Bush's Multiculturalist Immigration Policy
Border Illusions - New York Times
These are the people who say illegal border crossings must be stopped immediately, with military boots in the desert sand...America must send its overtaxed troops to the border right now, they say, so a swarm of ruthless, visa-less workers cannot bury our way of life under a relentless onslaught of hard work...The United States is not an Arab emirate. It does not ennoble our democratic experiment by importing a second-class society of worker bees who are vulnerable to exploitation and have little incentive to adopt our values. If there must be guest workers, there must also be a path so they, too, can seek citizenship if they choose. Mr. Bush last night specifically — and shamefully — urged that such a path be denied to temporary workers.
So here we have it: multiculturalism at work. The Bush plan, as the NYTimes editorial notes would not "put illegal workers on a path to assimilation and citizenship"--it would create an underclass of slaves and helots to do our dirty work who will always be separate and never equal, who will maintain their own culturally distinct communities in our midst, and be sent away before they have a chance to get uppity.
This should hardly be a surprise. Conservatives have always been multiculturalists: now they have their feet to the fire and have to come clean. Their worry isn't that immigrants will not assimilate but that they will.
On the May 1, the day of the immigrant boycott, there were crowds of immigrants, documented and undocumented, and their families surging through the streets, waving American flags and Mexican flags, singing the Star Spangled Banner in Spanish. Some people were outraged by the Mexican flags and the Spanish version of the National Anthem--which isn't particularly singable in any language. But give me a break--this is the old time religion. Every tacky mail order house features ethnic products, IKEA flies the Swedish flag, St. Patrick's Day is a national obsession and everyone claims to be at least a little bit Irish. Hispanic immigrants and their children are just doing what every other group of immigrants have done: being American.
So here is the conservative multiculturalist agenda: "We don't want you here if you won't assimilate, but we don't want you here if you do assimilate." Simple constructive dilemma.
I'm trying to remember--how long did Sparta last before the helots revolted? Maybe that's not an issue--we're in a better position to run the system than the Spartans were. But the costs will be the same: an expanding military and paramilitary controlling the border and policing the "guest workers." More broadly, it undermines all the rhetoric about our interest in exporting "freedom" and "democracy," promoting our values and our way of life. We don't want to let people in to our country or to our culture, and we have no interest in enabling them to get the material goods that make our way of life possible. We want their sweat and their oil.