God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen - Jars of Clay - listen now

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Immigration Key: Assimilation

I don't agree completely with Robert Samuelson on how best to handle our current immigration crisis. For instance, I do not think that amnesty - to reward those who have cut in line and broken the law - is either fair or sensible. However, Samuelson certainly makes a good argument for it and for how to deal with the other illegal alien and immigrant issues that are plaguing the U.S. He also reminds us that unless the immigrants who come to our shores become Americans - in more than name only - we're doomed to a polarized future.
WASHINGTON -- It's all about assimilation -- or should be. One of America's glories is that it has assimilated many waves of immigrants. Outsiders have become insiders. But it hasn't been easy. Every new group has struggled: Germans, Irish, Jews and Italians. All have encountered economic hardship, prejudice and discrimination. The story of U.S. immigration is often ugly. If today's immigration does not end in assimilation, it will be a failure. By this standard, I think the major contending sides in the present bitter debate are leading us astray. Their proposals, if adopted, would frustrate assimilation.
Samuelson concludes by pointing out that after the last great wave of immigration at the beginning of the last century, slowed to a trickle after the First World War. This gave America and it's new immigrants time to learn about each other and adapt, and he points out that it would behoove us to heed that lesson today.

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