Previously: The perspective of history on the news
On immigration: I am very pro- immigration. My great- grandparents and great- great- grandparents were immigrants from Switzerland, Germany, and Ireland. Americans are, to quote Ezekiel, “the people who were gathered from the nations.” However, I believe that those who wish to emigrate to the United States should do so legally. A person who does not respect the laws of the country in which he wishes to become a citizen, does not make a good candidate for citizenship.
If I had a hand in redoing the immigration laws, I would make legal immigration easier, and cut as much red tape as possible for gaining citizenship. I would make the penalty for illegal immigration stiffer. For example, a person who entered the country illegally would be deported, and barred from future legal immigration or citizenship. Legal immigrants who aspired to citizenship must learn to speak, read, and write English, and state- and federally- funded colleges and universities must provide ESL classes at no cost (we could pay for it by canceling welfare for illegal immigrants). In a perfect world, citizenship would require courses in Western civ and constitutional philosophy, as well as American history. Any legal immigrant who had not become a citizen within 10 years would be required to return to their country of origin.
In my mind, it is not so much immigration that is the problem, but assimilation. Watching the May Day protests on the news makes it seem as if today’s illegal immigrants want the benefits of living in the US without the responsibilities of US citizenship, or leaving behind their country of origin. My great- grandfather came over here from Switzerland when he was 17. He worked hard and acquired a farm in Iowa, where he married and had 12 children. The family only spoke German at home, even though the children all spoke English at school. When World War I broke out, my grandmother was a 16-year-old girl. Her father told the family on that day: “We are not German, or Swiss. We are Americans. No German will ever be spoken in this house again.” I have only one memento of him: it is his German Bible that he brought with him on the boat from Switzerland. He ceased reading to his family from it on that day, and only read from the English Bible after that.
to be continued …
Update: continued in Transmission and assimilation