Saturday, May 20

What If....

I can't say that I have tracked the immigration issues closely over the last three weeks, but I have tried to read a few things here and there. I am struck by something that hasn't been getting a lot of play anywhere.

Virtually all of our focus regarding illegal immigration is centered on that pushing up from the south, via Mexico. And I can see legitimate reasons for considering this first. We do have a huge problem with the number of people entering this country illegally from the south. Many Americans agree with this.

But what if our problems were instigated from the northern border instead? What if we were being flooded with Quebecois who wanted a better life in the U.S. and we now were surrounded in grocery stores by packages dual labelled in English and French?

The U.S. border with Canada is just as porous as the Southern one. Pictures printed in National Geographic magazine years ago showed that the only thing preventing international neighbors from crossing into each other's yards was a rather long grassy patch. (Perhaps this has changed in recent history, but I have no information to make me think otherwise.)

So let's suppose that we had as serious a difference in wealth between Canada and the U.S. as we have with Mexico, and also let's suppose we had an influx of illegal Canadian immigrants in our nothern states to mirror the growth of the Latino population in our southern states. What would be the result?

I know that these illegal immigrants would be demanding that we provide socialized healthcare, just like Mama Canada provided back home. The thought of having to pay for their own illnesses and hospitalizations would seem outlandish. The Canadians I have known have always flown home for serious treatments, preferring the free healthcare at home to paying for care here.

They would demand that French be taught in schools. But rather than the acceptance that we see now of teaching Spanish in schools, I don't think French would be so well accepted in the classrooms of America. Why? Cold, hard fact: the worldwide population that speaks French is one third of the population that speaks Spanish. (This might have been different if the illegal immegration issue had happened at the beginning of the twentieth century, when French was the international language of the educated, much as Latin was during the Roman era.)

There might be a push to get Americans to try, yet again, to follow the metric system. I would have thought that would be a bigger issue now, but that never shows on any news article I've seen. But even if we were to see such a request, I think it would fail again--but after decades of influx of immigrants, that might change.

There would probably be an increased desire for children to have the chance to play hockey. (Part of my brain wonders if the great increase in soccer in this country has any connection to the influx of immigrants going back a decade. But I digress.) Ice arenas would be popping up left and right to field the demand for these tiny skaters, or at least more outdoor rinks would be developed in the Dakotas.

There would definitely be a huge influx of voters that would track more closely with Democratic positions, probably more so than I think we will see with the current Mexican immigration of pious Catholics. (Have the Democrats really stopped to think of that? Something makes me think they haven't.)

But nothing really sticks, does it? The socialized medicine issue would be a big one, but I really can't think of any other issues that would cause a huge backlash of reaction.

Yet I can't imagine the population of America being any more accepting of immigration from a northern source as compared to a southern one. The problem isn't where these people are coming from; the problem is that they are getting for free something that costs others dearly. They claim they want the same rights as those of us who already live here, but the only reason why we of European descent are here is because our ancestors paid the price legally to live here. My ancestors followed the rules to come to this country. For illegal immigrants to demand free access is to get a benfit that my ancestors didn't have.

Now, if Latinos want to get into this country quickly and easily, then let's re-establish slavery and enslave them and bring them to this country the way slavers did with Africans two centuries ago. What? No one is suggesting that? Hmmm. Our desire for fairness touches us in ways we don't often think of.

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