What does it mean to be an American? Most sovereign nation-states in the world are drawn on ethnic boundaries, France for the French, Japan for the Japanese, ect. Our Republic is different in that regard. We started as a homogenous British colony, but successive waves of immigrants from other parts of the world have been able to come here, assimilate and prosper
They may have started as something else but through hard work, and love of shared values they became productive citizens of our nation. So if we are not a nation of blood, then we must be a nation of laws.
Two values stand out the most when considering the practicality of foreigners assimilating into American culture, ingenuity and integrity.
They must have integrity to uphold the enlightened ideals of freedom and liberty. These virtues form the impetus of self-determination, the very bedrock of our democratic-republic. Any foreign national that champions this trait, combined with ambition for a better life as an American and a drive to deliver a net benefit to our country should surely be welcome on our shores.
They must also possess ingenuity. Such as the self-starter attitude that enabled the early American pioneers to push back the wild frontier and tame a continent. Our collective manifest destiny as Americans is still alive and well today, as we push back the wild frontiers of science and industry. Aspiring Americans will surely also need to be capable of great adaptability in the face of adversity, personal and professional.
This; in fact, was the prevailing ethos of our immigration policy in the post war years of 1945-1965. Many a war weary individual sought out a new start on our shores, fleeing the wanton destruction caused by the twin horrors of Bolshevism and Marxism taking root in the world
This was to prove a prosperous approach. In fact, as long as these émigrés had something valuable to offer fair Columbia they were admitted with open arms. Most of these newly minted citizens built a quality of life in their new nation that they could not dream of back home. The key factor in our immigration policy then was of course, one very clear requirement.
Value. To. America.
This however would not last. The Immigration and nationality act of 1965 changed forever the way our country screens and selects those who will immigrate to our country. Where before these judgments were made on the basis of merit of the individual, overall benefit to the nation and overall rate of successful assimilation, they now select candidates based on a large number of superfluous qualities, primarily, the need of the immigrant
This marks a fundamental shift in the attitude of our immigration policy from that day in 1965, to the present in 2017. We have gone from asking the question “What is best for our country,” to asking, “What is best for the immigrant.”
So I query you, dear reader. Which question are you asking?