Robert W. Merry shines a laser on the most important point of the immigration debate, what kind of country do Americans want to have?
Behind the sturm und drang that greeted President Trump’s recent executive action on refugees lies the broader issue of U.S. immigration policies over the past half-century. And behind those immigration policies lies a profound question facing Americans: what kind of country do they want their country to be?
For most of our history, we have been largely a country of Europeans, a country of the West, with Western sensibilities and a shared devotion to the Western heritage. Now we are in the process of becoming something else—a mixed country without a coherent, guiding heritage of any civilization and certainly not of the West.
This is largely the result both of the numbers of immigrants coming into the country (both legal and illegal) and of the place of origin of most of those immigrants. In 1960, 84 percent of U.S. immigrants came from Europe and Canada; now that number is just 14 percent.
This is a profound national alteration, and what’s remarkable about it is how little debate, or even discussion, has attended it until recently. The American left and most of the country’s elites considered it a natural and beneficial development, a testament to the value of diversity and a shared aversion to discriminatory practice or even discriminatory thinking.
Then came Donald Trump, whose crude pronouncements on immigration heralded that this was one politician who wasn’t going to be silenced or intimidated on the issue.
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