In a recent anti-immigration e-mail rant to his supporters, Gary Bauer assailed the federal government for failing to protect the border against a supposed “invasion”:
My friends, this is not the hallmark of a serious nation at war, intent on defending its homeland. If these same bureaucrats were running the government during World War II, America would not have developed the atomic bomb until the 1970s.
Bauer’s position on border enforcement notwithstanding, his remark curiously alludes to one of the greatest immigration success stories in American history. Many of the principal scientists involved in the Manhattan Project and the building of the atomic bomb were foreign-born immigrants, including the Italian Enrico Fermi, German-born Hans Bethe, and Hungary-native Edward Teller. The famous Danish physicist Niels Bohr was here under what one could call a “temporary worker program.”
As Bauer’s own example points out, those born outside of America have made valuable contributions to U.S. society. Who knows, maybe without immigrants, the U.S. might not have developed the atomic bomb until the 1970s.