Originally published 07/13/2013
Summer is the season for declaring Americans -- whether on July 4, 1776, as the nation came into being, or in July 1863, as the fight to end slavery intensified at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, or in July 1870, when the limited view of a whites-only America was first removed from the naturalization standards.
Originally published 07/09/2013
Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School, was Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush. Tim Kane is the chief economist of the Hudson Institute. They are authors of Balance (Simon and Schuster, 2013), an excerpt of which is the basis of this essay.Before their empire fell, the Romans built walls.They began by erecting barriers along the border following the death of the Emperor Trajan in 117 A.D., notably Hadrian's Wall, which belted Britain. Later emperors erected internal walls, even around the great city itself, to ward off barbarians. After 300 A.D., the Emperor Diocletian effectively converted the entire Roman populace into feudal serfs, walling them off from internal movement in a vain effort to stabilize the chaotic economy.Despite the cautionary tale of Rome, building walls, both literal and figurative, has remained a habit of great powers in decline -- the fateful course taken not only by Ming China, but also Soviet Russia, and even Great Britain.Sadly, many Americans are all too eager to repeat history....
Originally published 01/31/2013
Mae M. Ngai, a professor of history and Asian-American studies at Columbia, is the author of “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America.”IN Las Vegas yesterday, President Obama made it clear that an overhaul of America’s immigration laws was his top domestic priority. He expressed cautious support for a bipartisan plan by eight senators that would create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants in exchange for tougher border enforcement, employment checks and temporary work visas for farmworkers and highly skilled engineers and scientists.Many critical details are still missing, but the general framework is notable for its familiarity. Variations on all of these measures have been tried before, with mixed results. Legalization of the undocumented is humane and practical, but the proposals for controlling future immigration are almost certain to fail.
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