Two Years After 9/11, Time For An Immigration Reform Litmus Test


Two years later, it
can be said of the dead of 9/11, in the words

quoted
at every family gathering when I was a child
in the 1950s, with the ghosts of two World Wars silently
looking on


They shall not grow
old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

In those
two years that have elapsed since the event that was
supposed to have

Changed Everything
, change has indeed been dramatic
in some areas. But it is virtually non-existent in
others.

Most
dramatically, the U.S. has, in effect, acquired two
colonies in the Middle East, along with what
increasingly appear to be two colonial wars. But,
whatever the wisdom of this policy – VDARE.COM is

neutral
, our syndicated columnists are divided

pro
and

con
– it is quite obvious that the Bush Administration
has refused to respond to the point that we made
immediately after the terrorist attack:

“IT`S THE IMMIGRATION, STUPID!”

Yet without
sweeping immigration reform, any War on Terrorism can be
at best an

F-14
with only one wing.

Indeed, the
Bush Administration seems determined not merely to
ignore, but actually to insult, immigration
reformers. Thus the Miami Herald`s Frank Davies
has just (September 9)

reported
that “the new top U.S. diplomat for
Latin America, Roger Noriega”
says that, in
U.S.-Mexico relations, “we need to focus more on
immigration,”
Bush-speak for amnestying illegals.
And – wait for it – Noriega is himself “the grandson
of undocumented Mexican immigrants.”

Ambassador Noriega
is thus well qualified to twist

Vicente Fox`s
arm about illegal immigration—or at
least lick his

cowboy boots
.

For at
least six months after 9/11, well into the spring of
2002, immigration enthusiasts like

Tamar Jacoby
were congratulating themselves that
they had dodged the immigration reform bullet. The
instant popular demand for it appeared once again to
have been frustrated. One ever-politic bellwether:
National Review,
which had all but nominally

abandoned
immigration reform after 1997 when

Bill Buckley
secretly fired John O`Sullivan,
continued to publish vitriolic

attacks
on those of us (me) who had

crafted
its original line and to curry Beltway favor
by

featuring
open-borders loonies like the
Cato Institute`s

Dan Griswold
.

But at
least in the little world of “conservative” journalism,
this has finally changed.

Quite why
is one of those curious things. It happened too late to
be directly related to 9/11. Maybe it was

Michelle Malkin`s
book

Invasion
, with its tight, hard-to-smear focus on
the flawed U.S. admissions process, a best-seller
despite being reviewed by no major newspapers when it
was released last fall. Or maybe it occurred to someone
that declaring

World War IV
on the Muslim world might also require
restricting Muslim immigration.

The Hudson
Institute`s John Fonte has now

discerned
what he calls a “second thoughts”
group of “conservative intellectuals and activists,”
newly interested in immigration reform, inspired
especially by Victor David Hanson`s recent book on
illegal immigration,

Mexifornia
. (Commercial message: I will be
commenting on this book soon in

The American Conservative.
)

As befits a
regular National Review contributor a.k.a.
Buckley courtier, Fonte says tactfully that what he
calls “the first-wave debate” just somehow
“faded in the late `90s.”

Us first-wave
veterans who were “faded” from our respective
publications – I`d include here

Scott McConnell
and

Sam Francis
– would have to be made of stone not to
view this Second Thoughts group with a certain, well,
wryness.

Indeed,
although I`ve never discussed it with him, I`ve always
felt that even the saintly Sam, first in the field of
immigration reform along with his

Chronicles
Magazine colleagues, yielded a little
to this temptation when he

reviewed
my

Alien Nation
in—those were the days!—National
Review
.

But for
Christians, jealousy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. So
I want here to put on record that I thought

Rich Lowry`s
recent columns on the

impact
of immigration on the poor and on

why
California gubernatorial candidate Arnold
Schwarzenegger should run on Proposition 187 were very
good.

We might
even have considered publishing them in VDARE.COM, if we
hadn`t covered the ground before.

And who
cares about that? For an idea to become policy, it must
spread from radicals to moderates, from the fringe to
the center, from the original to the orthodox. Whatever.
Only when the idea is thoroughly ventilated will
professional politicians even begin to consider it.

We all need
each other, I like to think in my collegial way.

Jealousy is
one thing, however. Uncritical acceptance is another.
Because the motives of the late-comers are significantly
different, there is a constant danger that so too may be
the outcome of any policies they promote.

Just look
what happened to poor Mark Krikorian of the

Center For Immigration Studies
this year when he
awarded his Eugene Katz journalism prize for
“excellence in the coverage of immigration”
to
National Review`s


Joel Mowbray
because of his coverage of the

Saudi visa scandal.

At the May
30

ceremony
, Mowbray was said to have been
“unexpectedly sent on assignment in Israel.”
So the
award was accepted on his behalf by the

notorious
NR immigration enthusiast

John J. Miller
. And Miller read out an email from
Mowbray explicitly disassociating himself from the cause
of immigration reform. (“It`s ironic that I`m getting
an award from a group who has a principal focus on
reducing immigration levels. Though I think very highly
of CIS, I do not agree on the key question of
immigration levels.”)

We
regularly tease Mark Krikorian because of his amiable
attempts to

triangulate
his way into respectability at the
expense of VDARE.COM and other immigration reformers.
But he did not deserve this public humiliation.

Nor did the
immigration reform movement deserve to lose one of its
few public platforms.

My advice
to Mark: next year, give the Katz Award to Sam Francis.

You can
count on Sam! [email
your vote to the Center For Immigration Studies.]
 

At any
rate, at this (relatively) happy juncture in immigration
reform history, it`s time to consider what litmus tests
to apply to immigration-reformers-come-lately. 

I`ll
suggest a few in my next article.