There are many areas in which the American political class does not deal honestly with her citizens.  Immigration is one of the worst.  Deceit and disrespect flow from both parties.  John McCain, who previously regarded serious enforcement of immigration law as morally equivalent to hunting Mexicans  for sport, suddenly supports a bill that would allow Arizona police to arrest people on the “reasonable suspicion” they’re in the country illegally.  While contemplating the southern horizon last week, he realized it would be greatly improved by the addition of a massive wall, tastefully decorated with three thousand National Guard troops.  None of these border security revelations would have occurred to McCain if not for a surprisingly strong challenge from J.D. Hayworth, and they would not long survive his re-election.

The governments of the West have largely adopted the position that even discussing immigration policy in a rational manner is beyond the pale.  It is the considered opinion of the political class that their constituents simply are not qualified to participate in such a discussion.  The Left is eager to import reinforcements for the permanent underclass it dreams of engineering, while certain business interests are hungry for cheap labor, as the cost of domestic labor skyrockets.  Much of the general public suffers from the cold sweat of multiculturalism, contracted in the public schools.  Racial motives are reflexively assigned to the insistence on border security.  The refusal to let people come here and be exploited is the final insult our greedy, hateful nation can deliver to the wise and ancient world surrounding us.

Common sense tells us that every nation has the right to secure its borders.  Mexico, for example, does so quite aggressively.  Mass migrations are nothing new.  In previous eras, they were generally conducted all at once, with brightly-colored banners fluttering proudly overhead.  The receiving country would send a few thousand lads to meet the new occupants at the border, carrying banners of their own, and a lively exchange of cutlery would ensue.  Territorial integrity is a serious concern for any nation.  Even the most restrained and minimal government requires its citizens to accept the social contract, and recognize its authority.  It’s no coincidence that waves of illegal immigration raise a dusty cloud of general lawlessness in their wake.

The continuity of a democratic republic depends upon tradition. It’s not a fashionable word these days, but it accurately describes the body of law, and legitimacy of government, each generation passes forward… stretching all the way back to the days when it was forged, with a pledge of lives and sacred honor.  The young are not tasked with reconstructing society from scratch when they come of age.  If you were born an American citizen, you inherited the tradition of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and no other children upon this Earth ever received a richer inheritance.  If you are a legal immigrant, you worked and studied hard to understand that tradition, and embraced it through a noble act of your own free will.

Illegal aliens have no stake in that tradition, having rejected the authority and legitimacy of the United States through the act of penetrating the border.  Upon arrival, they are romanced by powerful racial interests, and encouraged to see themselves as “dual citizens” at best.  In the shadowy precincts where they live and work, they are treated with contempt, or irritation provoked by the language barrier.  It’s understandable that these feelings become mutual.  The illegal immigrant community is a machine designed to manufacture inhabitants, not citizens.

Regulating the number of immigrants to a country is only logical.  Massive immigration inevitably changes a culture – a simple truth denied by the same people who will rant for hours about the effects of white European immigration on the culture of seventeenth-century North America.  A just and responsible government is obliged to give its citizens a voice in deciding how much their culture should change.  This is not a question of race.  American culture would be profoundly changed by the arrival of a few million Swedes, Germans, or even British.  Similarly, no other country could absorb a tidal wave of Americans without damage to its culture… particularly if they did not expect the new arrivals to learn their language.

There are cold, practical reasons to intensify our efforts to control the border and reduce our illegal population.  The massive entitlement state constructed over the last few decades has transformed illegal residents into a liability we cannot afford.  The already-overstressed hospitals of the South and West will soon feel the baseball bat of ObamaCare slamming into the backs of their heads.  The unsustainable trinity of Social Security, Medicare, and ObamaCare will eventually drain the funding from other welfare programs, eroding the already deplorable living conditions of many illegal families.  A nation battling twenty percent real unemployment cannot absorb a flood of low-skilled, low-paid illegal labor.  Life on the other side of the border may be awful, but we can best render assistance to the impoverished people of the world by getting our economy firing on all cylinders again.  Airline safety briefings always remind you to secure your own oxygen mask before attempting to assist anyone else.

America would be able to handle its immigration issues much better, if its politicians would deal with them honestly.  What might the private sector have done to prepare for the coming flood of illegals, if the political class had been honest about its intentions, following the amnesty of the Reagan years?  Instead, we’re left with millions of alien families facing uncertain futures, and communities grappling with crime and poverty… because the government has committed borderline fraud in upholding its end of the social contract, and ignored a duty it didn’t feel like performing.  The United States can always use more willing hands and hearts, welcomed with a legal immigration process that should become much easier, while crossing the border without an invitation becomes far more difficult.

Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.

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