upsidedown.jpgBy: Brian Sikma

We all know about the problem of illegal immigrants in this country. For the past several years there has been an almost constant and contentious debate raging over what to do about the porous borders and the 12 million illegal immigrants that are in our country. In addition to the generally peaceable people coming to work in this country, thugs and potential terrorists have been making their illegal way across our border and into our country.

Some propose that the solution to our alien woes lies in securing the border and preventing the further immigration of peoples into our country. Others have proposed an amnesty plan with a guest worker component. As usual, there is merit in parts of each plan. The real solution to our problem lies in strengthening and securing our borders and developing a new set of regulations and laws to stream line the immigration process and allow for needed guest workers. Above all, however, we must insure that new immigrants assimilate into our country once they are here.

Throughout our nation’s history we have allowed people who share our values and beliefs to immigrate to our country. We have offered them a chance to make a better life for themselves and their decedents. In return, we asked that they set aside their nationality and become Americans. This does not mean that we denied groups their heritage. Across this great country we can find people who are 100% American while at the same time proud of their specific cultural existence. As Americans we are bound together by a common belief system while at the same time cognizant of the fact that we posses special traits that have been passed to us by our forefathers. However, those traits are never, and should never, be allowed to interfere with our most basic values and beliefs as a nation.

As we review the current immigration problem, we see a disturbing trend emerging. Illegal-and some legal-immigrant groups enter this country and instead of assimilating into our country they hold on to their own specific values and beliefs. Sometimes these values, beliefs, and cultural practices are fundamentally at odds with what America is all about.

In the case of the Mexican here illegally, he speaks limited English and gets along only with the help of a sub-culture of fellow Hispanics. Since he is here only to make money, he sees no reason as to why he should surrender his national identity and turn his green, white and red flag in for a red, white and blue one. He does not bother to learn English or familiarize himself with our laws because he views himself as just a temporary benefactor of economic riches. He does realize, however, that in order to be the ultimate benefactor of America, he should use each and every government service offered to him. From social programs to educational policies he quickly learns that there is more than one way to get ahead by coming into this country through a hole instead of a gate.

In the case of the Middle-Eastern immigrant here legally, he may learn the language but he will not bother to learn the values and principles of freedom and liberty. He may be quite content to go to the local Saudi-funded mosque and hear fiery sermons denouncing the Great Satan (the U.S.) or the Little Satan (Israel). He of course enjoys the economic benefits of our country, but he has not renounced his old views of society and government and exchanged them for our American views. Surrounded as he is by fellow extremists in his cloistered community he is free to openly discuss his hatred of America. He finds nothing objectionable in his fellow mosque-goers’ praise of Osama Bin Laden or the computer files that point to a plot against innocent victims in his host country.

Are these mindsets on the part of immigrants something we should be concerned about? Yes, they are; and any immigration reform policy must include specific citizenship and immigration requirements that will remedy these problems.

The existence of pockets of citizens-or potential citizens-who’s key views are opposite to those of the our country is something that we must be careful to avoid. Individuals who separate themselves from the rest of their fellow citizens and adhere to their own values system are ripe for a political and social insurgency. If anyone doubts the prospect of this they can look to the nation of France with its unassimilated Islamic immigrant population.

As a nation we cannot afford to become Balkanized in our views and values. While debate and disagreement should not be stifled, we should not be so open minded as to accept any and all poison. We must require immigrants to assimilate themselves into our culture and into our country. Our nation is not just an economic warehouse for the people of the world.  While it is true that our nation does afford an unparalleled opportunity for people to succeed economically, we must understand that this economic power is not some magical formula but instead is the result of our respect for an absolute standard of right and wrong and a belief in the rule of law and not the rule of man.

By allowing illegals to continue to reside in our country, by passing immigration reform that does not require new immigrants-even guest workers-to learn English and come into our country legally, and by not addressing the problem of communities were anti-American sentiment is considered normal, we will be destroying our nation with our own hands.

A fundamental part of any immigration into this country is an understanding of the principles of freedom, the rule of law, and the existence of moral absolutes. These three areas form the bedrock strength of our country’s social, political, and economic might. We must work to make sure that immigrants understand the importance of these values and are aware of the fact that they must divest themselves of any contrary views. A government founded on freedom and governed by the people can’t sustain itself if the people have varying views on what freedom really means.

This assimilation requirement is not an unfair proposition. We offer them the best of our country and we give them a chance to make something of themselves, in return we ask that they become one of us in shared ideals. If they do not think the exchange is worth it, they are free to stay out of our country. If they feel that they cannot in good conscience embrace freedom and all that it means, then no one says that they must become one of us.

With many things in life, if you want a good result you have to pay a price. If you want to succeed in a relationship you have to unselfishly give of your time and effort to build that relationship. If you want to be successful in business then you have to make wise economic choices, choosing to invest for future return instead of immediate gain. If immigrants want to come to this country it’s completely logical that we mandate that they assimilate themselves with us. This is something that generations of immigrants have done and it something that must be done today if our country is to continue to be a beacon of hope welcoming freedom lovers to its shores.

Just as immigration without assimilation leads to the disintegration of a nation, so immigration with assimilation can lead to a wonderful and rewarding experience. Policy makers and citizens should understand that it is not the color of a person’s skin that counts, but the color of his or her principles. One of the wonderful things about America is that an American can be of any skin color or nationality, as long as his or her heart is red, white and blue.