The Today’s Letter from an Afrikaner Refugee underscores how national identity and culture must be at the center of the immigration debate.
In early 2004, I met a girl who lived in Arizona. I asked her what she thought about Prop 200 (which would have restricted privileges given to illegal aliens.) She supported it, but said she felt like a hypocrite because her family moved into a conservative Tucson suburb from South Africa and overstayed their visas. They had made friends there, and her neighbors did what they could to get her family legal residency (they succeeded.) Nonetheless, they were all virulently against illegal immigration, and legal immigration from Mexico.
This girl, probably not wanting to be perceived as a racist or at least make her neighbors look racists, said the double standard had to do with the fact that there family was well off, she went to private school and they wouldn’t go on welfare. Nonetheless, it seems clear that both she and all her neighbors recognized, even if they didn’t admit it, was the problem with immigration, whether it was legal or illegal had little to do with rule of law, national security, or whatever justification they wished to give, but rather who was immigrating. I would have never guessed this girl was an immigrant had she not told me, and their family were able to seamlessly assimilate into American culture. Hispanics who have been here for generations, have yet to do so.
Yet, many restrictionists eager to prove they are not racist, have needlessly gone after the White South Africans. In 2006 FAIR president Dan Stein’s Stein Report jubilantly proclaimed Supreme Court Knocks Down Another Bad Asylum Decision by 9th Circuit” What was the ruling? The 9th Circuit court had given refugee status to White South Africans who had faced threats from local blacks. [Read the decision in PDF]