Speaking Up In A “Nation of Immigrants” Audience
sprung the "But we`re a nation of immigrants!"
argument [sic] on me. But I did have to deal
with the "Everyone`s an immigrant except for the
Native Americans" and
"Statue of Liberty" variants on that theme.
wasn`t one of life`s highlights. I report it here in
hopes of encouraging others to go out and do
intellectual battle in
similar circumstances. My goal, always, is getting
more people to realize that there are cogent arguments
against our current immigration madness and that, if
you`re unhappy about the madness, you`re not alone. Thus
encouraged, I hope you`ll speak up, too, until pressure
immigration serve the national interest becomes an
The occasion was
the Wednesday, November 1st, fall opener of the Bozeman
(MT) Film Festival. This season`s opening theme is
“Why Don`t They Just Go Home?”, covering a
two-part series that, according to the local publicity
fliers, "will explore contemporary immigration issues
from a variety of perspectives."
description of November 1st`s film
Balseros, dealing with a 1994 surge of Cuban
refugee rafters bound for the United States, made it
sound pretty far afield from today`s
"immigration issues." But I expected that the post-film panel
discussion would be the kind of compassion-fest that
especially warranted the kind of factual cold water I`d
be able to provide.
My suspicions along
these lines were buttressed by reading the tendentious
description for the series`
second movie, showing on November 15 — "The
film is the story of a 9-year-old boy who learns Hebrew
and French from his adoptive family and racism and
bigotry from his
Israel" — and by the listed qualifications of
the faculty from Montana State University`s Modern
Languages Department, who were to comprise most of the
experts on the panel.
The turnout was
impressive at several hundred. But it turned out to have
been bulked up by Montana State students who were
attending for extra credit. The movie
Balseros was mildly
interesting—turns out some of the rafting refugees,
after several years in the U.S., wished
they`d stayed in Cuba—and exceptionally L-O-N-G.
There was a rush for the exits when the film concluded,
leaving about thirty of us in the audience for the panel
After a round of
comments from the
panel, including Professor of French
Ada Giusti`s explanation that family re-unification
is a "basic human right" and her
assertion that there`s no way to stop immigration, the
audience was invited to participate.
A young man
promptly asked, "How many Latinos are there
in Montana and what is their impact?" Panel member
Bridget Kevane, chair of the modern languages
department, advertised as "an expert on
literature," answered that there are
about 5,000 in Billings and 1,000 in Bozeman, working in
service jobs and construction, some legal, some
illegal. As to impact she said, "The Latino
community will make Bozeman thrive."
There was my
opening! So, after softball questions from several
others, I piped up that, as a recent refugee from
southern California, I wouldn`t associate the word
"thrive" with a
Latino influx. I noted that Mexican immigrants and
illegal aliens themselves
don`t like what
the mass Latino inflow is doing to California, and I
illustrated this by reading aloud the brief,
"We`re [now] in a
state [Kentucky] where there`s nothing but
police control the streets. It`s
clean, no gangs. California now resembles
thinks like in Mexico. California`s broken.`""
me, so I went on to explain that Prof. Giusti`s
"right of family re-unification," combined with our
laws, leads to chain migration, wherein a "seed"
immigrant chosen on the basis of skills starts a
chain of relatives that averages 90 people. I then
lapsed into a few lame remarks that it was a big
problem. (I wished I`d had the presence of mind to
conclude that what was at stake was avoiding a
Third-World-style future for everyone in the
I closed by waving
aloft a copy of Common Sense On Mass Immigration,
the gem of a booklet [see below] published by John
Social Contract Press. I told people that I`d be
delighted to give them copies.
I was followed by a
woman in the audience who fumed about my selfishness in
close the door on others. I replied that it was a
matter public policy choices. This earned me a horrified
look from another woman.
About this point,
Professor Giusti interjected that the cost of produce
would skyrocket if we didn`t have illegal aliens working
in agriculture. I quickly tried to point out that, with
lettuce at about $1/head and field labor about 5 cents
of that, tripling wages for workers—at which point
Americans would do the jobs—would raise the price of
lettuce by 10%. And how much, after all, do people now
spend on lettuce and other produce?
Anyway, there were
multiple educational opportunities here, some of which I
will follow up on by email with the several professors.
The attention then
shifted to others` questions and comments. But a couple
of people quickly stopped by me to get copies of the
booklet, one of them (in fact, the young man who`d asked
the question about Latinos in Montana) also thanking me
for speaking up.
When the program
finally ended, half a dozen people clustered around me
to pick up booklets and continue discussions. One of
them was panel member and free-lance writer
Michael Finkel (Author of
Desperate Passage, PDF, a June 18, 2000 New
York Times Magazine story about Haitian
rafters), who, in a perfectly amiable way, threw at me
both the "We`re all immigrants except for the
Native Americans" and "Remember the
Statue of Liberty" ploys. Except they weren`t
really ploys, because that`s the way most people think.
For the first, I
Peter Brimelow`s line, "Do they
really think other nations sprouted up out of the
ground?” To which Finkel gamely but lamely replied
that they`d been here
centuries longer than anyone else.
For the second, I
explained, approximately, that "The statue`s real
name is `Liberty Enlightening the World,` and
it has nothing to do with immigration. It was a
gift from the French to recognize the workings of
ordered liberty in American society as an example for
the rest of the world, not an invitation for the world
to move here. And the Lazarus poem about `huddled
masses` was added later, with no one`s permission."
continued with one or two people as we left the
Overall, it seemed
to me that the number and extent of the conversations
I`d taken part in had made sitting through the movie
Common Sense On Mass Immigration booklet
is a resource everyone needs to know about. It contains
20 "micro-essays" (my terminology, meaning each
one takes only about a minute to read) on a broad range
of issues across the overall topic of mass immigration.
The essays` authors are our current leaders for
immigration sanity, such as
Peter Brimelow, and
Roy Beck. Since the essays are so short, it`s
realistic to think people will actually read them if you
give them a copy of the booklet—in contrast to highly
worthwhile books by Pat Buchanan,
Dan Sheehy, Tom Tancredo, etc.
Thrust such a "must read" book upon a friend and
it may well be politely exiled to the shelf for
"later." The same essays are available
online, but, for distribution, I encourage people to
buy copies of the printed booklet, because it is such a
handy package. (Note the photo at the
page for ordering—I mean literally handy!) Ordered
in bulk, the booklets cost as little as 40 cents apiece.
When I give out copies, I write my contact information
on the cover. And I always encourage people to start
their reading with Essay #8, "
Immigration and Basic Freedoms," by John Vinson of
American Immigration Control Foundation. This
particular essay, it seems to me, best gives people a
flavor of what`s at stake for their own futures if
immigration madness continues.)