A Patriotic Immigration Reformer`s Thoughts On The New Case Against Immigration


This reviewer`s motive

A few months ago, I had a
discussion with a

candidate
for Attorney General in

Montana
about the foreseeable problem of illegal
immigration into our largely-pristine state. He invited
me to "send all the information you have on the
issue."

The temptation was to respond:
"How many

semitrailers
—or, perhaps, terabytes

of disk space—do you have?"

Instead, I tried to impress upon
him that mass immigration, both legal and illegal, is
much bigger than mere "issue"—because it poses an
existential threat to America`s societal
security, the country`s "ability to preserve its
essential nature and identity under changing and adverse
conditions,"
in the

words
of the late

John Attarian
. Regular readers of VDARE.COM know
this. And the site`s archives

document it
in painstaking detail.

(So what`s a mere "issue"?
The

flat tax
,
oil-drilling on the arctic coastal plain
, and

abortion
are examples—whichever way our gridlocked
political system ultimately comes down on them, the
country will still be recognizable. So what single word
adequately encapsulates our myriad-faceted immigration
disaster? I don`t know. Suggestions are welcome. "Problematique,"
coined by the Club of Rome, would do, but just try to
launch that into the public lexicon!)

Given the magnitude of the threat,
our patriot armies fighting for national survival are
far too thin on the ground. For example, when we in the
immigration-sanity movement refer to "Roy" in our
conversations, everybody knows we mean

Roy Beck
. And "Peter," of course, is

Peter Brimelow
. But ideally, so many citizens would
be heavily engaged in the fray that multiple
prominent Roys and Peters (etc.) would be leading us at
the barricades (and, ultimately,

onto the offensive
!), and our conversations would
have to cite our leaders` last names, too.

Also, judging from gazillions of

comments
on immigration-related articles posted at

newspaper websites
by readers, mass immigration is
massively unpopular. But most posters are stuck,
intellectually, at the level of "I`m dead set against
illegal immigration, but I welcome

legal immigrants with open arms
."

Altogether, then, we need lots more
troops equipped with much broader perspectives and much
deeper expertise on America`s

ongoing immigration disaster
.


Book of the hour

Precisely when it was needed, enter
Mark`s just-released book, The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal.
"Mark,"
of course, is Mark Krikorian, executive director since
1995 of the

Center for Immigration Studies
. (The book`s title
presumably harks back to Roy`s 1996 book, The Case
Against Immigration
, which is out of print, but a
1.4-MB PDF version is available for free download

here
.)

It is a splendid book, both in
content and writing.

In his acknowledgements, Mark (with
whom I am, in fact, on a first-name basis) writes:

"This
book is a work of synthesis. A new and provocative and
illuminating synthesis, I hope, but nonetheless one that
uses as its raw material the work of others."

This strikes me as overly modest,
given his frequency of authorship among the 550+
articles, backgrounders, op-eds, et al. archived
at the Center`s

publications page
. And, anyway, synthesis is
precisely what`s needed.

Comprehensive coverage of our vast
subject could have engendered an

encyclopedia
. Instead, Mark has distilled the big
picture—with glimpses of telling details—into a spare
235 pages,

heavily sourced
with 48 pages of references. (Both
page counts are from my pre-publication copy.)

Neither the book`s page at Amazon
nor at the

Center`s site
provides the table of contents, so I
will, as this may best illustrate the book`s
"landscape"
and themes:

Introduction. It`s Not the
Immigrants—It`s Us

Chapter 1. Assimilation: The
Cracked Melting Pot

Chapter 2. Mass Immigration
Versus American Sovereignty

Chapter 3. National Security:
Safety in Lower Numbers

Chapter 4. Economy: Cheap Labor
Versus Modern America

Chapter 5. Government Spending

Chapter 6. Population

Chapter 7. What Is to Be Done?

Since there are insights or points
of interest on essentially every page, a review risks
being as long as the book or devolving into a mere list
of topics covered. Instead, I`ll focus on a few items
that strike me as especially interesting and hope, in so
doing, to entice those of you who are the book`s natural
audience (see below) into the ranks of actual readers.


The top-level view

One central insight is right there
in the book`s subtitle: "Both Legal and Illegal."
As the late Sam Francis

wrote
: "If the only problem with
illegal immigration
is that it`s illegal, if you`re
not willing to say mass immigration by itself is a
problem, then why should we have any laws against it at
all?"

Francis`s point can be approached
from another angle: To those whose thinking hasn`t
developed beyond "I fiercely oppose illegal
immigration, but I love

legal immigration
—after all, we`re a nation of
immigrants,"
an open-borders enthusiast could
logically respond, "Then let`s just make it
all legal
."
Checkmate!

(A third shot at the fish in this
barrel: If its illegality were the only problem with
illegal immigration, then amnesty would be a solution.)

Accordingly, Mark, too, has been
steadily slapping down the usual distinction between
legal and illegal immigration—see, for example, his
essay

"Legal, Good / Illegal, Bad? Let`s call the whole
thing off"
—and his book is, indeed, all about
proving that mass immigration, by itself, is the
problem.

Mark has been advancing that
overarching theme over the last several years, and he
thoroughly develops it in the book: Today`s average
immigrants are quite comparable to those of the
Great Wave, 100 years
ago, but the United States has
since matured into a post-industrial economy and a

welfare state
, so mass immigration no longer serves
our national purposes.

More specifically, our economy is
no longer dominated by

agriculture
and heavy industry. So such
immigrants—low-skilled and little-educated—can`t compete
and thrive. Further, the progress in communications and
transportation means that there needn`t be a definitive
break with "the old country"; that progress,
coupled with the linguistic homogeneity of the inflow
(heavily

dominated
by

Latin American
sending countries) and its
concentration into

huge enclaves
, significantly attenuates the
pressures for assimilation—a goal which America`s
multiculturally-obsessed elites now

disdain
anyway.

Quoting from the Introduction:

"[I]mmigration
undermines many of the objectives that our modern,
middle-class society sets for itself and exacerbates
many of the problems brought on by modernization.

“In
short, mass immigration is incompatible with a modern
society. As Hudson Institute scholar John Fonte has

written
, `It`s not 1900 anymore.` "

In the chapter on assimilation,
Mark argues that the sharp shift in the immigrant stream
over the last century from predominantly European-origin
to predominantly

third-world-origin
is not greatly consequential
compared to the sea changes in American society. He
outlines how, over and over, newcomers originally viewed
as "Other"—e.g.

Puritans
who settled Massachusetts regarded even
fellow English Protestants, such as

Quakers
, as beyond the pale—steadily became part of
"Us." In short, ethnicity and race aren`t
important.

But that may be an
extrapolation-too-far from the evidence. Mark`s claim
was apparently a major subject of controversy at a

recent panel discussion
on the book, as reported by
VDARE.COM`s

Marcus Epstein
.

Further, the

much-remarked work
of

Robert Putnam
is only the most recent reminder that

balkanization
and strife—even murderous strife—are
the likely fates of societies endowed with luxuriant
human variety. A brief monograph by sociologists
Glaister and Evelyn Elmer, Ethnic Conflicts Abroad:
Clues to America`s Future?
(1988; available from
American Immigration Control Foundation; see

here
, second item down), and Washington Post
reporter Keith Richburg`s 1997 book Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa
both strongly suggest—at least to this
linear-thinking physicist!—that Mark is whistling past
the graveyard on this subject.

I think

Jared Taylor
put it most starkly in his classic
essay,

The Myth of Diversity
:

"Most
of the time, the reasons for discord are not even as
salient as race. They can be

religion
,

language
, or

ethnicity
. From time to time, Americans have fought
each other for these reasons, but race is the deepest,
most constant source of antipathy. Unlike language or
religion, race cannot change. Differences between men
that are written deep into their bodies will always be a
source of friction."

Clearly, this is a sub-topic that`s

not going to go away
.

But it is a sub-topic. Mass
immigration is a disaster for the country in so many
ways that myriad other arguments having nothing
explicitly to do with race or ethnicity are available to
serve our cause of national survival.


Nuggets from the book

Herewith, a sparse sampling of such
items from the book. (I won`t provide page numbers,
since they may have changed from my pre-publication
copy. Plus, I want everyone to actually read the book
and mark up your copies as you go!):

  • "[E]ven

    highly educated immigrants
    make much heavier use of

    public services
    than comparable natives (…)
    [I]mmigrants [with college degrees] are still more than
    twice as likely as the native born to use welfare (13
    percent versus 6 percent) and to be

    uninsured
    (17 percent versus 7 percent)."

  • The book is flavored with many spot-on
    anecdotes. For example, "[Hugh Davis] Graham recounts
    an

    Indonesian
    immigrant who sought inclusion in the

    Small Business Administration`s minority set-aside
    program
    in 1988. Her original request to the SBA
    outlined her immigrant success story, complete with long
    hours of hard work, struggles to learn English, and
    finally starting a business and becoming a naturalized
    American. But she was turned down, because Indonesians
    were not on the SBA`s list of oppressed groups. She took
    the hint and embraced instead the modern language of
    grievance and deassimilation."
    Her revised
    application, replete with descriptions of the

    generic woes
    of "Asian
    Pacific Americans
    ,"
    succeeded.

  • "There is a huge existing investment in
    public

    infrastructure
    that
    immigrants immediately benefit from
    without ever
    paying in to—like joining a club without a buy-in fee…In
    a smaller America with a smaller public sector,
    immigrants weren`t inheriting quite as much when they
    showed up….
    [C]ontinued mass immigration simply
    represents…a kind of inheritance tax on Americans,
    lessening the value of their share of the public assets
    bequeathed them by their ancestors."

  • Quoting

    Robert Rector
    : "It takes the entire net tax
    payments (taxes paid minus benefits received) of one
    college-educated family to pay for the net benefits
    received by one low skill immigrant family."

  • "[W]hen hospitals can no longer
    shift enough of the costs of uncompensated care to
    others, they simply

    close their emergency rooms.
    This doesn`t create a
    direct monetary cost for consumers, but it does hold the
    potential to levy the ultimate tax—death—on Americans in
    need of emergency care…In Los Angeles, more than 60
    hospitals have closed their emergency rooms over the
    past decade."

  • "Even among the third generation—the
    native-born grandchildren of long-ago Mexican
    immigrants—welfare use is triple the rate for other
    natives, and nearly half live in or near poverty."

    [Surprisingly, this point isn`t sourced. If the book
    sells well enough, I presume the oversight will be
    rectified in the second edition!]

  • Another telling anecdote: "[Mass
    immigration] overwhelms our administrative capacity
    to screen out enemies or locate and remove them if
    they`re already here. A particularly outrageous example
    of this conflict: In 2003, Immigration and
    Naturalization Service contract workers at a service
    center in southern California were charged with coping
    with the ongoing tsunami of paperwork by shredding
    immigration documents in order to wipe out a
    ninety-thousand-document backlog there. After two months
    of shredding, the backlog was wiped out, but they kept
    shredding as new mail came in to ensure that the backlog
    didn`t return."
    (Kris Kobach has

    written
    about another facet of this paperwork
    hyperload.)

  • "[M]ass immigration is almost
    perfectly designed to overwhelm modern America`s welfare
    system."


Policy prescriptions

Of course, despite the
"nation of immigrants"
babble ceaselessly
assaulting us, immigration is not a force of nature but
a matter of

public policy choices
. Fittingly, the book`s final
chapter pulls together policy recommendations, starting
with Mark`s signature distinction between immigration
policy (Who and how many to admit? And how to enforce
the rules?) and immigrant policy (A warm welcome?
Or sink-or-swim?).

Regarding immigrant policy,
sink-or-swim was the

historic norm
until the advent of the welfare state.
But despite the substantial welfare-type benefits now
available to immigrants and even illegal aliens, Mark
still regards our immigrant policy as dominantly unfriendly
to the immigrants because of the

generic rude incompetence
of

US Citizenship and Immigration Services

(USCIS)—partly due to their crushing workload—and
because the present huge inflows of dominantly
low-skilled newcomers make it much harder for them to
succeed amid fierce competition with each other. In
other words, our present immigration policy of
accepting huge numbers—beyond its burdens to the rest of
us—contributes importantly to an unfriendly immigrant
policy.

Regarding immigration
policy, Mark first provides a thorough treatment of the

attrition-by-enforcement approach
against illegal
immigration, arguing that neither the
Open-Borders-lobby`s holy grail of amnesty nor their
straw man of mass deportations can work. In contrast,
attrition can work and, in fact, has
worked. The four examples he cites of
attrition-in-action (1954`s "ill-named"

Operation Wetback
; the immediate aftermath of

IRCA
`s passage in 1986; the self-deportation of
Pakistani illegal aliens in the months following 9/11;
and the illustrations provided by the recent laws in
Georgia, Oklahoma, et al.) all belong in the
facts&arguments toolkits of everyone pushing for
immigration sanity.

Mark wraps up his discussion of
attrition-by-enforcement with a levelheaded reminder:

"An
effective strategy of immigration law enforcement
requires no land mines, no tanks, no tattooed arms—none
of the cartoonish images invoked in the objections
raised routinely by supporters of loose borders. The
consistent application of ordinary law-enforcement tools
is all that`s needed."

(Marcus Epstein

has argued
that

mass deportations
should still be on the table. But
I think Mark Krikorian has the better of the argument
here, noting that "[P]olitical support for a new
commitment to enforcement might well be undermined if an
exodus of biblical proportions were to be televised in
every American living room."

Or, as Steve Camarota, Mark`s
research director at the Center,

mused
a few years ago: "[W]e make public
policy by

pathetic anecdote
."
)

Of course, victory on illegal
immigration is a prerequisite if our immigration laws
are to be of more than academic interest. But

Supposing we win that battle
? Then the second aspect
of immigration policy, the content of those laws, comes
to the fore. Two questions will be central: Whom shall
we admit? And in what numbers?

Mark`s explicit view is that most
of today`s legal immigrants don`t benefit the broad
national interest:

"The
five employment-based
[immigration]
categories…are commonly imagined to provide for
immigration of the world`s best and brightest—Einstein
immigration, if you will. In fact, in addition to a
handful of actual geniuses, the employment-based
categories admit a wide variety of ordinary people who
should not receive special immigration rights. There`s
no reason any employer should be permitted to make an
end run around our vast, mobile, continent-spanning
labor force…unless the prospective immigrant in question
has unique, remarkable abilities and would make an
enormous contribution to the productive capacity of the
nation.

However, today`s legal inflow is
dominated not by employment categories but by
family-based immigration (i.e. entire families
immigrating, headed by employment-based immigrants; plus
family reunification), which has averaged above 600,000
people annually in recent years.

After a transition period, Mark
would limit family reunification to spouses and minor
children of U.S. citizens (i.e. not mere green-card
holders):

"This
means eliminating altogether today`s immigration
categories for the adult siblings of citizens, the (…)
adult
[children] of citizens, the parents of
adult citizens, and the adult
[children] of legal
residents. These are grown people with their own lives,
for whom `family reunification` is a misnomer."

If "spouses and minor children,
only"
had been the rule in recent years, Mark tells
us, then the numbers entering under the "family"
categories would have been about 340,000 per year. This
still strikes me as appallingly high. I wonder if
sterner proposals should be offered, at least to push
the conversation in a desirable direction.

So here`s my proposal: Restrict
employment-based immigration to single people. Not only
would this cut the numbers, it would presumably help
with assimilation.

Regarding the third type of legal
immigration, refugees and asylees, read the book for the
considerations that result in a recommended ceiling of
50,000 per year—another number that I think is far too
high. (See

here
and

here
.)

At the top level, then, Mark favors
"a pro-immigrant policy of low immigration,"
though I think his numbers concede too much when
measured against the

national interest
.

Beyond the broad sweep of policy,
Mark makes numerous suggestions on enforcement against
illegal immigration and on getting the legal immigration
numbers down. Two of his detailed suggestions greatly
intrigue me.

  • First, on the illegal
    immigration front, Mark suggests that the Internal
    Revenue Service be mandated by Congress to disclose
    tax information on illegal aliens to the Department
    of Homeland Security. (Tax returns that use
    Individual Tax Identification Numbers and report
    wage income

    should raise red flags
    .)

Mark points out that the IRS
"already shares information from tax returns with the
Department of Education (on student loan defaulters) and
the Social Security Administration and the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services (to confirm eligibility
for benefits)."

  • Second, my attention was
    especially attracted is Mark`s cluster of proposals,
    under the Chapter 7 subheading "Temporary Means
    Temporary,"
    that deal with foreign students in
    our colleges and universities.

He writes: "People admitted on
student visas should be limited to no more than one
percent of total national enrollment, which would
translate, generously to 150,000"
present at one
time (compared to the estimated 565,000 here during the
2005—2006 school year). And "no more than a small
share, say 5 percent, of any particular school`s total
enrollment should consist of foreign students."

But that`s not all!

  • Student visas should only be
    issued for colleges granting bachelor`s degrees or
    higher. Currently, more than 10% of foreign students
    are enrolled in community colleges, whose mission is
    supposed to be serving the local (American)
    community.

About that last suggestion: would
Mark deny teaching assistantships and research
assistantships to

foreign graduate students?

As someone who`s been associated
with physics departments over several decades, I hope
so!

Regarding teaching assistants,
he`ll have the wistful approval of native-born
undergraduates who have

struggled to understand lab instructors and tutorial
lecturers
speaking only

distant approximations of English.

Regarding research assistantships,
I think I hear Caltech physicist (and former vice
provost) David Goodstein leading the cheers. Focusing on
graduate schools, Goodstein concluded an article ("Scientific
PhD Problems,"
The American Scholar, Spring
1993; not available online) about

unsustainable exponential growth in the American
scientific enterprise
with some thoughts about
foreign students:

"The
American taxpayer (both state and federal) is supporting
extremely expensive research universities whose main
educational purpose is to train students from abroad.
When these students finish their educations, they either
stay here, taking relatively high-paying jobs that could
have gone to Americans, or they go home, taking our
knowledge and technology with them…Congress and the
public [don`t] seem yet to have noticed that, while
largely ignoring our own students, we are putting our
money and our best talent into training our economic
competitors. Just wait until this one hits the fan."

Lo, these fifteen years later, I`m
still waiting (and so, presumably, is Goodstein!) for
"this one"
to hit the fan.

But at least now we have Mark
Krikorian enhancing the argument.


Why you should read

The New Case Against
Immigration

Finally, who is the book`s natural
audience? My answer:

It`s needed by committed,
already-knowledgeable citizens—such as VDARE.COM
readers—who want to be intellectually well-armored with
facts and perspectives against predictable mindless
abuse ("Racist!")
as they step up to testify on state immigration bills,
give public talks, brief their local officials, counter
obfuscatory blather on the phone from Congressional
staffers and in person at senators` townhall meetings
(The inspiring example of Sandy Miller taking on McCain
is described

here
.), persuade others to donate to the cause, etc.

For such patriotic, civic-minded
individuals, Mark`s book will bear not just reading but
multiple re-readings. It will also provide a coherent
tutorial for political candidates in future
years—presumably, it`s rather late for this year—who
want to address immigration policy in a serious,
informed way on the campaign trail but who haven`t spent
a decade immersed in the subject.

I don`t mean that readers already
need to be experts to benefit from the book. However, I
think few people without prior deep concerns about
immigration will seek it out. And pressing it upon
blank-slate friends along with the advice that "It`s
a must-read!"
probably won`t work, at least based on
my own attempts in similar situations.

Still, for the sake of our
country`s survival, Mark`s book deserves the widest
possible readership.

So if you`re part of a book club,
consider leading a discussion, lasting one or several
meetings, of The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal.

And make sure your local library
orders a copy!

Paul
Nachman [
email
him] is a retired physicist and immigration sanity
activist in Bozeman, MT. Read his VDARE.COM blogs



here
.