Malkin`s Invasion: The Review



Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores
,
by Michelle Malkin (Regnery, $27.05)

[VDARE.COM
NOTE
: Immediately after this review appeared in
the first (October 7) issue of


The American Conservative

James Taranto

attacked
it in
OpinionJournal, See Peter Brimelow`s

reply
.
Taranto
reacted

angrily
(scroll down to third item from end); we
post Peter Brimelow`s further comments
here
.]

Nasty things seem to happen to
people who write critically about
immigration [PB comment:
which is why

Scott McConnell

is editing TAC and I`m running VDARE.COM].

Accordingly, the small catacomb of immigration
reformers–so similar to the persecuted minority that
constituted the American conservative movement thirty
years ago–is very worried for

Michelle Malkin.

This young Filipino-American woman has made a remarkable
debut as a conservative syndicated columnist. She is
already in nearly 100 newspapers, including
The Washington Times
, the New York Post and the
Miami Herald. But she has recently begun to
specialize in detailed and devastating exposés of the
shambles that passes for U.S. immigration policy. Such
is the political correctness of establishment
journalism, both left and right, that this makes Malkin
virtually unique. She has even

attacked
, for its blind support of amnesty for
illegals, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page,
the

Great Cham
of the conservative establishment, which
does not take such

lèse-majesté
lightly.

Doesn`t she know what`s good for
her?

Apparently not. Malkin`s new book,


Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores
,
by Michelle Malkin (Regnery, $27.05) is an important
addition to the literature. It may not advance her
career. But it is a signal service to her country. 

Tolstoy famously

said
that all happy families resemble one another,
but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Pretty much the same is true of immigration books.
Pro-immigration books–for example

Joel Millman`s The Other Americans
or Sanford
J. Ungar`s
Fresh Blood

(click here
for Peter Brimelow`s review) are invariably triumphalist,
anecdotal, larded with celebrations of the authors` own
forbears from Russia, and fatally light on data. In
contrast, anti-immigration books are much more diverse,
and often highly technical. Sometimes, as in the case of
Roy Beck`s

The Case Against Immigration,

they even are at pains to

reject
the sobriquet

“anti-immigration,”
arguing correctly but vainly
that no-one wants to shut the borders completely, merely
to correct glaring flaws in current policy. (Needless to
say, this makes no difference to immigration enthusiasts
in the establishment media. All critics of immigration
policy are routinely

labeled “anti-immigrant”
–even when, as in my

own case
, they are immigrants themselves.)

The reason for this systematic
difference goes beyond the usual sloth, stupidity and
assorted other vices endemic in journalism, although
these are certainly in evidence. Immigration is a new
issue in American politics. It simply did not exist in
its current form until the

1965 Immigration Act
unexpectedly rekindled mass
immigration after a

forty-year lull.
What American debate is
experiencing is a classic paradigm shift, with the old
pro-immigration orthodoxy being undermined by new facts
and by new analysis derived from those facts.

The
current crop of politicians and pundits generally spent
their formative years in the mid-twentieth century
immigration lull. Most of them are simply too old to
recognize the new reality. In this respect, it is
significant that Michelle Malkin was born only in 1970,
two years after the 1965 Act took effect. Like Marxism,
with which it has some odd similarities, dogmatic
immigration enthusiasm may well be undermined in the
end, not by the force of rational argument, but by
relentless generational shift.

Malkin`s unique angle on
immigration policy is in effect a direct answer to the
Wall Street Journal`s

damage-control
maneuvers after last September`s
terrorist attacks. Writing on the Opinion Journal
website on January 15, James Taranto

gloated
that

“You`d
think a horrific sneak attack by 19 foreigners on
American soil would be a perfect opportunity for the
close-the-borders crowd, but they`ve scarcely been heard
from. [This is an in-joke
reference to the
Wall Street Journal`s notorious
refusal to print contrary viewpoints on immigration,
even from fellow-conservatives.]
Of course, their argument
wouldn`t really stand up; it`s preposterous on its face
to suggest that Mexican gardeners are a national-security
threat, even if Arab flight students are.”

Malkin`s response: it`s the
process
, stupid. By focusing tightly on the way in
which foreigners are admitted to the U.S., she
demonstrates in crushing detail what 9/11 made clear to
all observers less committed than Taranto: the process
has collapsed. Whether the applicants are visitors or
immigrants, and quite apart from any issue of security
or economic benefit, the plain fact is that U.S.
government agencies have lost their ability to guard the
gates–let alone evict any undesirable who has actually
entered. 

The beauty of Malkin`s approach is
that it completely bypasses the vast questions in which
the immigration debate often bogs down–such as how many
immigrants should come in (i.e. should the government in
effect second-guess Americans` decision to

stabilize their population
) and who (should the
historic American nation be transformed by massive
immigration from non-traditional sources).

Of course, these questions still
have to be answered. But, Malkin says in effect,
whatever your answer, you still have to enforce it
through the

admissions
(and

deportation
) process. And, right now, that can`t be
done.

Thus Malkin notes that, of 48
Islamic militants involved in terrorist conspiracies
during the last decade, only sixteen were here “legally”
on temporary visas as students, tourists or business
travelers. (She could have added that even these were
technically illegal because they had not admitted the
real purpose of their visit was to fly airliners into
buildings etc., something the U.S. vetting process
failed to pick up.) Seventeen were permanent residents
or citizens (obviously another vetting failure). Twelve
were illegal immigrants. The others had applied for
political asylum or been granted amnesty after illegal
stays. In all, twenty-one had violated U.S. immigration
law at some point.

If that`s not enough warning that
the system is broke, Malkin points out, the Immigration
and Naturalization Service actually mailed student visa
approval notices to two of those “legal” entrants,
Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al Shehhi, six months

after

they had died in the September 11 attacks. “I could
barely get my coffee down,” President Bush

blustered
when he heard the news. Nevertheless, his
Administration stood by as

higher education lobbyists
shouted down Senator
Diane Feinstein`s proposal for a temporary moratorium on

student visas
to re-establish control.

A million foreigners have been
admitted to the U.S. on student visas. The government
has no idea how many are really studying.

Immigration policy, in Malkin`s
meticulous analysis, is basically driven by special
interests and bureaucratic inertia. Higher education is
one such special interest. The travel industry–aided by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle`s wife Linda,
a

lobbyist
–is another. Pressure for faster handling of
paperwork is intense, with the result that at least one
9/11 hijacker came through John F. Kennedy Airport with
obviously incomplete documentation. Malkin prints a

memo
from an official at

Los Angeles International
directing inspectors not
to respond to requests from airlines to vet suspected
illegal immigrants and not to make disruptive group
arrests even in the case of “suspected terrorists,
kidnapping, slavery…
” The

memo
is dated February 12, 2002.

The INS is manifestly on the wrong
side in all this. To some extent, the agency`s
functioning seems to have become an end in itself.
Malkin reports that in the six months after 9/11, it
ground out another 50,000 tourist, business and student
visas to non-Israeli visitors from the Middle East and
another 140,000 to visitors from al-Qaeda havens in
South Asia, apparently without any thought of security.
Additionally, senior INS officials have quite clearly
gone native to an extraordinary degree–”it`s not a crime
to be in the U.S. illegally,”

said
INS deputy director Fred Alexander last year.
(As Malkin patiently documents, it is.)

Malkin has changed my own thinking
on the INS. I had always assumed, in my reasonable way,
that the INS was a victim of poor laws and proliferating
workload. Malkin reports enough management failure and
corruption (involving at least one official I
interviewed for my own immigration book, Alien Nation)
to convince me that the problem is

systemic
.

As she says, how come the federal
government can do

instant background checks
on law-abiding American
gun buyers
–but not when it catches illegal
immigrants?

(The laws are poor, though. Malkin
recounts the denouement of the

1996 Citizenship USA scandal
, in which the Clinton
White House pressured the INS to naturalize some 1.3
million immigrants–i.e. instant Democrats–without
adequate background checks. The Justice Department
subsequently tried to revoke the citizenship of some
6.300 who turned out to be felons but was

blocked on appeal.
The judge invited Congress to
step in–but it did not, despite Republican control.)

I would have liked to see Malkin
apply her method to

disease
, which, like

terrorism
, is a wild card in the current immigration
debate.

Screening immigrants
for disease was constant even
at Ellis Island, and significant numbers were rejected.
But today, the U.S. is arguably more exposed to
immigrant-born disease than ever in its history, if only
because of illegal border crossings.

Tuberculosis
has already reappeared.

West Nile
may have been immigrant-imported. Awful
things are being incubated in the vast human petri
dishes created by Third World urbanization. And they`re
coming here–unless they`re stopped.

But Malkin makes a more immediately
dramatic point: she summarizes the story of

Angel Resendiz
, the “Railway Killer,” a Mexican who
repeatedly entered the U.S. illegally over a 25 year
period, had at least 25 encounters with U.S. law
enforcement, was deported three times and “voluntarily
returned” at least four times, and who, between 1997 and
1999, is known to have who murdered at least 12
Americans–the last four after being released by the INS,
although there were already warrants outstanding for his
arrest.

This story, complete with harrowing
vignettes of Resendez` archetypical Middle American
victims, is a classic piece of journalism. It is a
disgrace to the establishment media that it could never
appear there.

Resendiz liked to fracture his
women victims` skulls
and rape them as they died.
Their terrible deaths are on James Taranto`s head–and on
the heads of every single immigration enthusiast who has
minimized this mortal threat to America.

Peter
Brimelow is the author of

Alien
Nation: Common Sense About America`s Immigration
Disaster
 and Editor of VDARE.com.

October 11, 2002