PERSPECTIVEnThe Real American DilemmanA merica is a nation of immigrants. How often is thatndeclaration trotted out to explain why it would benimmoral to do something about controlling immigration, asnif every country were not a nation of immigrants. If Britainnever had an indigenous population, it was overrun by Celts,nGermans, Danes, and Normans—to say nothing of thenHollanders brought over and ennobled when Dutch Williamndrove his father-in-law from the throne. Almost anyncountry, excepting the poor benighted Scandinavians, couldntell a similar story, and the present condition of Sweden is asngood an argument as I can think of against a restricted genenpool. (It is also a total refutation of the hilarious idea ofnNordic supremacy.)nIt is conventional to speak of the great contributions madenby immigrants and at the same time to deplore thenunpleasant reception they were given by the WSP population.nNo one ever seems to carry the argument back to thenreception the Indians usually tried to arrange for Europeannsettlers pushing into their territories. We are all, even thenIndians, descended from immigrants, and it is hard to picknwhich group has contributed most to the fabric of ourncivilization.nIn some sort of descending order one would have toninclude the various British stocks, the Germans and Dutch,nthe French (especially the Huguenots), and the more recentnarrivals from eastern and southern Europe. In addition, nonaccount of American culture could leave out the strange andnoften strained relations between European Americans andnthe American blacks whose ancestors were brought here bynforce. Jazz, the blues, and rock music, all hybrids of the twonstocks, could stand as a metaphor for our “peculiar”n8/CHRONICLESnby Thomas Flemingnnnrelationship.nIn recent years, however, while the main focus in thenpolite media has remained on the contributions and sufferingsnof hyphenated Americans, ordinary Americans arenmore concerned with the problems caused by the virtualnflood of arrivals from the Third World. For some years now,nlegal immigration has been at an average rate of overn600,000 per year, while the number of illegals in thisncountry is anybody’s guess. In 1985 Richard Lamm andnGary Imhoff {The Immigration Time Bomb: The Fragmentingnof America) estimated eight and a half to eleven million,nmostly from Latin America.nImmigration reform was the great issue of the Reagannyears that never really took shape, and it will be up to Mr.nBush, the Congress, and above all to the opinion industry tonsettle the future of the United States. There was a debate, ofncourse, and one celebrated bill that didn’t make it (Simpson-nMazzoli) as well as the version that did, but most of thendiscussion was safely trivial: whether or not to tighten up thenborder controls and send back (temporarily) a certainnnumber of illegals, and how merciful to be in grantingnamnesty. Ultimately—and this is a sign of how low we havenfallen—most of the conversation was about money. Thinknof the jobs that need to be done, the fruit that needs to benpicked, the houses cleaned. Think of the contributions tonscience and industry made by talented immigrants.nAfter we’ve done thinking about what’s in it for agribusinessnand electronics, we just might begin to wonder what isnin store for the American people. Not too long ago, I had anchance to go over the whole ground with one of thenbrightest defenders of free trade and open borders in then