The opponents of reasonable immigration restriction commonly use invective and insult as substitutes for rational argument. One example is labeling immigration restrictionists as “anti-immigrant.” The idea suggested, it seems, is that anyone who questions excessive immigration does so because he has an irrational hostility toward immigrants.
It’s a charge that these apostles of tolerance have directed against me personally, as head of the American Immigration Control Foundation. It’s amusing to think about when I reflect on the immigrants who are supporters of our organization. Over the years I have spoken to a number of them, and I’ve always enjoyed our conversations. Most commonly they expressed gratitude and loyalty to their adoptive country.
One I remember particularly well was a man from the Middle East who began by telling me that he especially wanted to support our organization. When I asked why, he replied (and these were his exact words): “I don’t want this country turning into the kind of Third World hellhole that I ran away from.”
It’s hard to fault his reasoning. Unending mass immigration, year after year, simply overwhelms our powers of assimilation, as well as our infrastructure and resources. For many immigrants, it tends to re-create the conditions they fled. And this era is not the first time.
|Jacob Riis (1849 – 1914) documented the poor living conditions suffered by immigrants during a period of high immigration to the U.S.|
About a hundred years ago, excessive immigration was cramming people into large urban slums. Newly arriving immigrants drove down the wages of previous immigrants as well as those of the native-born. In many areas diversity was overcoming unity as newcomers huddled together in their ethnic ghettos, far removed from the mainstream.
Fortunately, in 1924, Congress had the wisdom to pass pro-immigrant legislation, which sharply cut the huge flow of immigration. During the next four decades, the foreign-born and the native-born benefited together. Wages rose for all, and immigrants and their descendants moved into the cultural and economic mainstream of America.
Unfortunately, mass immigration began again in 1965, and it has been with us ever since – with no end in sight. Why can’t our country have the good sense to repeat the pro-immigrant legislation of 1924? Despite all the media-driven happy talk about economic recovery, the American Dream is getting harder and harder for native-born Americans to achieve – let alone immigrants.
Two interest groups today work in tandem to stop pro-immigrant legislation. On the left are the “progressives” who view immigrants as their ticket to political power as a voting bloc. For this to work, immigrants need to remain poor and alienated – which is exactly what mass immigration accomplishes.
On the right are the lords of commerce who are deeply outraged when American workers demand decent wages and working conditions. Perpetual mass immigration solves the problem of their impudence by driving down everyone’s wages and keeping them down. By interesting coincidence (if indeed that’s what it is) wages in the U.S. (in constant dollars) have barely risen since 1965.
The left-right axis of mass immigration can claim all it likes that opposition to their agenda is “anti-immigrant.” The truth is that they are anti-immigrant, and quite anti-American as well.