Excerpt Of The Day: Noonan On Illegal Immigration

“Perhaps a million illegal immigrants come into the United States each year, joining the 10 million or 20 million already here–nobody seems to know the number. Our borders are less borders than lines you cross if you want to. When you watch videotape of some of the illegal border crossings on a show like Lou Dobbs’s–who is not a senator or congressman but a media star and probably the premier anti-illegal-immigration voice in the country–what you absorb is a sense of anarchy, an utter collapse of authority.

It’s not good. It does not bode well.

The questions I bring to the subject are not about the flow of capital, the imminence of globalism, or the implications of uncontrolled immigration on the size and cost of the welfare state. They just have to do with what it is to be human.

What does it mean that your first act on entering a country–your first act on that soil–is the breaking of that country’s laws? What does it suggest to you when that country does nothing about your lawbreaking because it cannot, or chooses not to? What does that tell you? Will that make you a better future citizen, or worse? More respecting of the rule of law in your new home, or less?

If you assume or come to believe that that nation will not enforce its own laws for reasons that are essentially cynical, that have to do with the needs of big business or the needs of politicians, will that assumption or belief make you more or less likely to be moved by that country, proud of that country, eager to ally yourself with it emotionally, psychologically and spiritually?

When you don’t earn something or suffer to get it, do you value it less highly? If you value it less highly, will you bother to know it, understand it, study it? Will you bother truly to become part of it? When you are allowed to join a nation for free, as it were, and without the commitment of years of above-board effort, do you experience your joining that country as a blessing or as a successful con? If the latter, what was the first lesson America taught you?

These are questions that I think are behind a lot of the more passionate opposition to illegal immigration.” — Peggy Noonan

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