Sunday, August 29, 2010
"We're a nation of immigrants" is a baldfaced lie.
True, every single American can trace his descent to people who didn't live here. So in that sense, sure, we're a "nation of immigrants." But by that token, every nation on Earth is a "nation of immigrants," except for Kenya and thereabouts, where our species originated.
It's also true that America permits more immigration than all other nations on Earth combined. Yet even with that stunning influx, 90% of Americans were born here.
How can a nation of 90% native-born people be a "nation of immigrants?"
It can't. So that trope is not only a lie--it represents a shameful attempt to win arguments about amnesty with bumper sticker slogans instead of actual reasons.
Never let anyone get away with saying it in your presence--even if you support amnesty for illegal immigrants. Because whatever our politics are, we should unite in opposing dirty politics--in assuming that the ends justify the means. As Emma Goldman said (look her up), the means reveal the ends.