Tamar Jacoby Does 9/11 Damage Control At Reader`s Digest.

Ever since Sept. 11, the

Open Borders Lobby
, slobbering for ever larger
levels of immigration, has had to stay under the blanket
for a change. When 19 aliens who entered the country

perfectly legally
carried out the bloodiest act of
mass murder in history, even the lobby and its die-hards
had to

button their lips
about the glories of the mass
immigration that`s transforming much of the nation into
an oversized Third World barrio. 

But now, as the rage and fear from Sept. 11 begin to
fade, the Open Borders Lobby is sneaking back—as

last week`s
House vote for amnesty suggests. A
number of recent opinion pieces in major newspapers have
started muttering that we shouldn`t close the borders
and stop accepting every immigrant that can creep across
them. The lobby knows perfectly well that`s exactly what
the vast majority of Americans want and that they have
unanswerable reasons for wanting it. 

Hence, the lobby is dredging up every stale argument
for immigration it can find. The latest contribution to
what passes for scholarship among the Open Borders nuts
is an article titled "Don`t Slam the Door" in the March

Reader`s Digest
by neo-conservative

Tamar Jacoby

Miss Jacoby kicks off her polemic by citing post-9-11
demands to

close the border.
"Phones rang off the hook at radio
call-in shows," she writes breathlessly, "angry messages
flooded Internet chat rooms," and even congressmen—can
you imagine?—"soon joined in, demanding that the country
stop admitting

foreign students

freeze all visas
for six months, even station troops
and tanks on the


Well, of course, that`s what you do when the
country`s being invaded, as it was well before Sept. 11.
It`s just that many Americans only began to get really
worried about it on that date. Miss Jacoby also cites a
Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll that

65 percent of the public "favored `temporarily
sealing U.S. borders and stopping all immigration`"
until the war against terrorism was over. 

It`s precisely because a real opportunity to control
immigration may be developing that Miss Jacoby and the
Open Borders Lobby have launched their propaganda
crusade to thwart the new consensus. The tactics they`re
using include the most brazen smears of anyone who
disagrees as "bigots" and "racists," coupled with even

more brazen claims
that the Open Borders zealots are
the ones who support "responsible" immigration control. 

Miss Jacoby contents herself with variations on the
worn-out theme of the lobby that American

economic well-being
depends on immigration. Almost
every claim she makes is open to doubt, and she never
bothers to tell the reader the facts about the

that mass immigration imposes. 

She quotes a couple of store owners in Laredo, Texas,
to prove that "sealing the border" would be "a major,
major blow" to local businesses. No doubt it would, but
"sealing the border" doesn`t mean literally sealing
it—not letting anyone cross, even for day-to-day
shopping or work. Someone needs to explain to Miss
Jacoby that "sealing the border" is an expression that
means stopping immigration; shoppers and day workers in
border areas aren`t immigrants, and no one proposes
sealing them out. 

Then there`s the

ancient chestnut
about how immigrants

take jobs
that Americans won`t. Maybe so, but
curtailing immigration would open rural jobs to native
labor now largely locked in cities through welfare. When
immigration was cut off in the 1920s, black workers in
the South

went north
to take the industrial jobs for which

immigrants were no longer available

She then recounts the usual tales of woe from huge
agribusiness firms like IBP Inc. about how "we don`t
have enough people in


to process the food we raise" without

alien cheap labor
(excuse me, "immigrants seeking to
make a new life," as Miss Jacoby calls them). But two
American workers are currently suing IBP for
artificially depressing wages by

hiring illegal immigrants.
Miss Jacoby conveniently
omits to tell us that. Maybe the suit was launched after
she went to press. Maybe also she doesn`t care. 

She also doesn`t bother to tell us about how both
illegal and legal immigration helps

depress wages
for American workers, or about the
costs mass immigration imposes through population
growth, taxes, welfare, crime and its punishment, health
problems, etc. In the tidy little—and totally
imaginary—happy land of the Open Borders Lobby, mass
immigration has no downside whatsoever. 

Americans who know better now have a chance to force
lawmakers to control immigration effectively for once.
We`ll see who prevails—Americans who know the truth
about immigration, or the lobby that wants cheap labor
and open borders forever, regardless of the risks and
the costs, and is willing to bend the truth to stay in


March 18, 2002