Those who counsel continued massive immigration todaynon the grounds that the great European wave of the earlyn20th century “made it” downplay, dismiss, or ignore thenassimilating effects of some forty years of greatly curtailednimmigration after 1924. The fact that the closing of thendoor at the time was conducted with racist intent by nonmeans implies that the ebb failed to benefit the immigrantsnalready here.nIn sum, the evidence shows that Hispanic-Americans havenemerged as the greatest victims of U.S. immigrationnpolicy since 1965, instead of its greatest beneficiaries. Thennotion that Hispanics in this country favor more immigration,nwhile the rest of America favors less, is a false one thatnhas poisoned the debate for too long. This distortion mustnbe corrected, especially by those who explicitly claim tonrepresent Hispanic-Americans or who profess to care whatnHispanic-Americans opine on the issue of immigration.nWeighing the impact of massive immigration on thenlargest group of Hispanic-Americans almost a quarter centurynago, the late Professor George I. Sanchez of thenUniversity of Texas wrote: “The most serious threats to anneffective program of acculturation in the Southwest havenbeen the population movements from Mexico: first, bynillegal aliens . . . Unless we can end the legal or illegal entrynof large numbers of Mexican aliens, much of the good worknthat state and federal agencies are doing will go for naught;nmuch more time and effort and many more millions ofndollars will be required to bring Texas and her sister states tona desirable cultural level.”nFirst Rain —Nightnby William M. GalbraithnThe tentative remarks of midnight rainna cold voice at the window . . . And on the eavesnin a patterned yet a flexible refrainninsistence drips down heavily from the leaves.nAnd everything is closer than it was,nthe darkness weighted and the limbs are bentnin air as heavy as a primal cause.nThe walls of the room come in like discontent.nThe night is endless only if the starsnextend it so—but caves are made of fearnand rainy nights where ancient avatarsninvade the thoughts, and no one else can hearnthe drip and drip and drip, endless and blind,nof showers of wonder flooding through the mind.n28/CHRONICLESnnnHispanic-Americans who dare voice support for immigrationncontrols today are routinely attacked and ostracized fornallegedly wanting to “selfishly pull up the ladder” afternthemselves. Their critics ignore three basic points: that fromnthe colonial period until the present time, there have alwaysnbeen limits on immigration to this country, whether de factonor de jure; that responsible arguments for numerical limitsnare extremely generous by global standards; and that even ifnthe charge of hypocrisy were valid, the critics would still benobligated to address the argument that massive immigrationnis not good for the nation as a whole.nIf viewed as a high jump event, today’s Hispanic workersnhave had the bar set much higher than was the case for theirnEuropean counterparts eariier in the century, withoutnpossessing a higher level of skill. No great manufacturingnboom lies on the horizon to catapult today’s impoverishednimmigrants into the middle class, as occurred for Europeannimmigrants and their families after World War II. Andnunlike that particular cohort, there is no end in sight to thencurrent wave of immigration. The “breathing space” ofnassimilation is growing more and more limited for today’snHispanic immigrant.nThe good news is that a certain number of Hispanics arendoing well — Cuban-Americans and the Mexican-Americannmiddle class, for example, as well as a small but growingnnumber of South Americans. But crafting social andneconomic policies based on the attainments of successfulnHispanics, as opposed to attacking the problems plaguingnimpoverished Hispanics, is adventuresome at best. Thenrecent history of the African-American underclass, and innparticular of the decline of the two-parent family, must servenas a warning. Policymakers need the entire motion picture,nnot just the select still frames that have so misled Congressnin this debate.nAs the United States stands triurtiphant over the discreditedntotalitarians of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union,nwho for decades refused their own citizens the right freely tonleave their countries, let us be vigilant against our ownnideological extremists who, swept up in a frenzy of libertariannor liberal jihad, would proceed to strip America’s bordersnof all prudent regulation and unwittingly drive rich and poorneven further apart, helping to erode the very bulwark of ournnationhood, the middle class, in the process.nThrough its exaggerated emphasis on numbers andnnepotism, current U.S. immigration policy helps to impedenassimilation, stymie bootstrapping, nurture welfare dependency,nintensify tribalist politics, prolong labor intensiveness,nand undermine productivity and competitiveness.nThe American people — including Hispanic-Americans —nshould challenge this policy lapse on the part of Congressnwith renewed vigor, disdaining options born of genuinenracism, but also parrying spurious charges of racism designednto choke a debate the advocates of ever-greaternimmigration have found impossible to win on merit.nThe citizenry would do well to remind their representativesnof the wise counsel of Abraham Lincoln, who said, innthe midst of a full-blown crisis of unity: “The dogmas of thenquiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. … As ourncase is new, so must we think anew and act anew. We mustndisenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”nn