Years ago I worked the overnight shift at Target stocking shelves to help pay my way through college. For some time I was the only white stocker there. I’ve seen immigrants (some of whom were probably very illegal), physically work harder then 95% of the guys that I’ve ever met. And that’s saying something, since I was also in a mechanized infantry unit at one point in my life. Proof? Not much, other than this: How else would a pasty white guy like me know about El Tri if it wasn’t true? And why would I reminisce over attempts to understand the crazy stuff El Pistolero was doing, which involved prank phone calls to white people…

Perhaps I just cooked up this idea in between classes at USC, located in an area of LA where most of the signs are not in English? Plausible. Or perhaps my time spent substitute teaching for ESL kids in the suburbs of Chicago affected me.

But that actually leads me to my second point, which is that I encountered parents who didn’t want their kids learning English and students who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I, of course, refused to start the class until they at least stood respectfully while their classmates recited the words.

In short: immigration is a really tricky issue. I’ve seen both sides of the immigration coin. And I’m much more inclined to blame gutless politicians in Washington DC than the moms, dads, and kids dealing with the real world consequences of having a scattershot public policy for decades on end.

Here are the two things I do know:

  1. No country can exist without having control over its borders. Sovereignty doesn’t exist if this simple task is unable to be fulfilled. I don’t care what the United Nations tells you.
  2. Language is important.

While it’s nice to be able to speak more than one language, it’s even better when a nation has one language that helps bind everyone together, culturally and intellectually. I think people often underestimate how crucial of a role language is in shaping who you are and how you go about solving problems. A few years ago I remember reading a story about Western workers trying to translate The Federalist Papers, The Constitution, and other important documents into Arabic. The translators were having a difficult time doing so because many of the words we associate with freedom, liberty, and the rule of law (again, I’ll work on getting the article for the exact words) didn’t exist. Likewise, I remember hearing that in certain parts of Asia, “lobbying” as Americans use the word doesn’t have an accurate translation. How to you organize and petition for a redress of grievances when you live in a culture that a.) doesn’t allow you to do so, and b.) by extension never invented a word to convey such an idea?

Again, the point isn’t to knock someone who speaks another language, but to knock the people that don’t see how destabilizing it would be to have 50 states adopt the moral relativist idea that it would be outstanding if everyone just did whatever the heck they wanted. Don’t want to learn English? No problem! (We always thought Germanic languages were downers anyway.) Coming from a country that occasionally stones women and still manages to find a slew of friend’s inside the United Nations? Sweet! Feel free to continue your avant-garde idea of women’s rights wherever you want.

The quote of the day over at hotair is spot on:

“If the federal government and our political parties were imaginative, they would understand that it is actually in their interests to restore peace and order to the border. It would be a way of demonstrating that our government is still capable of functioning, that it is still to some degree connected to the people’s will, that it has the broader interests of the country in mind.”

Unfortunately, the “Word of the Day” in Washington comes from a Twilight Zone episode of Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

11 comments

  1. A brilliant essay, nicely done. Your actual experience is very powerful on this topic. The image of kids refusing to recite the pledge of allegiance at the direction of their parents is nauseating. But what is even more nauseating is that there are Americans – millions of them – who are deranged enough to support these acts of disloyalty and defiance and make the case for an invasion force that seeks to slowly strangle what is best in this country.

    You made the kids stand up – world class!!

  2. Interesting. How do you folks feel about those illegals who are skilled, honest, hard-working and only wish to assimilate? Our system simply doesn’t allow them legal entry under any circumstances and there is no line to stand in, yet every year the US Immigration Lottery invites dregs from around the world to live here and they immediately ghettoize themselves with no intent of ever assimilating as their first order of the day is to demand special cultural considerations. Not standing for the Pledge? Your free-trial immigration status is revoked and you’re sent packing, back to the third-world hole from whence you came.

  3. I’m not sure of your question, Dave. I mentioned at the start of the post that I worked with a lot of really hard working, honest, (albeit “probably” illegal) immigrants while I was in college. Any immigration reform should make it easier for the best, brightest, and hardest working individuals to find their way here. And that doesn’t just apply to Mexico. Any country that wants to inadvertently send us their future doctors and engineers due to totalitarian blow-back should be able to do so.

    On the flip side, misfits and malcontents who don’t want to adopt American ideals should be sent packing. If someone comes here and it turns out they’re really just interested in contributing to the melting pot of American criminality…they need to go. Fast.

  4. Well said Doug. My question is simply this. Living in El Paso I’m constantly in touch with illegals. A year or so ago I and many of my friends could hire a gardener who would gladly work all day for $20. He could take that money home at night and it would turn into a $100 of buying power in Juarez. The border crunch no longer permits his entry and really, it hurts both of us.

    Letting a skilled engineer or doctor immigrate here is fine but is meaningless unless we also allow 20 skilled “hands-on” immigrants to carry out whatever it is they come up with. We’re already, per capita, the most obese nation in the world and as long as we continue to perpetuate the desktop, IT myth we’ll fare no better than the Romans who suffered a fate we’re all well aware of.

    Nice site Doug. Glad to have found you!

  5. Dave, you bring up some really good points. And, unlike the talking heads on TV, I’m not about to pretend I have a catch-all answer for you. There’s a lot packed into your question.

    First and foremost, you highlight the fact that people who come from Chicago or DC or New York are rather far detached from the nuances of actually living on the border.

    While my inclination is to try and find a way where two parties can willfully enter into a contract (i.e., you need a cheap gardener and he’s willing to work for “less” because he’s actually making out pretty well when he hops across the border at the end of the day), from a Rule of Law perspective there has to be another answer in order to make that happen. Besides, when you hire illegal workers and there’s a dispute over the quality, where do you go for recourse?

    One of the things that really annoys me about politicians is that they try to have all the answers, when in reality they should really be attempting to find a happy balance between the principles the country was based upon, and the needs of the local community. I’m sure your local, legal gardeners aren’t really happy with the illegal guy down the road “stealing” his business, but then again…perhaps the “correct” answer to this problem—economically and from a Rule of Law perspective—will result in an outcome that will simple result in less US gardeners in your area.

    Perhaps we secure the border, and then have some sort of card for honest businessmen from Mexico to do business in your town? I know things like that already exist, but like I said…I’m not well versed in this subject. I’d rather admit that up front, and avoid making a complete dunce out of myself.

    I’ll have to look into this more. Thanks for the question!

  6. Doug,

    Yes, they’re most certainly detached. Here’s the rub.
    I run a custom home-building operation in the El Paso-Las Cruces corridor. Business is booming. I’m always in need of skilled carpenters. Many who show up are able to prove that they have the skills but are mysteriously bereft of any tools required. That’s an immediate red-light as to their status as “illegals”. They’ve jumped the border from Juarez. The current “Rule of Law” dictates that I advertise across the country for these positions in the LA, Chicago and NY Times for a period of one month. That anyone who is unionized in NY as a journeyman carpenter making $40 per hour would consider relocating to El Paso for $15 an hour is unrealistic and would cost me thousands of $$ placing that ad across the country.

    I take it you’re not a Barry fan, but heck Doug, something has to be done here with respect to our immigration laws as we’re only shooting ourselves in the foot and this right-wing philosophy of , hell, just kick all of them out, is rather naive. (Muslims aside.)

    1. Ha, well…I hope my post indicates that I’m not of the “kick them all out” mindset at all. By Rule of Law, I meant that we should have some sort of common sense solution, and then enforce it. And I’m always about giving more power to the states to find solutions that work best for them, whenever possible.

      Right now it seems like Washington favors the whack-a-mole approach, whereas they just kinda randomly come up with “solutions” to problems as they pop up, without really looking at underlying principles. They always treat the symptoms, and not the disease… And before someone accuses me of labeling immigrants “a disease”—I’m not. I’m saying that the “disease” in this case is a schizophrenic immigration POLICY by the federal government. It wants to do SOMETHING, but the spineless jellyfish in DC are so scared of losing a particular voting block they just sit there and do nothing. Sad.

  7. List of companies supporting the next push for amnesty.

    21st Century Fox
    A. O. Smith
    ADT
    Air Products and Chemicals
    Aleris International
    Allstate Insurance
    Ally Financial
    American Airlines
    American Express
    Analog Devices
    Archer Daniels Midland
    Assurant
    AT&T
    ATK
    Automatic Data Processing
    Avaya
    Avery Dennison
    Avnet
    Bloomin’ Brands
    BNSF Railway
    Cardinal Health
    Cargill
    Carolinas HealthCare System
    Caterpillar
    Cheesecake Factory
    Cigna
    Cisco Systems
    Coca-Cola
    Computer Sciences Corporation
    Continental Grain
    CVS Caremark
    Daikin McQuay Americas
    Danaher
    Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and others)
    Dover
    DTE Energy
    E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company
    Eastman Chemical
    Eaton
    Ecolab
    Emerson
    Express Scripts
    Fifth Third Bank
    Fiserv
    General Dynamics
    General Electric
    General Mills
    General Parts
    Hallmark Cards
    Harris Corporation
    HCA
    Hewlett-Packard
    Hilton Worldwide
    Honeywell International
    Hospira
    Humana
    Hyatt Hotels
    Illinois Tool Works
    Ingersoll Rand
    Ingram Industries
    International Paper
    Johnson & Johnson
    Johnson Controls
    Kiewit
    Kronos
    Liberty Mutual Group
    ManpowerGroup
    Marriott International
    McCormick & Company
    McDonald’s
    Merck & Co.
    Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp.
    Motorola Solutions
    MSC Industrial Direct Co.
    Newell Rubbermaid
    Northwestern Mutual
    Novelis
    Parker Hannifin
    Pfizer
    Pitney Bowes Inc.
    Praxair, Inc.
    Procter & Gamble
    Quest Diagnostics
    Rockwell Automation
    Saint-Gobain
    Sears Holdings (Including K-Mart)
    ServiceMaster
    Shell Oil
    Simon Property Group
    SRA International
    Texas Instruments
    T-Mobile USA
    TRW Automotive
    U.S. Steel
    United Parcel Service
    United Technologies
    Univar
    US Foods
    USG
    Verizon Communications
    W.W. Grainger
    Walt Disney
    Wendy’s
    WESCO International
    Western Union
    White Lodging
    Williams Companies
    XL Global Services

    1. Doesn’t surprise me at all that McDonald’s would be in support of amnesty. When I worked there, nearly half my co-workers were Hispanic, and I’m not sure all of them were legal.

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