A Great Wall: On Border Controls, Immigration, and National Survival
A Great Wall: On Border Controls, Immigration, and National Survival by James Wesley Rawles – Survival Blog
I have generally side-stepped the issue of immigration in SurvivalBlog, from the outset. Back in 2006, I explained why. But recent events have pushed this issue to the forefront of the national debate. At this juncture, I’d like to make my position clear, even at the risk of perturbing some of my readers. I can now see that immigration is not just a political issue or a policy issue. Rather, it is a matter of national survival.
Even before Donald J. Trump (DJT) was seated as U.S. president, there was huge disagreement on his planned immigration and border security policies. There are deep differences in the world views of American liberals and conservatives. Liberals tend to favor open borders and almost unlimited immigration. In contrast, conservatives favor secure borders and quite limited immigration. The failing of most liberals is that they don’t look at the illegal immigration problem from a multi-generational viewpoint, and they fail to see the full implications of the macro scale changes to our demographics.
To fully understand this complex issue, it is apropos to step back and look at the historical context of our nation’s immigration policies, starting in the 18th century.
Immigration In and Before the 1700s
Before our War of Independence, Britain’s colonies in North America were settled by northern Europeans who were predominantly Christian. Most of them were English-speaking. And those that didn’t speak English soon learned the common tongue. Most immigrants shared a common set of ethics and a quite similar moral framework. There were a few statistical outliers, but nearly all of them soon assimilated and adopted the American way of life.
Immigration in the 1800s
In the following century, there were several successive waves of immigration. Many of these created large demographic shifts. One of the biggest was the wave of Irish immigration, which came amidst Ireland’s devastating Potato Famine. Each of these 19th century immigrant waves had their particular difficulties with assimilation. But again because most of them had a Christian worldview, they eventually fit in. Even the advent of Chinese immigrants–most of whom were distinctly non-Christian–succeeded in assimilation.
In the first and even second generation, many 19th century immigrant groups started newspapers published in their native languages. But most of these publications were not intended to be divisive or clannish. They were in fact transitional tools. By the second or third generation, most of the non-English newspapers faded into obscurity. The children and grand-children of immigrants simply had little or no interest in maintaining the language and culture of “The Old Country.” They were fully absorbed into the peaceable American culture.
Immigration in the 1900s
By the early 1900s, the waves of immigration were larger than ever but still manageable. Full cultural assimilation was still the norm, and the Judeo-Christian ethic was still common ground for the vast majority of immigrants. Starting in the 1920s, Congress began slowing immigration, particularly from southern Europe and Asia. Thankfully, by the time of the enormous economic dislocation of the Great Depression, immigration had slowed to a trickle.
The World War II Aberrations
Then, for a period of three years during World War II, fearing domestic terrorism, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Administration took the unprecedented step of ordering the internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans, by Executive Order. This included even second generation (“neisei“) Japanese Americans who were native-born citizens! Similar measures were taken by Canadian authorities. Before Executive Order 9066 could get a full test of its constitutionality in the courts, the internment had already ended.
Japanese internment remains a black mark on American governance and jurisprudence. Belated redress payments letters of apology were finally issued by the U.S. government in the 1990s, under an order signed by President Reagan, and implemented under the first Bush Administration. It could safely be said that the Japanese internment was racist, because the corresponding program created to intern German and Italian immigrants was small, by comparison. (Just 31,000 Germans and Italians, nearly all of whom were foreign passport-holders.)