Comments illustrate division on immigration issue
Irish aren't red-headed Mexicans
Thursday, May 24, 2018
In a recent interview with NPR, Trump's chief of staff John Kelly described the illegal aliens pouring across our border in the most gentle manner imaginable.
He said that illegal aliens aren't "bad people," but also "not people that would easily assimilate into the United States into our modern society." They are, he continued, mostly rural, poor, unskilled and illiterate. "They don't speak English," Kelly said. "Obviously, that's a big thing."
Kelly violated the civic religion of treating every non-American as better than an American — a potential valedictorian, Medal of Honor winner and Nobel Prize recipient. Naturally, he was called a "racist."
So what was the point? You're going to be called a "racist" no matter what you say, so why not be honest: Illegals are self-entitled law-breakers and thieves, stealing jobs and government benefits meant for our own people.
Our cliche-driven media huffed and puffed about Kelly's presumed descent from immigrants.
CNN's Don Lemon said, "But like most Americans, Kelly comes from a family of immigrants, doesn't he?"
If you'd read "Adios, America!" Don, you'd know this is PC nonsense. As late as 1990 — a quarter-century into Teddy Kennedy's plan to remake our nation into a Third World hellhole — half of the population traced its roots to the Americans of 1790. We're a real country, made up of the people who created it, much like other countries.
There were Irish here at the time of our founding who fought in the Revolutionary War. I'm related to one.
CNN's John Berman said: "If I remember my high school American history — and I do — America in the midst of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century was built on immigrants."
It's as if nothing happened in America until 1850 — no Jamestown, no Declaration of Independence, no Constitution, no creation of a brand-new civilization out of mud.
Long before America experienced its first immigrant wave in the 19th century, this was already a wildly successful country — rich, literate and free (with one glaring exception, soon to be corrected in the only war ever fought to end slavery). We'd won a war with Great Britain, conquered the West, and invented electricity, refrigeration, suspension bridges and a democratic republic.
All immigrants have been a problem in their own way. Italian immigrants brought us organized crime, something America had never experienced before. Jewish immigrants brought us radicals, communists and anarchists, setting off bombs all over the place. Irish immigrants brought poverty and shocking levels of crime — also William Brennan and Teddy Kennedy, the two men who did more than any others to wreck our country.
In the draft riots of 1863, New York City's Irish exploded in feral violence over the Emancipation Proclamation, fearful that they would soon have to compete with freed blacks for jobs.
The Irish ran wild, lynching blacks and burning black establishments to the ground. As described in Leslie M. Harris' book "In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863," the Irish rioters "made a sport of mutilating the black men's bodies, sometimes sexually. A group of white men and boys mortally attacked black sailor William Williams — jumping on his chest, plunging a knife into him, smashing his body with stones — while a crowd of men, women and children watched."
Luckily for the Irish, there were no ethnic activist groups leaping in to excuse their bad behavior. President Lincoln sent in federal troops to crush the savage uprising.
And these were European immigrants, most of whom spoke English, contrary to the claptrap you've heard in reaction to Kelly's remark this past week. Today we're getting peasants who not only don't speak English, they don't even speak Spanish and are also illiterate in their own dialects.
The Irish were driven out of their country by a one-time calamity — the potato famine. This wasn't how they always lived. Starving poverty wasn't their culture.
Still, the Irish were — at one time — among the poorest immigrants we ever got and the slowest to assimilate. It took 120 years, by political analyst Michael Barone's estimate.
And they might still be a problem if The New York Times had demanded special rights for them, the ACLU had brought lawsuits on their behalf and the Southern Poverty Law Center had screamed "racism" whenever anyone noticed their bad behavior.
Instead, no-nonsense Irish priests knocked them upside the head and told them to sober up and go home to their wives. (Back then, the Catholic Church was not about "immigrant rights"; it was about cleaning up their own bums.)
By the 1950s, the Irish were outearning other Americans. Many reformed so well that they became Republicans.
That was then, this is now.
Ann Coulter is a social and political commentator, writer, syndicated columnist and lawyer.