Noonan on Immigrants

by Greg Linscott

I enjoy reading Peggy Noonan. As the son of a immigrant myself, her piece in today’s Wall Street Journal was particularly interesting to me. Noonan relates her experience attedning an immigration protest rally this past weekend in NYC. She expresses a proper place for sentiment, but appeals to the need for reason as well. An excerpt from her conclusion:

While the marchers seemed to be good people, and were very likable, the march itself, I think, violated the old immigrant politesse–the general understanding that you’re not supposed to get here and immediately start making demands. It would never have occurred to my grandparents to demand respect. They thought they had to earn it. It would never have occurred to them to air mass grievances, assert rights, issue a list of legislative demands. Especially if they were here unlawfully.

I happen to think America in general has deep affection for immigrants, knows they are part of the dynamic, a part of our growth and our endless coming-into-being. But when your heart is soft, and America’s is, your head must be hard.

We are a sovereign nation operating under the rule of law. That, in fact, is why many immigrants come here. They come from places where the law, such as it is, is corrupt, malleable, limiting. Does it make sense to subvert our own laws to facilitate the entrance of those in pursuit of government by law? Whatever our sentiments and sympathies as individuals, America has the right, and the responsibility, to protect the integrity of its borders, to make the laws by which immigrants are granted entrance, and to enforce those laws.

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