04 July 2015

The Founders on Immigration

Among the grievances against the King of England's government enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, conveniently reprinted in my local paper today, we find this:

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states, for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

Today, twelve score years later minus one, many claim to walk in the path of the Founders, yet seek, in the Founders' words, to prevent the population of our states by obstructing the naturalization of foreigners. Of course, it can be argued that the Founders today would think the U.S. overpopulated rather than underpopulated today, but if they were right about the King and Parliament's policies, we can infer that even in 1776 some people felt that the colonies were already overpopulated. For what it's worth now, we should also note that Jefferson and his drafting committee put no qualifiers on "foreigners." There's no implication that the Founders are looking only for the "right" kinds of immigrants. As far as you could tell from their main propaganda document, they didn't care where foreigners came from to populate the states. Rather, they seem to have taken it for granted that the more people, the better off the new nation would be. The moral for this year isn't that the Founders were right then and right now. It's that, as noted already, the people today most hostile to, or selective about, foreigners populating the country are the people most likely to take every word of the Founders as gospel writ, an infallible guide for how to govern ourselves now. They can defend their position on immigration however they will, but they had better explain as well why the Founders they revere seem to disagree with them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Apparently the founding fathers were no more far-sighted than their descendants. Just as they failed to see the dangers implicit in a "right to bear arms" or the stupidity in allowing "freedom of speech" to liars, swindlers and con artists, they also failied to foresee the numbers and quality of individuals seeking to come here. I'm pretty sure they would not have wanted immigrants who did not agree with their over-all world view regarding rights & freedom simply because that individual knew that they could make a "shit-ton" of money by coming here.

Part of our immigration process should be a weeding out of undesirables and keeping them from becoming naturalized citizens. We should institute strict standards regarding who should be offered a place within our borders and those who should be turned away and sent packing. Among which should be that we only accept those who wish to come because they want to assimilate, they desire to become "American", not just a (fill-in-the-blank) nationalist moving to America for economic opportunities. Or worse, criminals wishing to expand their enterprises.