AMERICA'S OPEN BORDER This week will be one President Carter wishes he never had to go through. By nature a self-described "conciliator," rather than an take-charge leader, Mr. Carter is having to invoke the Taft-Hartley Act in order to force a temporary end to the nation's three-month old coal strike. How successful he is at meeting the challenge from the nation's soft-coal miners will determine the health of the economy at home and the dollar abroad.
There is another problem, however, that the President, along with Congress is sweeping under the rug, and by this I'm not speaking of energy. Rather, the torrent of illegal immigration into the United States, mostly from Mexico. The best Mr. Carter has offered to date is to actually concede partial defeat, in that he has offered amnesty and prospective citizenship to illegals who have been in the U.S. for five or more years. The United States appears to be hopelessly lost in how to handle the problem. There are conservatively 8 million illegals washing around the country at the moment, with more coming every day, pouring past outnumbered and frustrated U.S. border guards.
Together with legal citizens of Hispanic origin, the Spanish speaking (including Puerto Ricans) are well on the way to replacing American blacks as the dominant minority in the country. By the mid-1980's, Hispanics, blacks and other minorities will outnumber "anglos" in California, producing what one expert called America's first "third world state."
Mexico is doing absolutely nothing to stem the tide north, though she herself harshly deals with her own alien problem on her own southern border with Guatemala.
What the Mexicans have done is subtly threaten the U.S. that any clamp on the illegal immigration "safety valve" will produce explosive social disruption inside Mexico. They point to the fact that a full 52% of their population is unemployed.
It all adds up to a massive political/social dilemma of potentially grave consequences for the United States, certainly one within the context of Deuteronomy 28:43 — "The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low." How serious the problem actually is was brought out by columnist Georgie Anne Geyer, in the March 6 issue of the Los Angeles Times:
"The United States has the perfect right — and, moreover, the duty, if law is not to become completely irrelevant — to maintain sovereignty on its borders...yet we are seriously unbalancing the racial makeup of the country through what can only be called illegal acts.
"If the situation continues, it will be one more advertisement to the world that the United States cannot even preside over a law-abiding world in its own house, much less create one outside."
One note regarding last week's column on Canada: Elie Hofer rightly points out I was a bit rough on Prime Minister Trudeau's political adversary, Tory leader Joe Clark. There is no doubt that Clark's star is shining brighter these days, due to scandals in the Liberal . Party power structure, the stagnant Canadian economy, and Clark's own favorable image in Parliamentary debates, which now are televised. Trudeau, by contrast, appears tired and defensive. So watch Mr. Clark — North America may soon have a "Joe" to go along with a "Jimmy." Whether that's good or bad we'll have to see.