Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Guest Worker Trojan Horse

President Bush wants a massive "guest worker" program to legalize the millions of aliens, mostly from Mexico and Central America, who currently reside and work in the US in brazen violation of American law. Presumably, this would apply both to the millions already here and the millions more who want to come - the President doesn't want to indicate how many more aliens would be admitted under such a plan, but count on "millions" being an accurate estimate. These "guest worker" aliens would be here temporarily, the President assures us (with all the credibility he can muster – not much these days) and will promptly scamper back from whence they came as soon as their allotted "guest worker" time is up. That the President or any of his Hallelujah chorus managed to make this argument with a straight face is proof either of their complete self delusion, or their true calling as used car salesmen. The evidence, not only from the US but elswhere is unequivocal: "Guest workers" do not leave unless they are forced to, usually at gun point. A very useful example of this – and a dire warning for the US – comes from Europe, which is now experiencing the bloody consequences of its four-decade long flirtation with importing guest workers from the Middle East.

In Berlin, which today ranks as the largest ''Turkish" city outside Turkey, falafel stands and kebab joints far outnumber eateries offering schnitzel. In the Dutch city of Rotterdam, Islamic calls to prayer are as common as church chimes. In the raw-knuckled housing projects ringing Paris, graffiti are more likely to be scrawled in Arabic than in the language of Voltaire.

''The idea, originally, was that the foreign workers would stay for as long as economically necessary, then go home," said Michael Bommes, director of the Institute for Migration Research at Germany's Osnabrueck University. ''It didn't quite go like that."

As the US Congress wrestles with comprehensive immigration reform, one idea under discussion is a new program that would allow guest workers to enter the country, but not necessarily to stay on and become citizens.

In Germany, guest workers -- mostly poorly educated young men who were issued special visas allowing them entry for one or two years to take unskilled jobs -- helped the nation to become the third-richest in the world. The fabulous post-war prosperity of France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and other West European countries was also boosted by immigrant labor, mainly from Turkey and North Africa.

Once the gates had been opened, the guest workers showed no inclination to return to the economically depressed countries from which they had come. Even as the post-war boom ebbed and European countries succumbed to the economic stagnation caused by their too-generous welfare states, the immigrants kept coming.

Guest workers, unlike ordinary immigrants, were admitted under special jobs programs, and at least under the original plans, had no prospects of becoming citizens or permanent residents. Germany, like other European countries, at first refused even to allow them to bring families, hoping to discourage them from trying to put down roots. Later, Germany granted work stays of up to five years, and permitted wives and children to come along.

For decades, there were no efforts to integrate the newcomers. They were entitled to social benefits, but not citizenship. Their children could attend schools, but little effort was made to give them language skills. Far from a melting pot, Europe in the post-World War II era became the realm of ''parallel societies," in which native and immigrant populations occupied the same countries but shared little common ground

The Islamic cultures from which these immigrants came bore little or no similarities to the liberal, modern culture of Europe. Muslim immigrants arrived in Europe with ingrained cultural sensitivities actively hostile to the European culture surrounding them. The welfare offered to such immigrants by their European hosts paradoxically worsened their resistance to assimilation by crippling economic growth and thus depriving the new immigrants of jobs, and by funneling the immigrants into isolated ghettos, effectively sealed off from the rest of the culture. In these ghettos, radicalism and resentment thrive. But even if the Muslim immigrants had been integrated into the European economy, their native Islamic culture is so orthogonal to European culture that it is unlikely that significant integration would have occurred. Moreover, because of the high number of Muslim immigrants and the natural creation of Muslim communities inside Europe, they would have had little reason to assimilate, even in the absence of idiotic European economic policy.

While many European governments failed to seriously pursue integration, many Muslim immigrants were equally unwilling to shed their own languages and national identities.
''Neither side really thought hard about issues of citizenship, nationality, or integration because neither side truly expected the immigrants to stay," said Eren Uensal, a Berlin sociologist whose parents emigrated from Turkey in 1972.

''My mother insisted we were going to stay in Germany just long enough to earn money for a new sewing machine, to start a tailor shop back home," she said. ''Now we're into the third generation, and my mother still hasn't bought her sewing machine. Of course, that's because they made comfortable lives. No one really wanted to go home."
Legal workers were followed by waves of family members and illegal immigrants. In the 1960s, a few hundred thousand Muslims lived in

Western Europe. Today, best estimates peg the number at more than 20 million -- including 3 million in Germany, mainly Turks; 5 million in France, mainly North African Arabs; 1.7 million in Britain; and 900,000 in Holland.
If the immigration controversy in the United States is really about Latinos, in Europe it's really about Muslims. And America's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration is spreading alarm among Muslim immigrants.

But for Europe, the damage is already done. The swelling numbers of Muslim immigrants have put native European populations on the defensive on their own lands. Demography is destiny, because ethnicity is usually (though not intrinsically) tied to culture and religion. Assimilation is only possible where the majority population remains overwhelmingly dominant numerically and insists on assimilation. Multiculturalism is the poison that no multi-racial society can withstand.

Indeed, the future of the continent may be written on these darker-skinned faces thronging the streets. Birth rates in some European countries are plunging dramatically. Immigrants earning wages and paying taxes appear to represent the best chance the continent has of keeping its place in the world's economic front ranks.

Many of the original guest workers are now retired, enjoying the comfortable pensions that are the pride of Europe. But their children and their grandchildren are trapped between two worlds, too ''Europeanized" ever to return to the Middle East or North Africa, but lacking the language skills and education to forge ahead in their new countries.

The progeny of the early workers are filling schools -- and, critics say, jails -- as well as putting heavy demands on social services. The legal status of the offspring is murky, with many entitled to social services and health care without holding citizenship.

The Berlin borough of Neukoelln, one of Germany's largest immigrant enclaves, spends 60 percent of its budget on welfare payments. Meanwhile, 70 percent of the children in the district don't complete high school; only about half of immigrant youngsters speak German.

Europe’s suicidal embrace of guest workers offers a perfect example of the lunacy of open borders for the US. True, the immigrants currently flooding across the US border are largely Latino, from a culture much more sympathetic to American cultural values than immigrants from the Middle East. However, Mexican and Central American culture differs greatly from American culture in important and basic ways. Neither Mexicans nor their Central American neighbors have managed to construct prosperous nations of their own, nor have they produced scientific, artistic or political achievements comparable to anything produced by Americans. IQ assessments of the new immigrants indicate that they lag native Americans in average IQ and do no possess a cultural inclination toward higher learning (name, please, all of the world-reknown universities in Mexico or Guatemala or Honduras – then name the same in just Massachusetts or California. See the difference?). But the sheer numbers of such immigrants have permitted them to become a powerful political force in the US, a muscle flexed in recent weeks with massive street protests. They don’t need to assimilate because their numbers now shield them from the economic consequences of not doing so, and because public policy foolishness (multiculturalism) on the part of the US government (and state governments too) have made it possible – even easy – for them to live here without even learning English. Separated from the dominant culture by language, served by the Spanish-language media and by corporations willing to offer their services in Spanish, immigrants from Latin America have little need to assimilate. Worse, there is an army of activists motivated by multiculturalism who will teach them that the dominant (read: Anglo) culture is racist and imperialist and capitalist, etc, and that they should not assimilate, but rather take pride in their Latino identity. Thus begins the balkanization of the US, cheered on by Latino race groups like La Raza, which then feeds off the racial resentment and failure to assimilate that it encourages. The longer this continues, the worse the situation will get and the more radical the demands of the immigrants.

President Bush’s guest worker program is a Trojan Horse that will produce a massive demographic realignment of the US and a consequent degradation of American intellectual achievement, economic prosperity, military power and cultural cohesion. It is a disaster that can be stopped if vocally opposed.