Immigration and the Missing Part of the Conversation

Last week I attended CPAC 2014 (Conservative Political Action Conference) in National Harbor, Maryland. As a blogger, I got an invite to attend a discussion on immigration with Ann Coulter, Phyllis Schlafly and others. I listened to the concerns being expressed, and noted that many of them are the same here in Canada: guest worker program abuses; the numbers of immigrants let in; are the ones coming in embracing the culture of their new country; and do they even want to fit it in.

Both Canada and the US have immigrants that have come to our respective countries; and what they saw was good and they wanted to be a part of it. I remember my dad telling me stories of where he grew up being a multicultured area. Any time there were celebrations, everyone was invited. No seeking government funding to put an event on, just a group celebrating their culture and sharing it with everyone in the community. Maybe this is where my parents got the idea to teach their children to try new things, even if it is only once.

How many of us have heard stories from family and friends about when they immigrated to Canada or the US, about them embracing their new country and wanting to be part of it? I can’t remember the number of stories of people starting their lives in their new country and working their way up, starting with nothing and becoming business owners, etc. Dealing with limited English and doing whatever they could to learn the language so that they could communicate effectively. Now there are people coming that stay in their community and never branch out of it. Their language skills have changed very little and their contact outside of their area is very limited.

Changes need to be made to our immigration policies to allow in those that want to become Canadians or Americans. Speaking on my own behalf, I want people who want to embrace their new country and to leave their problems back in their old country. I don’t want someone coming here to change my country to be just like their old country, but it is happening.

During the discussion, it was brought up that most immigrants coming in are liberal and looking for government intervention in their lives. The thing that disheartened me the most in the discussion was the lack of community involvement with the new immigrants. If conservatives are concerned about the huge influx of immigrants being liberal, they need to change how they do things. For some reason there are those who think that once a liberal, always liberal. Gee, I know many conservatives that were once liberals, but it didn’t happen in a vacuum. If conservatives are serious about immigration, they must invest time and energy building a relationship outside of election time.

It is easy to talk about changing rules and fund campaigns, but are they willing to spend capital where it really counts. If an immigrant comes from a country where the government controls many aspects of their life and they never hear the other side of the story in a tangible way, how can they know the difference? Believe you me, those on the left are investing in these people and reinforcing the belief that government is needed to be in their lives. If they never get the chance to know and understand the other side of the story, who is really to blame when they continually vote liberally?

Unless conservatives are willing to invest people-wise in immigrants and build those relationships, they will get the status quo. The once a liberal always a liberal can be changed, but not in a vacuum.