If you have been reading our blog at all this week, you will know that the anti-immigrant organization the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is currently hosting its annual lobbying event and awards dinner in Washington DC. FAIR’s website says it “promotes immigration levels consistent with the national interest – more traditional rates of about 300,000 a year.” FAIR only use this 300,000 quota to try and maintain its “mainstream” image.
Its real intention is to end all immigration to the United States. According to the Chicago-based civil rights organization the Center for New Community, FAIR “is a carefully crafted entity whose mission is to achieve the goal of zero immigration to the U.S. by blaming immigrants as the cause of economic, population and environmental problems.” It is easy to say that implementing a zero immigration policy would damage the United States in many ways. But what would the United States look like if FAIR achieved their goal?
One good example would be to look at the sport of soccer in the US and see how that would be affected by a zero immigration policy. Less than 3 months ago the US men’s national team caused one of the biggest upsets in recent history when it defeated Spain, the number one ranked team in the world, in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup, a warm-up tournament for the world cup held every four years. This would have never been possible if FAIR achieved its goal of zero immigration to the United States. Five of the starting 11 players on that famous day namely Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Ricardo Clark, and Jozy Altidore, the sons of Hungarian, Mexican, Nigerian, Trinidad, Tobagonian and Haitian immigrants respectively would not have taken the field representing the red, white and blue.
The US went on to lose to Brazil 3-2 in the final of the Confederations Cup, but their fantastic run has only whet American soccer fans appetite for the more important competition that takes place in June 2010. The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world and next summer all eyes will be on South Africa, the first African nation to host the tournament. Barring a catastrophe, the United States will qualify for its 6th World Cup in October. Each team is allowed to bring a 23 man squad to the tournament and discussion is already underway as to who the lucky 23 players will be. Competition for the 23 places is fierce with over 40 players still realistically in the running to make the final roster. However, if FAIR had their way, the US roster would change dramatically for the worse.
If I were the coach of the US team and had to pick the 23 players - 12 players would be ineligible to play if FAIR’s zero immigration policy was in place. Five of the 13 are listed above with the others being Freddy Adu, Jose Francisco Torres, Stuart Holden, Benny Feilhaber, Jermaine Jones, Jonathan Bornstein and Pablo Mastroeni - Ghanaian born, child of Mexican immigrants, Scottish born, Brazilian born, German born, son of a Mexican immigrant, and Argentinean born respectively. Many of the 12 are world class players for some of the biggest clubs in leagues around the world. Of the 12 that would be ineligible, six are starters including the goalkeeper and three of the four defenders, not to mention the team’s best forward. In short, the team would be a shambolic shadow of its former self.
Immigration has been and will always be an integral part of American identity and culture. The US without immigration would not be the country we know today or the one that the Founding Fathers intended to create. If FAIR achieved their goal of zero immigration, the United States as a whole, like their national soccer team would be in dire straits.