January 23, 2008

The desirability of open borders has become such a given in polite conversation that even some supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul have criticized him for suggesting greater restrictions.  That makes this statement by a government official today seem all the more surprising:

“It is the responsibility of [the other country] to ensure that the border operates properly, according to the signed agreements,” he said. “We expect the [other country’s people] to solve the problem. Obviously we are worried about the situation. It could potentially allow anybody to enter.”

Imagine, say, Condoleezza Rice uttering those words, with “Mexico” in the first set of brackets and “Mexicans” in the second.  Or even “Canada” in the first and “Canadians” in the second, since, as the Honorable James Bissett, former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia and former executive director of the Canadian Immigration Service, has pointed out repeatedly in the pages of Chronicles and in our recent book Immigration and the American Future, our unsecured northern border presents just as great a threat (though of a different kind) as does our unsecured southern border.

Alas, neither Secretary Rice nor anyone from the U.S. State Department is likely ever to make such remarks.  Instead, the comment came today from Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel, in response to the decision of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to allow 350,000 Palestinians to pass from the Gaza Strip into Egypt to buy food.  The Palestinians were then escorted back into Gaza.

When Americans call for tougher border controls, we’re often called every name in the book and accused of mean-spiritedness toward Mexicans, “who just want to come here to do jobs that no American will do so that they can feed their families.”  In the case of Israel, and the Gaza-Egypt border crisis, the Palestinians have broken down the border wall to gain access to food and medical supplies in Egypt because their families (unlike most Mexican families) are quite literally starving, as a result, the Jerusalem Post reports, of “the blockade imposed on the territory by Israel.”

Will American pro-immigrationists apply the same standard to Foreign Minister Mekel’s remarks as they do to Ron Paul’s?  Somehow, I don’t think so.


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