Fears that President Obama would attempt to assimilate immigrant communities into a new America that entrenches multiculturalism and acceptance of large government—in other words, an America that differs in important ways from the country we once knew—are being sadly confirmed.
The White House on Friday quickly followed the president’s controversial executive order by announcing the formation of a task force that in fact attempts to do just that.
The presidential memorandum states:
Our success as a Nation of immigrants is rooted in our ongoing commitment to welcoming and integrating newcomers into the fabric of our country. It is important that we develop a Federal immigrant integration strategy that is innovative and competitive with those of other industrialized nations and supports mechanisms to ensure that our Nation’s diverse people are contributing to society to their fullest potential.
Therefore, I am establishing a White House Task Force on New Americans, an interagency effort to identify and support State and local efforts at integration that are working and to consider how to expand and replicate successful models. The Task Force, which will engage with community, business, and faith leaders, as well as State and local elected officials, will help determine additional steps the Federal Government can take to ensure its programs and policies are serving diverse communities that include new Americans.
The insistence on diversity is not happenstance. The president clearly does not seek E Pluribus Unum, but to entrench the balkanized America and the “minority vs. majority” discourse that has governed the nation’s thinking since the 1970s.
Prior to that, and for 300 years, America had taken in multiple waves of immigrants and molded them into one nation. They persevered, proved they were as good–if not better–than the previous waves and found successful balances between honoring the countries of their ancestry and loving their new nation.
This tradition was abandoned when the federal bureaucracy in the late 1970s crammed immigrants of disparate cultures, races and profiles into two “ethnic” groups—Hispanics and Asians. They were added to African-Americans and Native Americans to form four official “minority” groups that would benefit from affirmative action and other benefits, being conditioned from the moment they set foot in this country to view government as a benevolent provider. Prior to that and for 300 years, immigrants did not need the federal government to apportion their degree of participation in society.
A national effort to figure out how to return to our tradition of assimilation is a worthy endeavor. It will have to be part of the policy of a future president who respects (and likes) both the Constitution and our traditions. There are no chances this can happen under Barack Obama. The mention in the memorandum of diversity and tracking what other industrialized countries are doing makes clear that remaking America is what’s in store.
I predicted in a piece in The Federalist only three days before the executive action announcement that these were President Obama’s aims, when I wrote,
At stake in the fight over President Obama’s executive action on immigration could be the future voting patterns of Hispanics—not just of the 5 million or so illegal immigrants he expects to legalize, but also the 46 million or so potential voters who are here legally. If he can assimilate all of them into his vision of a new America that accepts greater reliance on public assistance and government interference, then it’s game over for the conservative cause.
I take little comfort in being proven right. The time is now for action. Conservatives have to be of one mind as they fight these actions because the stakes are high. The steps for them to take are clear:
- Ensure not just that the president’s constitutional overreach by legalizing millions of illegal immigrants is defunded but that this task force is as well. Different appropriation bills can be passed to fund the rest of the government.
- Reach out to immigrants directly, especially Hispanics, with the policies they tell pollsters matter to them: education, the economy and healthcare. Make the case that the formula that produced freedom, prosperity, opportunity and rule of law, which made them want to come to this country in the first place, should not be tampered with, but indeed should be preserved.
- Start to devise a strategy to roll back the policies of the past 40 years—especially affirmative action—once they have the White House. We must go back to being a creedal nation of shared experience.
Obama himself said as a candidate in 2008 that his intention was to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” It’s time we take him at his word.