Are Immigrants Weeds in the Garden?

For some reason, probably because no one there has actually read my blog, the Minutemen Project has me on their email list for press releases.  This one caught my eye:

Judge John H. Wilson has stepped out of his judicial robes to write a children's book. Hot House Flowers is aimed at entertaining and educating children, but adults will find the story an informative and useful object lesson in politics and current events and a cautionary tale to share with family and friends.

Judge Wilson tackles the topic of illegal immigration in an imaginative manner, and the publisher adds a colorful assortment of illustrations to the Judge's metaphorical story of cartoon "hothouse flowers" which must resist the intrusion of weeds from outside the borders of the protected house.

On first reading this, I wanted to barf.  Comparing immigrants to weeds that attack us lovely (Caucasian) flowers is really insulting.  However, on second thought, I thought this analogy was somewhat apt. 

A hothouse flower is one that can't compete or survive outside of the limited confines of its greenhouse.  Rather than being able to survive on its own, a hothouse flower takes a ton of outside care and feeding.  The very term "hothouse flower" when applied to a person tends to mean someone who can't really function in the real world.  And in some sense this is what our citizens and businesses will become in a Lou-Dobbsian world of limited immigration and trade protectionism, each of us hot house flowers or Marie Antoinette's who have no ability to function in the larger world.  We all need healthy interchange and competition with the world at large to stay vital and growing as a country and as individuals.

By the way, a lot of those weeds turn into flowers:

"Over the past 15 years, immigrants have started 25 percent
of U.S. public companies that were venture-backed." These businesses
employ some 220,000 people in the U.S. and have a current market
capitalization that "exceeds $500 billion, adding significant value to
the American economy."



  1. Keith Casey:

    While the story seems to talk directly about *illegal* immigrants, your post and the accompanying analysis shifts this slightly to talk about *immigrants* in general. These are two fundamentally different groups.

    While I worked for the DoJ, I was on a group analyzing the people who were captured after coming across illegally in 2002-2003. Depending on the time of year, anywhere from 8.5% (1 in 12) to 12.5% (1 in 8) were already wanted criminals here in the US.... for anything from violent crimes (about 50% - split between assault, murder, etc) to drug charges (25% - trafficking, sales) to sex crimes (25% - rape, prostitution, child-related).

    While some immigrants are the Sergey Brin'ss of the world, others are the Raphael Resendez Ramirez's... and how they entered this country greatly increases the likelihood of being in the second category.

  2. Binh:

    Interesting comment from Keith. I am not a mathmatician but I know that politicians manipulate numbers periodically to get votes. I was an immigrant and grew up working side by side with "illegal immigrants". I am not sure how violent crimes are committed by the "illegal immigrants" because I saw them at work 6 days a week, 12 hours a day. Maybe they do it after hours? The violent crimes that I know from my experience with these "illegal immigrants" committed are driving without insurance and license. But I am sure that's much more violent than the "legal immigrants" that are habitually driving under the influence.

  3. TheYellowElephantBrigade:

    I give you my rewrite -- just keeping it real, you know?