Immigration, Top Stories
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A Liberal’s Plea for a Moderate Immigration Policy

Recently, my family was mentioned in an article in the Washington Post Magazine about our dear Salvadoran friends, and their struggles associated with the impending wholesale cancellation of Temporary Protected (TPS) status. As the piece details, my friends stand to be kicked out of the country and forced to make the difficult choice of whether to leave their citizen children behind, or subject them to risk-filled futures in an unstable country. They are faced with this terrible decision because of the Trump administration’s policies, which have ranged from arbitrary to cruelly invidious—policies that have left many people rightly outraged.

The answer to this problem though, is not to be found in the growing calls on the Left to “abolish ICE.” The suggestion that we don’t need any border enforcement is as unrealistic as that rhetoric is politically self-defeating. Rather than making practical policy proposals in a sincere effort to solve immigration issues, the loudest voices on both sides of these issues seem content to simply signal purity to their respective bases. This problem is not new. It is a major symptom of the diseased state of our current national politics, and one that seems to have entered a dangerously acute phase in the Trumpist era.  It is worth exploring in the case of our current immigration dispute.

On the far-Left, rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez includes abolishing ICE in her official campaign platform. Her intended message seems to be simply that she is a pro-immigrant humanitarian. That signal is no doubt clearly and positively received on the Left. But her absolutism, her failure to acknowledge that immigration may come with real costs, makes her message appear as a call for open borders to many. It is therefore no surprise that the “open borders” trope has become a favorite way for Trump’s base to caricature their opponents.

Meanwhile, Trump, and his imitators and enablers chant “build that wall.”  He orders a travel ban from some majority Muslim countries (omitting Saudi Arabia, the primary source of the 9/11 terrorists), cruelly separates babies from their parents at the border and cancels TPS (all while staffing his club in Florida with temporary foreign workers). His purpose is devoid of any attempt to solve the problems presented by immigration or to capitalize on its potential benefits to our economy and culture; rather he is simply signaling that he is for white, red-blooded Americans and against cartoon brown-skinned terrorists, drug runners, criminals and rapists, who want to take American jobs.

Amidst all this identitarian signaling, there is no cool assessment of the facts. No practical policy solutions are offered. Voters are presented with a false choice: seal the border or do away with it completely. A stark example is Florida’s upcoming gubernatorial contest between Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis.

But we should not accept false choices. To move beyond them toward solving the challenges posed by immigration, we must demand more than tribal chest-beating from our leaders and candidates.

As citizens we have the sovereign right and the grave responsibility of deciding whom we will allow into our country and whom we will exclude. Our decisions will shape the future America in which we will live, and that we will leave to our children and the citizen children of the immigrants that join us.  These decisions go to the core of what it means to be an American. Yet even amongst ourselves, we have never finally settled that question. Our Constitution is a masterpiece of compromise.  Our civil war settled some of the reserved claims, but not all, and we still continue our long, internal negotiation today.

What we have reached is widespread agreement on a small, but critically important set of values that are necessary to keep that negotiation going, to keep the American experiment going.  These are its very basic preconditions (even as partisan rhetoric in some quarters, Left and Right, continues to dispute them): freedom of speech and thought, freedom of religion, a free press, equality under law, separation of powers, peaceful transfer of power (forgive me if the reader finds the list incomplete but that only serves to illustrate the point).  Acceptance of these values, or at least a willingness to accept them, ought to be a threshold criterion for immigrants seeking admission to our society, for if we can safeguard these values, then even as demographics shift, the paramount national characteristics that make the United States special, and allow it to endure, will continue to flourish.

How to evaluate a prospective citizen’s willingness to accept these core values in practice is a critical and difficult question that we must debate in good faith. Certainly some immigrants will fall short of the mark, and we can be justified in excluding them. For example, there is a kernel of truth in Trump’s absurdly overbroad travel ban: in some cultures, individuals on average hold values and express attitudes that are inconsistent with democracy. On average, individuals from Trump’s banned countries do trend toward rejecting our core values more than, say Canadians or Salvadorans might. That small obvious truth was not acknowledged openly either by President Obama, or by Secretary Clinton in her 2016 campaign. This failure to acknowledge inconvenient facts gave Trump the opportunity to play truth-teller to those who pined to hear this narrative, and now he and his media surrogates have taken this small truth and distorted it into a xenophobic nightmare. Rather than evaluating each individual immigrant on their own merits, our government now excludes whole nationalities on the basis of prejudice alone.

*     *     *

Hours after the first travel ban was announced on Jan. 30, 2017, I joined a crowd as it gathered on the east side of the Capitol Building, as the Democratic leadership crossed First Street Northeast to take turns addressing those assembled. The typical placards there bore slogans like: “No Human is Illegal” and “All Immigrants Are Welcome.” But at least one sign, held by my son, read: “Secular Muslim Immigrants Are Our Greatest Allies in the Fight Against Islamic Terrorism.” Street protests are not known for nuance. But we can do better in our public discourse, on social media and in the opinion pages. We should also hold our politicians to a higher standard in their campaigns.

Instead of signaling as loudly as possible one’s membership in a tribe, we need to make a habit of trying to discover the facts that bear on a set of issues, including immigration, and then demand that our elected officials use those facts to craft practical solutions.  I know that this may sound like fantasy at a moment when some dispute the existence of truth altogether, but any other path leads to delusion and dysfunction. Additionally, failing to acknowledge facts that seem obvious to many, cedes space for extremists to enhance their signal using those unacknowledged facts as a springboard for more extreme rhetoric. Conversely, by emphasizing and acknowledging facts, we can deprive the extreme Left and the extreme Right of some of their power to persuade.

In the case of immigration, that means acknowledging that immigration does have costs. For example, immigrants do compete with citizens for jobs. The available empirical data suggests that immigration exerts downward pressure on wages and the employment rate of native-born workers, particularly unskilled labor and those without high school diplomas. The Trumpists have surely made too much of this, but they are able to do so in part because the Left refuses to acknowledge what seems to be an obvious fact.

A better and more honest strategy for the Left would be to address the costs of immigration squarely and then point out policies that can minimize them while preserving the corresponding benefits.   Democrats should also point out that the wage and employment effects of immigration are probably relatively small (five percent over 20 years) and are probably offset in the aggregate by the growth in economic activity that results from immigration. They might also point out that the wage and employment effects of immigration are miniscule in comparison to the labor market effects of international trade and automation.

Immigration also has cultural costs, such as the burdens associated with providing schooling, healthcare, policing, and other services to populations of individuals who may be unable to communicate in English, and who range from being simply unfamiliar with our local customs to in some cases hostile to our core values.  A rational immigration system would be designed to minimize these costs while maximizing the benefits that immigration provides.  Building such a system requires a commitment to facts, not tribal fantasies and hysterical rhetoric.

In the case of Salvadorans in TPS, the cost-benefit analysis weighs heavily in favor of welcoming them to join us permanently. That Salvadoran TPS recipients have accepted our core values is well evidenced: they have established a two-decade long track record as law-abiding, tax-paying and productive members of our society. They have assimilated: 87 percent of TPS recipients speak some English and more than half speak English well, or speak no language other than English. They are active and integrated participants in our economy who own homes and have mortgages. Many are business owners.

They are also the parents of 192,700 native-born American citizen children. To those young Americans the importance of being with their parents cannot be overstated. To the rest of us, the benefits of having those children raised by their parents, instead of becoming wards of the State, or worse, is clear.

On average TPS recipients have committed less crime than native-born citizens. Each person in TPS has been subject to mandatory screening by USCIS every eighteen months during their time in the country, and part of that screening includes a criminal background check.  Those who acquire a criminal record get deported. In short, the TPS recipients who are still here, twenty years later, are anything but criminals.

The fact is that we have already paid most of the social, cultural and economic costs of integrating these immigrants into our culture and economy. Now, after almost two decades, we are set to enjoy the long tail of benefits presented by this hard-working, largely integrated population of nascent citizens: productive labor, economic growth, entrepreneurship, and strong families. To kick them out now would be simply irrational. The same is true of DACA.

Instead of irrational tribalists, we need leaders committed to discovering the facts and to building practical policy solutions based on those facts. We don’t need to build a wall and we don’t need to abolish ICE. We need to commit to good faith discourse and demand that our leaders do the same. The current fact-free debate is tearing American families apart—families that deserve more than soundbites from politicians at both ends of the spectrum who seem to worry about little more than election season.


Lynette Craig is the President of Americans For-Self Rule, a Political Action Committee defending the District of Columbia from congressional overreach, and co-founder of the grass roots organization DC Families for Gun-Safety. You can follow her on Twitter @Nothercupacafe

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  1. annaerishkigal says

    Not that long ago, I would have responded to this plea for compromise. But the writer’s very tone, the fact he is still lobbing the same old tired DNC talking points at us, calling people “Trumpists” and repeating the same old tired “Trump said…” rhetoric when Trump is being quoted incompletely or out-of-context with those very talking points (sorry … I fact-check … I listened to those FULL speeches) makes me reject this plea for so-called compromise. It’s the same old tired DNC talking points. He hasn’t even offered a “compromise” other than the same old tired DNC rhetoric we all rejected at the ballot box.

    “…at least 87% [of TPS who have been here 20 years] speak SOME English, and 50% speak it well…”

    Uhm… that’s an appallingly low integration number. Twenty years? That means half of everybody who has come so far is a burden on the American taxpayer.

    Listen. it’s not that we’re stone-hearted. It’s just WAY too little, WAY too later. Unfettered immigration has done horrific damage to this country and we need to fix it. We’ve closed the borders in the past, and we need to do it again so we can focus our energies on helping those 50% of people who DID come here legally through the ill-planned policy of chain migration but have no pressure to fully integrate or become good citizens before we even THINK of letting a single new immigrant cross that border.

    #WalkAway #MAGA #BuildTheWall

    • Théo C says

      I was going to post this exact same reply far less eloquently: ‘Same bullshit, under the guise of neutrality this time.’

      I consider myself a centrist, left-leaning most of the time, but centrist intellectual and moral arrogance is weighing on my nerves.
      The ‘facts’ described here are extremely concerning, and do not even take into account the future descendants of those immigrants.
      And the global environmental cost of overpopulation on our agriculture and food, living spaces, biodiversity, etc.

      I do not like the idea of temporary visas, though. They are indeed unnecessarily cruel.
      Visas should be permanent or should not be delivered.

      • Bill says

        Yep, early on “Trump banning muslim countries!” is a DNC sound bite and not the truth when the list of countries came from Obama and was simply countries refusing to assist in vetting/validating passports — and those countries happen to be “muslim.” The author’s very own snark about omitting Saudi Arabia proves the point — it wasn’t a “muslim travel ban” it was a travel ban from a set of countries refusing to work with the US to VERIFY identity of the travelers.

        • Bill – How does “verify the identity” solve the Saudi Arabia problem of 9/11 if the need to verify ID is for the purpose of security? Clearly you suggest that Saudi Arabia is fine because they can vet IDs, yet they were the very ones who attacked us and triggered us into a nutty, never-ending “war on terror.”

          • Bill says

            I’m pointing out the fallacy in the argument that the travel ban was a muslim ban as promulgated by the political Left. If it were, then countries like S.A. would have been included as well. The travel ban had nothing to do with religion. The countries listed had been identified by the Obama administration as being uncooperative with the US State Department when verifying identity when issuing a visa.

        • josh says

          Trump campaigned on the idea of banning all Muslim immigration. Then when in office imposed an executive ban on a list of majority Muslim countries. Then watered it down until it could pass the courts. It’s not much of a puzzle to figure out that he banned as many Muslims as his lawyers thought he could get away with, and wasn’t motivated by any considered security concerns.

      • Lanette says

        I love how she made it sound like the countries Trump banned were banned solely because they were Muslim and therefore wouldn’t conform to American values. It seems like no matter what we say, they just DO NOT GET IT. Funnily enough, I explained the situation to a man in Kenya and he was able to understand it entirely!!! He wants a wall around his country too! Why can’t they understand that WE WANT TO KNOW WHO IS COMING INTO THE COUNTRY!!! If we can’t trust the government of the country where they reside, then how can we trust their documents? How can we trust they are who they claim to be when requesting asylum? How can we determine if they’re really in danger or trying to get into America for nefarious reasons?

        The FIRST step has to be a closed border!

        I’m pro-immigration done the RIGHT way!!! LEGALLY! I do believe that we need to totally revamp our immigration policy, but I also think we need more professionals, REQUIRE ENGLISH PERIOD, and have more sponsors and mentors for those who come into the country.

    • josh says

      You’re going to ignore facts and a call for reasonable compromise because of tone? How very snow-flakey of you. You go on about Trump being somehow misrepresented but the only quote from Trump in the piece is “build that wall”, how is that taken out of context?! How is someone chanting ‘MAGA’ not a Trumpist? And if you’re going to talk about what “we” want at the ballot box, maybe you should note that a huge majority of Americans (> 80%) want a path to citizenship for Dreamers. Many TPS recipients and their children are in a similar situation.

      You state that 87% speaking some English is “appallingly” low but why? Do you really think all adults, especially those who came under distressed circumstances, will learn a second language well? Did you look at the research linked near that figure that shows Spanish speaking immigrants tend to lose Spanish and increasingly speak English with successive generations? Do you have any evidence that these people are particularly unlikely to assimilate? And how does not speaking English well get translated to a “burden on the American taxpayer”? These are people who have a substantially higher labor participation rate than the native population.

      What horrific damage has immigration done to the country? Last I checked the economy was doing rather well and unemployment was low. Crime rates are down, and aren’t statistically associated with immigrant communities. Where is the crisis? Why can’t we show compassion for people that are, on the whole, hard-working, loyal citizens in everything but name?

  2. Hannah Lee says

    my recommendation? if you want to have an impact on immigration policy? Win some Federal Elections- Immigration is a FEDERAL issue, not a State Issue. I live in Northern California, the home of San Franciso (otherwise known as the human feces capital of the country) where we have seen the results of sanctuary cities, Anti-ICE, illegal aliens with voting (!) rights, looks like. Not Pretty.

    you can take your useless virtue signalling over to VOX, they will publish any kind of twaddle.

    • Farris says

      @Hannah Lee

      Winning elections is the point of this article. The author is telling the crowd on the Left to cool the “abolish ICE” talk until after power is regained. She fears this authentic behavior will mobilize people in the middle to shift their allegiances to the right. She is saying, “we can take the reasonable mask off one we win”.

  3. Chip says

    The first step in a sane immigration policy is to become comfortable in a multi-ethnic world. Here in Los Angeles where I live, every business meeting I go to is overwhelmingly multi-cultural, where most people are either immigrants or first generation, where most speak English as a second language and have an ancestry other than European.

    It just isn’t possible to conduct business or make a living in this world without being accepting of this .
    Once white people lose the fear of being a minority, then we can have a reasonable compromise on immigration policy.

    • annaerishkigal says

      “…Once white people lose the fear of being a minority,..”

      Another far-left liberal who just doesn’t “get it.” We don’t care where you are from, or the color of your skin. We don’t care who you worship, or who you vote for, or who you choose to love or f–#. What we DO care about is that you love our country, pull your own weight, and don’t put a burden on the REST of us because you don’t have your $#!t together. The most recent flood of immigrants (both legal and illegal) who’ve been pouring over our border the past two decades do NOT want to integrate, do NOT learn English, do NOT possess the kind of job skills our economy needs, and become a drag on our economy, undercutting the most vulnerable members of our native population such as African-Americans and people who can’t afford to go to college.

      The author of this article actually PROVED that by stating that only 50% of immigrants who’ve come over the past 20 years actually SPEAK English well enough to communicate. I’ll bet you don’t see that 50% in your business board room. A 50% failure-to-integrate rate is appalling.

      Perhaps it’s time to scrap that hateful anti-white DNC talking-point you just lobbed and come up with a new one, such as, “hey, in Los Angeles where I come from, we have immigrants who DO contribute … how do we make sure the REST can replicate their success?”


    • Agreeable Contrarian says


      “Here in Los Angeles where I live…”

      This explains … sooooo much. Thank you. As always, you are right. White people are just fearful racists and need to knock it off. So simple.

      Please give my regards to Noble Leader Jerry Brown and the marvelously multicultural politburo of the People’s Democratic Republic of California. We in the United States are very much looking forward to seeing how Gavin Newson’s universal healthcare for all promise works out. There’s a first time for everything.

      Please do not judge us if we build a wall along the western border of Arizona/Nevada. It’s not personal.

    • homeless wristwatch says

      “Here in Los Angeles where I live … overwhelmingly multi-cultural, where most people are either immigrants or first generation, where most speak English as a second language and have an ancestry other than European”

      Be honest now:

      Did you have a progressive orgasm while writing the above?

    • Ponerous says

      @Chip – I’m gonna take a guess, see whether I’m right: you don’t live in “Los Angeles.” You live in … Santa Monica? Brentwood? West Hollywood? Downtown? Am I warm? Anyway, I’m pretty sure it ain’t the barrio.

      MultiLingualEthnoCulturalDiversism is just awesome when the immigrants you hang with are the kind who went to USC, drive Teslas, and attend “business meetings” for their jobs.

      I live in San Diego. Five minutes’ walk away, my neighborhood degenerates into virtual favelas, with three large families crammed into small houses with half a dozen dented cars parked on what used to be lawns and emaciated dogs howling when you walk by. I don’t consider it a personal failing that I’m not comfortable with this kind brand of diversity, or desire more of it from down south.

      • Chip says

        I live 2 blocks from Skid Row.
        What you are describing is not immigration, but what in American culture is called “white trash”.
        That you disdain working class people is a problem you have to come to grips with.

        • Ponerous says


          “I live 2 blocks from Skid Row.”

          Ah! So I was right. Downtown. Thanks.

        • Most people deriding white working class Americans are rich white liberals. If a neighborhood is white and poor, these liberals will mock the people living there as white trash. If the neighborhood are Latino or Black, these same liberals will cite it as an evidence of discrimination and oppression, blaming the city for not doing more to clean up the community or not caring about loose dogs (pitbulls raised by mostly black or Hispanic people to be dog fighters). Here in Dallas there was an uproar when a black lady got mauled in South Dallas by a pack of feral pitbulls. Liberals blamed everyone but the people living in that community who were basically raising these dogs to fight, then discarded the,. Instead, they shouted systemic racism and oppression. There IS a double-standard. I grew up in Honduras and it breaks my heart to see fellow Latinos (not all of course) bring poor traditions with them such as dig-fighting and teen pregnancy (latinas account for 60% of the teen birth in Dallas alone). I am all for vetted legal immigration as I am a legal immigrant who went to college in the US and followed the laws. Diversity for diversity’s sake is not inherently good and it’s not only whites who oppose unfettered illegal immigration.

    • L.D. says


      Half my relatives are immigrants. My spouses relatives are majority immigrants and illegal immigrants. Most of these people I like and love.

      I am embarrassed by my preface to explain that people who are not okay with current immigration are not coming from a place of white fear of being a minority (whatever that means).

      IMMIGRATION as it stands is completely and utterly out of control.

      I too live in Los Angeles. I live in 90 percent minority hispanic/black neighborhood – which is completely overrun with problems.

      If you think Los Angeles is a good example, you must not understand the crisis the city is in.

      I have witnessed abuse of the WIC system, welfare system, DMV and multiple other government programs by hispanic people first hand.

      Los Angeles High School drop out rate for 2015-16 was 25%. That is 12% higher drop-out rate than the State of CA. (LA Times)

      In my neighborhood most people speak Spanish and have no intention of trying to learn any different. That is a big middle finger to the black population of this neighborhood.

      The population of the City of Los Angeles is 3.976 Million. According the LA Times there are 2.03 Million registered voters. Last Mayoral race was March 2017 and there were only 407,147 votes cast.

      HOLY SH*T do we have a problem. We are totally fine with being invested in issues with the country where our vote and voices are small. In our own backyard where we can change issues we don’t even both to show up.

      Los Angeles has a major homeless crisis, housing crisis, and corruption crisis. The city is having issues with LAUSD pension payouts that puts is near bankruptcy. Let’s not even get started with the parking issues that stems from too much family living in one house/apartment (often over populated to an illegal amount).

      The city can’t fix serious issues with pavement and streets YET in an emergency meeting by the city council, they voted to put two million aside for lawyers for those detained by ICE.

      So I think what people fear is that their cities and towns becoming like Los Angeles. Honestly, that is a reasonable and logical fear.

      • Chip says

        Los Angeles is so horrible, that tens of thousands of people are moving to downtown, pushing the rents up.
        Like Yogi Berra said, “No body goes there anymore- its too popular”.

        • L.D. says

          @ Chip

          Your defense of corruption, disengagement, and political mismanagment is that people are moving here so it can’t be that bad?

          Since you are living 2 blocks from skid row, how about acknowledging in skid row 3 different strains of disease were found that are only found in 3rd world countries?

        • Innominata says


          “Like Yogi Berra said, “No body goes there anymore- its too popular”.”


          Yogi Berra said, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

        • Afrosapiens 🇫🇷🇪🇺 says

          “Los Angeles is so horrible, that tens of thousands of people are moving to downtown, pushing the rents up.”

          I think you’ve invented a cause and effect here. In fact, looking at your comments, you’ve invented a LOT of stuff, including a brand new Yogi Berra quote no one has ever seen before.

          The rents are going up because all building in urban California has been artificially suppressed by regulation and rent control, resulting in a housing shortage. Ergo, rents in most urban California areas have ballooned.

        • You deride white people as being awful and afraid of immigrants, wow the USA is so terrible yet immigrants keep coming here illegally. Maybe we should do minorities a favor and encourage them to immigrate somewhere else since white people here are so racist.

    • Debbie says

      Im all for increased immigration, but we have to start being more picky about who we accept. There are tons of educated young professionals in places like India, China, and Korea and we should be rolling out the welcome mat for them. However if makes no sense to allow tons of uneducated immigrants wealth illegal or legal. We need a certain amount of uneducated immigrants to due agriculture jobs Americans won’t do, but only a small chunk of uneducated immigrants are acrually doing those jobs.

    • norrec says

      I too live in Los Angeles and completely agree with others who replied to you. As a child of an immigrant family family, I see nothing but abuse of the welfare state around me. I have elderly relatives who entered the US in the 70s and 80s (with zero desire or capability to learn English) having contributed nothing to social security yet are now living comfortably in subsidized housing and cashing in welfare checks and heading to casinos. All while complaining that the government doesn’t provide enough to live in an expensive city like Los Angeles. Explain to me why I shouldn’t be livid about this. Explain to me how this type of diversity benefits me in any possible way?

      • Chip says

        Did you really mean to write ” As a child of an immigrant family…” followed by “Explain to me how this type of diversity benefits me in any possible way?”

        Can you see what is wrong with this statement?

        • L.D. says


          You lifted up Los Angeles a shining example of multiculturalism and said that the reason “whites” did not want immigration was because they feared being a minority.

          I pointed out that actually Los Angeles is rife with problems and not a shiny example of anything working well (multiculturalism included).

          Your answers were: Well people want to come here so it can’t be that bad.
          And: Well you are the child an immigrant so see how well it has done for you.

          Those are not terribly good answers nor do they address any of the issues (the ones you keep skipping around. My theory is you haven’t any real answers but my door is open).

          And yes immigrants and descendants of immigrants see HUGE problems with immigration NOT “diversity.” Nice try to slip that in, as if they are the same thing.

          The first four people I met in LA who were brave enough to admit they voted for Trump were all Hispanic. Two Salvadoran immigrants and two Mexican immigrants. None of them native born to the US.

          In fact 1/4 of the votes cast in the presidential election in Los Angeles were for Trump. If a majority of the LA population is Hispanic please explain that one.

    • @Chip
      Multi-racial/multi-ethnic societies are not a problem, we’ve been that way since day one. However, Multi-culturalism will and has failed EVERYTIME, in every country, everywhere it is tried. For some examples look at Europe right now. Far right populism is threatening to break up the EU because of failed immigration and multi-culturalism.

      If we are going to have a long lasting, successful society we need a cohesive vision w/ a common world view. Religion used to act as the glue that held society together with a common consensus but that’s gone now. The US has one of the most diverse and multi-racial populations in the west today, because of this, it is imperative that we share ONE COMMON CULTURAL! Not multi, not even two, one only. If we have ONE cultural consensus with ONE shared language then we can have every color and variety of skin tones in the rainbow and live in peace and harmony. But if we have the diversity rainbow skin tone brigade plus several languages plus immigrants that bring their home countries cultural and politics with them then we will soon be joining the Balkans, Lebanon and every other broken tribal society in existence.

    • Rick says

      That is a bad plan. Multi-culturalism just means parallel societies. European nations have been admitting the utter failure of multiculturalism for the past 5 years. LA is literally a horrible example of this. It is wildly segregated. There is a permanent underclass of illegals who are regularly exploited. The school system is shut. Lots of the people don’t speak English. Literally the only benefits are food and the ability to exploit cheap labor (if you are rich).

    • I would say the first step in a sane immigration policy is to set your goals. If you want immigrants who will underperform and provide cheap labor, can’t speak english and do not adapt then set the law accordingly. I prefer a law similar to Canada’s, which requires immigrants to meet certain conditions, and get graded in a point system. As it turns out I immigrated legally to the US many years ago, and i thought the LEGAL system was fine.

      I also helped a 19 year old first cousin after she sneaked in about 9 years ago. When she arrived she called me, and i suggested she turn herself in, tell the police and the judge that she wanted to prove she would be a worthy immigrant. So they let her go and gave her one year to come back. During that year i paid for college and english lessons, made sure she stayed out of trouble and had excellent grades, and did some oil paintings of her impression of the US. At the end of the year she went back to the judge, showed him her school grades, her paintings and spoke to him in English. So he told her she seemed to be good to stay. I cant recall the ins and outs she went through, but today she’s out of college, has a legal white collar job, paints as a hobby and lives with an American guy in the Midwest.

  4. Farris says

    “cruelly separates babies from their parents”

    Do prosecutors and judges, who send men and women to prison daily “cruelly separates babies from their parents”?

    People who break the law, including entering the country illegally, are typically separated from their children.

    It is this type of over heated hyperbole that makes a calm reasoned discussion about immigration impossible.

  5. petros says

    Quillette –

    This is utter garbage. What were you thinking? I’m just agog that you published this propaganda. Quillette just lost a chunk of respect in my eyes. I hope this was a mistake, that it snuck by and somebody has been fired for drinking while editing.

    This is a “Why can’t we all be reasonable and factual?? (according to my liberal definition of reasonable and factual)” handwringing piece meant for Salon or the NYT. I come to Quillette to get away from this touchy-feely, manipulative horse manure.

    I’ll leave it to others to correct this risible laundry list of worn out mischaracterizations item by item. I need to go rinse with mouthwash and apologize to my eyeballs.

    • @petros
      Don’t get so bent out of shape, they’re just running a little bit of “view point diversity” so that they’re not accused of being an echo chamber like the rest of msm. Quillette is one of the bright intellectual communities that gives me hope for the future.

      • petros says


        This is not viewpoint diversity. This is indistinguishable from The Huffington Post. It’s pandering.

        So I’ll get as bent out of shape as I want to, and if you don’t like it, that’s a “your problem.”

        • TarsTarkas says

          If you think this exception to the rule article on Quillette makes the site indistinguishable from HuffPo and Vox you haven’t been reading too many articles on those sites. Or the commentary posted there. The article is wrong and wrong-headed and too full of sneers and pejoratives, but it’s far from the outright liefests and primal screams about immigration too common elsewhere.

          I shook my head that the writer implies that she is a ‘Secular Muslim’. Ain’t no such thing. You’re Muslim or you’re not. If you’re secular, you’re either an American, a hyphenated American, or you consider yourself a native of a foreign country.

  6. Circuses and Bread says

    The author proceeds from an erroneous premise: that politics is a reasonable way to accomplish beneficial ends in society. Politics is about the accumulation and wielding of power, hard stop. Its also the root of much evil, yet it is the has no shortage of political cultists who wish to sing its praises.

    Be that as it may, I found this article to be illuminating in that it outlined a familiar strategy that members of the left faction like to use when out of power; that of loudly advocating “reasonable compromise.” Now, you might note that members of the left faction were not particularly eager to advocate “reasonable compromise“ on immigration issues when they were in power. They were too busy working to open the floodgates and keep them open while they could. Now that they’re out of power, the strategy is to consolidate and retain those gains. So “reasonable compromise” becomes all the rage. But let’s not kid ourselves. Fair dealing or coming up with a mutually agreeable end result isn’t the objective, The objective of “reasonable compromise”is to blunt the oppositions political gains when they’re in power.

    What I find very ironic is that this grab-all-the-power-we-can and then call for “reasonable compromise” strategy was perfected over a space of years in the realm of gun politics. When the left faction is in power, “reasonable gun control” measures become all the rage, and various impositions such as the assault weapon ban in the US come about. Gun politics also happens to be the realm where the right faction has responded most effectively to the strategy and played a similar strategy when they’ve been in power. So you can surely understand my surprise when I saw in the bio that the author is also a gun control activist.

    Imagine that.

  7. John says

    Unfortunately, we’re also running massive deficits, even now. Some urban areas bear a distinct resemblance to a war zone. And, immigrants join the most expensive health care system in the world, for which us taxpayers foot the bill.

    I regret that people suffer in the world. It would be wonderful if we could take care of all of them. But, we have problems right here, right now that need solving, and we just don’t have the money to care for every downtrodden person in every corner of the world. If we try, all we will do is drag ourselves down.

    I’m also concerned about the attitude of people like this. Horrified at the prospect of having to take their children back home… take responsibility for your own actions. Don’t enter the country illegally if you aren’t prepared to face the consequences.

    Abdicating responsibility isn’t the best example to set, if you want to become a citizen of the US. We already have more than enough people doing that.

  8. “Now, after almost two decades, we are set to enjoy the long tail of benefits presented by this hard-working, largely integrated population of nascent citizens: productive labor, economic growth, entrepreneurship, and strong families.”

    The only people who benefit from mass foreign immigration are the super-rich.

    But don’t fret! “We” the people (who have no investment income, alas) are now “set to enjoy the long tail of benefits” of mass immigration. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the benefits are right around the corner! These benefits are coming! All these benefits are about to be here! Can you hear them coming? Can you feel the benefits coming?

    • Circuses and Bread says


      Of course we should *all* feel the benefits coming. Because they are. And you should feel that down to the marrow of your bones, because the sha-persons say so.

      Politics is just like any other cult. You have to suspend both good sense and logic, and just buh-LIEVE!

  9. Nicholas Conrad says

    A conservative plea for moderate immigration policy:

    Get the government out of private property, employment, and contract negotiations.

    Let refugees work for their living instead of paying billions of dollars in ineffectual aid.

    Let foreigners trade goods and labor with any consenting adult to grow the pie through gains from trade, rather than picking winners and losers divvying up pieces of a shrinking pie.

    Stop wasting law enforcement resources on people trying to live and work like good citizens so we can do more to prevent crime in our communities.

    Stop locking hard working people up in a wasteful and over packed incarceration system where the state pays their room and board.

    In short: *open borders* is the moderate conservative position on immigration.

    • Afrosapiens 🇫🇷🇪🇺 says


      My momma warned me never to go wandering through the comments section …

    • @Nicholas Conrad
      This is the Libertarian Koch brothers philosophy of immigration where-in if you get rid of welfare and social programs you can completely open the borders (and I agree that you can’t have welfare and porous borders, one or the other). I share some philosophic tenants with the libertarians but open borders is a really fast track to authoritarianism. Open borders will descend into a kind of lawlessness and out of that the populus will demand state action, law and order, blah blah blah.
      We’re not in the 19th century any longer, there is no need to populate and build up the Western half of the US. Just because something historically worked for a population doesn’t make it appropriate for all time.

  10. E. Olson says

    I think a rational discussion of immigration would start by considering a variation of what Switzerland does. They don’t grant LEGAL immigrants citizenship until they demonstrate high fluency in Italian, German, or French, can demonstrate integration by verifying friendships/relationships with native Swiss, and have repaid the state for the value of all welfare benefits they have received. Therefore a balanced immigration approach that I’m sure most American conservatives and a large number of independents would support would allow DACA and TPS members to have permanent residency status if they can prove they are in the country legally, they are fluent in English, they are not dependent on welfare benefits, they have repaid all welfare benefits they have received, and have been convicted of no felonies. Similarly, new legal immigration could be based on requiring the applicant and/or a sponsor (who will guarantee work and/or financial support until achieving citizenship) post a refundable bond of significant value upon entry, no eligibility for welfare benefits until achieving citizenship, no anchor baby status when immigrant parents do not have legal residency and the baby is delivered at the expense of the government, automatic expulsion for a felony conviction or association with terrorist groups, and no chain migration beyond spouse and minor children. The number of legal immigrants by country might be limited to numbers that promote assimilation (i.e. if too many from Mexico or China or Norway, etc. fail to follow US laws, achieve English fluency, and citizenship status within 3 to 5 years will mean immigration quota cutbacks from said country), and adjusting total immigration numbers to meet the employment needs of industry (i.e. high overall or industry sector unemployment means fewer legal immigrants). To prevent illegal immigration, a wall should be completed on the border and all current immigration laws enforced 100%. I suspect the author of this article and most of his leftist brethren (and a fair number of RINOs) would not be too thrilled by this proposal, but I would certainly welcome an honest fact based discussion of what they object to.

  11. WTAFistan says



  12. Afrosapiens 🇫🇷🇪🇺 says

    Ah hahahahahaha!

    Good one, Quillette! You had me going for a minute. Better take it down now, though. Some readers seem to be thinking this article is real.

  13. Farris says

    The author acknowledges that illegal immigration depresses wages and taxes social programs. However she ignores the elephant in the room. Those who come here illegally or over stay visas are breaking line. They harm immigrants who come here legally, abide by the rules, fill out the forms and endure the wait times. Preforming these duties is a much better indicator of persons wishing to pursue American ideals than having immigrants check a box saying one agrees with the freedom of religion, a free press, equality under law, separation of powers, peaceful transfer of power.

    • E. Olson says

      Farris – from the Left’s point of view, breaking immigration laws is not actually breaking the law. Of course many also feel that legal and illegal immigrants that break other laws should not be punished or deported, because: 1) they might be put in danger by being shipped back home, so it is much “fairer” to endanger American citizens by keep them here, 2) in their culture it is considered normal to rape children, commit gang murder, etc. so it is wrong to punish them for their failure to understand US cultural norms.

      • Farris says

        @E Olson

        Thank you for your observations. I would simply add…Once an immigrant disregards the laws regarding entry into a country, it becomes easier disregard any other laws he or she may deem inconvenient.

        • E. Olson says

          Farris – I agree. Hard to see how disregard for the law (which is common in corrupt cultures) is a trait that the US should import and encourage. Similarly, I find it very difficult to understand why people (such as the author of this piece) who think immigration is a positive for the nation so often protest against any proposal that would require immigrants to follow local laws or risk deportation, or pay their own way and hence not be dependent on on native taxpayers. But then again, law abiding, tax paying citizens tend to vote Republican – so perhaps I answered my own question.

          • @E. Olson
            Indeed. Also, the left are the vanguard in wanting prisoners to have the vote along with “non-citizens” some have also advocated lowering the voting age to 16 (this makes me queasy as I have a 7th grader, I can’t even imagine). Before anyone attacks me for sources, I have read these advocate prices on sites like The Nation, New Republic and the like (I don’t stay in my center right bubble, I often venture out into enemy territory).

            Of course, these are the same people who accuse Republicans of voter repression for requiring ID’s!!!! Like every. single. first world nation. But, I digress, clearly in the rush to get votes by any means necessary, they’re willing to import 3rd worlders at the risk of turning us into the 3rd world (see Ocasio Cortez, her Democratic Socialist plan is right out of Latin America’s playbook. She is the future of the Democrats, undeniably.)

        • Peter from Oz says

          Farris, I agree with you. However, I would suggest that you don’t fall for the leftist trap and call illegal entrants ”immigrants”. That’s what the Democrats do, so as to conflate those who followed the rules and immigrated properly and those who broke the law and are in the US illegally.
          The Dems, wanting as many people as possible to vote for them, are happy to call all foreigners living in the US immigrants. Thus if you attack illegals the Dems can make it look as if you are attacking immigrants. This means that immigrants will then vote for Dems.

          • Farris says

            @Peter from Oz

            Good advice. Illegal entrants it shall be.

  14. Franco León says

    As many people have said above, you just don’t get it. Try engaging with the real arguments on the other side, not just with cartoons and strawmans.

  15. Meat eater says

    Kudos to Quillette for running this. Even though most commenters don’t like the article, it’s important to deliberately de-silo oneself and wrestle with the details of the opposing position – mental exercise as it were.

    The incompatible paradigms thing is very obvious and interesting here. The original article author and some of the commenters are clearly arguing in good faith but are on different wavelengths, with a lot of emotional fallout. The skill of suppressing ones emotions and grappling more objectively with ideas does not come easy to humans.

    • OleK says

      Thanks for a rational comment.

      I didn’t get the “bad tone” and “same old DNC talking points” that the first commenter put. While I would be for a much more conservative immigration policy, I didn’t think this was a bad faith article. I think the title sticks.

      So no, I don’t agree with the general position of the author, but don’t think it was some terrible article.

  16. National E-Verify and deportation of every felon illegal. Then we can talk. The US probaby has the laxest immigration enforcement of any first world country including the many welfare state Utopias the left claims to love so much. As recently as about 10 years ago before the Democratic party basically gave up on the white vote you would frequently here anti illegal immigration opinions from members in good standing on the left.

  17. Rick Phillips says

    Thank you for fufilling your mandate…. interesting article and comments that reflect needed discussion on an important topic

  18. We keep being told what the left’s position on immigration is NOT, not what it actually IS. I get that it is the warm hearted tolerant loving people vs the cold hearted intolerant bigots, ha ha. Beyond that I can’t even figure out if things like people with criminal records should be allowed to enter the country or deported immediately on the left. It’s just a big game of look squirrel, and toddlers being ripped from their mother’s arms by Republicans with swastika tattoos.

    I don’t think they know themselves beyond using it as a cudgel against political opponents. The author presents a reasonable view on this and is correct that immigration is not a policy debate but a political tool. There is plenty of room for compromise on this subject and a deal could be made if the parties wanted that to happen. They don’t.

  19. Unfettered immigration sounds nice: let people live where they want.
    But couldn’t China or India just send over a “mere 150 million people” (it wouldn’t even take that many per our voter turnout and likely sympathy from postmodernists) and then elect a coup (or worse, just arm them from the local gun stores and do insurrection).

  20. W2class says

    While I think the break up of the United States would be a tragedy, I can’t help but think an independent California that threw its borders open would likely result in a cautionary example for the left.

  21. ga gamba says

    He orders a travel ban from some majority Muslim countries (omitting Saudi Arabia, the primary source of the 9/11 terrorists)

    For someone who advocates immigration reform, Ms Craig seems to not know the process.

    It starts with Form DS-260 and its supporting documents, which include birth certificates, military records, court and prison records, and police certificates. For this process to go smoothly requires the actions of a functioning state, one the US trusts to provide it credible information, as well as personnel working in country to conduct interviews and investigations. This eliminates Somalia, Libya, and Yemen, all of which are failed states in which active terrorist organisations exist. Further, no US embassy is open in any of these three countries. Syria is a crippled state where the Assad regime has control over only part of the country and terrorist organisations operate. No US embassy is operating in Syria. Further, the US does not have an embassy in North Korea, which is included on the travel ban list. Venezuela is also included on the list, and the ban only includes officials of certain Venezuelan governmental departments. The travel bans for Chad, Iraq, and was lifted. That leaves Iran. Certainly it is a functioning state. No US embassy operates in the country though. Further, the Iranian government is antagonistic if not outright hostile to the US and supports terrorist and militant groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. Its Revolutionary Guard, an ideologically driven militia of about 125,000 personnel, have proved themselves willing to sacrifice their lives in defence of Shia and the theocracy, The Guard also controls the Basij Resistance Force, an all-volunteer paramilitary wing, which consists of as many as one million men. Given the government could create fake papers and biographies for these men, whether active duty or retired,

    Yes, KSA was the source of most of the 9/11 terrorists. Yet, were they sponsored by the state? I read accusations that prominent Saudi Islamists provided funding to Al Qaeda, and I think it’s highly likely it’s true because this type of funding existed long before 9/11, yet I have not seen a connection between the state and Al Qaeda established. Al Qaeda was denouncing the Saudi rulers as early as 1990 for allowing US and other non-Muslim states to locate their troops in northern KSA for the liberation of Kuwait and later perpetrated terror attacks inside the kingdom to include the attempted assassination of Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the head of Saudi Arabia’s antiterrorism efforts. Within Saudi Arabia there are extremists who despise the ruling family and would like nothing better to split the US-KSA alliance. Certainly KSA supported anti-Soviet mujahideen after the invasion of Afghanistan in ’79, but the same is true for Pakistan, the US, and several Gulf states. Though some of the mujahideen morphed into the Taliban later, other mujahideen, such as Ahmed Shah Massoud, didn’t and fought the Taliban for control of Afghanistan. It would have been difficult to predict which mujahideen of ’79 to ’89 would become violently anti-Western in later years and those who wouldn’t – don’t forget the West has a long history of teaming up with characters who later are deemed to be enemies such as ‘Uncle’ Joe Stalin. The US war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda at the start of the Afghanistan invasion was largely fought on the ground by Afghanis such as the Northern Alliance.

    From 12 Sep 2001 to present day do we see KSA supporting terrorists fighting the USA or targeting America? One may reply “ISIS!” Perhaps, but ISIS is as antagonistic to the KSA rulers as Al Qaeda. ISIS raised most of its money trafficking oil through Turkey, a NATO ally, and from Sunnis in Iraq who endeavour to get an upper hand over their Shia rivals. In the years since 2001 the Saudis have become more cooperative with the West in combating terrorism.

    The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote a decade after 2001: [The partnership between the USA and KSA to combat terrorism] is one of the better relationships in the world on counterterrorism. The cooperation between Washington and Riyadh is strong and on the issue of terrorism the Saudis and Americans basically see eye to eye. There is also a regular exchange of information to help both countries prevent attacks. . . . The relationship today shows how two governments can cooperate. If every country was willing to cooperate like Saudi Arabia, the world would be a much safer place. There are two things that are needed to fight terrorism—political will and capacity. Saudi Arabia has demonstrated both. Other countries haven’t. Saudi Arabia recognized that it was at risk of terrorism and then focused a great deal of attention on the problem. . . . This is the key issue that Washington and Riyadh see eye to eye on. It is considered an existential threat to Saudi Arabia and it remains the concern the United States cares most about. Terrorism is too important and nothing is going to change the high level of cooperation.

    The majority of 9/11 terrorists were Saudi because it was much easier for them to get US visas than other Arabs and Muslims. Prior to 2001 the US was mostly concerned about illegal workers, and the chief reason a visa applicant would be denied one was the belief s/he would overstay. The Saudis applied for education visas so they had business sponsors, they had money to support their stays, and the country didn’t have a high rate of visa violations; all these things made their applications more successful. That’s what happens when administrations think terrorism is an overseas issue and extreme vetting is not conducted; blame that on Bush the elder and Clinton. The US is getting better security cooperation from KSA, Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf states to identify troubling applicants and decline their visas. The same cannot be said of those countries on the travel-ban list.

    Saudi Arabia is one of the more unpopular countries in the world, especially amongst Europeans and North Americans. I’m sure some reading this may be displeased to read a defence of the country, and there are plenty of examples of how it is still falls short of the mark. Yet, KSA is an important partner for the US and others, for many reasons other than simply counterterrorism and tourism.

  22. Kevin Nickels says

    I find it difficult to trust writers that are willing to put “President” in front of Obama’s name and “Secretary” in front of Clinton’s name but does not issue the same regard for President Trump. How are readers supposed to take the author seriously and not think that she is completely biased.

  23. Inanna says

    Good to see so many thoughtful and well informed replies. I would like to point out this “cruel separating” at the border of parents and children is an idea missing the informed nuance of the fact that anyone who just believes that any adult and child entering together and calling themselves related does not understand how low humanity can sink. A bare minimum of child welfare would insist on separating them to determine if that were true (apart from the fact that their parents broke US law in an easily provable way as their first act in the country, and criminals are separated from their children).

    But what I really want to say, and what you will assume I am racist about (and I am no such thing- I believe any immigrant who *shares American values* and *follows our laws* and *contributes in building* the US can become American) is that You Do Not Have The Right To Demand We Change Our Demographics For Any Reason, especially not your convenience. That is so utterly offensive, and you are so seeped in victimology, that you do not understand that people’s have a right to self-definition and determination. We are Far more generous than most and have turned out difficult history into for the most part an exceeding tolerant society unlike any other, which included you being able to participate. The way many people see it, you were welcomed and now seek power over- to redefine the country which was an ethnically European country until a few decades ago. Do you do that to the Japanese, Mexicans, Morrocans, Nigerians? Demand they change for you? No one does.

    If this ideology continues to be so blatantly racist against European peoples, you will create the exact opposite reaction of what you are trying to further.

    Consider that these new populations of de facto citizens are heavily subsidized, and in such numbers, do not add to the productivity or cohesiveness or intellectual capital of the country. People never agree, they are just on the hook for the bill. This harms the working class the most as they compete for lower wages and see their neighborhoods change and are called racist for worrying.

    I hate having to say this, but I have only a few indigenous American friends, mainly because my work is international, so I am far from your caricature of ignorant, gullible Trump voter. My best friends are from Japan, Turkey, Egypt, Mexico, Brazil, Russia…people who contribute a great deal to the US at great personal sacrifice to themselves- legally. So, call me an ignorant racist if you like, but you would be wrong.

    If we had a merit based immigration and only allowed people who respected us and integrated to stay here, there would be no demographic argument. I’ll just say it again: you have no right to affect, celebrate or demand the change of our demographic makeup as if it were some moral high ground.

    This is the most disgusting article I have ever read on Quillette.

    • Excellent post. Moreover, the ones demanding this bending-over-backwards change and shift are mostly white liberals, doing their best virtue-signalling even if most I’ve met have no Hispanic or black friends.

      • E. Olson says

        Fern, are you not counting their Hispanic gardener and pool boy, black nanny and security guard manning the community gate as friends?

  24. Actual Russian Troll says

    Seriously, Quilltette?

    You just lost my patronage. I can get this for free at the Washington Post.

    I’m willing–and frequently do–read articles from those I disagree with in order to challenge my worldview. But they need to be well argued and insightful. This is neither. This is recycled emoto-journalism.

  25. peanut gallery says

    The American Experiment is coming to an end. I think a civil war is unlikely, it’s just a countdown to when one of the parties makes the power grab for total power. Right now the Democrats seem like the most clear and present danger. An American “conservative” at least want to conserve SOME anti-authoritarian ideas inherent in Western Philosophy, whereas the left (progressives) think western civilization and it’s ideas are oppressive and wrong because white men thought it up. I’m already thinking about what countries I could flee to. (By the time it’s obvious you need to leave, it will be too late.)

    I’m all for trying to fix it, but I’m a realist and from what history teaches us… the outlook is not great. It’s very unlikely that we’ll be able to pull away from the precipice before us. The west no longer believes in itself and we can’t agree on basic principles anymore. An ugly divorce.

    • Take heart. There is movement in our country towards conserving our constitutional republic. It is not recorded by the media, not taught by university professors, not emphasized in social media. As in all truly grass roots movements, “the revolution will not be televised.”

    • Phil Reese says

      It’s not just the US experiment though, and that’s part of the issue. Stick with my comment as whilst I begin discussing Islam, it also has to do with the long term idea behind mass immigration.

      I visited Paris a while ago and I was quite struck by the story around Notre Dame Cathedral. The story says it was built in approximately the 12th Century and it took 180 odd years to properly complete.
      That meant that even back in the largely illiterate and basically poor medieval world, there were organisations who were building and planning on a 200 year time scale for just one building.

      So it got me thinking that in the modern day there is vastly more wealth, concentrated into vastly fewer hands, with the oldest being around for a few centuries at least. With this in mind, the idea that they wouldn’t be planning didn’t strike me as improbable. And the more I thought about it, if I was them then I would pretty much be trying to do the same thing myself if I was in that exalted position.

      The wealth concentration alone implies a form of central planning and an iron grip of control. From that basic insight my entire perspective on history changed.

      We are accustomed (conditioned) to think short term… the 4 yr election cycle, the quarterly / annual return, the idea that a decade is a “long time”. But even our military commissions an aircraft carrier with a service life of 40-50 years… so the longer range planning is happening, it’s just not publicised.

      Regarding immigration, and initially islam, it is important to take the beliefs and the racial/cultural aspect out of it. Just look at it from a form of control.
      It is a brittle, top down structure with vast power being wielded by those at the top under the aegis of defending the central dogmatic ideas. About as effective a means of command and control that you can get. This effectively means that the masses are effectively an unthinking mob if the exalted higher echelons urge them to do something.

      As a control structure, the clue is in the name. “Islam” literally means “submit”. It does not mean ‘think’, ‘question’ or ‘assent’… just ‘submit to my command’, to my violation of your consciousness with koranic dogma. Of course, you can apply this to any form of dogma, political or religious. The difference is to what extent the other dogmas are happy to leave you alone to your own devices if you don’t agree with them.

      It is a dogma of slavery and obedience. All you are required, indeed allowed to do, is cringe in obeisance to it’s message and those who are high up in the power structure who are charged with wielding it’s message.

      Christianity, with it’s open and indeterminate space known as civil society and with its ideas regarding the individual conscience is obviously an entirely different proposition, producing entirely different characteristics.

      How Muslims will fare in the West is an open question – but perhaps the more petinent question should be: how the ‘West’ will fare in ‘islam’.

      Not very well most likely. As i said in our conversation, I think what will happen is that our society will be transferred into a consumerist totalitarian state on the model of Saudi Arabia. Well fed, gold-plated, consumer-barbarians … dumb drones.

      Saudi Arabia, you will have noted is a text book example of Orwell’s model society depicted 1984, complete with public executions (80 per year) and ‘hate rituals’, constant demonisation of the ‘other’, rigid control of public discourse and spies on every street corner breathing down everyone’s neck.

      We in the “West” are already 2/3 the way there. Facebook, keeps a file with photos on EVERYONE… likewise Google tracks your every move, and we all know about mobile phones which are essentially a microphone in every room if required.

      I think what will happen is that these forms of social control have always been the plan in order to allow the concentrated wealth to continue to rule well into the future. Immigration has been a political wedge used by all Western countries to divide it’s population across totally new lines where there were previously fewer disagreements.

      And this form of control may well become both inevitable and necessary as the ave IQ of the population continues its downward descent. This is in terms of both our dumbed down culture (reality tv , easier exams etcetc) and the importation of more uneducated people, through no fault of their own, who have lower iqs as they have not had the benefit of decent education over the generations. The average IQ in the Middle East is 85, ave.IQ in Sub Saharan Africa is 70, Pakistan etc. is 85.

      The more of these people we have, the more our societies begin to fray and evince the chaos and neglect that so characterises the places that these people flee from. As crime worsens then we will plead for ever more harsh laws and to be protected. We have already welcomed our civil liberties being curtailed to protect us from terrorism.

      I think we are now on the fast track, like in Europe, to becoming one giant Saudi Arabia style Consumer Caliphate ruled under the Internationalist banks, or whoever it is that pulls the strings.

      Think about it, how is it that every Western country is in exactly the same spot regarding debt, migration, education, culture etc, all at exactly the same time no matter what stripe of government is in power? I say again-how can this be possible if our command/power structures are all so different?

      Looking at it from the point of view of the political architecture – communism/socialism/far left views and Islam are virtually identical. Both totalitarian, both theocratic, both massively coercive and both absolutely blood-drenched. Communism 100 million murdered in 100 years. Islam 270 million murdered in 1400 years. Both spread by the sword, as no target society ever willingly accepts it, unless the target society is too mentally weak to resist i.e. ave. IQ of less than 90. Which again gives you a clue as to why the Globalists want to import so many people from countries with lower iqs. They need to lower the standards in the west otherwise these rather ridiculous ideas just won’t take, and a more compliant populace is required.
      Add on the brainless reality tv douchebag culture and the celebration of a lack of intellectual rigour where feelings and emotion is just as important as facts and here you are.

      Look at the EU, it’s essential model is the dissolution of all cultures and polities and governments, replaced by regional administration (governance) under one central control commission-the EU. Does it sound a bit like something else?

  26. OleK says

    What I don’t understand in all of these immigration debates, is that no one seems to argue from a perspective of: “The USA is the third most populous country in the world. Our natural resources are heavily taxed (as in strained). Sorry outside world, but we’re full. Come check by in a couple years after we re-asses our home situation.”

    See? Pretty simple! And it’s a great position to be as picky as possible regarding immigration.

  27. There isn’t any use in talking about “immigration policy” until we actually control the flow of people into the country. Right now, our immigration policy is for all intents and purposes set by coyotes operating illegally along our southern border.

  28. Seiđrkona Krigsgaldr says

    Mass immigration is occurring in ONLY white countries and ALL white countries. It is straight up ethnic cleansing of every white population on the planet. Mass immigration must not only be stopped, it must be reversed. ALL nonwhites must be repatriated to their own countries. The ethnic cleansing MUST STOP. If it is not stopped, there will be no white-majority countries anywhere in the world by the end of this century, and whites will become functionally extinct not many decades after.

    If the Left does not pull its head out of its ass with regard to immigration there will be civil war in every Western nation within the foreseeable future. For the love of god, set aside your antiwhite double standards for just a moment and open your eyes.

    • Phil Reese says

      But what if the breakdown of society is the end goal? Then immigration makes a lot of sense as it is one of the weapons used to bring it about. Don’t assume that the Left want a society that you or I want to live in!

  29. My husband and I are linguists. We have worked, in various capacities, with immigrants and refugees for almost forty years. Here are some of the people we have known:

    — A forty-year-old refugee from South Vietnam, a pharmacist, fluent in Vietnamese and French. Came with her two-year-old nephew, worked full time in a factory for thirty years. She is not fully fluent in English. She is now a U.S. citizen, as is her nephew. He is a lawyer and a father of three children.

    — A thirty-year-old refugee from Burundi, his wife and six children. He works full time for Yale University, she works full time as an early childhood teacher. They are both now fully fluent in English. Three of their children have graduated from college, two are half-way through, and one is attending a Catholic high school on a full scholarship. Everyone in the family is now a U.S. citizen.

    — Students from many countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, China, Mexico, Congo, Liberia, Guinea, Guatemala, Ecuador, Yemen, Nepal, etc.), some refugees, some asylees, some legal immigrants, some illegal immigrants. I taught them in a large public high school and they were, almost without exception, more respectful, grateful, and diligent than their American counterparts. They enthusiastically learned English and aimed to become citizens, as did their parents, who, however, had great difficulty in mastering English. This is typical for adults who try to learn a new language. The parents were respectful and supportive of the faculty, a feature not as common in the American parents.

    –My own grandparents, immigrants from Germany. They were hard-working chicken farmers who had not gone beyond an eighth grade education and they died poor. Their English was not fluent, but they became U.S. citizens. Their three grandchildren became a surgeon, a computer teacher, and myself, a classic liberal and a passionate patriot, who considers education and free speech to be sacred.

    I would like to close this comment with a piece of information from today’s Wall Street Journal (10/4/18): “When the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation recently put questions from the U.S. Citizenship Test to American citizens, only one in three could pass the multiple choice test.”

    • Ah, but you fail to mention whether or not the fine examples you put forth came to this country legally or illegally. That is the question at hand. Nobody is against immigration in this country. Illegal immigration is another matter.
      Conflating the two is akin to stating that because we have homeless people, everyone should stop locking their doors at night and let anyone in.

    • I studied for a couple of weeks before passing the US citizenship test, and I’m sure most adult US citizens can pass it.

      It’s important to note that residence (the green card) requires that we notify authorities where we live, and makes us eligible for the draft. But we cant vote. There’s a difference between resident visa and citizenship. And the difference between the different types if visa and citizenship can be enormous.

      The arguments i see for illegal immigration are all vaporware, rely on the ignorance of the audience a large those of faulty logic. US citizens really need to learn what are the laws and actual practice. For example, Obama was really tough on middle class english speaking Venezuelans fleeing chavismo, but Trump has been quite helpful, even though he speaks tough, the visas for Venezuelans are a LOT easier to get since Trump got to the White House.

  30. Sean says

    Aren’t most ‘refugees’ who turn up on the US’s doorstep economic migrants? If a refugee is someone who is likely to be persecuted in their home country, then a good case can be made for them to move to a neighboring country. But if that person is not likely to be persecuted in the neighboring country and moves on to a third country, then how are they still a refugee?
    Any person who moves overland from El Salvador to the US would have had to transit at least 2 countries, Guatemala and Mexico. If they are not economic migrants why not claim asylum in Guatemala or Mexico?

    • Most are economic. And if you open the border for people fleeing high crime i can stuff the US with several hundred million “refugees”. Therefore the high crime argument is impractical, doesn’t make sense at all.

      Fact is there are countries where either by culture or circumstances violence is much higher than in the US (and violence in the US is much higher than in Spain, where people are laid back (and underperform US workers).

      Even within a country there can be large differences. The Venezuelan workforce in Zulia (around Maracaibo) is tougher and harder working by far than those in Caracas. I think this happens in part because the Maracaibo oilfields are a huge employer, and the culture there was very Texas. Venezuelans who wanted to survive a Texas work ethic simply adapted or worked elsewhere. So over the years this particular population had higher performance. Nowadays most of the good ones fled so i imagine the culture will be transformed into the lazy types we see in Cuba nowadays, who are used to being told how to think and to work in a byreaucracy run by communists.

      So when you talk immigration dont generalize. I would get people who are used to working hard, who are educated, speak some english abd wont be working at minimum wage. The US doesnt need minimum wage labor, it needs people who pay a lot of taxes, and raise children who will not grow up to be gangsters.

  31. @Sean

    In order to be categorized as a refugee and allowed into the U.S., a person must undergo a vetting process, one of the most stringent in the world, which typically takes ca. 18 months. He/she must prove that to remain would threaten life and limb. Every year a new quota is set for each source country and the total number of refugees in the last 20 years has remained in the five digit range. (A completely different situation has unfolded in Europe; Germany allowed one million people into their country in 2015 with no vetting.)

    In my examples above, the woman from Vietnam had supported the U.S. during the war. Had she stayed in her country, the Communist victors would have consigned her to a brutal “re-education” camp. The man from Burundi, a Tutsi, witnessed his parents chopped to death with machetes. When he fled to a refugee camp in Tanzania, he and his family were attacked because his wife is a Hutu. The high school refugees I taught came from families which were in danger because they were the “wrong” ethnicity in the eyes of those in power (e.g., a Kurd threatened by Saddam Hussein, a Sunni family from Baghdad driven out by the Shia government we helped to gain power.) An asylee from Guinea came here alone because her father had advocated for a more democratic, less corrupt government and the response was to threaten her life. Even the students from Central America and Mexico, not refugees but immigrants, were threatened by drug gangs who have ravaged their countries’ economies to feed the massive drug habits of Americans.

    • Sean says

      True Wolff
      You make the case that every person you list is a refugee but you didn’t state why they all have to go to the US. Is there no safe country in Africa that the Burundi man or the Guinea woman could have gone to?
      Was the Vietnamese person’s only 2 choices to stay in Vietnam or go to the US? Are there no other countries closer to home and closer in language and culture?
      To listen to you is to believe that all these countries are terrible and run by barbarous savages yet we get the few who are great and commit no wrong?
      I don’t for a minute believe that every or even close to every refugee you’ve met is a model citizen. It’s purely a left wing fiction to believe that. If you really believe all refugees are so great, I’ve got some land in Florida to sell you.

  32. The irony, dear True Wolff, is that in a generation or two most of the foreign immigrants you so pity and praise will be just as stupid, “disrespectful”, ungrateful, lazy, and drug-addicted, as the average Americans whom you so despise, and from which you have taken such great pains to distinguish yourself.

  33. The truly terrifying thing about the article, is that it is a bad attempt to camouflage the echoes of media talking points without addressing the core issue.
    Enforcement of our laws is what is at stake.That is the core issue. Either we decide our government must abide by our laws or we risk spiraling out of control to the point where the Constitution; the document that limits the powers of the government becomes irrelevant. A government that can selectively abide by law according to the opportunistic political goals of a particular party, is by it’s very nature, tyrannical and despotic.
    I find it particularly distasteful, that the phrase, “American experiment” is still in use by the Left. This is an intentional diminution of our country.
    The United States, is not an experiment. It is a fact that this country has the oldest continuously operating government on the planet.
    It is also a fact that the Democratic Party is the party which supported slavery, and it is for that reason that I could never be a member of a group, whose roots are deeply planted in a history of tyranny and loathsome self interest, even if it was a million years ago. For the so called Left, there was no end to the Civil War. We are collectively experiencing a 150 year old, temporary cease fire, evidenced by the Democratic party’s adhesion to political thought which has proven to be destructive, despotic and murderous. Socialism.
    I would also remind the author, that the cruel treatment of separating children from illegal alien parents was practiced by our previous Commander in Chief, Obama. The practice was duly sanctioned by the courts as being preferable to imprisoning minors along with their criminal parents. It was, in fact, recorded by the media at the time, yet only railed against when Democrats decided to pin it on the Trump administration, falsely believing nobody would notice.
    Yes! The one anointed by media and sanctified in the denigration of our constitutional republic is the prime example of the arbitrary by convenience method of governance. All hail he, who’s pen is mightier than the Congress, our law, our legal limitations, and our rights. Who’s cell phone is a direct line to God by way of the Apple switchboard.
    Nothing he can do, short of becoming a Conservative, that is, can ever be wrong. By willful Media exclusion all improper acts will be shoved into the memory hole, burned there along with other selected facts and truths, sitting shoulder to shoulder with, beer drinking buddy, “Fast and Furious”, and 150 billion dollar bribe given to the Iranian government as enticement to join in an illegal treaty, and of course, the embarrassing, “red line in the sand” .

    “We have to start by building a wall, a big, beautiful, powerful wall,” Trump said. “It can have a gate, it can have a door. We’ll let people in legally, but we have to stop what’s happening to our country, because we’re losing our country.”-Donald Trump

    And that also sits in the memory hole, burning undeservedly along with, ‘inconvenient truths’, for as usual all Hell’s are guarded by malevolent spirits,and it is they who decide what degree of immolation each prisoner deserves.

  34. peterschaeffer says

    Importing poverty via mass immigration

    It’s actually somewhat amazing that anyone would question this. The education data alone shows that we are importing multi-generational poverty on massive scale.

    1. “Importing Poverty”

    “The government last week released its annual statistical report on poverty and household income. As usual, we — meaning the public, the media and politicians — missed a big part of the story. It is this: The stubborn persistence of poverty, at least as measured by the government, is increasingly a problem associated with immigration. As more poor Hispanics enter the country, poverty goes up. This is not complicated, but it is widely ignored.”

    “Only an act of willful denial can separate immigration and poverty. The increase among Hispanics must be concentrated among immigrants, legal and illegal, as well as their American-born children. Yet, this story goes largely untold. Government officials didn’t say much about immigration when briefing on the poverty and income reports. The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal advocacy group for the poor, both held briefings. Immigration was a common no-show.

    Why is it important to get this story straight?

    One reason is truthfulness. It’s usually held that we’ve made little, if any, progress against poverty. That’s simply untrue. Among non-Hispanic whites, the poverty rate may be approaching some irreducible minimum: people whose personal habits, poor skills, family relations or bad luck condemn them to a marginal existence. Among blacks, the poverty rate remains abysmally high, but it has dropped sharply since the 1980s. Moreover, taking into account federal benefits (food stamps, the earned-income tax credit) that aren’t counted as cash income would further reduce reported poverty.

    We shouldn’t think that our massive efforts to mitigate poverty have had no effect. Immigration hides our grudging progress.”

    2. “Importing Poverty”

    “The Fresno county city of San Joaquin has a higher share of children under 18 than any other California city, 41 percent compared to the state average of 25 percent. Orange Cove has the second-highest share of children. Both cities are over 95 percent Hispanic, and both have per capita incomes lower than the per capita income of Mexico, which was $10,000 in 2009, or $14,000 at purchasing power parity. Per capita income in San Joaquin was $8,000, and $7,500 in Orange Cove.”

    3. “Importing Poverty? Immigration and the Changing Face of Rural America”

    “In Importing Poverty? Philip Martin shows how the American farmer’s demand for a perpetual supply of low-cost labor transfers poverty from rural Mexico to rural America. He also demonstrates that, as it is currently organized, farmwork is sufficiently undesirable that not even desperate immigrants will continue to do it once they have nonfarm options.”

    4. “Importing Poverty Immigration and the Growth of America’s Poor Population”

    “The gap between immigrant and native poverty almost tripled in size between 1979 and 1997. The poverty rate for persons living in immigrant households grew dramatically, from 15.5 percent in 1979 to 18.8 percent in 1989 and to 21.8 percent in 1997, while over the same period the poverty rate for persons in native households stayed relatively constant at roughly 12 percent.

    In 1997, more than one in five persons (21.6 percent) living in poverty resided in an immigrant household. And nearly one in four children in poverty now lives in an immigrant household. In comparison, only 9.7 percent of the poor lived in immigrant households in 1979.

    The growth in immigrant-related poverty accounted for 75 percent (3 million people) of the total increase in the size of the poor population between 1989 and 1997. This increase is enough to entirely offset the 2.7 million reduction in the size of the poor population that results from the $64 billion spent annually on means-tested cash assistance programs.

    Immigration is one of the primary factors causing the nation’s overall poverty rate and the number of people living in poverty to be higher today than they were 20 years ago. If immigrant-headed households are excluded, the total number of people in poverty in 1997 and the nation’s poverty rate would have been only slightly higher than it was in the late 1970s.

    This rise in immigrant-related poverty was caused partly by an increase in the poverty rate for each wave of new arrivals. In 1979, the poverty rate for persons living in households headed by an immigrant who arrived in the ten year prior was 23 percent; by 1997, the poverty rate for individuals in households headed by a new immigrant had increased to 29.2 percent.

    The increase in immigrant-related poverty was also caused by a slowing in the pace of progress immigrants make in moving out of poverty over time. For example, the poverty rate for immigrant households who arrived in the 1980s was still over 25 percent in 1997 — double that of natives.”

    5. “Importing Poverty: Immigration and Poverty in the United States: A Book of Charts”

    “Since the immigration reforms of the 1960s, the U.S. has imported poverty through immigration policies that permitted and encouraged the entry and residence of millions of low-skill immigrants into the nation. Low-skill immigrants tend to be poor and to have children who, in turn, add to America’s poverty problem, driving up governmental welfare, social service, and education costs.

    Today’s immigrants differ greatly from historic immigrant populations. Prior to 1960, immigrants to the U.S. had education levels that were similar to those of the non-immigrant workforce and earned wages that were, on average, higher than those of non-immigrant workers. Since the mid-1960s, however, the education levels of new immigrants have plunged relative to non-immigrants; consequently, the average wages of immigrants are now well below those of the non-immigrant population. Recent immigrants increasingly occupy the low end of the U.S. socio-economic spectrum.[2]

    The current influx of poorly educated immigrants is the result of two factors: first, a legal immigration system that favors kinship ties over skills and education; and second, a permissive attitude toward illegal immigration that has led to lax border enforcement and non-enforcement of the laws that prohibit the employment of illegal immigrants. In recent years, these factors have produced an inflow of some ten and a half million immigrants who lack a high school education. In terms of increased poverty and expanded government expenditure, this importation of poorly educated immigrants has had roughly the same effect as the addition of ten and a half million native-born high school drop-outs.”

  35. peterschaeffer says

    Rising taxes via mass immigration.

    The literature is full of references to the negative tax impact of low-skilled immigrants. This should be obvious to anyone. No one dares to claim that America’s native born poor people aren’t a burden. Why should we expect imported poor people to be an asset? In the pre-welfare state era, this wasn’t true. The poor got little or nothing from government (even education was very cheap), and they worked long hours for low wages. The were clearly complementary to higher income groups. That era is over. Health care and education are extremely expensive and the poor are major consumers, to say the least. It would be essentially impossible for a poor person today (other than a single working age male / female with no children) not to be a burden on society. A few specific data points.

    1. “Guest Contribution: The ageing, crisis-prone, welfare state is bad news for welfare migration”

    “Edmonston and Smith (1997) look comprehensibly at all layers of government (federal, state, and local), all programs (benefits), and all types of taxes. For each cohort, defined by age of arrival to the U.S., the benefits (cash or in kind) received by migrants over their own lifetimes and the lifetimes of their first-generation descendents were projected. These benefits include Medicare, Medicaid, Supplementary Security Income (SSI), Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), food stamps, Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI), etc. Similarly, taxes paid directly by migrants and the incidence on migrants of other taxes (such as corporate taxes) were also projected for the lifetimes of the migrants and their first-generation descendents. Accordingly, the net fiscal burden was projected and discounted to the present. In this way, the net fiscal burden for each age cohort of migrants was calculated in present value terms. Within each age cohort, these calculations were disaggregated according to three educational levels: Less than high school education, high school education, and more than high school education. Indeed the findings suggest that migrants with less than high school education are typically a net fiscal burden that can reach as high as approximately US$100,000 in present value, when the migrants’ age on arrival is between 20-30 years.”

    2. “Los Angeles and Welfare”

    “I am sure that I’m not the only one who’s noticed how almost all of the discussion over California’s budget problems managed to avoid using such words as “immigrant” or “illegal”. So I decided to do a few calculations using the 2008 Current Population Survey to follow up on Instapundit’s remark. Well, here are some interesting results for your perusal–no remarks are needed:

    All statistics give the fraction of households in the LA metro area that receive some type of assistance–either cash, food stamps, or Medicaid:

    All households: 20.9%
    Native households: 12.7%
    Immigrant households: 33.2%
    Immigrant households with a citizen head: 26.4%
    Immigrant households with a non-citizen head: 40.1%

    Just to put things in context, 40% of households in the LA metro area are immigrant households.”

    3. “Impact of Mexican Immigration on Public Coffers”

    “The most comprehensive research on this subject was done by the National Research Council (NRC), which is part of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, conducted in 1997, found that more-educated immigrants tend to have higher earnings, lower rates of public service use, and as a result pay more in taxes than they use in services. In contrast, the NRC found that because of their lower incomes and resulting lower tax payments coupled with their heavy use of public services, less-educated immigrants use significantly more in services than they pay in taxes. The NRC estimates indicated that the average immigrant without a high school education imposes a net fiscal burden on public coffers of $89,000 during the course of his or her lifetime. The average immigrant with only a high school education creates a lifetime fiscal burden of $31,000. In contrast, the average immigrant with more than a high school education was found to have a positive fiscal impact of $105,000 in his or her lifetime. The NAS further estimated that the total combined fiscal impact of the average immigrant (all educational categories included) was a negative $3,000. Thus, when all immigrants are examined they are found to have a modest negative impact on public coffers. These figures are only for the original immigrant, they do not include public services used or taxes paid by their U.S.-born descendants.”

    That last sentence is important. Low-skilled immigrants produce low skilled children who will cost even more.

    4. “The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to State and Local Taxpayers”

    “In 2004, there were 4.54 million low-skill immigrant households. The average net fiscal deficit per household for federal, state and local spending combined was $19,588. This means that the total annual fiscal deficit (total benefits received minus total taxes paid) for all 4.54 million low-skill immigrant households together equaled $89.1 billion.”

    “In FY 2004, the average low skill immigrant household received $30,160 in direct benefits, means-tested benefits, education, and population-based services from all levels of government. By contrast, low-skill immigrant households paid only $10,573 in taxes in FY 2004. A household’s net fiscal deficit equals the cost of benefits and services received minus taxes paid. The average low-skill household had a fiscal deficit of $19,588 (expenditures of $30,160 minus $10,573 in taxes).”

    5. “The High Cost of Cheap Labor: Illegal Immigration and the Federal Budget”

    “This study is one of the first to estimate the total impact of illegal immigration on the federal budget. Most previous studies have focused on the state and local level and have examined only costs or tax payments, but not both. Based on Census Bureau data, this study finds that, when all taxes paid (direct and indirect) and all costs are considered, illegal households created a net fiscal deficit at the federal level of more than $10 billion in 2002. We also estimate that, if there was an amnesty for illegal aliens, the net fiscal deficit would grow to nearly $29 billion.

    Households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household.”

    Note that this is just the Federal impact. Illegals and other low-skill immigrants have a greater impact on state and local governments (education, health care, crime, etc.).

  36. peterschaeffer says

    Lower wages via mass immigration

    There are two approaches to this question (at least). First, theoretical models can be used. Second, empirical data can be examined. Not surprisingly the latter approach shows much greater wage reductions from immigration than the former.

    1. “The Race between Education and Technology: The Evolution of U.S. Educational Wage Differentials, 1890 to 2005” Goldin and Katz

    “The impact of immigration from 1980 to 2005 was larger than during earlier periods. But our estimates are that immigration was responsible for only 10 percent (about 2.4 log points) of the post-1980s increase in the college to high school wage premium (which was 23 log points). Immigration can explain a considerably large share (43 percent) of the rise in the high school graduate wage premium, but the domestic education slowdown accounts for more (57 percent).”

    Note that these are serious underestimates, because the authors only consider the direct impact of immigration. In other words, they fail to take into account the impact of the first/second/third/etc. generation children of immigrants. It is a sad truth, that low-skill immigrants have low-skill children.

    An important point in this context, is that the notional high school graduation rate in the U.S. is around 75% (see Heckman). However, a large fraction (at least 1/3rd) of the “graduates” have below basic (NAEP) skills in reading, math, and/or science. These folks are graduates in name only. Adjusted for “graduates” with below basic skills, the de facto high school graduation rate is roughly 50%. Much lower for minority groups, of course.


    “The employment rate of black men, and particularly of low-skill black men, fell precipitously from 1960 to 2000. At the same time, the incarceration rate of black men rose markedly. This paper examines the relation between immigration and these trends in black employment and incarceration. Using data drawn from the 1960-2000 U.S. Censuses, we find a strong correlation between immigration, black wages, black employment rates, and black incarceration rates. As immigrants disproportionately increased the supply of workers in a particular skill group, the wage of black workers in that group fell, the employment rate declined, and the incarceration rate rose. Our analysis suggests that a 10-percent immigrant-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced the black wage by 4.0 percent, lowered the employment rate of black men by 3.5 percentage points, and increased the incarceration rate of blacks by almost a full percentage point.”

    3. “The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market” by Borjas

    “Immigration is not evenly balanced across groups of workers who have the same education but differ in their work experience, and the nature of the supply imbalance changes over time. This paper develops a new approach for estimating the labor market impact of immigration by exploiting this variation in supply shifts across education-experience groups. I assume that similarly educated workers with different levels of experience participate in a national labor market and are not perfect substitutes. The analysis indicates that immigration lowers the wage of competing workers: a 10 percent increase in supply reduces wages by 3 to 4 percent.”

    4. “The Distribution of Income in California”

    This report shows stunning fall in median (-20%) and 20th percentile (-40%) incomes in California. Even 75th percentile incomes have fallen (5%). These falls are larger than reported in states with fewer immigrants. The also coincide with the resumption of large scale immigration into the United States.

    5. “Los Angeles and its Immigrants – Metropolis Web Site” – A few quotes

    “Consequently, the terms of compensation at the bottom of L.A.’s economy got worse over the past two decades: between 1970 and 1990, real earnings in the Mexican immigrant industrial niches declined by over $6,000. The downturn is not simply a matter of exchanging bad jobs for worse: real earnings also declined in all of the industries that served as Mexican niches in 1970, before the massive immigration truly began.”

    “Ten years after their arrival in the United States, the immigrants of the 1970s are doing worse than were the immigrants of the 1960s at the same point in time. And all cohorts have seen the gap separating them from natives grow — a statement that remains true both before and after adjusting for differences in background characteristics.”

    6. “The Greater Recession: America Suffers from a Crisis of Productivity”

    “In fact, real wages for middle class men have declined by 28 percent since 1969, according to a report from the Hamilton Project. For men without a high school degree, they’ve fallen by a whopping 66 percent. “Stagnation is too weak a word,” said Michael Greenstone, author of the report. “This is decline.””

    What exactly happened around 1969? Mass immigration resumed. Note that the competing explanations (SBTC and trade) are insufficient. See “How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?” by George J. Borjas; Richard B. Freeman; Lawrence F. Katz; John DiNardo; John M. Abowd.

    All of the above notes should help to establish the casual relationship between mass immigration and declining wages. However, since we are really concerned with real wages, the impact of immigration on prices and taxes needs to be considered. Probably the largest single factor (by far) has been to make housing less affordable, particularly in areas with viable public schools. Note that 29.3% of children attend private schools in San Francisco. That’s a massive decrement to real wages. Note that’s in uber liberal San Francisco.

  37. peterschaeffer says

    Educational failure via mass immigration

    If anyone doubts that immigration is undermining American education, see below.

    1. John Judis “End State Is California finished?”

    “At the gathering, held in a plush conference room, one of the experts projected tables and graphs comparing various states. It was there that I had my own “AHA!” moment. The states with thriving educational systems were generally northern, predominately white, and with relatively few immigrants: the New England states, North Dakota, and Minnesota. That bore out the late Senator Patrick Moynihan’s quip that the strongest factor in predicting SAT scores was proximity to the Canadian border. The states grouped with California on the lower end of the bar graph were Deep South states like Mississippi and Alabama with a legacy of racism and with a relative absence of new-economy jobs; states like West Virginia that have relatively few jobs for college grads; and states like Nevada, New Mexico, and Hawaii that have huge numbers of non-English-speaking, downscale immigrants whose children are entering the schools. California clearly falls into the last group, suggesting that California’s poor performance since the 1960s may not have been due to an influx of bad teachers, or the rise of teachers’ unions, but to the growth of the state’s immigrant population after the 1965 federal legislation on immigration opened the gates.”

    2. Michael Lind “Innovation and education won’t save our economy”

    “The overall PISA scores of American students are lowered by the poor results for blacks and Latinos, who make up 35 percent of America’s K-12 student population. Asian-American students have an average score of 541, similar to those of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. The non-Hispanic white American student average of 525 is comparable to the averages of Canada (524), New Zealand (521), and Australia (515). In contrast, the average PISA readings score of Latino students is 446 and black students is 441.”

    3. “In the Golden state, leaden school scores” – Useful quote

    “”If you ask why California schools have gone from the nation’s best to among its worst, I would say the influx of non-English speaking immigrants tops the list of reasons,” says Ms. Augustine, a 30-year teaching veteran.”

    4. “US Educational Achievement on International Assessments: The Role of Race and Ethnicity”

    “The debate about the performance of US students on international assessments of educational achievement routinely fails to account for one consistently stark result: US achievement is bifurcated between a group of high-performing Asian and white students and an exceptionally low-performing group of black and Hispanic students. By summarizing results across 20 major international tests conducted since 1995, this research paper shows that when US racial and ethnic groups are separately compared with other countries, Asian and white students regularly perform at or near the top of international rankings, while black and Hispanic students typically rank at or near the bottom. Furthermore, the United States has a substantially larger minority population than all other developed countries, and minority status is not synonymous with internationally comparable factors such as socioeconomic level or immigrant status.”

    5. “The amazing truth about PISA scores: USA beats Western Europe, ties with Asia” (

    “What I have learned recently and want to share with you is that once we correct (even crudely) for demography in the 2009 PISA scores, American students outperform Western Europe by significant margins and tie with Asian students. Jump to the graphs if you don’t want to read my boring set-up and methodology.”

    6. “The Hispanic Challenge” by Samuel Huntington

    The author shows little improvement in education attainment across generations of Mexican immigrants.

    “The education of people of Mexican origin in the United States lags well behind the U.S. norm. In 2000, 86.6 percent of native-born Americans had graduated from high school. The rates for the foreign-born population in the United States varied from 94.9 percent for Africans, 83.8 percent for Asians, 49.6 percent for Latin Americans overall, and down to 33.8 percent for Mexicans, who ranked lowest.”

    7. “Honesty from the Left on Hispanic Immigration A provocative new book doesn’t flinch from delivering the bad news”

    “Hispanics are underachieving academically at an alarming rate, the authors report. Though second- and third-generation Hispanics make some progress over their first-generation parents, that progress starts from an extremely low base and stalls out at high school completion. High school drop-out rates—around 50 percent—remain steady across generations. Latinos’ grades and test scores are at the bottom of the bell curve. The very low share of college degrees earned by Latinos has not changed for more than two decades. Currently only one in ten Latinos has a college degree.”

  38. peterschaeffer says

    Unemployment via mass immigration.

    Immigrants quite literally take jobs from Americans. That makes them a direct loss to the American people. The examples below should demonstrate this point. Note that they are all from a period when the economy was doing much better than it is now.

    1. “The Impact of New Immigrants on Young Native-Born Workers, 2000-2005 By Andrew Sum, Paul Harrington, and Ishwar Khatiwada”

    “Over the 2000-2005 period, immigration levels remained very high and roughly half of new immigrant workers were illegal. This report finds that the arrival of new immigrants (legal and illegal) in a state results in a decline in employment among young native-born workers in that state. Our findings indicate that young native-born workers are being displaced in the labor market by the arrival of new immigrants.”

    “Between 2000 and 2005, the number of young (16 to 34) native-born men who were employed declined by 1.7 million; at the same time, the number of new male immigrant workers increased by 1.9 million.”

    “It appears that employers are substituting new immigrant workers for young native-born workers. The estimated sizes of these displacement effects were frequently quite large.”

    2. “Employment Down Among Natives In Georgia As Immigrant Workers Increased, Native Employment Declined in Georgia”

    “Between 2000 and 2006 the share of less-educated native-born adults (ages 18 to 64) in Georgia holding a job declined from 71 percent to 66 percent. (Less-educated is defined as having no education beyond high school.)”

    “Native-born teenagers (15 to 17 years of age) have also seen a dramatic decline in employment. Between 2000 and 2006 the share of native-born teenagers holding a job declined from 22 percent to 11 percent in the state.”

    3. “Impact of Immigration In South Carolina”

    “At the same time that more Latinos are entering South Carolina’s work force, median wages for those at the low-skill end of the spectrum are dropping. According to the USC survey, the median annual earnings for Latinos was $20,400, far below the median earnings for South Carolinians in general. The effects of a larger Latino work force are most evident in specific industries. Construction appears to be the predominant economic activity drawing Latinos to South Carolina: this industry accounts for approximately 38 percent of Latino employment in the USC survey. The survey also found that the median annual wage for Latinos working in construction is $21,840.

    According to U.S. Census data, among construction workers real median earnings for Latinos dropped approximately 12 percent from 2000 to 2005, even as the number of construction workers expanded 181 percent. Black construction labor saw inflation-adjusted earnings fall two percent. It is also surprising to find that total Black employment dropped by 24 percent during the construction boom.”


    “Almost everybody knows that in the past 40 years, the real wages and job prospects for low-skilled men, especially low-skilled minority workers, have fallen. And there is evidence –– although no consensus –– that a rising tide of immigration is partly to blame. Now, a new NBER study suggests that immigration has more far-reaching consequences than merely depressing wages and lowering employment rates of low-skilled African-American males: its effects also appear to push some would-be workers into crime and, later, into prison…..The authors are careful to point out that even without increased immigration, most of the fall in employment and increase in jailed black men would have happened anyway. Nevertheless, the racially disproportionate effects of immigration on employment are striking.”

    5. The Crider “Natural Experiment”

    “After a wave of raids by federal immigration agents on Labor Day weekend, a local chicken-processing company called Crider Inc. lost 75% of its mostly Hispanic 900-member work force. The crackdown threatened to cripple the economic anchor of this fading rural town. But for local African-Americans, the dramatic appearance of federal agents presented an unexpected opportunity. Crider suddenly raised pay at the plant. An advertisement in the weekly Forest-Blade newspaper blared “Increased Wages” at Crider, starting at $7 to $9 an hour—more than a dollar above what the company had paid many immigrant workers. (January 17, 2007)”

    “The Crider poultry-processing plant in Stillmore, Ga., lost two-thirds of its workforce last year after a federal immigration agency raid. Since then, Crider has scrambled to replace the employees. It has staged job fairs, boosted starting pay and even contracted for Georgia prison inmates to work on its production line. In an unusual experiment, Crider has also recruited a small group of Laotian Hmong refugees to move from Minnesota to Georgia, hoping they’ll start a new community.”

    6. Immigrant Gains and Native Losses in the U.S. Job Market, 2000 to 2010

    “Despite an abysmal jobs picture, Census Bureau data collected in 2010 show that the decade just completed may have been the highest for immigration in our nation’s history, with more than 13 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) arriving. What happened during the last decade in terms of employment of native-born Americans is astounding. Even though native-born Americans accounted for the overwhelming majority of growth in the adult working-age population (18 to 65), all of the net gain in employment went to immigrants. Something like that might not be too surprising over a short period like a quarter or even a year. But it is remarkable that over a 10-year period (2000 to 2010) all the net increase in jobs went to immigrants..

    The growth in the native-born working-age population, coupled with their decline in the number working, created a dramatic decline in share of natives holding a job during the decades — from 76 percent in 2000 to 69 percent in 2010.

    Less-educated natives have been especially hard hit. The share of working-age native-born high school dropouts holding a job fell from 52 percent in 2000 to 41 percent in 2010. For those natives with only a high school education, the share working fell from 74 percent to 65 percent.”

  39. L.D. says

    One of the things that concerns me about the article is the mention of children being separated from families at the border. I do not believe that there is a single person on Quillette who thinks a traumatized child is a good thing.

    However, it is absolutely necessary to break-up the children from the parents of all illegal immigrants. The reason is child trafficking. Because illegal immigrants are not going the proper route their is no legal confirmation that the child in question belongs with the family. It is imperative, if you care for child safety and the stemming of sex slavery or outright slavery, that separation needs to happen.

    Most of the families are probably related to each other, but even one trafficked child is worth turning over and examining all.

    One must also take a step back and think about how there are people in the world who exploit empathy. That is why one must have empathy and sense.

    It is extremely unfortunate that the separations are used politically.

  40. markbul says

    ” the “open borders” trope has become a favorite way for Trump’s base to caricature their opponents.”

    And then they demand, in effect and in practice, open borders. They deny that they favor open borders, but every time you try to deport someone, they make sad faces and ask why you can’t just be nice.

    This is just another demand for unlimited immigration under the guise of ‘moderation.’ In other words, moderation is ‘give me what I want without a fight.’ No. No, no, no. We will fight for our country.

  41. One of the reasons Quillette is so valuable today is that the articles and comments are generally rational and respectful; therefore, I have been surprised at the content and tone of some of the responses to my posts.

    @breathnumber I do not “pity” refugees. I thought my words made my respect for them quite clear. Nor do I “despise” average Americans. I do, however, worry about the failure of our public education system to educate citizens who value American traditions.

    @Sean You ask whether the refugees I spoke of could go to neighboring countries. I made clear that the man from Burundi was attacked when he fled to Tanzania. The Vietnamese woman, whose family had supported the U.S., would not have survived in Cambodia and Laos, both of which, like Vietnam, had fallenl to the Communists The woman from Guinea, alone at age 16, would have been a sitting duck in any of the failed states of West Africa. In No way do I believe that all refugees and immigrants are, as you say, “model citizens.” I do say, though, that they are self-selecting. The ones who make it to our country are strong, resilient survivors. This has been one of the unique strengths of our country; we get the best people! And, similar to the way that religious converts are also more observant than those who are born into the faith, immigrants and refugees are often those who are more patriotic and appreciative of the freedoms which native born citizens take for granted. I take issue with your characterization of my statements as “left wing fiction.” I am not a knee-jerk left winger! I am, like many Quillette readers and contributors, a non-aligned voter who appreciates science, facts, and most of all the Enlightenment tradition of liberal thought.

    @Ramon Cotta I did not “fail to mention” whether the people whose stories I told came legally or illegally. By definition, those who are admitted to the U.S. as refugees are here legally.

    @fernandoleanme I am not in favor of open borders and letting in a vast number of “people who pay a lot of taxes, and raise children who will not grow up to be gangsters.” Did you not read my words: The man from Burundi and his wife work full time in jobs which pay much more than minimum wage; their children are, or will soon be, college graduates. The woman from Vietnam did, in fact, work in a factory, but her nephew is a lawyer. The woman from Guinea is a college graduate working in a high-skill professional job. These people are the ones you want: “used to working hard,” “educated,” not “working at minimum wage.”

    I hope we can all agree that it is necessary to maintain the high level of respectful, fact-based discourse on the Quillette site; God knows, it is an oasis in today’s irrational, illiberal talk from both the extreme right and extreme left.

  42. What we are primarily reacting to, True Wolff – and quite justifiably in my opinion – is not any body of facts you present or claim you make but your attitude, the nature of which comes through very clearly in your posts. I can describe that attitude to you in detail if you wish – I only hinted at it in my last post, and clumsily I admit. If in so doing I have mischaracterized you, I apologize.

    But for now, let us stick to the facts, as you suggest.

    The claim you seem to make is that many present-day foreign immigrants are good, hardworking people, in contradistinction to many Americans, who are disrespectful, lazy, and drug-addicted.

    That is undoubtedly true. I agree wholeheartedly. Your personal experience I accept as valid.

    But what follows from that? It certainly does not follow, I think, that the many Americans who oppose mass immigration are wrong for opposing it.

    Nor does it follow that if we import enough of these good, hardworking foreigners, that America will be a better place.

    That is the point I tried to make in my first post to you. The grandchildren of today’s hardworking, enthusiastic foreigners will likely be thoroughly typical Americans – just as disrespectful, lazy, and drug-addicted as today’s typical American.

    In response you admit that you “worry about the failure of our public education system to educate citizens who value American traditions.”

    I suppose by that statement you are indicating your agreement with the spirit of my remark? But you never mentioned the “failure of our public education system” before. On the contrary, you centered
    your discussion around the failure of average Americans to be good students within that public education system, and good citizens outside of it — at least relative to the immigrants of your acquaintance.

    Well, if I have gotten you to change your mind even slightly, I am happy.

    Of course, it is true that many Americans who oppose mass immigration do so for the wrong reasons – xenophobia, racism, and so on. But that hardly makes the opposition itself wrong.

    I for one have very good reasons for opposing mass immigration, none of which are xenophobic or racist. Such reasons do exist, dear True Wolff, although you wouldn’t know it from popular media (including, unfortunately, Quillette, rare exceptions aside) or internet comment boards.

    It is tempting to scold idiots on the Internet, and perhaps emotionally satisfying, but rarely is it useful except insofar as it serves to clarify ones own thoughts.

  43. @breathnumber

    Thank you for your careful and dispassionate reply.
    Even though I am an old, retired person who spends many hours each day reading, I rarely post comments. I am not sure what exactly has drawn me into this exchange with you, but I wish to continue.

    First, I would like to take you up on your generous offer to describe to me the way in which you, and others, perceived my “attitude.” My motive was to debate and learn while maintaining at least some modicum of humility. If I came across as arrogant or disrespectful, please let me know.

    Second, I wish to point out that I am not, as you persist in repeatedly stating, an advocate of mass immigration. In fact, I oppose it. I thought I had made that clear by my criticism of Merkel.

    Third, I do not think that all refugees and immigrants are good, hard-working people and that all Americans are lazy and disrespectful. Please look back at my earlier post: I was relating my experience as a teacher in a large, urban high school. In that place, I assure you, the immigrant students were overwhelmingly more diligent and respectful than the American kids. I did not generalize that to the whole American population. It was also true that students from all those far-flung and disparate cultures had a much better foundation of basic reading, math, and science than the American students who had, sadly, been through the often contentless, post-modern K-8 public schools.

    Fourth, I do not believe, as you think I do, that if we import enough hard-working people, America will necessarily be a better place. I do believe, however, that we are a nation built by strivers, optimists, and those who wish to reinvent themselves. That is one of our greatest strengths and one of the many qualities which set us apart from much of the rest of the world. I do not want open borders and mass immigration, but what I do want is a way to continue to welcome those who will help us to build our country’s future.

    I suspect that you and I have less to disagree about than we first thought. Communicating with precision and listening attentively can often bring valuable alliances.

  44. I’m going to dispense with the niceties about rate of assimilation, cost/benefit analysis, etc. I don’t like illegal immigration because the vast majority come from the lower races. Why do you think test scores and graduate rates have plummeted nationwide? I work for a large school district where no less than 80% of the students are Hispanic. In order to graduate them, they keep lowering the standards. Large sections of our main cities look like third world hell holes. Why? the immigrants come from third world hell holes! And they pass on to their large families their values: breed beyond your capacities to care for 4-5 children; blame all your shortfallings on whitey; demand all your extended family be allowed entry…..

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