Alien Nation Review: Yale Law Journal, May 1996 - (Part 3 of 4)
Default author
May 05, 1996, 06:19 PM
Print Friendly and PDF

Click here to return to Part 2...


Brimelow claims that American society has fallen into crisis since the new immigrants arrived and that they are responsible for its decline. I have sought to demonstrate that most of his factual claims are either wrong or fail to justify his radical policy prescriptions. For those whom I have not yet convinced, I wish to use this concluding section to test his overarching claim—that the post-1965 immiigration flow has been an unequivocal plague on American society. I propose to do so by offering a (necessarily incomplete) answer to the following question: How does the state of American society today compare to its state in 1965, when the new immigrants began coming and when the Fall (according to Brimelow) therefore began? Briefly stated, my answer is that we are in most important respects a far better society than we were before these immigrants arrived. Their contribution to this progress is striking in the growth of the economy, the expansion of civil rights and social tolerance, and the revitalization of many urban neighborhoods. Moreover, these immigrants bear little blame for the great exception to this progress: the increase in the social pathology afflicting some inner-city subcultures.(234) Just as Brimelow cannot prove that the post-1965 immigrants caused certain social conditions in America to be worse than they would otherwise have been, it would be impossible for me to show how much of our post-1965 progress they caused. The evidence strongly suggests, however, that the post-1965 immigrants contributed to it.

Brimelow`s answer to the question, of course, is very different. To him, the America of 1965 was an Edenic paradise compared to today(235)—relatively crime-free, economically prosperous, normatively coherent, politically stable, linguistically unified, demographically stable, and ecologically sustainable. Most important, it was overwhelmingly white. By 1995, the newcomers had changed all that, bringing us a society marked by drugs, violent crime, economic decline, debased family life, a babel of languages, clashing value systems, racial conflict, political divisions, a population bomb, a crowded, degraded environment—and swarthy complexions. No wonder Brimelow anguishes about America`s present and about his son Alexander`s future!(236)

Brimelow`s depressing, hand-wringing account of today`s America, although common enough among conservatives and liberals alike, is profoundly distorted. It is true that the new immigration coincided with some extremely negative developments in American life. The most important of these is the erosion of family structure, which has blighted the lives of an immense number of children born out-of-wedlock and raised in single- or no-parent households(237) by caretakers who depend on public assistance and who are often only children themselves. Most of what is most pernicious about American society today—its high levels of street crime, drug use, racial fears, domestic violence, welfare dependency, public health menaces such as AIDS, educational failure, and high unemployment among low-skill youth—derives from this fundamental pathology of family structure. There is no gainsaying its deeply corrosive effects on American life.

It is also true, however, that little of this pathology can be attributed to the new immigrants. To be sure, many of them commit drug-related crimes; some sub-groups, mainly Asian refugees, have relatively high welfare rates; and some others, notably Mexican-Americans, have high illegitimacy rates. These behaviors are indeed troubling, as is the fact that they seem to increase the more that the new immigrants interact with Americans.(231) Still, these grim patterns must be kept in perspective: Relatively few of the new immigrants commit crimes, and the vast majority of these are drug-related; we are not supposed to select refugees for their skills; and the groups with high illegitimacy rates are comprised disproportionately of illegal aliens, many of whom can be excluded in the future by better border control policies.

What about the other side of the ledger, which Brimelow assiduously ignores? If the post-1965 immigrants have contributed to some of America`s failures, have they not also contributed to some of our post-1965 successes? If so, do not these successes contradict Brimelow`s alarums about the state of the American polity?

The truth is that the last three decades have witnessed some remarkable advances in American life. While causality in such matters is extremely complex and elusive, the new immigrants can claim some credit for many of these advances. Most plausibly, they have contributed to our continued if slow economic growth,(239) the dramatic rise in the public`s tolerance for minorities (including dark-skinned aliens) and its support for racial integration and equality,(240) the renaissance in many previously declining urban neighborhoods,(241) and the diversification and enrichment of many aspects of American culture. Beyond these advances, however, are social improvements that bespeak a robust polity, one that contradicts Brimelow`s vision of political dissolution and decline attributable to the new immigrants.(242) I shall mention only three areas of improvement: the environment, politics, and the quality of life.

Environment. Brimelow blames the new immigrants for the deterioration of the American environment.(243) In fact, however, the quality of the American environment today is vastly superior to its state in 1965, before these immigrants arrived. Whether the concern is air pollution (indoor or outdoor), water quality, deforestation, pesticides and other chemical risks, radiation hazards, food quality, land preservation, historic preservation, wetlands, farmland, energy efficiency, toxic waste, depletion of raw materials, lead paint, acid rain, or many other conditions, the levels of risk and environmental degradation today are lower, often much lower, than they were in 1965.(244) These improvements rank as one of the greatest triumphs of private mobilization and public policy in our history. Insofar as immigrants contributed to the economic growth that made these policies fiscally and hence politically sustainable, they helped to improve the environment. At the very least, they did not prevent such gains from being realized.

Politics. In 1965, blacks and other disadvantaged minorities played at best a marginal role in the American political system. For almost a century, they had been routinely denied the vote guaranteed to them by the Fifteenth Amendment, and there were relatively few racial minority officeholders. There were also few female officeholders, although women had received the franchise almost a half-century earlier. Three decades later, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, women, the disabled, elderly, gays and lesbians, and other minorities are full participants in the political system at all levels of government. Their organizations have led largely successful struggles to enact a plethora of laws—the Voting Rights Act of 1965,(245) the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967,(246) the Age Discrimination Act of 1975,(247) the Education of the Handicapped Act of 1975,(248) the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990,(249) the Civil Rights Act of 1991,(250) and many others—designed to prevent discrimination and otherwise advance their group interests.

As a result of these developments, the American political system today is far more participatory and responsive to minority interests than it was in 1965.(251) If the level of party discipline in both major parties in Congress is any measure of coherence, American politics today is also more coherent and less fragmented than it has been for decades.(252) This partisanship reflects and reinforces a growing ideological polarization between the parties that tends to sharpen policy issues, widen voters` choices, and increase accountability. The bellicosity of partisan politics today is part of the price that we pay for these virtues, and it is well worth it.

Taken together, these changes have transformed the American state into a more robust democracy than ever before. They have helped to shape a polity that is far more just and responsive to far more people than it was before the new immigrants came.

Quality of Life. I have already noted the enormous economic growth that has occurred since 1965, growth that translates into higher disposable income and living standards for virtually all Americans.(253) It iS important to emphasize that even the millions still mired in poverty—a group that, according to the best, consumption-based estimates, is less than half the percentage of the population that it was in 1961—enjoy an improved standard of living.(254) With the enactment and extraordinary expansion of the Food Stamp program, hunger as traditionally understood has been essentially eliminated from American life.(255) The proportion of housing units that are substandard declined from 16% in 1960 and 8.4% in 1970 to practically zero today.(256) Life expectancy for those born in 1992 was nearly five years longer than for those born in 1970.(257) Both the quantity and quality of medical care have improved enormously since 1965, and the rapid growth of the Medicare and Medicaid programs has enabled low-income people to share in those gains. Infant mortality rates dropped steadily during the post-1965 period; they fell by more than half between 1970 and 1991.(258)The percentage of Americans who completed four or more years of college nearly tripled between 1960 and 1993.(259) The rising quality of many public goods, such as recreational facilities, highways, low-cost entertainment, and (as noted above) the environment, also increased the value of Americans` consumption, albeit in ways not captured by the national income accounts.(260) Finally, the risk of a large-scale war claiming American lives and treasure—a tragic reality in 1965—has diminished almost to the vanishing point today.

These gains in the quality of life since 1965 are remarkable by any standard. All things considered, they may even exceed the gains during the pre-1973 period, when the American economy, as conventionally measured, was expanding at a faster rate. Even when set against the alarming increase in family dissolution and its dire consequences, these gains remain impressive. This dissolution, moreover, principally affects those Americans condemned to live in or in close proximity to the underclass, a group that still constitutes a relatively small share (approximately one to two percent) of the population. The small size of the share, while no consolation to those who comprise it or must reside near its members, nevertheless puts even this great failure into a somewhat broader, more hopeful perspective.

The quality-of-life gains since 1965 for the vast majority of Americans, then, have been enormous, perhaps unparalleled. It is impossible to know, of course, whether those gains would have been even larger or more widespread had we admitted fewer or different immigrants during this period.(261) What we do know is that the post-1965 immigrants, whom Brimelow condemns as afflictions and parasites, did join American society, and that we are now a more just, diverse, and prosperous society today than we were then. We can also be certain that many of the values that immigrants, the new as well as the old, brought with them will be essential to our continued vigor and progress. Today and tomorrow, even more than yesterday, America desperately needs what so many immigrants possess—optimism and energy, orientation to the future, faith in education as the ladder upward, hunger for their own and their children`s success, and devotion to a dynamic, hopeful vision of America that has lost focus for many native-born citizens.

We must reform immigration policy to meet our changing needs. In particular, policy should assure that a larger share of the immigration flow consists of individuals who are most likely to succeed in the American economy of the twenty-first century. But it will take much, much more than this book to convince me that we should eliminate or radically reduce that flow. Immigration, including the post-1965 wave, has served America well. If properly regulated, there is every reason to expect that it will continue to do so.

(*) Senior Editor, Forbes and National Review. (1.) Jack Miles aptly refers to it as "bottled brio." Jack Miles, The Coming Immigration Debate, Atlantic Monthly, Apr. 1995, at 130, 131 (reviewing Peter Brimelow, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America`s Immigration Disaster (1995) [hereinafter Alien Nation]). (2.) Too personal, in some respects—a point noted by Jack Miles in his largely admiring review. See id. at 140. (3.) Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 4. On birthright citizenship, see Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Immigration and Claims and the Subcomm. on the Constitution of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 104th Cong., 1st Sess. (Dec. 13, 1995) (statement of Peter H. Schuck, Professor, Yale Law School) [hereinafter Schuck Testimony]; Letter from Peter H. Schuck, Professor, Yale Law School, & Rogers Smith, Professor, Yale University, to House Subcomm. on Immigration and Claims and House Subcomm. on the Constitution of the House Comm. on the Judiciary (Feb. 14, 1996) (supplementing Dec. 1995 testimony) (on file with author) [hereinafter Supplemental Letter]. (4.) Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 263. (5.) For example, in his review of the book, Aristide Zolberg expresses surprise and dismay as to "[w]hy this journalistic broadside has received such respectful treatment." Aristide Zolberg, Book Review, 21 Population & Dev. Rev. 659, 659 (1995). A number of other readers have been similarly dismissive. (6.) The media and Congress have already given it much prominence, and it is bound to receive more attention as we approach two seismic political events: congressional action on immigration reform legislation and the 1996 election campaign. For a sampling of Brimelow`s appearances on national television programs, see Booknotes (C-SPAN television broadcast, June 11, 1995), cited in Reuters Daybook, June 11, 1995, available in LEXIS, News Library, Curnws File; Charlie Rose (PBS television broadcast, Apr. 20, 1995), transcript reprinted in LEXIS, News Library, Curnws File (transcript no. 1360); Crossfire (CNN television broadcast, July 4, 1995), available in LEXIS, News Library, Curnws File (transcript no. 1398); Firing Line: Resolve& All Immigration Should Be Drastically Reduced (PBS television broadcast, June 16, 1995), discussed in Walter Goodman, Television Review: An Immigration Debate`s Real Issue, N.Y Times, June 15, 1995, at C20; MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour: Alien Nation (PBS television broadcast, Aug. 16, 1995), available in LEXIS, News Library, Curnws File; The McLaughlin Group (television broadcast, Aug. 1995), discussed in Susan Douglas, Snide Celebrations: Network TV Political Talk Shows and Women`s Rights, Progressive, Oct. 1995, at 17, 17. Brimelow has also testified before Congress. See Immigration Issues: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Immigration and Claims of the House Judiciary Comm., 104th Cong., 1st Sess. (May 17, 1995). (7.) See Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 258. The 1965 amendments, Act of Oct. 3, 1965, Pub. L. No. 89-236, 79 Stat. 911 (codified as amended in scattered sections of 8 U.S.C.), modified the landmark Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, ch. 477, 66 Stat. 163 (codified as amended at 8 U.S.C. [subsections] 1101-1523 (1988 & Supp. 1994)). (8.) See Immigration Act of 1921, ch. 8, 42 Stat. 5. Congress adopted the national origins quotas in provisional form in 1921, id. [section] 2, 42 Stat. at 5-6, and codified them as a permanent system in 1924, Immigration Act of 1924, ch. 190, [section] 11, 43 Stat. 153, 159-60. (9.) Act of Oct. 3, 1965, [subsections] 1-3, 8, Pub. L. No. 89-236, 79 Stat. at 911-14, 916-17. (10.) See Immigration Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-412, 92 Stat. 907; Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Pub. L. No. 99-603, 100 Stat. 3359; Immigration Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-649, 1990 U.S.C.C.A.N. (104 Stat.) 4978. (11.) Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 262. (12.) Id. at 262-63. 1 say "seems" because he is not altogether clear about how far he is prepared to go in restricting immigration. Brimelow proposes severe cutbacks in each category that would still preserve the category in some form, but he also says that, in the end, complete elimination is the preferred policy. id. Either Brimelow has not considered the possibility that some of these changes—especially a refusal to allow genuine asylees to enter the United States—would violate human rights conventions to which the United States is a signatory, or he does not care if they do. (13.) Brimelow, however, is not as radical as Michael Lind, who, to protect the earnings of native-born Americans, advocates zero net immigration. See Michael Lind, The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution 321-22 (1995). I should add that Lind`s book is both provocative and excellent, although its brief discussion of immigration policy is among its weakest sections. (14.) Brimelow`s discussion does not distinguish clearly between race, which connotes a close phenotypic affinity among people, and ethnicity, which connotes a cultural affinity, albeit one in which skin color might play an important cohesive role. He uses the terms more or less interchangeably. He assumes that there are well-defined races in the United States today, that they are accurately represented by Census data, and that they bear race-specific cultural values and behavioral propensities of a kind that would or should be relevant to immigration policy. These beliefs are as dangerous as they are false. For a critique of these assumptions, see id. at 118-27. (15.) Both the ethnocultural conception of nationhood and the contrasting political conception are traced in Rogers Brubaker, Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany (1992). (16.) See generally Connolling Immigration: A Global Perspective (Wayne A. Cornelius et al. eds., 1994) [hereinafter Controlling Immigration) (comparing immigration policy and politics of immigration of Western democracies). (17.) For recent reviews and analyses of the evidence, see William G. Mayer, The Changing American Mind: How and Why American Public Opinion Changed Between 1960 and 1988, at 22-28 (1992); Benjamin I. Page & Robert Y. Shapiro, The Rational Public: Fifty years of Trends in America`s Policy Preferences 68-81 (1992); Byron M. Roth, Prescription for Failure: Race Relations in the Age of Social Science 45-72 (1994). See generally Abigail Thernstom & Stephan Thernstrom, The Promise of Racial Equality, in The New Promise of American Life 88, 88-101 (Lamar Alexander & Chester E. Finn, Jr. eds., 1995) (discussing indicia of racism and measures of political and economic progress of African-Americans). Particularly interesting is the increase during the 1980s in the proportion of whites and blacks who said that they had a "fairly close friend" of the other race. In 1989, two-thirds of whites reported having a fairly close black friend, up from 50% in 1981. Similarly, 69% of blacks said that they had a fairly close white friend in 1981; by 1989, this number had increased to 80%. Id. at 95; see also D`Vera Cohn & Ellen Nakashima, Crossing Racial Lines, Wash. Post, Dec. 13, 1995, at Al (discussing newspaper poll that indicates that more than three-quarters of Washington area 12- to 17-year-olds say they have close friend of another race). On the other hand, a recent study finds that at least one aspect of traditional prejudice—the stereotype of blacks as lazy—is still widespread and contributes to whites` opposition to welfare. Martin Gilens, Racial Attributes and Opposition to Welfare, 57 J. Pol. 994 (1995). (18.) The most arguable exceptions, such as the contrast between the immigrant-friendly Cuban Adjustment Act, Pub. L. No. 89-732, 80 Stat. 1161 (1966) (codified as amended at 8 U.S.C. [subsections] 1101(b)(5), 1255 (1988)), and the often harsh treatment of Haitians, are over-determined; they can also be explained on geopolitical and ideological grounds. For opposition to the Cuban emigrees` advantages under the Cuban Adjustment Act, see The Stick Congress Gave Castro, N.Y. Times, Aug.

15, 1991, at A22 editorial). Haitians have experienced a more hostile reception. See Anthony DePalma, For Haitians, Voyage to a Land of Inequality, N.Y. Times, July 16, 1991, at Al. This differential was much noted—and decried—during the Haitian refugee crisis that followed the Haitian military`s overthrow of the government of President Jean-Bertrande Aristide in 1991. See, e.g., Bob Herbert, In America; Fasting for Haiti, N.Y. Times, May 4, 1994, at A23.

Some observers also attribute much of the support for Proposition 187 in California to racism. See, e.g., Kevin R. Johnson, An Essay on immigration Politics, Popular Democracy, and California`s Proposition 187. The Political Relevance and Legal Irrelevance of Race, 70 Wash. L. Rev. 629, 650-61 (1995); Gerald L. Neuman, Aliens as Outlaws: Government Services, Proposition 187, and the Structure of Equal Protection Doctrine, 42 UCLA L. Rev. 1425, 1451-52 & n.125 (1995). There is room, however, for genuine disagreement about the significance of the Latino support for the measure. Compare Peter H. Schuck, The Message of 187, Am. Prospect, Spring 1995, at 85, 89-90 (viewing support of significant minority of Latinos for Proposition 187 as evidence of nonracist nature of support for measure) with Johnson, supra, at 650-61 (viewing fact that majority of Latinos opposed it as evidence of racism). A federal district court in California has partially enjoined the enforcement of Proposition 187 on constitutional grounds. See League of United Latin Am. Citizens v. Wilson, 908 F. Supp. 755 (C.D. Cal. 1995). (19.) See infra text accompanying notes 76-93 (racial composition); 180-97 (bilingualism and multiculturalism); 198-207 (affirmative action); 208-12 (legislative districting). (20.) For a recent review of these eugenic arguments, see Dorothy Nelkin & Mark Michaels, Biological Categories and Border Controls: The Revival of Eugenics in Anti-Immigration Rhetoric (Sept. 12, 1995) (unpublished manuscript, on file with author). (21.) The national origins of family-based admissions follow those of the petitioning U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens. For example, the beneficiaries of the massive legalization program, many of whom may now petition on behalf of their family members, were disproportionately from Mexico and other Central American nations. see Frank D. Bean et al., Opening and Closing the Doors: Evaluating Immigration Reform and Control fig. 5.1 at 69, fig. 5.2 at 71 (1989). (22.) Usually, but not always. Almost half of the immigrants from Africa are white. Telephone Interview with Professor Frank D. Bean, Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin (Nov. 22, 1995). (23.) Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 10-1 1. He immediately adds, "Or, too often, a libertarian. And, on the immigration issue, even some confused conservatives." Id. at 11. (24.) Thus, he is both impressed and obviously dismayed by the fact that "when you enter the INS waiting rooms you find yourself in an underworld that is not just teeming but is also almost entirely colored." Id. at 28. He never says why this disturbs him. Similarly, he insists that "[i]t is simply common sense that Americans have a legitimate interest in their country`s racial balance." Id. at 264. Frankly, I do not understand why that is so, why race per se should matter. Unfortunately, his racial awareness does not distinguish him from most Americans today; we seem obsessed with the subject. The difference may be that Brimelow does not simply believe that race does matter. See, e.g., Cornel West, Race Matrers (1993); see also Peter H. Schuck, Cornell West`s Race Matters: A Dissent, Reconstruction, 1994 No. 3, at 84 (book review) (praising West`s open discussion of controversial race issues but criticizing specifics of West`s analysis). He also believes that it should matter—a lot. (25.) After making his quip about liberals, Brimelow offers a serious definition. Racism, he writes, is "committing and stubbornly persisting in error about people, regardless of evidence." Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 11. He calls this "the only rational definition" of racism. Id. Having noted the question of his own racism and then defined the term, he immediately dismisses the charge on the ground that he is open to evidence. This auto-acquittal, however, is not entirely satisfying. For one thing, his definition of racism as nothing more than an obdurately erroneous methodology of inference is peculiar and evasive. It fails to distinguish racism from many other more morally acceptable, but still regrettable, forms of cognitive error. It also ignores the substantive content of racist views, which of course is their chief point of interest. In common understanding and parlance, racism is a belief in the inherent superiority of one`s race, almost invariably accompanied by feelings of animus or contempt toward members of other races. This definition would distinguish racism from what Dinesh D` Souza calls "rational discrimination"—discrimination based not on hostility but on the need to act without full information, which would be costly to acquire, and thus on the basis of generalizations (or stereotypes) that are certain to be wrong in many, perhaps even most, individual cases. See Dinesh D` Souza, The End of Racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society (1995).

In this common-sense understanding of racism, it is hard to say whether Alien Nation is a racist book. Brimelow`s genial discussion reveals an acute sense of racial pride and difference but little outright animus or contempt; his breezy, loose-jointed writing style, which makes no pretense of analytical rigor, leaves it maddeningly unclear precisely what he is claiming. Key concepts such as race and cultural assimilation remain ill- or undefined. His conclusions about group superiority refer to a group`s culture, national origin, ethnicity, or class rather than to its race or genetic endowment as such. For example, he notes that street crime is related to "present-orientation," which he says varies among different ethnic groups, and that "[i]nevitably, therefore, certain ethnic cultures are more crime prone than others." Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 184. He then refers to the disproportionate arrest rates among blacks. Id. Nowhere, however, does he claim that blacks or other disfavored groups are genetically inferior. See id Specifically, he disavows any intention to rely on the claims about racial differences in IQ emphasized in Richard J. Herrnstein Charles Murray, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (1994), although he is careful not to disavow the claims themselves. See Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 56 n.*.

On the other hand, the book`s central, frequently reiterated claims—that the post-1965 immigrants are diluting the predominantly white "Anglo-Saxon" Protestant stock that made America great and that this gravely threatens American society—certainly resemble claims of racial (or at least national origin) superiority, despite Brimelow`s disclaimers. And he seems rather eager to define blacks out of the original American nation (much as Chief Justice Taney infamously and tragically did in the Dred Scott decision, see Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857)) to support his point that America was essentially white and European until the despised 1965 law was implemented. See Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 66-67. For that matter, Brimelow also ignores the presence of substantial numbers of persons of Mexican descent in the Southwest following the U.S. annexation of the region. Nor does Brimelow`s lily-white vision of pre-1965 America square with the influx of Chinese and Japanese into California and the West after the Civil War. An interesting contrast is presented by the scrupulously and emphatically nonracist discussion of many of these same points by Michael Lind. See Lind, supra note 13, at 259-98. (26.) Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 29. (27.) See id. at 29-49. (28.) Eric Schmitt, Immigration Bill Advances in the Senate, N.Y Times, Mar. 29, 1996, at A 1 6. (29.) See Immigration & Naturalization Serv., U.S. Dep`t of Justice, 1994 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service tbl. 1, tbl. B at 20 (1996) [hereinafter 1994 INS Statistical Yearbook]. (30.) See Schmitt, supra note 28, at A16. (31.) Immigration & Naturalization Serv., U.S. Dep`t of Justice, Immigration to the United States in Fiscal Year 1994, at 1-2, tbl. 2 (1995) [hereinafter 1994 Immigration Report!. (32.) 1994 INS Statistical Yearbook, supra note 29, tbl. 1. (33.) Id. (34.) The figures for these years include IRCA legalizations, of which there were only 6000 in 1994. Id. tbl. 4. (35.) Telephone Interview with Michael Hoefer, Chief of Demographic Analysis, Immigration and Naturalization Service (Sept. 20, 1995) [hereinafter Telephone Interview with Hoefer!. The 1994 decline also reflected the termination of certain special programs and other factors. Id. For what it`s worth, the INS expects legal immigration to increase in 1996. Telephone Interview with Michael Hoefer, Chief of Demographic Analysis, Immigration and Naturalization Service (Apr. 2, 1996). (36.) 1994 INS Statistical Yearbook, supra note 29, at 19. The legalization program is also contributing to the enormous growth in naturalization petitions that began in 1995, as the program`s beneficiaries are now completing the five-year residency period required for naturalization. See Seth Mydans, The Latest Big Boom: Citizenship, N.Y Times, Aug. 11, 1995, at A12. In contrast, the program for dependent family members of legalized aliens added about 34,000 in 1994, down from 55,000 in 1993. 1994 Immigration Report, supra note 31, tbl. 2. The program will continue to contribute significantly to the totals for years to come due to the enormous "overhang" of such dependents waiting for visas. (37.) See Jeffrey S. Passel, Commentary: Illegal Migration to the United States—the Demographic Context, in Controlling Immigration, supra note 16, at 113, 114-15. Unless otherwise indicated, the discussion of illegal aliens is based on Frank D. Bean et al., Introduction to Undocumented Migration to the United States: IRCA and the Experience of the 1980s 1, 1-10 (Frank D. Bean et al. eds., 1990); Thomas J. Espenshade, Unauthorized Immigration to the United States, 21 Ann. Rev. Soc. 195 (1995); and Telephone Interview with Hoefer, supra note 35. The other essays in the Bean volume are quite useful empirical studies of illegal immigration. (38.) See Passel, supra note 37, at 114-15. (39.) See Wayne A. Cornelius, From Sojourners to Settlers: The Changing Profile of Mexican Immigration to the United States, in U.S.-Mexico Relations: Labor Market Interdependence 155, 155-95 (Jorge A. Bustamante et al. eds., 1992). (40.) The number declined to 1.09 million in 1994. Immigration & Naturalization Serv., U.S. Dep`t of Justice, INS Fact Book: Summary of Recent Immigration Data tbl. 14 (1995). (41.) Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 33. (42.) Id. at 27, 33-34. (43.) Robert Warren, Estimates of the Undocumented Immigrant Population Residing in the United States, by Country of Origin and State of Residence: October 1992, at 13 (Apr. 1995) (unpublished paper presented at Population Association of America conference, San Francisco, on file with author); Telephone Interview with Hoefer, supra note 35. A restrictionist group argues for a figure of 400,000 on the basis of a recent Census Bureau report. See John L. Martin, How Many Illegal Immigrants? 1 (Center for Immigration Studies Backgrounder No. 4-95, 1995). (44.) Telephone Interview with Hoefer, supra note 35. (45.) Ashley Dunn, Skilled Asians Leaving U.S. for High-Tech Jobs at Home, N.Y. Times, Feb. 21, 1995, at al, B5 (reporting that Census Bureau estimates 195,000 foreign-born Americans emigrate each year, highest since World War I). (46.) See Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 39. (47.) See Statistics Div., Immigration & Naturalization Serv., U.S. Dep`t of Justice, Immigration Fact Sheer 4 (1994) [hereinafter Immigration Fact Sheet] ("Emigration"); Telephone Interview with Hoefer, supra note 35. (48.) This figure is obtained by subtracting the INS emigration data from the 1950s, see Immigration Fact Sheet, supra note 47, from INS immigration data from that decade, see 1994 INS Statistical Yearbook, supra note 29, tbl. 1. (49.) See Subcommittee on Immigration and Refugee Policy of the Senate Comm. on Judiciary & Subcomms. on Immigration, Refugees and International Law of House Comm. on the Judiciary, Final Report of the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy, 97th Cong., 1st Sess. 30 (1981) (statement of Rev. Theodore Hesburgh) (recommending cap on legal immigration of 350,000). (50.) The impetus for the large increase in illegal migration to the United States is usually attributed to the termination of the Bracero program in 1964. On the Bracero program, see generally Kitty Calavita, Inside the State: The Bracero Program, Immigration, and the I.N.S. (1992). There presumably were some illegal aliens early in the century—those who evaded the nonnumerical restrictions imposed by federal law since 1875 and by state law since much earlier. See generally Gerald L. Neuman, The Lost Century of American Immigration Law (1776-1875), 93 Colum. L. Rev. 1833 (1993) (explaining pre-1875 immigration laws). As to the latter category, however, see Schuck Testimony; supra note 3, at 2 n.2. (51.) This illegal immigration accounts for at least one-third of all population growth due to immigration. Espenshade, supra note 37, at 200-01. (52.) Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 35-38, 43-45. (53.) For this figure, see the graph entitled "Rate of immigration by decade, 1820-1990" in John J. Miller & Stephen Moore, The Index of Leading Immigration Indicators, in Strangers at Our Gate: Immigration in the 1990s, at 100, 103 (John J. Miller ed., 1994) (citing Bureau of the Census, U.S. Dep`t of Commerce, Statistical Abstract of the United States 1992 tbl. 5 (1992)). These figures are clearly based only on legal immigration. (54.) Bureau of the Census, U.S. Dep`t of Commerce, March 1994 Current Population Survey, cited in Martin, supra note 43, at 1. (55.) Bureau of the Census, U.S. Dep`t of Commerce, Statistical Abstract of the United States 1994 tbl. 54 (1994) [hereinafter 1994 U.S. Statistical Abstract!. This percentage approximates the foreign-born share of 8.6% in Germany in 1994. Rainer Munz & Rolf Ulrich, Changing Patterns of Migration: The Case of Germany, 1945-1994, in Opening the Door: U.S. and German Policies on the Absorption and Integration of Immigrants (Peter H. Schuck et al. eds.

, forthcoming 1996) [hereinafter Opening the Door] (Munz & Ulrich manuscript at 34, on file with author). The foreign-born share in Canada is much higher. See Controlling Immigration, supra note 16, tbl. A.9 at 420 (15.4% share in 1986). (56.) Brimelow`s account of immigration waves appears primarily in Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 29-33. (57.) 1994 INS Statistical Yearbook, supra note 29, tbl. 1 at 25. (58.) See infra text accompanying notes 62-64.

(59.) Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 38. Unless, of course, Congress enacts pending legislation to restrict legal immigration. See infra note 170 and accompanying text. (60.) Id. at 33. Nathan Glazer makes the same claim. See Nathan Glazer, Immigration and the American Future, Pub. Interest, winter 1995, at 45, 53 ("The rise and fall of the business cycle and employment still plays some role in immigration, but it is a surprisingly small one."). (61.) Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 33, 39, 42. (62.) See, eg., id. chart 1 at 30-31, chart 2 at 32. Brimelow calls chart 2 "a ramp ... or a springboard." Id. at 33 (ellipsis in original). (63.) I mean this literally, as well as figuratively. The charts are scaled in a way that can easily mislead the reader. The scale makes the troughs seem deeper than they were in absolute terms, and the scale exaggerates the significance of the inevitable short-term fluctuations. Brimelow`s trompe l`oeil is particularly egregious in chart 1, see id. at 30-31, chart 3, see id. at 34, and chart 5, see id at 42, although this problem plagues many of his diagrams. (64.) See 1994 INS Statistical Yearbook, supra note 29, tbl. 1. (65.) As noted above, nonnumerical restrictions had constrained immigration even before Congress began to regulate immigration in 1875. See supra note 50. (66.) For some supporting evidence, which the authors view as "preliminary," see James F. Hollifield & Gary Zuk, The Political Economy of Immigration: Electoral, Labor, and Business Cycle Effects on Legal Immigration in the United States 11-16 (Sept. 1995) (unpublished paper presented at migration workshop sponsored by Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, University of Amsterdam, on file with author). (67.) See Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 211-16. For example, he points to historical patterns of increased intermarriage of Chinese immigrants and whites in the South after immigration had been interrupted for a long period of time. Id. at 270. (68.) The Immigrant Experience, Am. Enterprise, Nov.-Dec. 1995, at 102, 103 (relating May-June 1995 survey in which 66% of immigrants here for decade or less expressed this view). The comparable figure for non-immigrant Americans, according to a different survey in June 1995, was 89%. Id. (69.) See supra notes 12-13 and accompanying text. Compare Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 261 (proposing that only immigrants with skills be admitted) with id. at 261-62 (proposing moratorium on immigration, or a lull at minimum). (70.) Id. at 275. (71.) Id. at 59. This historical vision of a white brotherhood into which earlier waves of white immigrants from southern and eastern Europe were readily inducted is, of course, a wholly misleading and pernicious account of the undisguised hostility that greeted so many of those who happened to be swarthier, poorer, and religiously different than the Americans of that time and who Brimelow, without recognizing the irony, now includes in the desirable "white" category. See generally Nathan Glazer & Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Beyond the Melting Pot: The Negroes, Puerto Riacans, Jews, Italians, and Irish of New York City 137-216 (2d ed. 1970); John Higham, Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925 (Rutgers Univ. Press, 2d ed. 1988) (1955). In contrast to Brimelow, some strident conservatives forthrightly acknowledge this history of discrimination. See, e.g., THOMAS Sowell, Ethnic America: A History (1981). (72.) Immigration analysts commonly speak of "Hispanics" and "Asians." It is exceedingly important, however, to recognize the enormous ethnic, linguistic, religious, national origin, and other diversities within these broad groupings, and even within narrower classifications such as South Asians. Indeed, these diversities are so great as to render such labels virtually meaningless for most purposes, and often misleading. The Census Bureau and other researchers have adopted these rubrics and use them to organize important immigration data. Political actors have also found them quite serviceable. See Yen Le Espiritu, Asian American Panethnicity: Bridging Institutions and Identities 112-33 (1992); Peter Skerry, Mexican-Americans: The Ambivalent Minority 25-26 (1993); Kevin R. Johnson, Civil Rights and Immigration: Challenges for the Latino Community in the Twenty-First Century, 8 La Raza L.J. 42, 67-72 (1995). Not surprisingly, the law has fallen into line. In this essay, I reluctantly accede to these most arbitrary and distorting, but largely inescapable, conventional rubrics. (73.) The pincer image refers to two arms—one consisting of Hispanics, the other consisting of blacks and Asians—bearing down upon the white population and gradually squeezing it into a minority position. (74.) Alien Nation, supra note 1, chart 12 at 63. Oddly, he counts Hispanics (21.1% in 2050) as nonwhites in the Pincer Chart, yet only four pages later he notes that almost half of all Hispanics in the 1990 census counted themselves as whites, id. at 67, and he subsequently points out, quite rightly, the larger absurdity of a "Hispanic" category, id at 218. Although he does not say so, the "Asian" rubric is even more absurd, as it aggregates into one meaningless category groups that do not even share a common language, as do Hispanics. (75.) Id. at 66. (76.) The demographic parade of horribles that results from immigration is a recuffent theme of Brimelow`s book. For his discussion of the environmental consequences in particular, see id. at 187-90. (77.) See id chart 8 at 47. (78.) For an example of Bouvier`s empirical work, see LEON F. Bouvier & Lindsey Grant, How Many Americans? Population, Immigration and the Environment (1994). Other restrictionist writings draw heavily on this work. See, e.g., Roy Beck, Re-Charting America`s Future: Responses to Argument`s Against Stabilizing U.S. Population and Limiting Immigration (1994) (citing six Bouvier sources throughout book). (79.) See Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 47. (80.) Id. at 151-55,186-90. (81.) See, e.g., Bouvier & Grant, supra note 78, at 73; Leon Bouvier, Immigration and Rising U.S. Fertility: A Prospect of Unending Population Growth 2-11 (Center for Immigration Studies Backgrounder No. 1-91, 1991). (82.) See Tamara K. Hareven & John Modell, Family Patterns, in Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups 345, 348-49 (Stephan Thernstrom et al. eds., 1980) [hereinafter Harvard Encyclopedia]. (83.) See, e.g., Francine D. Blau, The Fertility of Immigrant Women: Evidence from High-Fertility Source Countries, in Immigration and the Work Force 93, 126 (George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman eds., 1992) [hereinafter Immigration and the Workk Force!. A recent study claims that the experience of immigrant women in struggling against discrimination significantly reduced their fertility in the United States. See Thomas J. Espenshade & Wenzhen Ye, Differential Fertility Within an Ethnic Minority: The Effect of "Trying Harder" Among Chinese-American Women, 41 Soc. Probs. 97 (1994). (84.) Espenshade, supra note 37, at 201; Passel, supra note 37, at 116. An additional 20% of U.S. population growth resulted from births to immigrants. (85.) Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 188-89. (86.) In 1994, the United States had 74 people per square mile, compared to 623 in the United Kingdom and 275 in France, which are hardly countries that one thinks of as crowded. 1994 U.S. Statistical Abstract, supra note 55, tbl. 1351. (87.) I say "perhaps" because throughout American history, land previously thought to be uninhabitable was successfully developed for residential and other uses. Sections of Washington, D.C., and many other American cities were reclaimed from swampland, and cities such as Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas were built in the most forbidding desert conditions. (88.) In 1992, the population per square mile in New York City, the most densely populated in the United States, was 11,482; the corresponding densities for London and Paris were 10,490 and 19,883, respectively.

The figure for Hong Kong, the most densely populated-and one of the richest—in the world, was 250,524. 1994 U.S. Statistical Abstract, supra note 55, tbl. 1355. (89.) Chicago was slightly more densely populated in 1990 than in 1920, but less so than in 1930. 1 am grateful to Professor Thomas Muller for supplying me with these data, which are based on his research comparing figures from the first few decades of this century as reported in the 1930 U.S. census with population data for 1992. (90.) See, e.g., Herbert Stein, Health Care Basics, San Diego Union-Trib., May 29, 1994, at GI. (91.) This has been the pattern in other countries such as Japan, where housing is scarce. (92.) This ceteris paribus condition, of course, applies to all such predictive statements. (93.) See infra notes 243-44 and accompanying text. (94.) See Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 216 ("[T]he American experience with immigration has been a triumphant success."). (95.) Id. at 141. (96.) See Peter H. Schuck, The Politics of Rapid Legal Change: Immigration Policy in the 1980s, 6 Stud. Am. Pol. Dev. 37, 86-89 (1992). (97.) Telephone Interview with Hoefer, supra note 35. (98.) Schuck, supra note 96, at 88. (99.) Eg., S. 1394, 104th Cong., 1st Sess. (1995), which passed the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration on Nov. 29, 1995. See 72 Interpreter Releases 1605 (Dec, 4, 1995). Senator Simpson`s effort to reduce employment-based admissions has failed. See Eric Schmitt, Author of Immigration Measure in Senate Drops Most Provisions on Foreign Workers, N.Y Times, Mar. 8, 1996, at A20. (100.) See George J. Borjas, National Origin and the Skills of Immigrants in the Postwar Period, in Immigration and the Work Force, supra note 83, at 17. (101.) Frank D. Bean et al., Educational and Sociodemographic Incorporation Among Hispanic Immigrants to the United States, in Immigration abd Ethnicity: The Integration of America`s Newest Arrivals 73, this. 3.1, 3.2 at 81-82 (Barry Edmonston & Jeffrey S. Passel eds., 1994) [hereinafter Immigration and Ethnicity. Although this figure is based on census data from 1986 and 1988, the same data indicate that the education level of the Mexican-origin groups declined substantially from that of earlier cohorts of Mexican-origin immigrants, thereby "lend[ing]) support to the contention that at least some immigrant groups are less skilled than either other immigrant groups or earlier entrants for the same group." Id. at 86. These data suggest that "immigration no longer selects for relatively better educated Mexicans." id at 93. Another disturbing finding is that the educational attainment of third-generation Hispanics, a group dominated by Mexican-Americans, was actually lower than that of their parents, suggesting that the hard-won progress of the second generation does not necessarily continue in the third. Id. at 94; cf. infra notes 150-56 and accompanying text (noting need to distinguish among first, second, and third generations of immigrants in evaluating linguistic assimilation). (102.) For a comparative study of the skill levels of Asian immigrant national groups that uses years of education as a proxy for skill, see Sharon M. Lee & Barry Edmonston, The Socioeconomic Status and Integration of Asian Immigrants, in Immigration and Ethnicity, supra note 101, at 101, 112-14 & tbl. 4.3 at 113. (103.) Alejandro Portes, Divergent Destinies: Immigration, Poverty, and the Second Generation 7 (Sept. 1995) (unpublished paper prepared for German-American Project on Immigration and Refugees, on file with author). (104.) For a discussion of this problem as it appears in the leading studies, see George Vernez & Kevin F. McCarthy, The Costs of Immigration to Taxpayers: Analytical and Policy Issues (RAND Center for Research on Immigration Policy, MR-705-Ff/IF, 1996). (105.) Eighteen percent of those in the United States for a decade or less have received food stamps, Medicaid, AFDC, and similar aid; 22% of those in United States for 11-20 years have received such aid; and 17% of those in United States for 21 years or more have benefited from such programs. See The Immigrant Experience, supra note 68, at 103. (106.) Of course, even if this pattern of lower incidence of welfare utilization by immigrants were true, it would simply raise anew the question of immigrant "quality." See discussion supra notes 100-03 and accompanying text. (107.) See Michael Fix & Jeffrey S. Passel, Who`s on the Dole? It`s Not Illegal Immigrants, L.A. TIMES, Aug. 3, 1994, at B7 (summarizing results of study based on 1990 census data). (108.) See, e.g., Welfare Revision: Hearing Before Human Resources Subcomm. ofhouse Ways and Means Comm., 104th Cong., 1st Sess. (Jan. 27, 1995) (statement of Jane L. Ross, Director, Income Security Issues, General Accounting Office) (detailing dramatic growth in immigrants` claims), available in LEXIS, News Library, Curnws File; Ashley Dunn, For Elderly Immigrants, a Retirement Plan in U.S., N.Y. Times, Apr. 16, 1995, at 1 (same). Pending legislation in both houses of Congress would restrict immigrants` SSI eligibility. See S. 269, 104th Cong., 1st Sess. [sections] 203 (1995); H.R. 4, 104th Cong., 1st Sess. [sections] 202 (1995). (109.) Frank D. Bean et al., Country-of-Origin, Type of Public Assistance and Patterns of Welfare Recipiency Among U.S. Immigrants and Natives 17-18 & tbl. 4 at 30 (unpublished paper of Population Research Center, University of Texas-Austin, on file with author). The authors note that the absolute increase in Mexican SSI use reflected the great increase in the number of Mexican immigrants during the decade rather than any increased propensity of the average Mexican immigrant to use it. Id. at 13-14. Indeed, the rate of SSI use among Mexican immigrants actually declined over the decade. Nevertheless, the sheer growth in the Mexican cohort, coupled with its higher-than-immigrant-average utilization rate, drove the overall immigrant rate higher. Id. On the other hand, the number of Asian refugees has already declined and may be even lower in the future. See 1994 INS Statistical Yearbook, supra note 29, at 75 (supplying statistics for Vietnamese and Laotian refugees, two of largest Asian refugee groups). (110.) Donald Huddle, The Costs of immigration (July 1993) (unpublished paper prepared for the Carrying Capacity Network, on file with author). For a sampling of the controversy surrounding Huddle`s analysis, see Jane L. Ross, Illegal Aliens-National Net Cost Estimates Vary Widely, GAO/HEHS-95-133 (July 25, 1995), available in LEXIS, News Library, Curnws File. (111.) See Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 151-53. (112.) Jeffrey S. Passel & Rebecca L. Clark, How Much Do Immigrants Really Cost? A Reappraisal of Huddle`s "The Cost of Immigrants" (Feb. 1994) (unpublished research report, on file with author). (113.) See id. (114.) Id. at 3. (115.) Id. at 2. In turn, the Center for Immigration Studies, which has worked closely with Huddle, has responded to Passel and Clark with new estimates, focusing on immigrants` future claims against Social Security, that find a net burden of $29.1 billion. Center for Immigration Studies, The Costs of Immigration: Assessing a Conflicted Issue 1, 19 (Center for Immigration Studies Backgrounder No. 2- 94, 1994). The Center and other restrictionists have often pointed in recent years to the faltering economy in California, where a large percentage of the post-1965 immigrants have settled, as evidence of their negative economic effects. It remains to be seen how the strong resurgence of California`s economy, see James Sterngold, Recovery in California Wears a New Costume, N.Y. Times, Jan. 2, 1996, at C10, will affect these restrictionist arguments. (116.) Congress is insisting that sponsors of family-based immigrants be legally responsible in the event that the immigrants become destitute. See S. 269, 104th Cong., 1st Sess. [sections] 204 (1995); H.R. 4, 104th Cong., 1st Sess. [sections] 503 (1995). (117.) Alien Nation, supra note 1, at 174-75. (118.) See, e.g., Joleen Kirschenman & Kathryn M.

Click here for Part 4...