The following is from the Oct. 8, 2007, edition of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. SMU historian Edward Countryman contributed to this report with comments about the impact of immigration on the European Union.
By PATRICK McGEE
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Not satisfied with throwing statistics back and forth, both sides of the immigration debate have drawn on American history to make their points. And they go far beyond the "we are a nation of immigrants" refrain.
Philip Martin, an immigration expert at the University of California, Davis, told The Wall Street Journal that the government can stop illegal immigrant labor if it wants to because it stopped child labor decades ago.
Commentator Pat Buchanan said open immigration is the stuff of foolishness. After all, the Native Americans had that, "and look what happened to them."
Tamar Jacoby, a scholar at the Manhattan Institute, a think tank in New York, said legalizing the nation's millions of illegal immigrants would be like ending Prohibition, the early 20th-century ban on the sale of alcohol. Legalization would put policy in line with reality and derail an entire category of crime, just as the repeal of Prohibition did with bootlegging.
Historians agreed with some of the comments and scoffed at others...
But open immigration has proven to be a success in Europe, said Edward Countryman, a history professor at Southern Methodist University.
Residents of the European Union are free to move from country to country, and this has helped the union grow into an economic superpower.
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