Halt Immigration While Reform Is Debated

By Jeffrey Hart
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 6, Number 2 (Winter 1995-1996)
Issue theme: "Affirmative action for immigrants?"

I'd like to call attention to a remarkable article published by former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm. The column was printed in April in the Rocky Mountain News in Denver and recently reprinted in the local New Hampshire press. It has the potential impact of the theses nailed to the church door by Martin Luther in 1517.

Lamm is a clear and courageous thinker who is not afraid to speak his mind, and he tells the sharp-edged truth on the issue of immigration to the United States.

The immigration issue is hitting hard even in New Hampshire, which is far from the Rio Grande and from the Caribbean.

But before we get to Lamm and to immigration, I want to say a word about sharp-edged issues.

As the election year of 1996 approaches, an enormous number of the issues that are 'up' have sharp edges. They are not very available to consensus and compromises.

That is because those issues go the heart of the nature of these United States, and both or all sides of the issues have moral and theoretical dimensions.

It is certainly true of the vexed 'affirmative action' issue. It is true about fiscal policy, and the deficit, and the duties of this generation to the next. It is true about welfare - about whether it is an 'entitlement,' and about whether illegitimacy should be subsidized.

Next year there will be a powerful urge to postpone the ultimate confrontation and choice. Sen. Bob Dole's experience and temperament lead him to seek compromise, but he is being pushed toward confrontations he hates by dynamics of the Republican Party, as witness his recent speech demanding English as our official national language.

President Clinton would like to fudge things, as in his recent speech arguing that 'the problem is wages,

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