(First published under the title
Activities: If Immigration Destroys America, Does That
Make The People Who Favor It Un-American?”
June 16, 1997)
appalling Senator John McCain
was at it again last week—
trying to intimidate critics of immigration policy by
playing the racism card. ("Are
we going to say work-authorized immigrants have to ride
in the back of the bus?"—click
here for audio).
ten years ago, I pointed out the answer: The riposte to
the charge of racism is the charge of treason. Of
course, I didn`t then realize that Bill Buckley was
Review of immigration reformers and allow the
charge of racism to be
with no opportunity of reply,
New York City Mayor
Rudolph Giuliani has turned on his fellow
Republicans in Congress, calling their welfare law
"un- `American" because it denies assistance to
legal immigrants. —UPI, May 8
AH, the immigration debate—that`s what I love about it.
There`s none of this nonsense about "My distinguished
colleague" and "Will the gentleman from Armpit
please yield?" We don`t take prisoners here.
All in good fun, of course. Civilians startled by the
abuse that is quite routinely exchanged by us
immigration debaters need to bear in mind Samuel
Johnson`s definition, in his
Dictionary, of "[expletive deleted]":
"a term of endearment between sailors."
Personally, I don`t even find Rudolph Giuliani`s
tergiversations (see above) especially distressing.
Needless to say, legislation to ensure that immigration
is not being
perversely subsidized by the American taxpayer
cannot possibly be regarded as "un-American."
Indeed, the attempt to keep immigrants from being
is one of the most consistent themes of
American immigration policy. The
Bay Colony legislated about it in 1639, only 19
years after the Pilgrims landed. At the height of the
last great wave of immigration in the early 1900s,
more than half of the 2 per cent of arrivals sent back
after inspection on Ellis Island were suspected
potential charity cases. American authorities have
always struggled to keep out the
But hey, New York was an alien place to most Americans
even before the influx accidentally triggered by the
1965 Immigration Act, which has driven the
foreign-born proportion of its population to the
current incredible 40 per cent. Anyone attempting to get
elected as a Republican there must be viewed with the
clinical detachment you would bring to studying an
unusually ambitious performing flea.
At least, I should say, I assume the abuse is all
in good fun. I`m indulging in the usual polite fiction
when I say that immigration debaters "
abuse. We don`t. As any fair-minded observer must agree,
abuse comes from the immigration enthusiasts, and it
is directed at those of us who think the current system
is less than perfect.
This is not, God knows, because we don`t feel like
hurling abuse back. But the major media are so
pro-immigration that only the most squeaky-clean facts
and logic on our side have any chance of making it
Still, there`s a certain lack of symmetry when one side
in a debate can routinely make charges that would seem
designed to drive their opponents out of public
discourse and even destroy their chances of making a
living if they work in journalism or academe. Is there a
moral equivalent to their charges of xenophobia,
neo-Nazism, etc.? (Just to select a few from my own
Yes. The morally equivalent charge is this: What the
immigration enthusiasts are doing is, in the last
Well, I don`t literally mean they should be arrested and
tried. I mean it in the same warm, cuddly, fun sense in
which they describe us as xenophobes, nativists,
racists, neo-Nazis…and "
Treason is defined quite specifically in the U.S.
Constitution (Article III, Section 3): Treason against
the United States shall consist only in levying war
against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving
them aid and comfort. The Founders were specific because
they were aware of the danger of what Oliver North was
later memorably to describe as
"criminalizing policy differences."
But the Founders did not mean that only armed attack
constituted treason. The Supreme Court, in Cramer,
quoted a definition of treason as "an act which
weakens or tends to weaken the power of the [United
States] . . ." Treason required an act and conscious
intent; but not necessarily war.
And this definition of treason must be read in the
context of what the Founders believed they were doing.
preamble to the Constitution begins: "We, the
People of the United States, in order to form a more
perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic
tranquility, provide for the common defense, and secure
the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our
posterity . . ." [Italics mine.]
Not posterity in general, note—but the
specific posterity of those
men who signed that document. They represented a
full-fledged nation. Newcomers might be assimilated. But
there was no thought that they should transform.
immigration triggered by the 1965 Act is changing
the U.S. in a way unprecedented in history. The Census
projects that by 2050, the population will be nearly
400 million, of whom 130 million will be post-1970
immigrants and their descendants—virtually all from
non-traditional sources of U.S. immigration. So by 2050,
the U.S. will be "a place that
George Washington would not recognize," as
John Hope Franklin recently gloated to
Duke University freshmen.
There is an obvious and undeniable risk that a country
which in 2050 will be, for example, one-quarter
Latino, must also be, in some degree,
Latin American in its
politics and culture. Will it then be
tranquil domestically? Will the blessings of liberty
And do supporters of current immigration policy know and
intend that it will "
the United States?
Paradoxically, the political correctness that has
protected immigration enthusiasts for thirty years hurts
them here. It has lulled them into saying some
forecasting that [Asians]
are the fastest-growing minority group due largely
to immigration. But
restrictions against welfare use by future
immigrants] how many people are going to take the
risk of sponsoring someone and what long-term impact
will that have on our social status and
Here Miss Lee openly says that her agenda is to build an
ethnic faction—with taxpayer money to finance it.
Why not? Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo
told Mexican-Americans in 1995 that they were
"Mexicans—Mexicans who live north of the border." He
proposed to allow them to
retain Mexican citizenship while exerting
influence here. Washington said nothing.
All these immigration enthusiasts apparently wish, quite
consciously, to end the
U.S. as it existed in 1965.
Does this make them guilty of treason? I don`t think so.
No doubt they truly do not realize the implications of
their position. Once the facts are pointed out, they
will hasten to recant.