decision of who and how many belongs in the hands of the American people.
And Americans don't want to live in Mexifornia or anything like it, as they have tried to make clear to Washington.
Assimilation is under attack as never before. And that process has to do with two factors: the number of immigrants and the political will that immigrants should become part of the national community.
Polls show that Americans still have traditional expectations of newcomers. A 2005 Rasmussen poll found 67 percent believed immigrants should "adopt America's culture, language, and heritage." A Fox News poll from last winter reported that 61 percent of voters surveyed would choose a President who represents the "shared values of Americans" rather than one who "celebrates the wide diversity" (32 percent).
What's different is the escalating number of immigrants. And when, for example, the majority of kids in a classroom are Spanish-speaking Mexicans with a Hispanic teacher, how do the children learn to become Americans?
As the Center for Immigration Studies' Steve Camarota observed, "Traditionally you had in the US an immigrant child learning to swim in a sea of native children, but increasingly it is the children of natives lost in a sea of children of immigrants." [How Well Are Muslims Fitting In, By Howard LaFranch, Christian Science Monitor, July 19, 2005]
For a description of how kids learned American history and culture in an earlier time, see Victor Davis Hanson's excellent remembrance of his own education in California's Central Valley: The Civic Education America Needs [City Journal Summer 2002].
A bad development: the central place of English as a cultural glue is fast being eroded. Democrat Presidential candidate Barack H. Obama recently declared his support for a bilingual America:
" 'When it comes to second-language learners, the most important thing is not to get bogged down in ideology, but figure out what works,' Obama says. 'Everybody should be bilingual, or everybody should be trilingual.' The comments drew loud applause. [...]
"He says he thinks everyone should get a bilingual education in the United States, not just English as a first language learners." [Obama blog: 'Everybody should be bilingual', Boulder Daily Camera, May 28, 2008]
Sen Obama claims to speak "Indonesian and a little Spanish." His website has a page for Spanish-speaking teachers to profess their admiration and well-founded hope for job security under a BHO presidency: Bilingual Educators for Obama.
It looks like utopian bilingualism—the requirement that every American will speak Spanish—is part of the blurry "change" Obama is peddling. But the candidate is responding to a demographic transformation accumulating since 1965.
Most of the 30 million Mexicans who reside here did not come to become Americans and join our national community: they came for the money only, and harbor resentment against this country for imagined theft of territory.
The expanded numbers Lou Dobbs recommends will have cultural and political consequences. Toxic levels of diversity are tearing the cultural fabric of this nation apart. Yet Dobbs wants more of same. So why then does he think immigration is as an important issue at all?
If the tens of millions of unassimilated foreigners using America as their ATM come under a misguided scheme of lawful immigration on steroids, how is that an improvement?
Isn't the idea of immigration restriction to preserve a recognizable America now and for future generations?
Can Dobbs not see the problem here?
Say it ain't so, Lou!
Brenda Walker (email her) lives in Northern California and publishes two websites, LimitsToGrowth.org and ImmigrationsHumanCost.org. She assures readers that thoughts of Mexico are foremost in her mind every time she turns on the tap under the mandatory water restrictions of Alameda County.