As I’ve learned more about immigration—and especially since reading Pat Buchanan’s Death of the West—I’ve come to believe it is the defining crisis of this moment in American history. The debate is not, as it has been in the past, primarily around how much immigration is desirable; rather, the question has morphed beyond reason into “does a wealthy nation have the right to define and enforce its own immigration laws?”
That used to be axiomatic to what it meant to be a nation: by definition, a nation had the right to defend its borders, and—of course!—to have them!
Now, there’s a twisted logic that, because the United States has loads of wealth (and won tons of land from Mexico in the Treaty of Guadelupe-Hidalgo, after we soundly defeated them and captured Mexico City), we somehow have a moral obligation to surrender our sovereignty to every hard-luck case in the Western Hemisphere (and beyond).
America is a melting pot, but if you dump a bunch of salt into the soup all at once, it becomes inedible—the salt takes over.
Case in point: the aforementioned Mexican War. That conflict had its root in the Texas Revolution, in which the Republic of Texas gained its independence in 1836. Texas was a province of Mexico, and the Mexican government wanted to encourage settlement, so it invited Southern yanquis to move in with their slaves.
Those American settlers had two requirements: they had to convert to Catholicism (the official state religion of Mexico), and they had to become Mexican citizens. A handful of token conversions later, and the Texans were in.
In 1829, Mexico abolished slavery throughout its territories. The slaveholding Texans protested; rather than face the threat of secession of its unassimilated but wealthy minority, the Mexican government relented, granting unprecedented, asymmetrical “states’ rights” to Texas.
While Mexicans resented Texas’s special treatment, everything was fine until the military dictator General Lopez de Santa Anna rose to power. Santa Anna vowed to end Texas’s exemption from federal law. When he moved to enforce his decree with the Mexican Army, the Texans declared independence; after their defeat at the Alamo, American volunteers flooded in to help Texas gain its independence.
The moral of the story here is clear: a large minority of unassimilated foreigners successfully ignored the laws of their host country, before ultimately breaking off to form a short-lived nation, before annexing into the nation of their native culture.
Mexico is playing the same playbook in reverse; indeed, some Mexican radicals call the influx of unassimilated, illegal migrants into the southwestern United States the reconquista, or “reconquest.”
Death of the West is the best feature-length discussion of that process. For a shorter, more immediate discussion of the impact of illegal alien migration, the White House has published a page of statistics about the crisis at the border: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/crisis-southern-border-urgent-ignore/
Stop screwing around—and build the wall!