Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Immigration & Assimilation

Michael Barone:

Capitalism "laughs at frontiers," wrote the French historian Fernand Braudel. The dynamic American economy has attracted illegal immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries to work in construction, hotels and restaurants, meatpacking, gardening and landscaping. We talk as if our immigration laws can structure our labor markets, but in practice, Congress' task now is to get our immigration laws working in tandem with labor markets. We are not going to expel a population the size of the state of Ohio. But we shouldn't simply acquiesce to violation of the law. We need to legalize and regularize the flow of immigrants the labor market demands.

And we need to encourage their assimilation into America. Opponents of immigration often express distaste with the growing Latino neighborhoods increasingly visible across the country. One hundred years ago, Henry James expressed similar distaste when he visited the Lower East Side of New York. But in time, those immigrants or their children were assimilated, and today their descendants seem as American as anyone else.


Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said...

It is a shame when those come and do not melt in the great melting pot. Maybe it is time to turn up the heat.

3/31/2006 12:53 AM  

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