MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry has once again said something profoundly stupid. Let’s talk about it. First, here’s the transcript of her telecast:
“If we looked at had history, we do indeed see where there are moments when children have been the catalyst that moved Americans to push beyond their own biases and borders — both national and racial. In May of 1963, the children’s crusade organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference brought more than 3,000 young people to the city of Birmingham, AL in a show of civil disobedience against segregation in the city.
Once Americans saw those images of children standing courageously against injustice, the tide of national public opinion took a pivotal turn in support of the civil rights movement’s cause. But we can’t embrace that moment of America’s moral fortitude without also owning the great moral failing to had it was responding because the children at the border have also been confronted with the hostility that is as old as the segregated South and just as American as the grace and charity of those to who have extended a hand of help.
And if we are to claim our history protecting vulnerable children, we must also grapple with our history of responding to them as a threat when their presence undermines an established order. As much as Americans rallied to the cause of the children’s crusade, it was also agents of the American state that were willing to attack them with armed officers, fire hoses, and police dogs when they challenge a deeply entrenched way of life in the South.
Rick Perry was preceded in his call to send armed troops to confront children by Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus, and he, of course, called the National Guard to stop the Little Rock Nine from their first day of school at Central High.
The presence of children on buses integrating Boston schools in 1974 didn’t stop white crowds from confronting them with slurs and threats of violence. Nor did it give pause to the adults who hurled objects and insults at 6-year-old Ruby Bridges on the day she became the first African-Americans child to desegregate an elementary school. And so when we look to children seeking safety at our borders and see instead an invasion to be defended against, a contagion to be contained or a drain on resources that we just don’t want to share – that is a side of history on which we are choosing to stand.“
Now, let’s break it down. First, Harris Perry compares the civil rights movement of the 1960’s to what’s happening currently at the southern border of the United States.
Harris Perry is making the claim that the illegal children entering the United States (the majority of whom are actually teens, by the way) are being treated like the south treated blacks in the 50’s and 60’s. I don’t see the similarities at all. The reason the teens crossing the border are being met with hostility is not because of factors they themselves cannot control. The segregationists hated blacks because of their skin color. They believed blacks to be inferior based simply on the fact that they have more melanin in their skin. It was, and is, an unfounded, and unreasonable hatred. On the other hand, the teens who have entered the United States illegally have broken the laws of our sovereign nation by crossing our border without permission. Once here, it is highly likely that they will stay here, and become a drain on American resources. According to the Center For Immigration Studies:
“We estimate that 52 percent of households with children headed by legal immigrants used at least one welfare program in 2009, compared to 71 percent for illegal immigrant households with children. Illegal immigrants generally receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children.“
Once again, according to CIS, the main contributing factor to welfare use among immigrants is a lack of education:
“One of the most important characteristics of illegal immigrants is the very large share with little formal education. We estimated that 54 percent of adult illegal immigrants (25 to 65 years of age) have not completed high school, 25 percent have only a high school degree, and 21 percent have education beyond high school. As already discussed, this is critically important because education is such a determinant of socio-economic status in the modern American economy. We also estimate that 58 percent of the illegal population comes from Mexico…The high rate of welfare use by less-educated legal immigrant households with children indicates that legalizing illegal immigrants would likely increase their welfare use.”
Given that a majority of illegal immigrants have little to no employable education, their presence in the United States would only contribute to our already bloated welfare state.
The hostility with which these illegal immigrants are being met is not a product of hatred, but one of self-preservation. It is not hatred, but self-defense, a defense of a nation with borders, and an economy of its own. Additionally, the bulk of the hostility is not being directed at illegals themselves, but at the Obama administration for allowing their entry into the States.
Blacks were hated because they were black. They were American citizens, with all the rights, and allowances of such citizens, yet they were being treated despicably because of their race. Illegal immigrants are not American citizens, and as such, they have no American rights. They are not being harmed by anyone but the administration. They don’t belong here, not because of their race or their country of origin, but because they came here illegally, and their presence harms the economy.
Harris Perry goes on to condemn our “lack of compassion” for the children:
“And if we are to claim our history protecting vulnerable children, we must also grapple with our history of responding to them as a threat when their presence undermines an established order.“
With this argument, Harris Perry is making the assumption that all situations involving children are the same, that if we protected the black children in the 60’s, we must then also protect these teens crossing the border. It’s a child-like argument, with no nuance whatsoever. She is assuming all things are equal when they are not. This is not an oppressive government crushing its smallest citizens under its boot, it is a government protecting its borders, which are what makes it a nation.
The “established order” Harris Perry mentions is the notion that we, as a sovereign nation, have borders. And yes, the illegal influx is indeed undermining that order. Does she believe that’s a good thing? Illegal teens are not being fire-hosed against brick walls, so far as I can tell, although Harris Perry revels in making that comparison.
I’m not even going to go into her comparison of Rick Perry to Orval Faubus.
Finally, Harris Perry makes her triumphant conclusion:
“And so when we look to children seeking safety at our borders and see instead an invasion to be defended against, a contagion to be contained or a drain on resources that we just don’t want to share – that is a side of history on which we are choosing to stand.”
The simplicity of Harris Perry’s understanding of this situation is laughable. She has no regard for the national security implications of this influx, nor does she seem to care much about the impact it will have on the jobs market, or the economy at large. She seems to believe that American resources are unending (a symptom of liberalism). She seems to believe that we are the parents of the entire world, and that we must be willing to share our already taxed resources to anyone who comes knocking–or anyone who sneaks in during the dead of night, as it were. We cannot be the world’s parents, handing out endless cash when they ask for it, nor can we house every person who walks across our border. There are millions upon millions of children in other countries that are similarly disadvantaged as those from Mexico, and Central America, would Melissa Harris Perry like us to fly them all in?
If we don’t respect our borders, we don’t have a country. Similarly, if we accept these illegal immigrants, there will be no end to the influx we will see. It’s all or nothing, and apparently, Melissa Harris Perry wants it all.