By John F. Di Leo
November 21, 2018 A.D.
Reflections on Immigration at a time of Thanksgiving
Immigration looms large on the public consciousness these days, with daily news stories about the cultural, economic, and historical effects of mass immigration on our nation.
After decades of illegals sneaking across the border in secret, we now see thousands of uninvited illegals traveling together, boldly heading northward through Central America and Mexico, in notorious caravans.
But the daily news also reminds us that the risks of unchecked immigration can be found in legal immigration as well as illegal. Consider:
Michael Avenatti, the notorious lawyer who recently represented pornstar Stormy Daniels in her frivolous lawsuit against President Trump, was outed for domestic abuse this week. He is alleged – among other things – to have dragged his Estonian girlfriend across the room by her hair in a fit of rage.
Now, the actress in question, Mareli Miniutti, is a legal immigrant from Estonia. She has lived in New York and Los Angeles, and has had some minor film roles in the past couple of years. Half the age of the infamous lawyer (and presidential candidate?), she reportedly lived with Avenatti for just over a year, since October 2017, putting up with repeated physical abuse until the November 13 incident that led to the filing of charges.
Why did she put up with it for a year? She’s not talking, but it’s presumably for one of the same reasons other people put up with abusive partners: a dependence on the partners for room and board, a lack of a support structure to take care of them if they leave, a lack of familiarity with local law and custom to know whether they can or should prosecute, until long past the point where the rest of us would have filed charges.
As an immigrant, though, all the above reasons are multiplied. She’s a continent away from her family, a continent away from her home and her culture. She’s an easy mark for the kind of people whom Mr. Avenatti is alleged to be – people who prey on the weak, taking advantage of those with less confidence, especially those far from home and family.
Her story is the tale of today’s immigrant community, writ large. Millions who have come from far away settle in the big cities, expecting to be welcomed, only to find that this isn’t where the jobs are anymore. They are welcomed by the Democratic Party… introduced to welfare benefits and public housing complexes, locked into the welfare state, perhaps never realizing they are welcomed only for their position as a source of votes. It’s just a codependent relationship on the grand scale, for those who let themselves get sucked into it.
Which brings us back to the caravans. How things have changed in just a few years… they are now boldly crossing Central America, traveling through Mexico, even with Mexican army/police escorts at points, daring the United States to defend our borders, never dreaming we would refuse to let in these criminals.
For yes, they are criminals. Like almost every other country on earth, the United States set quotas for immigrants, requiring sponsorship and approval before arrival, and visas issued by our embassies and consulates abroad. Arriving without completing such steps is a crime.
And worse still, anyone assisting and encouraging them in assaulting our borders is an accessory to that crime. Are there such? Well, let’s consider what we know of the caravan most in the news today – the one that reached Tijuana this past week:
- They pretend to be an indigent mix of starving families of refugees, but the lion’s share of their women and children are up front, in view of the cameras, to paint a false picture for PR purposes. In fact, the caravan is over 90% young males.
- As a group, they claim to be fleeing the danger and crime of Honduras, but in one-on-one interviews with embedded reporters, they admit that they just want to move here for better opportunities… which is understandable, but hardly a qualification for asylum as they have been told to claim. In fact, they belong on the list with everyone else in the world who seeks a normal immigration visa.
- They claim to have been organically grown, as more and more migrants joined together to form a spontaneous association for the trip. In fact, it has been organized and sponsored by numerous political organizations, including about a hundred operatives of People Without Borders, plus numerous agents of the United Nations and others. The kind of nonprofits and taxpayer-supported NGOs that we would expect to be encouraging people to work within the law are instead enabling them, giving decent folks even more reason to oppose public funding of such groups.
- Suspicions that drug cartels and other crime gangs, and even distant terrorist organizations, are using these caravans to smuggle their members into the United States have been confirmed. The Department of Homeland Security has determined that some 500 of the 10,000 in this caravan are known to either belong to crime gangs or terrorist organizations, or otherwise have criminal records in their native countries. That may not be the majority of the caravan, but 5% isn’t a rounding error, either.
- The claim that they’re a bunch of starving refugees, struggling to make the trip, is further crippled by the fact that the caravan isn’t actually walking. They have been supported by fleets of buses, transporting them from town to town along the way, and by fleets of trucks providing food and drink, enough to sustain an army of 10,000 predominantly young men. Who’s paying for all this?
- The total cost of the above-mentioned support structure for this single caravan alone – the transportation, the food and drink, the NGO support staff – has been estimated as between seven and fifteen million USD. Where does it come from? Who is funding all this, and why? Well, there are seven billion people on this planet, six billion of whom would like to live here if they could. The politics of the caravan are clear – to destroy our nation’s borders – to make America the world’s piggybank. Those who support such goals would be happy to fund anything that contributes to such an end.
Whether we look at the individual immigrant and his or her personal risks – or the immigrant communities and the dangers that surround their neighborhoods – or the political impact on government spending and on elections – it is clear that mass immigration has changed over the years. Today’s illegals cost us $70,000/year; the total illegal population alone is estimated to cost some $18 billion in America’s healthcare burden alone. The total cost across the board – including healthcare, criminal justice, welfare programs, education, and the cost of the public and private support structure they require – is inestimable, but can only be astronomical.
Immigrants need to assimilate – not only for society’s good, but for their own. The immigrant who doesn’t learn our language, doesn’t learn about our traditions, doesn’t appreciate the American economy and political system, can never be a truly helpful part of our community, and can never truly benefit for his own family either. And in the numbers we have been importing over the past half century, assimilation has become impossible.
As much as the secular activists of the Left deny it, the United States of America are truly a special case on the face of the globe. We have our imitators – Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries have tried to mold their nations on the pattern that our Founding Fathers set for us, but none could get it quite exact, because no other country had our special manner of creation. As important as our Founding Fathers are to us, much of what America was to become was already set in place by the settlers who preceded them, back in the 17th century… the days we remember when we celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
The history books tell us that the first Thanksgiving in the New World was celebrated at St. Augustine, in Florida, in 1565, and a similar event shared by both Pilgrims and Indians took place in Massachusetts in 1621. From the earliest days of European settlement of the New World, the United States has been a special amalgam of cultures. From French and Spanish immigrants in Florida to English and Dutch immigrants in Massachusetts, our ancestors brought Western Civilization to the New World and created a whole new culture.
After plenty of false starts, from the fur trade to plantation farming, from migration to the establishment of cities, the American system began to develop on its own, without any contribution by the distant governments of the European monarchies from which our settlers hailed.
Americans took what was best from their homelands – religion, literature, science, government – and improved on it all, building churches that were independent of state support, republican systems independent of monarchs, schooling independent of an establishment. By the time our American Revolution occurred in the 1770s, we had already become our own people, with our own way of looking at the world and our place in it, our own American way of life.
The Pilgrims started out socialist, with a Mayflower Compact that discouraged work and rewarded sloth; they turned around that failed experiment after a disastrous year and essentially learned the lessons of capitalism and socialism all at once.
Since then, the American people grew as an extension of Western Civilization, the continuation and improvement of the European version that predated ours. As new immigrants arrived over the centuries, no matter where they came from – Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceana, or South and Central America – they have needed to follow in the footsteps of those New England settlers long ago.
Immigrants could retain the good and harmless aspects of their homelands, of course – we can be proud of our Italian cooking, our Irish folk songs, our German church designs, our Austrian skiing, and so forth (just to list this author’s personal heritage as an example) – but we have had to acknowledge that we were leaving the big picture of our homelands behind, and adopting the big picture – the culture, economy, and political system – of our new home.
Our nation is in crisis today, largely because its electorate is made up of so many who do not understand or appreciate our system. We have undermined the brilliance of our Constitutional form of government by sitting by as the judiciary usurps the legislature’s authority, as executive branches exceed the boundaries set forth in the law, and as elections are stolen outright by every form of vote fraud from multiple voting to ballot destruction and fabrication by the counters themselves.
These errors could not have happened in a nation that still remembered its heritage. We desperately need a cultural awakening, to find our way back to our roots.
We need to close the borders, and help those already here to assimilate into the nation that two hundred years of pilgrims, settlers, explorers, and Framers built for us.
The settlers of our original colonies came to America to practice their religious faith (even when it was a different denomination than their king’s), to own their own land and farm it (rather than working for a feudal lord for a meager share), to start their own businesses as printers and manufacturers, shipbuilders and tavernkeepers. They came to live their lives and raise their families, as freemen, with the protections of – and from – the constitutionally limited government that the Enlightenment libertarians recognized as the best kind.
It may not be easy to return to those glorious roots, but we need to. Those who wish America well must wish for this, now and every day, but especially now, as we celebrate Thanksgiving in America for another year.
Copyright 2018 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance trainer, actor and writer. His columns are regularly found in Illinois Review.