Justin asked what is wrong with ethnic lobbies affecting immigration policy. My concern is twofold: first, with the people who claim to represent entire ethnic groups--and use those claims to gain political power to advance personal agendas. Do the so-called "Hispanic" lobbies really represent "Hispanics", with all their diverse interests and opinions?
For example, regarding the pending appointment of an Hispanic judge to federal district court,
several Hispanic organizations back him based on his legal credentials, but several others claim he is not "Hispanic enough". Just what is "Hispanic enough"? From the dissenting organizations involved, and their statements on the issues, I infer that means an "Hispanic" backs bilingual (i.e. Spanish-language) education and supports benefits for illegal aliens. These are prominent organizations, whose spokespeople are often mentioned in the media as representing "the" Hispanic position, and I'd be willing to bet that this is the image Congress gets as well. And should not "Hispanic" candidates for office, particularly national office, represent the interests of all Americans, not just their own ethnic group?
Second, ethnic lobbies perpetuate hostilities better left in the immigrants' home countries, and contribute to terrorism here and abroad. Irish-Americans for years have funded terrorism in Northern Ireland, for example. Already, American Jews are showing concern at the increase in the number of Arab immigrants, particularly Muslims, to the US. While known previously as supporters of immigration and asylum, there is at least discussion as to whether this is in the interests of American Jews, and ultimately, of Israel. Meanwhile, in Canada, the large Palestinian population among students at Concordia University in Montreal got the University to cancel a speech by Israel's prime minister by threatening violence. Intimidation such as this abridges free speech and ultimately freedom itself. Given the large number of ethnic groups represented in the US, and the large number of ethnic conflicts overseas, the only surprising thing is that more of those hostilities haven't carried over. But you can bet they will if we continue to emphasize ethnic identity over American identity, and multiculturalism over assimilation.
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