Welcoming an Invasive Species

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Consider, if you will, the Nile perch. This magnificent freshwater fish can grow to an enormous size, often pushing a length of six feet when it reaches maturity. It’s not just long – it’s also massive. Adults can weigh in excess of 500 pounds. In its native Nile river, it acts in a harmonious way with the nature surrounding it, providing an indispensable role as both predator and prey.

Unfortunately, humans got involved. They introduced the Nile perch into Lake Victoria in East Africa. From then (the mid-1950s) until now, the fish has been a plague on its adopted home. Without any natural predators, the Nile perch has caused massive extinctions in Lake Victoria. Even since the lake has been opened to commercial fishing, the problem has not abated. If anything, the commercial fishing has only deepened the problem, changing the local economic landscape as the Nile perch took its dreadful toll on the ecology.

Introduced species are not always as threatening to their new trophic sphere as the Nile perch, but they almost always change the rhythm of the food chain dramatically. Whether this is seen as a positive or a negative is largely left to the beholder. Most scientists see a middle ground. Some cases are disastrous while others are perhaps beneficial. One thing they agree on: these changes are usually unpredictable.

Get Ready For Change

It would be nothing less than racist to suggest that illegal immigrants are an invasive species, but there are lessons to be learned from nature. Namely, the unpredictable effects of a sudden population change. It is true what Obama and the left say: we are a nation of immigrants. But immigration alone is not what made this country great. Diversity is welcome. Gaining wisdom from a variety of ethnic streams is powerful. But, as with introduced species, not every case is the same.

Immigration reform is a necessity. Obama’s idea of it is not. The two keys to successful immigration reform are security and selection. Getting through our border should be akin to getting into a good university. You present the government with your background, your aspirations, and the evidence that you will be a positive force for your adopted homeland. And we select you for potential citizenship.

Do you think if you were caught attending Harvard midway through your “sophomore” year, school officials would let you stay? What if you were a hard worker? What if your brother went there? Somehow, I doubt any of these extenuating circumstances would matter. We must be like Harvard. We must be like ecologists, watching carefully whenever someone proposes to introduce a new species into an uncertain environment. Only through maintaining strict vigilance over the immigration process can we ensure that we don’t get a Nile perch.

Again, this has nothing to do with race or racism. It has everything to do with allowing people to exploit our resources, take our jobs, and enjoy our federal benefits without contributing a single thing to the country. We have enough native “takers” in the United States. When we choose to let people in, we should at least make sure the changes they make will be for the better.