Go to 22:20 and you’ll hear the following exchange:
Rose: …and immigrants has been America’s strength?
Lee: Absolutely. But, mind you, immigration of the highly intelligent and highly hard-working, very hard-working people. If you get immigration of the food-pickers [laughter] you may not get very far.
At this point, Charlie Rose, ever the politically correct media man, cuts him off.
No one can deny that the United States is a nation of immigrants. For two centuries now, we have been a refuge for the talented, hungry, and dare I say, greedy adventurers of the world. So let me say at the outset that immigration has been crucial, elemental, indispensable to our rise as a world power.
But immigration is a practical necessity, not a moral one. The modern liberal believes that we have a moral responsibility to accept the poor and the dispossessed, and to prove his point, he gives us the following analogy: If a man comes to your door and he is in really bad shape, close to death, will you take him in, or will you say, “our borders are closed”? Of course, I’ll take him in. As a citizen and a human being, I have a moral responsibility to do so. But do I have a moral responsibility to give him a room in my house, to let him stay as long as he wants, till the end of his life, and make him a member of my family? That is what the liberal consensus wishes us to do with refugees. They take literally the words of Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty – give us your tired, your poor… But that is a poem, not a policy.
If we do take in immigrants, as we do, even now under Trump, it is a reflection of our generosity; we are going beyond our moral responsibility, just as the rich man who gives to charity is going beyond his requirements. Refusing to accept refugees is not in any way immoral, just as there is nothing wrong with not giving to charity. “But Germany takes in this much!” “And look at Sweden!” “So generous!” Well, I say, good for them. What of it? Do we have to match every country who is in a generous mood? If Warren Buffett gives away all of his wealth, should every rich man now be required to do the same?
The nation is a human organization, one of many. There are families, companies, clubs, universities – all human organizations. In all of these organizations, the existing members pick and choose who will enter and who will not. They ask themselves, hmm, which new member will add something to our organization? Which is good for us? In a business, the human resources department will think long and hard about whom to hire. Whether or not the applicant needs the work, really, really needs it, because he has a family to feed, does not enter into the rational mind of that manager. This is more or less true for all human organizations. Why is it, then, that the nation, the ultimate human organization should be different? Why do some believe that the very principle of picking and choosing is morally wrong?
Every human organization discriminates. How can it be otherwise? Not only is it okay to discriminate, it is a moral imperative to do so. The Department of Immigration has a moral imperative to choose, between the multitude of people who wish to enter, the ones that will most benefit the people of the United States. Whether or not the applicant is in distress should only be a secondary or even a tertiary consideration.
What, then, should be the prime consideration? Should we only accept the highly educated? Should we discriminate based on wealth? I don’t think that a single criterion should be decisive. We can use a combination of factors, but the goal should be to accept the kind of individual who can succeed in a capitalistic society such as ours. America is not for everyone. If you lack money-hunger, if you’re lazy, if you’re unable to self-promote, America can be pure hell (unless of course, you were born rich). The ideal immigrant would be what the head of 3G Capital, Jorge Paulo Lehman, once called PSD – poor, smart, with a deep desire to get rich.