Thinking Clearly About Immigration

Kay Hymowitz in the New York Times:

Global migration is triggering the sort of existential questions advanced nations haven’t had to bother with very much. Aside from lines on a map and a shared language, what makes Denmark Denmark, or Canada Canada? When does citizen-feeling for national culture and identity — not to mention budget concerns — veer into xenophobia? How much should a modern, secular nation tolerate the illiberal customs of newcomers from traditional cultures? As a “nation of immigrants,” one with a relatively modest welfare state, the United States should be safe from these prickly questions. After all, we have long been a hyphenated citizenry; our children are tutored — or are supposed to be — in E pluribus unum.

Yet here we are in the throes of a bitter war over immigration. Everyone knows who the enemy is, or thinks he does: One side points at ethnonationalist racists who cheer budget-busting walls, Muslim bans, caged children and deportations of hard-working parents whose only crime is wanting a better life. The other side sees self-deluded elitist hypocrites who condone criminal border-crossing and extravagant social spending as a way of supplying cheap labor to look after their children and clean their homes — while telling an ailing, law-abiding white working class that its time is up.

More here.

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