Immigrant Assimilation...Or Lack Thereof

I have nothing against immigrants. Really, I don't. My grandparents were immigrants, coming to the US from Finland in the 1930s. Like so many immigrants before them, they sought the American Dream, to become American citizens, and to raise their kids to be Americans. In all of this, they succeeded. They made the decision to accommodate US customs and mores, to be assimilated by American society. They did keep a few customs from the Old Country, but for the most part they were Americans through and through.

If that were only true for some of today's immigrants. Some have no desire to fit in to American society, dragging many of their ill-fitting customs and beliefs with them and trying to make us conform to their beliefs. Jay Tea of Wizbang gives a perfect example of this, linking to and commenting on a story about Muslim cab drivers in Minneapolis refusing to drive some passengers because they offended their Muslim sensibilities.

Blind people with "unclean" seeing-eye dogs, people carrying liquor, folks with ham or sausage -- basically, the cab was being declared "Muslim territory" and all who entered had to abide by Muslim law and tradition. And the airport was on the verge of making concessions and accommodations to indulge this conduct.

The response was quite fierce. Passengers started refusing to ride with Muslim cabbies. There was talk about boycotting Muslim cabs entirely. There was even talk about lawsuits against the cab companies who allowed their drivers to act thusly.


I think that, as a general principle, folks have the right to a certain level of bigotry and bias and prejudice -- such things tend to be their own punishment.

But in this case, the law is clear: if you provide a public accommodation, you have to accommodate the public -- all of the public. A cabbie, like a restaurant or hotel, has NO right to refuse passengers purely on the basis of religion -- either the customer's or the provider's. Cabbies that wish to serve the public damned well better take ALL of the public, or surrender their hack license and find a new line of work.

While not all of these cabbies are immigrants, most are. They came here to be free, or so I must assume. So who the hell are they to tell us that we must conform to their rules, religious, social, or cultural? It works the other way around, friends. If you move here you abide by our rules, our laws. You left yours behind when you came here.

While there's nothing wrong with immigrants bringing parts of their culture with them when they immigrate, it's best for all concerned if they bring the best of their cultures, not the worst.

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