I was on my way to a meeting on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley when a man hawking the Workers Vanguard newspaper stopped me. For those of you who do not live in Berkeley, California or Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Workers Vanguard is a socialist newspaper. The headline screamed, “Open Admissions!” In other words, the paper was demanding that the prestigious University of California at Berkeley let everybody in.
I tried to reason with the man selling the newspaper─I know, I was young and naïve─that, even in the Soviet Union, universities did not have open admissions policies. The elite schools were for the best students; most people probably could not go to university at all. The man denounced me as an enemy of the worker, so I turned around and proceeded to the meeting.
So goes our immigration debate, with thousands of Central American children and other illegal immigrants appearing at our southwestern doorstep, and Democratic presidents pulling billions from their top hats to pay for transporting these uninvited arrivals to their families already residing in the United States. These migrants are not even pretending to be asylum-seekers.
The violence the children are fleeing in Central America is not our problem. It was our problem in the 1980s, but Americans overwhelmingly have decided that it isn’t our problem now.
Liberals with leaking aortas say that anyone against illegal immigrants is against immigrants altogether. Van Jones of CNN’s “Crossfire,”near to whom I sat on more than one occasion at Berkeley, wrote, “You can’t be an anti-immigrant bigot and a patriot at the same time, the Statute [sic] of Liberty won’t let you do that.”
Who is against immigrants? I am the only member of my family who was born in this country. My parents emigrated from Guyana and Jamaica. And I say, “#Send them back.”
A “Rachel Maddow” viewer says illegal immigrants pay their own way via taxes and social security? I say, prove it. Taxpayers pay for the delivery of their anchor babies─and they have more babies than the average American family─food stamps, K-12 education, free lunches, and health care.
Enough is enough. Even Mexico has immigration laws. Try landing there from Russia without an appropriate visa. Try landing here.
The proponents of the DREAM Act are to blame for this crisis. They gave Central Americans the come-hither look and said, “We’ll let kids stay.” Why else are so many coming now, and alone, as children? The DREAM Act was advertised like cigarettes in the 1950s, as if all Dreamers were valedictorians who volunteered to defuse bombs for the U.S. military. In actual fact, anyone with a high-school diploma was eligible. Besides, if these Dreamers are so stellar, aren’t we robbing Mexico by keeping them?
As for the humanitarian aspect of sending illegal immigrant children back, their parents should have thought of that before sending them. Why should we care more about these kids than their own parents do? At worst, America should have a policy like Britain’s: When I was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar to the United Kingdom, students from Oxford University and I visited asylum seekers in Kidlington. They were in a detention center─a jail.
One man I spoke to in Kidlington was from Nigeria. He claimed, as I recall, to have been a witch doctor ordered to perform a human sacrifice. He refused, and became a target. I didn’t believe him: I think he thought that the raised-on-Kipling Britons would believe such a tale coming from the Dark Continent. We’re hearing similarly unbelievable tales of woe today.
The big mistake the GOP is making is that they either ignore or try to win over African Americans, when in fact the GOP should simply try to make the Democrats lose African Americans. We don’t have to reduce African-American enthusiasm for the Democrats by that much for the GOP to win the presidency, if the election is fair.
It should be easy to convince African Americans that illegal immigration hurts them; tell them that the illegals—who generally are not black—will replace black Americans, but the lighter-skinned immigrants will identify with whites and not blacks.
The immigrants, black or not, will reduce wages for working-class African Americans. They’ll use up resources at schools and hospitals that should be devoted to African-American children.
We’ve already seen it: two Democratic presidential candidates began by speaking in Spanish at one of their debates. The Democrats want to replace African Americans, and they aren’t even hiding it.
Send the Afghans who lack visas to another country. Send the Haitians back. Send the children from Latin America back.
Nothing is more humanitarian than keeping families together.
Editor’s Note: A version of this article appeared in the Baltimore Sun.