Four Failed Immigration Approaches And A Disturbing Thought About Those Happy Hispanic Workers
As I noted in
last week`s review of Tamar Jacoby`s essay
Reinventing The Melting Pot,
neoconservatives proclaim faith in assimilation as an
excuse for not thinking hard about the quantity and
quality of immigrants.
That assumption has allowed many
neocons to endorse enthusiastically the Bush-Rove
Illegal Alien Amnesty and Unlimited Guest Worker plan,
which has otherwise
proven to be about as popular as a case of
But look at Europe. Its experience
proves that the different immigrant approaches of the
host countries matters less than what the immigrants
bring with them. In particular, one European country has
already tried out just about the entire neocon bag of
assimilative tricks—with deeply mixed results.
You can still make out these four
traditional Western European approaches to treating
immigrants, although the European Union is
blurring the distinctions between national policies.
(That`s another story.)
Approach #1: Multiculturalism.
The Northwestern Europeans, such as the
British, have tried multiculturalism. Needless to
this hasn`t worked. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
reported in the Daily Telegraph last week:
"Holland`s 30-year experiment in trying to create a
tolerant, multicultural society has failed and led to
ethnic ghettos and sink schools, according to an
official parliamentary report. Between 70 and 80 per
cent of Dutch-born members of immigrant families import
their spouse from their `home` country, mostly Turkey or
Morocco, perpetuating a fast-growing Muslim subculture
in large cities."[Dutch
race policy `a 30-year failure,`
January 20, 2004]
noted in the International Herald Tribune that
"from 1996 to 2001, 82 percent of the men marrying
the Norwegian granddaughters of Moroccan immigrants were
themselves Moroccans; another 14 percent were of
marriages – invariably arranged, and often
– have two chief motivations. One is to provide the
foreign spouse with Norwegian residency rights under the
`family reunification` provision of immigration law. The
other is to resist integration by injecting into the
European branch of the family a fresh dose of
`traditional values`—among them hostility to pluralism,
tolerance, democracy, and sexual equality… The trend in
short is toward increased segregation…" [A
trap for Muslim women in Europe,
June 27, 2003]
Likewise, the third generation of Britain`s
the tall and surly grandsons of the short and obsequious
peasants brought in to work in the mills of Northern
England, was responsible for the major
Would more social integration help? Maybe not. Britain`s
Caribbean immigrants are much more woven into the
working class culture, with a high interracial
cohabitation and marriage rate. But that doesn`t keep
them from committing a
disproportionate share of the
violent street crime.
Hindus and Sikh immigrants, typically the offspring
of the subcontinent`s educated middle class, are rather
standoffish but are law-abiding and productive.
The simplest explanation for these patterns: the
quality of immigrants matters. In Britain, the
Indians do better than the Pakistanis, just as the
Africans do better than the Jamaicans, because they were
more carefully selected.
Approach # 2: Quarantine.
Germans aren`t that much more enthused about
assimilating the descendents of the gastarbeiters
of the 1950s than these Turks are interested in becoming
assimilated. If the German public could, it would
ignore the foreigners in its midst.
Approach #3: Move `Em On!
Southern European countries such as
Italy not only don`t try to assimilate immigrants,
they`d really like to treat them the same way the
sheriff in a
Steinbeck novel dealt with a freight train full of
hobos. Italy encourages asylum seekers to keep moving
north toward the European Union`s more generous welfare
states. In effect, the Italians are telling the
immigrants that northern Europeans are more apt to
believe strangers` hard luck stories than
seen-it-all-before Mediterraneans. They`re right.
Approach # 4: La Mission Civilitrice.
Finally, the French have traditionally
tried to do with their immigrants almost exactly what
neocons recommend here: cultural assimilation,
education in civics theories, monolingualism,
meritocracy, separation of church and state, and all the
This may seem ironic, because nobody in Tikrit hates
anybody worse than the
neocons hate the French. But that`s the way it
usually turns out with ideologues: it`s their nature to
burn at the stake those heretics who deviate the most
Officially, France is what the neocons say America is: a
defined by adherence to ideological
concepts rather than by
descent. Indeed, the American and French
“propositions” are basically identical. Which
shouldn`t be surprising, since the French were
wildly enthusiastic about our Founding Fathers, who in
turn greatly admired French thinkers like Montesquieu
Voltaire. Of course, the French Revolution
didn`t work out as nicely as the American Revolution,
precisely because ideological propositions are of
Still, the French assimilation concepts are by no means
bad. Over the centuries, the French successfully
assimilated large numbers of immigrants from Eastern
Europe, as well as some of the best educated Africans
But they`ve failed miserably with their huge
North African Muslim population, which now makes up
somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of the population.
(The French are so neocon that they
refuse to count by ethnicity.)
Indeed, this French neocon philosophy probably
can`t survive the
impact of the Muslims. France`s Muslims are now so
poor and hostile that the most dynamic political
figure, the center-right Interior Minister
(himself the son of aristocratic
Hungarian immigrants), has called for France to junk its
equality under the law and institute affirmative
action for Muslims.
despite its endless boasting about
having no race problem, recently imposed racial
The trend in France, and Brazil, follows Sailer`s Law of
"In the long run, ideology is
irrelevant; instead, there will be affirmative action if
at least one politically significant ethnic group is
well below average in competitive ability."
It`s a sad story. The term "neoconservative" once meant
an outstanding social scientist with a realist
perspective on race and ethnicity, such as
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, James Q. Wilson,
Nathan Glazer, or
But, through some intellectual version of Gresham`s Law,
the great neoconservatives of a generation ago have been
jostled aside by lesser figures whose outlook can be
summed up as:
Invade the World!
Tragicomically, the French have also tried the second
neocon plan too, a half century ago during the Algerian
War (1954-1962). (Here`s my film review from
The American Conservative
of the re-release of the important
guerilla war film
The Battle of Algiers.)
According to Alistair Horne`s
A Savage War of Peace,
after sending a half-million
able-bodied Frenchmen to Algeria to fight the Arab
insurgency, France realized it needed more laborers at
home. So "she increased the intake of Algerian
immigrant workers so that their numbers actually rose by
over 30 percent in the course of the war."
Today, it seems crazy that the French brought the
grandfathers of all those dangerous Muslim
fundamentalists into their countries.
But it`s important to realize that Muslims didn`t appear
frightening at the time. They were viewed as docile
workers and Islam as a spent force, an extinct volcano.
More worrisome at the time was secular Arab nationalism,
but that didn`t seem to pose a domestic threat.
Clearly, the U.S. is currently better off with compliant
Latin Americans instead of resentful Muslims as the main
immigrant group. Still, as
Chua`s recent book
World on Fire showed that, all across South America
since the year 2000, brown and black people are finally
developing ethnic self-consciousness and solidarity in
the struggle against the whites who have so easily held
them down for so long. This
historic change of attitude has so far not had much
impact on Mexico north of Chiapas. Hence it has not yet
been noticed within the U.S.
I don`t know. I don`t think anybody
knows. But why take the risk?
At the very least, when deciding on the
quantity and quality of immigrants, prudence is a
virtue. Ask the Europeans, now it`s too late for them.
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and