The most vocal supporters of closing our nation’s borders to immigrants are, and always have been, those who believe that the American destiny is as a Christian, white, Anglo-Saxon nation, dominated by themselves.
Throughout our history, our nation has attempted to send back the African slaves and Chinese workers back to China, and to prohibit Irish, Italians, Jews, and Slavs, as well as to deport Mexicans. For the past eighty years, it has been Hispanics.
Why? Is it because these people take jobs from “hard working Americans?” Is it because they bring crime and violence to the United States? Or, is it really because they bring their own language, religion and customs to their new land that change the existing culture?
I would posit that it is the latter.
The birth rate among white families in the United States continues to be stagnant or declining. The fertility rate in America in 2016 was 1.82 children per woman. This is far below the 2.1 children necessary for replacement population. Already, immigrants are far outpacing this fertility rate. There is nothing to suggest that this trend won’t continue. These numbers fundamentally change the demographic makeup of the United States.
Add 13 million undocumented immigrants – more than 90% of them of Hispanic – to the mix, and it is an almost 5% change to the overall population of the potential voter pool of the country.
In elections that are being decided by less than a point or two, an influx of registered voters that would vote for one party over the other at a rate of 60% or more, could be a deciding factor.
And who does this influx of immigrants hurt? It hurts those people who want it to be a nation of white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
The problem is that now there is a euphemism for the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant nation: A nation based upon Christianity. There are two issues with that. First, the nation was based upon humanism and Enlightenment theories – not Protestant Christianity or fundamentalism. Additionally, the population of the United States is becoming increasingly less religious. Church attendance nationwide is down and mixed marriages of white and non-white populations continues to increase.
Both of these things make the idea of a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant nation less likely.
While our Founding Fathers shared similar religious beliefs, they were never 100% united in the idea that this was a “Christian” nation. In fact, they spurned the idea of it being a religious State with the adoption of the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights, because so many people had different ideas of what the “correct” religion was. Indeed, one state was founded by Roman Catholics, another by Puritans, and yet another by Quakers.
Additionally, religion was used to support slavery in the United States in the not-so-distant past. It was also used to keep women from voting. Also, it was used to keep people from different races from marrying. Today, it is still used as the sole reason to keep people of the same gender from marrying.
The use of illegal immigrants as a bogey man to scare people is the same trick used before. Now, however, it is even more sinister, because the same folks wanting to limit illegal immigration also want to substantially curtail legal immigration.
There is only one reason: racism. The changing demographics, however, cannot be stopped. The movements of populations in the world is as old as man himself. Man has always moved to where there is better land to farm, greener pastures upon which to graze livestock, and where the wealth and resources are. We should actually only be concerned when that place is not the United States of America.
The nature of the country does not change when tacos or pizza of Hibachi become a staple of the American diet. Our culture isn’t destroyed when we hear Chinese or Spanish on the streets of our cities. Our ethos isn’t changed when yoga becomes a part of a physical education class. The nature of America changes when we do not welcome immigrants and refugees with open arms. It changes when we turn away people who want to come here for a better life. It changes when we try to pretend we are something we have never been.
People get in a big fuss these days when “Under God” is not recited by some in the Pledge of Allegiance. These same people also get heartburn when someone says we don’t need “In God We Trust” on our currency. Yet, these two items are 20th century changes. The only national motto from 1776 until 1947 was “E Pluribus Unum”: “From Many, One.” That is still our national motto, and we should not forget it.