Imprimis

Who We Are As a People—The Syrian Refugee Question

Edward J. Erler
Co-author, The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration


Edward J. ErlerEdward J. Erler is professor emeritus of political science at California State University, San Bernardino. He earned his B.A. from San Jose State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. He has published numerous articles on constitutional topics in journals such as Interpretation, the Notre Dame Journal of Law, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. He was a member of the California Advisory Commission on Civil Rights from 1988-2006 and served on the California Constitutional Revision Commission in 1996. He is the author of The American Polity and co‑author of The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration. This fall he is a visiting distinguished professor of politics at Hillsdale College.



Our lax policies toward illegal immigration and the virtual open-borders policy of the Obama administration represent an attempt to move toward a borderless world as well as to aggrandize the power of the administrative state. It is now widely recognized that the Immigration Act of 1965 was intentionally designed to alter the racial and ethnic mix of the population of America. It has been an overwhelming success; demographers predict that by 2040 whites of European descent will no longer be a majority, having been displaced by people of Asian, African, Latin American, and Hispanic descent. For the most part—with the notable exception of Asians—these groups have supplied a significant clientele for the administrative state as it seeks to extend its reach and magnify its power. As such, it has redounded to the benefit of the Democratic Party—the party that favors the growth and extension of administrative state power. But make no mistake: illegal immigration has always had bipartisan support. Despite the fact that illegal immigration cuts against them politically, Republicans have always favored the cheap and exploitable labor of illegal aliens.

The Democrats, of course, have gotten the best of this bargain. After three generations, Latinos vote Democratic by more than a two-thirds majority. The Republicans cannot hope to compete for the Latino vote without becoming something very close to the Democratic Party, differing only at the margins. This is something that the Republican establishment would like to do, but it finds little support among rank-and-file Republicans. If the Republicans lose the 2016 election—if a party realignment fails—the party as currently constituted will, in all likelihood, no longer be competitive in future national elections.

Perhaps more importantly, America’s open-borders policy has allowed terrorists and criminals of all stripes to enter the country at will. In addition to Islamic terror groups, MS-13—a vicious Latin American gang involved in murder for hire, drug trafficking, human smuggling, slavery, and all other manner of crime—operates openly in the U.S. Even when illegal-alien criminals are deported, they easily return to commit further crimes. Surprisingly, this issue of illegal-alien crime has become an important issue in a presidential election for the first time this year. These criminals are aided and abetted by sanctuary cities—cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in detaining illegal-alien criminals. This policy is the most baffling policy that can be imagined, as it results in criminals being deliberately released into the public where they continue to prey on innocent citizens. It is designed to show (what else?) our tolerance.

Securing our nation’s borders with a wall and by any other means necessary is favored by a majority of Americans, but the idea is considered vulgar and unacceptable by the progressive forces of History, forces which are clearing the obstacles to a borderless world. For these forces, the march of History is inevitable and any appeal to citizens and to the nation-state is anachronistic. It is not inevitable that these forces will have their way. But because of the demographic and political changes brought on by the open-borders regime, time grows short for the American people to reassert their sovereignty—that is, to stop the self-sacrifice which the political elites of both parties have determined is necessary to satisfy the gods of political correctness—those gods who are the guardians of the diversity which defines “who we are as a people.”