On July 3,1984 the Wall Street Journal published a notorious editorial called In Praise of Huddled Masses in which it advocated "a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders."
This was a call for the abolition of all immigration controls. What this would mean in practice has been explained by Steve Sailer in his article The Five Billion. Really, that one number (the number of people in the world whose per capita income is below Mexico's) is all you need to see to realize how bad this policy would be.
Last year at this time, I did a round-up of the WSJ's recycling this editorial, which it did year after year until for some reason it stopped in 1990.
When the late Robert Bartley revived it in 2000, he referred to the original editorial as having been written "Back in the immigration debate of 1984" by which he meant during the WSJ's campaign to sabotage the Simpson-Mazzoli Act.
Since Simpson-Mazzoli turned out to be the IRCA Amnesty of 1986, this was a fairly successful campaign. In 2001, Bartley wrote
"The naysayers who want to limit or abolish immigration look backward to a history they do not even understand. Each new immigrant group has been derided as backward, unclean, crime-ridden and so on; each has gone on to adopt the American dream of a free and independent people, and to win advancement economically, politically, socially. The ability to assimilate is the heart of the American genius, precisely the trait that sets the United States off from other nations. Immigration makes the U.S. what it is.' [Open Nafta Borders? Why Not? by Robert L. Bartley, July 2, 2001]
This assimilation he wrote about cost a lot of time and trouble to accomplish when it did happen. (And it doesn't happen anymore, since it's more or less forbidden by law.) Not only time and trouble, but bloodshed. The crime-ridden Irish of the nineteenth century reformed after years of schooling and evangelization but a lot of people died in the intervening riots and robberies.
And if what Bartley meant was that it will "all be the same in a hundred years" then he might have been right, but we all have to deal with what's happening now.
And what's happening now is a wave of legal and illegal immigration from Mexico.
Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal did not repeat its open-borders call this weekend, probably a reflection of the parlous state of the Open Borders Lobby's latest offensive. It refrained from suggesting that America change to let Mexicans in. It merely suggested instead that Mexico needs to be changed so that Mexicans will want to stay home. It compares Mexico's political divisions to America's "Red-Blue" split, totally ignoring the fact that South American politics are increasingly based on a white-Indian split:
"For Americans, the stakes in this election could hardly be greater. Tom Tancredo and friends may believe that the only thought the U.S. need give its southern neighbor is the height of the wall it plans to raise between them. But if Mexicans are able to build on the liberalizing trends of the past 20 years, their appetite for El Norte is bound, over time, to diminish. And if they revert to the populist habits of yore, no American wall will be high enough to keep the flood of desperate workers out." [Mexican Watershed, July 2, 2006]
In fact, closing the border is one of those things that's never really been tried. America has the best Army in the world, and it could close the border with little difficulty. That's what armies are actually for. And Mexico isn't going to change overnight, or in twenty years, to the point that Mexicans won't be able to make more money in America.
Personally, I'd like to see the Wall Street Journal change sides.
I'd particularly like to see it stop agitating in favor of illegal immigration, which is what it's doing when it attacks the idea of a wall, or when it decries all attempts at immigration enforcement.
Did you ever wonder why Wall Street was called that? It turns out that the Dutch colonists in New Amsterdam built a wall. This was intended to keep out "Indians, pirates, and other dangers." (I bet the Wall Street Journal would support it if it would keep out Elliott Spitzer.)
So in the spirit of Independence Day, which is about fighting off foreign invaders rather than welcoming them, I'd like to propose something that does not require a Constitutional Amendment—since protecting United States from invasion is already in there. [Article IV, Section 4]
I propose that "There Shall Be Closed Borders—Whether The Wall Street Journal Likes It Or Not."
Previous Fourth of July Columns
July 03, 2005 Independence Day And The WSJ Edit Page
July 03, 2004 Jack Kemp vs. George Washington On Independence Day
July 03, 2004 A Patriotic Hispanic Reflects On Independence Day
July 04, 2002 Immigration Day?
July 04, 2001Patriotic Bore
July 03, 2001 Wall Street Journal: Independence Day Means Immigration!