Free Speech for the Blind

I didn't realize that Tom Tancredo was still capable of drawing a crowd of chanting "protesters," but that's just what he did at UNC the other day. Now the apologies are flying: UNC leaders apologize for speech fiasco:

On Wednesday, UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp and UNC System President Erskine Bowles both telephoned former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado to apologize after student protesters shouted Tancredo down as he tried to give a speech. Students smashed a window a few feet from where he stood and blocked his face with a banner that said, "No One Is Illegal."

Tancredo is known as one of the nation's most strident voices against immigration, both legal and illegal. But on Tuesday he never got to make his argument against in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants. The broken glass, and the subsequent use of pepper spray by police, shut down the event while Tancredo was merely describing recent legislation aimed at providing such benefits.
Bowles might want to have a chat with the junior league Ward Churchills who were undoubtedly lurking in the background of this "protest." The tired ritual of progressive students shutting down speech they don't like has been a feature on campuses for 40 years. So has the tired ritual of defending our country's immigration laws, which are also 40 years old, and which give every indication of having lost credibility with the citizenry.

Rather than simply apologize to Tom Tancredo, it would be nice if - just once - we could have an honest debate about immigration. All we have had for the last 5 years are marches and protests by professional activists who label each other "racists" on the one hand and "criminals" on the other with healthy doses of self-serving pomposity from all sides. No one rioting on behalf of immigrants seems willing to discuss the practical issues of current immigration policy:
* that a single country - Mexico - is dominating recent immigration for no better reason than its shares our southern border
* that illegal immigrants are often an exploited class whose low wages also have the effect of lowering the wages of low-income American workers;
* that illegal immigrants are drawing on America's generous welfare system and public services, for which Americans are paying increasing taxes with the trade-off of decreased services
* that H1-B visas often shut Americans out of high wage tech jobs for the sake of temporary workers who may or may not stay in the United States.
* that there is a significant incidence of identity theft, especially of social security numbers, which enables illegal immigration
* that the chaotic nighttime border crossings along the southern border are dangerous for the illegals, and make a mockery of our sovereignty.
* that the proposed "guest worker" program would facilitate the importation of temporary workers, rather than the hiring of Americans.
Economic competition, citizenship, national sovereignty. These are not issues that lend themselves to easy debate, especially in today's charged atmosphere where the Race Card is invoked to shut down debate when things get uncomfortable. Indeed, these are not issues that are discussed openly. Often, Americans - especially dopey college kids - don't want to recognize how lucky they are to have been born here, and that their comfortable lives are more the result of chance, rather than their innate abilities. American citizenship is a valuable thing, and we are the only nation that must defend its value from dilution by excessive inflows of people just as hard working as we are, but who were unlucky in their place of birth. But, as long as you can't have the debate, you will not have immigration reform because it will lack any credibility with American citizens who have every right - as citizens - to decide who we want living here.

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