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IMMIGRATION/ Robert George: “It is hard for Americans to be hostile to immigration” (2)

September Tue 13, 2011

Immigrant Crossing sign  Immigrant Crossing sign

On the occasion of the presentation of a collection of his lectures on natural law and his participation in a debate on the issue of immigration at the Meeting in Rimini, ilsussidiario.net interviewed Professor Robert George of Princeton University on these important issues in today's society. This is the second part of the interview. To read the first part, click here.

We ended the first part of our interview with the question of illegal immigration, which is a problem that the US shares with Europe, but while, in Europe, Muslims seem to be the main problem, Americans seem to be more wary of Latinos.
If that is true, it is because there are so many more Latinos coming over the border unlawfully. I believe that the number has declined in recent years because, as the economy has gotten worse in the United States, the incentive to come illegally has diminished.  As far as Muslims are concerned, the numbers as a proportion of the population are nothing like what you are facing in Europe. Even if we factor out the fact that America is based on a political creed and that we have a great history and tradition of integrating immigrants, it still would not pose a cultural challenge like it does in Europe.

Are people also afraid because English is no longer the only language in America, since many Latinos do not learn English (as other immigrants did in the past)? Does the fact that they are Catholic have anything to do with it?
To the extent that there is opposition to Mexican immigration, it is as high among Catholics as among Protestants; so I do not think it is a concern about religion. I think we are past that. It is a concern about the welfare state and about the language. To the extent that there is a concern about the culture, it is because America does not want Balkanization. It does not want two cultures. It wants integration. If a group refuses to integrate, then it is a problem. I do not think that Latinos are opposed to integration (or what we refer to, in a way that is not pejorative, as “assimilation”). They are not the problem. The problem is that the cultural left in the United States believes in the ideology of “multiculturalism.” They do not want Latinos to “assimilate,” so they promote bilingualism, for example.  Now, “bilingualism” is fine if it means keeping one’s ancestral language while also learning English.  But it is not good if it means rejecting English or not teaching Latino children the English language.  If we can overcome the multiculturalism of cultural elites who are not themselves Mexican, but just secular, left-wing journalists and intellectuals, our Mexican immigrants will quickly and comfortably integrate into American society, just as immigrants from other places (including my grandparents) have done.

You mentioned welfare as well…



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