Suddenly, immigration is becoming a bigger issue throughout the Western world. Governments around the globe are very concerned about potential problems that massive immigration may bring.
The American state of Arizona, which borders Mexico, recently passed a law authorizing police to inquire of people they've stopped for other legitimate reasons if they are in the United States legally, should there be sufficient reason to suspect otherwise, and to ask for proof of their legal status in such case. Illegal immigrants have contributed to mounting crime, increasing health and educational costs and other problems in the state.
Most of Arizona's citizens support the law, though some organizations outside the state have announced boycotts, which could cost it a great deal. Even the federal government is considering filing lawsuits to prevent the law from being implemented.
Immigration reshaping Western countries
A car bomb placed in New York City's Times Square on May 1, 2010, was the 11th attempted terrorist act in the city of New York since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The bomb—which, thankfully, failed to go off as planned—raised some deeply troubling questions about even legal immigration.
How could a young Pakistani immigrant who lived the American dream possibly want to kill hundreds of his fellow citizens? The United States and other Western democracies, still coming to terms with radical Islam, are finding it hard to fathom. It just doesn't fit into the multicultural ideal!
France, Belgium, Italy and other European countries are passing laws to block Islamic women from wearing full veils in public. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel is insisting the country's large Turkish population should assimilate, while the Turkish prime minister insists they should have their own separate schools to protect their Islamic identity.
Meanwhile, a Danish cartoonist whose cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad led to riots in a number of countries was threatened by an ax-wielding intruder, and a Swedish cartoonist was physically attacked by protesters shouting "Allah is great!" as he gave a lecture on free speech. Muslims insist that freedom of speech, long cherished in the West, has its limits.
In Britain, the issue of immigration may have cost Prime Minister Gordon Brown the recent election. When a 65-year-old supporter of his own party approached him during the campaign and expressed concern about all the immigrants from Eastern Europe flowing into her neighborhood, Mr. Brown was overheard in his car describing her as a "bigoted woman." Leaders clearly don't like the sensitive issue of immigration being brought up.
But it's not going to go away.
Majorities becoming minorities in their own land
People are feeling increasingly threatened by the changing demographics in their own nations. The ethnic composition of Western countries is rapidly altering due to massive immigration in the last few decades. The United States alone took in 10 million more immigrants in the seven years following Sept. 11, 2001—many of them from countries rife with radical Islamists. To many citizens, this just doesn't make sense.
An increasing number of Americans are aware that these demographic changes will lead to a majority nonwhite population in their own lifetimes. How they handle this will determine the country's future. As Time magazine put it: "How the current majority reacts to its incipient minority status is the most crucial socio-demographic issue facing the country" (Gregory Rodriguez, "The White Anxiety Crisis," March 22, 2010, international edition).
In an amazing break from tradition, many Western nations changed their immigration policies after World War II and welcomed millions of people from the Third World. Even the United States, often deemed a cultural "melting pot," had an immigration policy prior to 1965 that favored maintaining the racial status quo.
The late Senator Edward Kennedy's 1965 immigration bill deliberately changed earlier policy, welcoming a big influx of immigrants from the world's poorer nations. At the time, Americans were assured it would not alter the ethnic mix and social fabric of their nation.
Now it's evident this assurance was false. One could easily make the argument that the election of America's first African-American president would not have happened without the reality of changing demographics.
Immigration leading to unrest
The issue of immigration was briefly discussed on NBC's Chris Matthews Show on May 9, 2010.
During the program, John Heilemann of New York magazine observed: "We're going through one of these once-in-a-century transformations that cuts across a lot of different things—cultural change, there's big demographic change, there's big economic change, and technological change, and it makes people really nervous. It's been going on for about 15 years in America—the sense of anxiety, the sense we've lost control of our lives."
Also on the show was Cynthia Tucker, a columnist with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who offered this perspective: "I've always thought that this great melting pot or salad, however you want to describe this diverse nation, works as long as the economy is good, as long as the pie is growing and every American believes he or she has an opportunity to get a piece of that pie, we're all pretty happy."
However, now that the economy is not doing so well, the United States could be in for a more stressful time when it comes to assimilating the various ethnic groups that now live in the country.
The same applies elsewhere, of course. Some of the eurozone countries are on the brink of financial collapse due to decades of overspending. Severe government spending cuts are inevitable. The nations have already seen unemployment rise. Without jobs, many are already blaming immigrants for their situation.
In the latest election in Britain, the anti-immigrant British National Party almost tripled the share of the vote it received in the 2005 election. In fact, anti-immigrant parties are seeing growing support in a number of European countries.
The perceived threat applies on several different levels.
Security a growing concern
Besides feeling that their way of life is threatened, both culturally and economically, people are also becoming more concerned about security as radical terror movements increasingly recruit homegrown terrorists. Commenting on the recent attempted bombing in Times Square, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies professor Fouad Ajami wrote the following in the May 10, 2010, Wall Street Journal:
"'A Muslim has no nationality except his belief,' the intellectual godfather of the Islamists, Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, wrote decades ago. Qutb's 'children' are everywhere now; they carry the nationalities of foreign lands and plot against them. The Pakistani-born Faisal Shahzad [who set up the car bomb] is a devotee of Sayyid Qutb's doctrine, and Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, was another.
"Qutb was executed by the secular dictatorship of [Egyptian President] Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1966. But his thoughts and legacy endure. Globalization, the shaking up of continents, the ease of travel, and the doors for immigration flung wide open by Western liberal societies have given Qutb's worldview greater power and relevance. What can we make of a young man like Shahzad working for [the cosmetics company] Elizabeth Arden, receiving that all-American degree, the MBA, jogging in the evening in Bridgeport, then plotting mass mayhem in Times Square?
"The Islamists are now within the gates. They fled the fires and the failures of the Islamic world but brought the ruin with them. They mock national borders and identities. A parliamentary report issued by Britain's House of Commons on the London Underground bombings of July 7, 2005, lays bare this menace and the challenge it poses to a system of open borders and modern citizenship.
"The four men who pulled off those brutal attacks, the report noted, 'were apparently well integrated into British society.' Three of them were second-generation Britons born in West Yorkshire. The oldest, a 30-year-old father of a 14-month-old infant, 'appeared to others as a role model to young people.' One of the four, 22 years of age, was a boy of some privilege; he owned a red Mercedes given to him by his father and was given to fashionable hairstyles and designer clothing...Two of the four, rather like Faisal Shahzad, had spent time in Pakistan before they pulled off their deed.
"A year after the London terror, hitherto tranquil Canada had its own encounter with the new Islamism. A ring of radical Islamists were charged with plotting to attack targets in southern Ontario with fertilizer bombs. A school-bus driver was one of the leaders of these would-be jihadists.
"A report by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service unintentionally echoed the British House of Commons findings. 'These individuals are part of Western society, and their "Canadianness" makes detection more difficult. Increasingly, we are learning of more and more extremists that are homegrown. The implications of this shift are profound'" ("Islam's Nowhere Men: Millions Like Faisal Shahzad Are Unsettled by a Modern World They Can Neither Master nor Reject," emphasis added).
Prophecy warned of consequences for national sins
The modern descendants of the ancient Israelites include many of the nations that make up today's Western world. In Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, God promised tremendous physical blessings if they would obey Him, but He also warned them of the dire consequences of disobedience. The promised blessings for obedience are awe-inspiring; the assurances of punishment for sins are deeply troubling.
These chapters make for sobering reading when we consider trends in recent years. In Deuteronomy 32, verse 25 warns of "terror within"—a prophecy clearly being fulfilled now, with an even greater increase in the problem likely still to come.
The apostle Paul spoke of how God created "from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings" (Acts 17:26).
Of course, this passage does not mean that correctly controlled immigration is inherently wrong, seeing that when the Israelites left Egypt the door was opened for a certain number of non-Israelites to dwell among them. However, they had to leave their culture behind and abide by the same laws God gave the Israelites. We are now learning the negative consequences of the multicultural society that has been propagated for the last 50 years.
Mixing cultures, and especially religions, can be volatile! We should have known that before the change in immigration laws just by looking at history and at other societies where mixing religions has led to serious tension and conflict.
The people of Europe feel particularly threatened. With higher population densities than the United States and closer proximity to the volatile Middle East, many West European nations have significantly high Muslim populations. Add to this Europe's low birthrate in contrast to the high Islamic birthrate, and the potential for violent conflict only increases.
And as we've seen, it's not just security that is threatened. Economics also play a major role. God Himself warned of serious consequences for the native peoples as a result of immigration: "The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail" (Deuteronomy 28:43-44).
In other words, the strangers—those of foreign cultures and religions—will end up on top, in control and in time possibly dictating a way of life foreign to the indigenous population.
This is, of course, exactly what happened when European settlers started arriving in North America, Australia and elsewhere—they ended up on top and in control, displacing the native populations. Now, two or three centuries later, they are the ones losing control to newer arrivals.
Immigration trends and birthrates show that sometime in this century the peoples who currently dominate most of the Western nations will be minorities in their own lands. Whatever you may think of the ethnic mix, the reality is that significant change is underway, and it's threatening no less than the future of Western civilization. GN