The word “contentious” doesn’t begin to describe the American immigration debate over the last two decades. But in recent days, the lines are being redrawn — and with it, the national conversation. The focus is no longer being dominated by illegal immigration south of Texas but “legal” immigration coming from across the Atlantic, where a bold new enemy is exposing weaknesses in the West’s tolerance.
Attacks in Paris, followed by a mass shooting in California have made believers of Americans, who doubted that radicalized Muslims were one of the greatest threats to our nation. Now, with President Obama offering to throw open the door to more Syrian refugees, more voters from both parties are ready to put the brakes on the process until a better, safer vetting protocol is in place.
As the national discussion turns to immigration, people are starting to stake out positions on who should and shouldn’t be in the country. But first, we need to consider one of the unfortunate realities — in America and elsewhere — which is that the purpose of immigration has changed. It used to exist for people who wanted to come to America and assimilate. Now, in a dramatic shift from even our grandparents’ generation, the “sensitivity” and “diversity” doctrine of the modern age is suggesting that we create cultural enclaves, where outsiders come to our country and live as if they never left home.
That doesn’t work, as Europe will tell you. Instead, we lose our identity in the shadow of multiculturalism. It’s happened in France, and it’s happening in Britain. Leaders are learning a painful message that if you tiptoe around the global realities, you’ll pay for it. If people want to live in America — including Muslims — they need to embrace our Constitution and our culture. Others have said in less artful ways what conservatives have been warning for years: there is no such thing as coexistence between Sharia law and our constitutional republic. That isn’t religious prejudice, but an ideological reality.
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