För en liberal har individen moralisk rätt att förflytta sig över länders gränser och ägna sig åt frivilligt utbyte med andra. Det ger också ekonomiska vinster. Jag fick upp ögonen på en gammal artikel av Robert Tracinski i The Intellectual Activist, april 2006, som är mycket bra. Han behandlar både den moraliska och ekonomiska aspekten av invandring, och bemöter även invandringskritiska argument som går ut på att många invandrares kulturella bakgrund underminerar friheten i USA:
”There is only one interesting practical objection against immigration: the fear that an influx of immigrants will ”change our culture.” The crudest version of this objection, offered by disreputable ”paleo-conservatives” like Pat Buchanan, is the objection that immigrants will change the racial makeup of America. The only legitimate answer to this argument is: so what? The glory of America is that it is based on universal ideas—the ideas of individualism and liberty—not on a racial identity.
A less crude, more respectable version of this argument, popular among mainstream conservatives, is the fear that immigrants will not assimilate into American culture, that they will not accept the ideas that form the essence of America. But this fear is ultimately based on the same mistake as the crude, racial variant: the idea that culture is determined by racial or ethnic background. Conservatives have never fully absorbed the fact that America is based on universal ideas. For them, our country is based on tradition, traditional customs, traditional institutions, traditional religious affiliations. This last is crucial. Conservatives refuse to acknowledge that this nation was founded on the philosophy of the secular British Enlightenment; they insist, instead, that it was founded on Christianity. But people tend to accept whatever religious affiliation they grew up with. It is ingrained in them by tradition. In this view, an influx of people who come from other traditions—especially Muslim immigrants from the Middle East—dooms us to the watering down of our culture, which cannot really be transferred to anyone who didn’t grow up here.
Immigration is the issue on which the right confesses a failure of what columnist Mark Steyn calls ”civilizational confidence.” While conservatives like Steyn call for a display of this confidence in reaction to controversies like the ”cartoon jihad,” it is they who lack confidence in our civilization’s ability to absorb and assimilate immigrants. This was honestly confessed in a March 30 column by Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal, in which she wrote that opposition to immigration springs less from ”fear about ‘them'” than from ”anxiety about us.”
There is a grain of truth to this fear about the failure to assimilate immigrants. The phenomenon of ”political correctness” and the corruption of the teaching of American history in our schools—most notably, the attempt to portray slavery and racism, not the fight for liberty, as the essence of our history—are real threats to the process of assimilation.
But the issue of political correctness only incidentally connects to immigration. If the ability of our culture to induct people into the values of our civilization is in doubt, then 11 million illegal immigrants are a relatively small problem. What we really ought to be worried about is a group of 75 million people who desperately need to be assimilated into America’s culture of individualism, taught the essential facts about America’s history, and encouraged to appreciate the virtues of our political system.
These are 75 million people who are, you might say, on an automatic track to citizenship, and all of them will become newly eligible to vote in the next two decades.
I am referring to the 75 million Americans under the age of 18.
One of the key evasions of the anti-immigration crusade is that all of the scrutiny it imposes on immigrants is dropped when looking at native-born Americans (or ”native Americans,” to re-appropriate a previously misappropriated phrase). Thus, for example, Mexican immigrants are blamed for allegedly coming here to take advantage of America’s welfare state—but equal outrage is rarely summoned for the much larger number of native-born Americans who live off the welfare system.”
Radley Balko hade en intressant artikel i Reason i juli 2009 om ”Miraklet i El Paso”, staden mittemot Ciudad Juarez i Mexiko, på andra sidan floden Rio Grande. El Paso har många fattiga immigranter från Mexiko, men är en av USA:s säkraste och ”lyckligaste” storstäder. Ciudad Juarez är å sin sida en av världens mest våldsamma städer.