I appeared on local TV Tuesday morning to discuss the President’s speech on immigration. I was not especially enlightening, but I did correctly predict that the President’s message would not help him with his conservative base.

Although numerous commentators have taken the President to task for his “comprehensive” approach, asserting that comprehensive is a code word for doing nothing, I offer my kudos to the President for his five-pronged plan. And I agree with his assertion that a wall and mass deportations will not solve the problem.

The Five Points:

1. Secure the border.
2. Guest worker program.
3. Hold Businesses accountable. National ID card.
4. Face Reality. Provide a path to citizenship for current illegals.
5. Emphasize Assimilation.

All of those ideas are spot-on. Objective #1 is essential. Objectives 2, 3 & 4 are vitally important. And Objective #5 is the absolute key to cultural survival. The problem, of course, is that the President only drew a grand outline, and the real work is left to Congress, which is not a very productive or courageous place right now.

Facing Reality.
The reasons to voluntarily immigrate to the United States, generally, can be boiled down to three basic impulses: religious freedom, political freedom and economic opportunity. Often these impulses overlap, but, more times than not, the overriding impulse is economic, which is the product of two elements: the "push" factors (what makes where you are intolerable) and "pull" factors (what makes the United States appealing).

In the simplest terms, immigrants come to America to work. During times of economic downturn in the United States immigration ceases. During the Great Depression immigration not only stopped, but American authorities rounded up Mexicans (many of whom were American-born) and deported them by the hundreds of thousands.

If the immigration phenomenon is a matter of supply and demand, one sure way to curtail the flow of immigrants is to crater the economy. A long term solution would be for the Mexican economy to become productive and sustaining. The former solution is not what we want, and the latter, for the most part, is beyond our ability to control.

The relationship between the United States and Mexico is unique, for we share a long and permeable border. Because of proximity, Mexican immigrants keep coming; that is, the moment of saturation, in which second generation immigrants feel removed from Mexican culture, never seems to arrive. In the Southwest, there is a perpetual first-generation immigrant community in which the culture and language of Mexico remains dominant.

Why POINT FIVE is the key.
The answer is not the Great Wall (although more fence is not unreasonable). More accountability for employers and a national ID card is wonderful (as an added bonus, it will facilitate safer air travel and make elections more legitimate; I can out-libertarian any of you, but the National ID Card is an idea whose time has come). Also, we need to be realistic about providing workers for employers. We need to start regulating instead of ignoring.

But the war for America is raging in the schools and churches and public places of our country—not on the border and not just with immigrants. Immigrants are great, and they have proved a marvelous blessing to American culture over time, but the fundamental element is assimilation. We must insure that love of country and American history and American government and American ideals permeate the acculturation of immigrants to the United States. All the walls and helicopters and Minute Men and high tech sensors will not save us, if we do not all commit to a national revival of American culture.