The problem with President Bush’s policy on immigration is that it benefits immigrants who see America not as a melting pot but as a crock of gold, according to a Republican U. S. congressman.
“The president is wrong, absolutely 180 degrees wrong on this issue,” Representative Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) said at Accuracy in Academia’s Conservative University on Friday, July 16th.
Tancredo, himself a descendant of Italian immigrants, emphasized that he had no quarrel with immigration itself, insisting that he would in almost all cases advocate allowing as much immigration as possible. Rather, he explained, the problem was the extreme reluctance of most illegals to truly integrate themselves into the greater American culture; as evidence, he cited the explosive growth of dual citizenship and the “radical multiculturalism” which has taken hold in many parts of society. Tancredo contrasted the current immigrants’ resistance to integration into American society with his own ancestors’ generation’s desire to become part of the majority culture.
Tancredo recalled a discussion he’d had a few years ago with Mexico’s then-Secretary of the “Committee for Mexicans Living in the United States,” Juan Hernandez. When the congressman asked Secretary Hernandez about the purpose of such a committee, he was told that it had two main goals: first, to “‘increase the flow’” of Mexican nationals across the U.S. border, legal or otherwise. The other aim was, as Rep. Tancredo paraphrased, to keep these migrants from “going native.” When Tancredo asked how Hernandez considered this practice legal, the Secretary replied that the Committee viewed the United States and Mexico “‘not as two countries but one region.’” Thus have borders have become an “anachronism” to certain people, as Tancredo put it.
The representative then described the enormous sum of money flowing from the United States to Mexico in the form of remittances: $17 billion dollars annually out of the entire Latin American $30 billion. The Mexican nationals in the United States send this money back home, hence the Mexican government’s wish to keep emigrants focused on the land of their birth and to increase their number.
Greatly complicating this problem, he maintained, is the “radical multiculturalism” popular in the modern educational establishment. Tancredo recounted an experience he’d had while visiting a school in his district. When he asked his audience of 250 elementary and middle school students whether they thought their country was the greatest in the world, “two dozen” raised their hands. This did not mean the rest were rabidly anti-American, Tancredo explained, but it did illustrate the damage done by multiculturalism (mainly textbooks, he argued)—they were “intellectually unarmed [to defend that] particular position.” The effect of multiculturalism on fully mainstream-raised American children is mild compared to the impact it makes on first-generation Mexican children, Tancredo asserted, and that while admirable, “diversity cannot be the only attribute . . . the thing that holds us together.”
A rising sophomore at Kenyon College, Peter Seabrook is an intern at Accuracy in Academia.