How Can An Armenian-American Oppose Immigration? It`s Easy!

August 19, 2004

[Also by John Attarian: After The Bombing: To Hell With Iraq – And Immigration!]

Some years ago I was discussing politics with a friend at church and immigration came up. I indicated my support for immigration control. She retorted, “How can you oppose immigration with your background?” I replied: “It`s easy.” She changed the subject.

She was referring, of course, to my Armenian ancestry. My father, Edward Attarian, was the son of Garabed Attarian and Aghvani Kevorkian Attarian, survivors of the Armenian genocide. Grandma`s father, Hovaness Kevorkian, was murdered by the Turks in a massacre before World War I. Aghvani, then a teenager, ran for her life, literally dodging the bullet. She took refuge in an Armenian orphanage run by American Protestant missionaries, who helped her get to America.

Elsewhere in Armenia, Garabed disguised himself as a Turk and escaped into Tsarist Russia, where he was captured and manhandled by Cossacks, no love being lost between Russians and Turks back then. After he convinced them he was an Armenian and a Christian, the Cossacks helped him. Eventually he arrived in America.

Garabed and Aghvani met in Detroit and married in 1912. Dad was born the following year.

Seemingly, my friend had a point. Had America not had open immigration then, my grandparents would have had no America to flee to. How can someone with my background oppose immigration?

Trouble is, her appeal to sentiment ignores everything that matters. The most important question about immigration is, “Is it good for America?”

The sentimental appeal is meaningless in this regard. Just because immigration was good for Garabed Attarian and Aghvani Kevorkian back then doesn`t make immigration good for America in 2004.

As a matter of logic, the two propositions have nothing to do with each other.

Moreover, the context of immigration has changed beyond recognition. When Grandma and Grandpa boarded the lifeboat, there was plenty of room. America had less than 100 million people, undeveloped land abounded, oil and water were plentiful and cheap. But that was then, and this is now. Our population has more than tripled since then, urban sprawl to accommodate the increase is gobbling cropland, most of America`s oil is gone, and we have increasing trouble with water scarcity. Our institutions from highway systems to schools and hospitals are overloaded. Today`s mass immigration is a stampede onto a boat that`s already overcrowded and shipping water.

Garrett Hardin`s essay “Living on a Lifeboat” is more illuminating for our situation than tear-jerking invocations of my grandparents.

When Grandma and Grandpa came here, America insisted that they assimilate, which meant, among other things, learning English, which they did. When Dad was a boy, Grandma enrolled him in an Armenian school in Detroit. Unfortunately, this made learning English harder; he would address his public school classmates in Armenian. A public school teacher insisted that Grandma withdraw him from the Armenian school and that he become fluent in English; this was America, not Armenia. She did, and he did (though he thought in Armenian till his dying day).

Today`s politically correct America would not only treat my grandparents as a protected minority due to the language barrier, thus retarding their assimilation, but put little Eddie Attarian in bilingual education.

Grandpa and Grandma not only learned English, they embraced their new country gratefully. There was no such thing as anti-American animus among Armenians.

In the first place, they didn`t have any, and in the second place, America would not have tolerated it. So no National Council of La Raza, MALDEF, or MEChA for them. Anti-American activism and anti-white racism are rampant among Latino immigrants. The only thing these malcontents have in common with my grandparents is human biology.

The appeal to my grandparents` experience as a persecuted minority in the Ottoman Empire puts a special twist on things.

There is no blinking the fact that American public policy is increasingly anti-white. Corporations, colleges, universities, and other institutions also routinely discriminate against whites in admissions, employment, and promotions. While the media routinely demonize whites and give the rare crimes by whites against non-whites saturation coverage, the more frequent non-white (including immigrant) crimes against whites (such as the horrific Wichita Massacre) routinely go unreported—a fact well established by David Horowitz (Hating Whitey), Sam Francis, Pat Buchanan (Death of the West), and William McGowan (Coloring the News). Then there are people like Noel Ignatiev who spend their time fomenting hatred of whites.  Anyone who thinks there isn`t an anti-white jihad going on is uninformed, insane, or in denial.

There is no blinking the fact either that if current demographic trends—driven, above all, by immigration—continue, whites will be a minority in their own country by 2050 or even 2040. Whites are already a minority in California and New Mexico and will soon be in the minority all over the Southwest.

Taken together, these two developments point to an inescapable conclusion: within fifty years, white Americans could be a stigmatized, demonized, persecuted minority—second-class citizens, targets of official discrimination and of a criminal violence routinely ignored, rationalized, and virtually sanctioned by the mainstream opinion leaders and the powers that be.

In short, whites will be in a position eerily similar to that of Armenians in Turkey before World War I.

It is a faint hope that whites living under those circumstances won`t be the targets of worse things than demonization and discrimination.

By the middle of the century, then, my siblings and I will be in old age, my niece and nephew (and my own children, if I ever have any) will be in middle age, and their children will be young adults, and the odds are that they will be living like their ancestors under the Turks.

My family has already had plenty of experience being a persecuted minority. That`s why my grandparents became immigrants. I have absolutely no desire to see my family endure persecuted-minority status again.

But that`s exactly where mass immigration is taking the Attarians.

How can someone of my background oppose immigration?

It`s easy.

John Attarian [email him] is an independent scholar and writer with a doctorate in economics living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is the author of Economism and the National Prospect (American Immigration Control Foundation, 2001), Social Security: False Consciousness and Crisis (Transaction Publishers), and Immigration: Wrong Answer for Social Security (American Immigration Control Press, 2003).