27 March 2008

Influence of Aussie Immigration Policy

A headline from The Australian yesterday brought a smile of wonder to my face: “West awakes from suicidal slumber”. I didn’t know the precise contents of the article, written by Janet Albrechtsen, but I was sure I would be happy with it.

The article centered on the Brit’s “bring[ing] in immigration controls based on the ‘Australian model’.” This is strangely odd because not long ago Australia was regarded “as an international pariah” because of immigration reforms – including a citizenship test – in the country. Now, Australia’s reforms are the benchmark for similar reforms in the UK.

The article also puts multiculturalism, and the cultural (and moral) relativism that accompanies it, in the spotlight. Though I doubt Mrs. Albrechtsen’s claim that “the multiculti crowd is dwindling to a few stragglers”, I think it is important that Western democracies are finally revived enough to claim, as Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says, that “it is confidence in your own heritage that allows you to be generous to those of another heritage.” Indeed.

It makes me wonder just how long Americans will have to wait to unweave our won immigration web. Surely there will be no action by the Bush administration; nor will Congress do anything that does not assure individual members a smooth passage to reelection. Perhaps part of the solution, as it is in Australia and soon in the UK, is to offer probationary citizenship with limited entitlements. But then, that’s getting ahead of the situation as I see it.

Unlike the UK and Australia, the US is not surrounded by bodies of water. Regardless of any “universal, comprehensive, compassionate, collaborative” plan put forth by either party, open borders must be closed before anything else. The US electorate has already bought the fib of “one-time amnesty”.

But while American practical solutions may be different from our UK and Aussie counterparts, the core of the positive side of the argument is the same. Western culture matters. British culture is important to the survival of the UK. Australian culture is important to the survival of Australia. American culture is no less important to our survival as a nation.

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