by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The surefire way to bring the word “un-American” into vogue is to propose a restriction on immigration, no matter how minor.
Democrats, who have spent the past half-century since Joe McCarthy objecting to the suggestion that anyone in this country might not be patriotic, can barely mention President Donald Trump’s immigration order without calling it un-American. Judging by their performance over the past few days, if Democrats ever take back control of Congress, their first act will be to reinstitute the House Un-American Activities Committee to investigate proponents of reduced immigration and their associates. (“Are you now or have you ever been an immigration restrictionist?”)
Trump’s immigration order is vulnerable to any number of legitimate criticisms, on its merits and particularly on its shambolic rollout. But it is not true that a months long pause in immigration from seven Muslim-majorities countries, some of which lack functioning governments, and all of which are either war-torn or hostile to the United States, is a violation of the nation’s creed.
Nowhere is it written that the United States can never tap the brakes on immigration. For much of the political class and for an inflamed Left, any new restriction is tantamount to melting down the Statue of Liberty, an ahistorical attitude that desperately needs a corrective. President Trump, in blunderbuss fashion, is setting out to provide one.
Everyone knows that we are a “nation of immigrants,” although immigration has been highly contested throughout our history. “America,” the late political scientist Samuel Huntington wrote, “has been a nation of restricted and interrupted immigration as much as it has been a nation of immigration.”