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Immigration and Inequality

A big problem with the mass immigration that began in the United States in the 1970s was that it bred inequality. Its role in creating the highly stratified American social structure of the twenty-first century was as significant as that of other factors more commonly blamed: information technology, world trade, tax cuts. In 1995, the economist George Borjas, writing in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, modeled the actual effects of immigration on Americans. He found that while immigration might have caused an increase in economic activity of $2.1 trillion, virtually all of those gains—98 percent—went to the immigrants themselves. When economists talk about “gains” from immigration to the receiving country, they are talking about the remaining 2 percent—about $50 billion. This $50 billion “surplus” disguises an extraordinary transfer of income and wealth: Native capitalists gain $566 billion. Native workers lose $516 billion.

One way of describing mass immigration is as a verdict on the pay structure that had arisen in the West by the 1970s: on trade unions, prevailing-wage laws, defined-benefit pension plans, long vacations, and the power workers had accumulated against their bosses more generally. These had long been, in most people’s minds, excellent things. But Republicans argued that private business, alas, could not afford them, and by the 1980s they had won the argument. Immigration, like outsourcing and tighter regulation of unions, allowed employers to pay less for many kinds of labor. But immigrants came with other huge costs: new schools, new roads, translation (formal and informal), and health care for those who could not afford it. Those externalities were absorbed by the public, not the businessmen who benefited from immigration.

Naturally businessmen preferred this arrangement to the old one, which had involved paying expensive benefits to an entitled, querulous, native-born, and sometimes unionized workforce. Investment bankers preferred it, too. Their decisions on what to fund and what not to fund added impetus to the transformation of the economy. Sectors in which low-wage newcomers dominated (restaurants, landscaping, construction) began to crowd out sectors in which they did not (mostly manufacturing and local retail). Now immigration was the economy.

It was an extraordinary subsidy. Extraordinary things were done with it. For the class of people in the lee of immigrant competition—a class to which, at the time, virtually all politicians, business owners, financiers, and journalists belonged—the changes brought by low-cost service labor and low-cost imported goods seemed like an outright miracle. Immigrants caused a revolution in the way Americans ate—more because of the new savings that could be had from immigrant labor than because of the cuisines immigrants brought. (That is, Starbucks is as much a creation of the immigrant economy as El Taco Rico.) Inexpensive landscape gardeners made possible an explosion of golf courses and an extraordinary beautification of the country’s suburbs. The drab lawns of the 1970s, treeless and bordered by cracked cement driveways and boxy, scratchy hedges—these were now replaced, even in middle-class neighborhoods, by bowers of shady willow and laurel, hydrangea bushes in half a dozen colors, and thousands of varieties of daylilies.

Outsourcing was a similar windfall. Sending manufacturing jobs abroad offered consumers all the advantages of heavy industry and none of the pollution. Americans could now have blue herons plashing and pecking in their streams and hawks swooping off their rooftops as if the Industrial Revolution had never happened—and no one would have to give up the power mower in his garage. Pollution continued at the same rate, of course: It just involved deforesting Brazil instead of pouring bilge into Lake Erie. And it would be years before people began paying attention to the cost of permanent underemployment outside the country’s globalized cities.

The country outsourced repression along with jobs. Americans could get goods from authoritarian China more cheaply than from Western societies, with their trade unions and wage laws and workplace regulations. Many of the so-called developing countries did handsomely under globalization.

If we were judging open immigration and outsourcing not as economic policies but as U.S. aid programs for the world’s poor, we might consider them successes. But we are not. The cultural change, the race-based constitutional demotion of natives relative to newcomers, the weakening democratic grip of the public on its government as power disappeared into back rooms and courtrooms, the staggeringly large redistributions of wealth—all these things ensured that immigration would poison American politics right down until the presidential election of 2016.

The quest for a new elite

Once inequality reaches a certain magnitude, those who have, rule. Not everyone is troubled by that. “Observe Reagan’s futile attempts to arouse the country by some sort of inspirational appeal,” said Ayn Rand in one of those college speeches she made in the last months of her life, when she was so nervous about the future of capitalism that even backwoods religion struck fear into her.

He is right in thinking that the country needs an inspirational element, but he will not find it in the God-family-tradition swamp. The greatest inspirational leadership this country could ever find rests in the hands of the most typically American group: the businessmen. But they could provide it only if they acquired philosophical self-defense and self-esteem.

At the time, the idea that anyone might look up to entrepreneurs and captains of industry sounded like a joke. If you asked before the Reagan administration who the greatest seers into the soul of mankind were, even a young man in business school would probably have replied: Poets. Or: Philosophers. The world’s moguls were unbalanced, insane, and unenviable. Who would want to be Howard Hughes or John Paul Getty?

But in the 1980s, economic titans began to write autobiographies again, as if they had lessons to teach the public. They were mostly corporate executives, like Lee Iacocca and Jack Welch. One was a New York real estate developer who described his calling as “the art of the deal.” And some were bankers. Time magazine ran a notorious cover in February 1999 describing Treasury secretary Robert Rubin, his assistant, Lawrence Summers, and Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan as the “Committee to Save the World.”

Society took on a Roman aspect. The very rich were held to be cool (Steve Jobs), prophetic (George Soros), or saintly (Warren Buffett). Wealth has never been without its appeal and its power. But it was striking that, more than any generation for a century, and in sharp contrast to its own declared youthful values, the Baby Boom generation revered wealth.

For people without a foothold in the new service and financial businesses, it was harder to make ends meet. At the start of the 1970s, homeowners—often in single-earner families—generally spent two-and-a-half years’ worth of their income when they bought a house. That number began to rise and rise. By 2010, it had nearly doubled. Buying a house now took almost four-and-a-half years of a family’s earnings. People could sense the deteriorating relative position of the working class even before it showed up in the statistics. Wealth was being more openly signaled, and consumers were warned that they were being sorted and tiered. A smugness that had been alien to American culture made a triumphant return. “All it takes is success,” ran an ad for the Gold MasterCard in 1987.

The rich had become different once again. Upper-middle-class people stopped drinking the water that came out of their taps and began buying it bottled, from stores. The Jeep Cherokee was brought to market in 1984 as the first modern “sport-utility vehicle.” SUVs would be regulated not as cars but as “light trucks,” allowing them to circumvent regulations drawn for a more democratic age. Other than SUVs, domestic cars outright disappeared from the wealthiest American neighborhoods. Rich people drove BMWs, Audis, and Lexuses. You could tell you were among hoi polloi when you saw a lot of Pontiacs and Fords and Chevys parked on the street.

A culture of ambition and striving was developing. People learned from business gurus about how to take “power naps” and “power walks.” Businessmen wore two-toned, white-collared shirts (which they called “power shirts”) with pink, margarine-yellow, and salmon-orange ties (which they called “power ties”). What made those ties power ties was that they were effeminate. They displayed that the men who wore them were too high up the corporate or social pecking order to be safely snickered at.

The Reagan administration’s model of deficit financing was like the business deals that were going on at the same time. Leveraged buyouts, which spread across the business world in the 1980s, involved borrowing against the assets of a company you didn’t own in order to buy it—at which point the borrowed money could be paid back by a combination of superior efficiencies (which often did not materialize) and pitiless sell-offs (which always did).

This meant that financiers had to become more like politicians. They had to tell a story to convince the public they were advancing progress, not stripping assets. The economist and businessman Louis Kelso, who, like Lewis B. Cullman and many others, claimed to be the inventor of the leveraged buyout, always described his financial innovation as a kind of shareholder democracy. Boardrooms were now the place for “activists”—fighters and crusaders who wanted to earn billions, fix world hunger, or preferably both at the same time.

Corporations, too, began to campaign for themselves as politicians always had. Apple rolled out its IIc model in 1984 with a series of twopage magazine ads that were longer than the articles they interrupted. “The newest member of the Apple II family,” one began, “has its own reasons for being.” But such ads were now explicitly political, too. Increasingly they presented the company under discussion as being in the Making-the-World-a-Better-Place Business. “Barbie: The Doll Dreams Are Made of,” ran one 1986 ad showing the doll in an astronaut suit. It would be sexist not to buy it.

Companies were even ready to do some of the regulatory work that had heretofore been thought government’s business. “Starting April 23,” announced one 1988 ad, “only Northwest Airlines will prohibit smoking on all flights starting in North America.” The ad ended with what, to the culture of ten years before, would have been a bizarre spectacle: a planeful of rich-looking businessmen with their power shirts and owl eyeglasses, applauding and guffawing as if they were people whom Americans might envy and emulate.

Up-and-coming businessmen like these were seldom Reaganites. They didn’t appear even to like Reagan. Why should they? Those profiting most in the 1980s were not, as Reagan’s oratory implied, government-hating small-town loners dreaming big. Nor were they cigar-chomping robber barons, as his detractors would have it. Increasingly, they were highly credentialed people profiting off of financial deregulation and various computer systems that had been developed by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the NASA space program. They were not throwbacks to William McKinley’s America but harbingers of Barack Obama’s. They were the sort of people you met at faculty clubs and editorial-board meetings. Their idea of what constituted a shining city on a hill was different from the one held by the president who enriched them. A new social class was coming into being that had at its disposal both capitalism’s means and progressivism’s sense of righteousness. It would breathe life back into the 1960s projects around race, sex, and global order that had been interrupted by the conservative uprisings of the 1970s.

 

Christopher Caldwell is a contributing editor at the Claremont Review of Books and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.

Excerpted with permission from The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties, by Christopher Caldwell. Copyright © 2020 by Christopher Caldwell, and published by Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. Diversity is inequality.

    The Left’s greatest good and its greatest evil are synonyms.

  2. The big problem with mass immigration that it began…period.
    On a per capita basis, every single QOL metric has nosedived. Anything that has gone up, such as longevity and improved medical care, would’ve happened regardless of immigration, or improved even more in its absence.

    In all sincerity, if someone has an example that stands up to scrutiny, I’d love to hear it.

  3. I’ve been watching roofing companies, informally, for decades now. Every time I see a new roof being put on new construction or an older home, I take a good hard look at the men who are doing the work.

    They’re mestizos, mostly. Hispanics of mixed Indian and white ancestry. The chances of them all being in the US legally is about nil. Depending on what region of the country we’re looking at, perhaps most of them are illegal.

    On the same day, I read stories in the media about unemployment among poorly educated African Americans, and I think to myself, why aren’t they installing roofs instead of illegal Mexicans?

    Immediately, I then turn to the thought of how we can make the switch happen. Make all the illegal Mexicans disappear and, at the same time, induce African Americans and anyone else who wants to do the work, to start installing roofs.

    It would be better that way, wouldn’t it? An underemployed segment of American citizens doing honest work, and the disappearance of illegal labor who, up until now, have been taking their places.

    I’ll just throw out a couple of ideas here, just to get things rolling. Put people in prison for giving jobs to illegal immigrants. Force roofing companies to raise wages (and costs, it must be admitted) to make it more attractive to African Americans (and others) to install roofs than to be on welfare. Or even restrict welfare to help make it more attractive.

    At the very least, it should be important to all of us that any job being performed by an illegal immigrant - or, for that matter, an unnecessary legal immigrant - be reserved for American citizens. And not just in a pro forma sort of way, but as a matter of urgent policy.

  4. I was thinking about this and for the sake of a mental exercise for myself I tried to make it a bit smaller:

    I live in a town of approximately 20,000 people in southern Netherlands. About 2,000 of them are Poles, who work in the fields and greenhouses, as well as on some construction sites. Now, the Poles are not cheaper than Dutch in terms of wage (they get the same minimum wage). However, an asparagus grower told me that for every 10 kg of asparagus output by a native, a Pole on average has an output of 20 kg (a bit simplified). The effect is twofold: Poles replace the jobs of Dutchmen, and asparagus becomes cheaper for consumers.

    It appears to me that the question then is: do I, or anyone else who buys asparagus, owe it to those less productive fellow Dutchmen to pay a higher price for asparagus for the sake of protecting their jobs? Because that’s what restricting immigration does. (Mind you: I’m talking legal immigration here).
    If person X would answer “yes” to this question, and person Y answers “no,” then they don’t disagree about the economic effects, but rather about socio-cultural effects, I think.

    Just to be clear, I’m not advocating any country should completely open its borders. There’s been some discussion about that in a different thread and I’m convinced that a welfare state and open borders are mutually exclusive.

  5. The historian Niall Ferguson has made the point that Populism (a word I personally dislike), always arises when high levels of immigration are combined with an economic downturn:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSLEGafuEd4

    In this talk he suggests that once the level of foreign born citizens hits 14% then Populism is sure to follow, just as economic downturns are all but guaranteed in any economic cycle. The real problem is cultural cohesion. People can be extraordinarily generous, open-minded and inclusive, when it comes to matters of race and religion in the West, provided that everyone is unified under the umbrella of shared National Identity, with a common history, a common language, shared culture and cultural values, and people can be accepting of people from varied cultures, in numbers which can be integrated into the whole.

    But interject the more aggressive form of multiculturalism, which simultaneously assumes that the cultural values which make the West unique and special are universal, and then denigrate the Host culture with the ineradicable Original Sin of historical wrongs which were (unlike Western virtues) cultural universals, and we can see that the current form of multiculturalism exacerbates the very racial tensions that it purports to eradicate.

    Worse still, the fact that migrant cultures possess the selfsame psychologically conservative wiring which categorises the less fortunate segments of Western societies, evinced by strong ingroup preferences and a need for a culturally similar community, and we can see how migrant communities feel the need to cluster together, for the emotional safety of the familiar, and often displace whole segments of host communities. Little wonder then, that for the less fortunate bottom 60% who most desperately need the familiar and their own cultural identity and community, this can feel like a form of cultural genocide, and result in the suspicion that the migrant is stealing their economic opportunities.

    I don’t necessarily agree with all the groupings in this historical timeline, but it is useful as a reference.

    I think that one of the reasons why the neoliberal push for greater and greater mass migration failed so miserably, was because of the unspoken assumption of the human tabula rasa, or blank slate. There was the deeply erroneous belief that given enough education, anyone can do anything. This is patently false. Once one removes the careers of the cognitively gifted, and their more modestly endowed support hierarchies, strip away the tiny percentage of individuals who are capable of being creatively successful, subtract those successful in sports, personal fitness and physio (a much underrated skill), remove trade professionals, those suitable for working in higher end retail or sales, then one is left with a rump of the population that is only capable of the less skilled end of the trade pool and semiskilled work. These are the jobs that mass migration, by and large, fills, and it is little wonder that many Western societies suffer such appalling labour participation rates especially amongst young men.

    Consider the UK for an instant. The supply of skilled labour from Eastern Europe was a boon to employers and construction. But at the same time, a whole generation of young Black British men, and white working-class (more aptly categorised as underclass) boys, and, to a lesser extent, those of Pakistani extraction from poorer backgrounds, grew up in an education system which only valued education.

    In the past, they might have reasonably been expected to migrate into manufacturing and apprenticeships, but the simultaneous raising of educational standards to enter these occupations along with the ready supply of off-the-shelf trained labour from Eastern Europe, has led to a dearth of economic opportunities for these young men. It’s what Viktor Frankl referred to as a Purpose Void, and its little wonder that many of these young men have found themselves slipping into criminal activities, fuelling the Knife Crime epidemic.

    But the biggest critique of the article, comes in the form of it’s economic analysis and the assumptions it makes about the value of labour, in the absence of mass migration. Compared to what, exactly? We just don’t know how labour rates would have kept pace with inflation, without an unlimited and ready supply of labour to feed the beast’s hungry maw. With the more laissez faire system instituted throughout most of the West since 1980, it’s doubtful that wages would have kept up with the increased cost of housing, healthcare, and education, especially given the endemic levels of Government regulation and intervention in these areas, but modestly greater spending power paired with cheaper goods in more economically liberal areas of the economy, might have helped diffuse a social narrative of financial instability and scarcity.

    Whatever value mass migration brings in terms of the added value it creates within Western societies, there is still one inescapable reality many motivated analysts fail to make clear- only the top 20% of the income spectrum are significant contributors to the Revenue or the Exchequer.

    The Laffer curve proves that if you ask people to pay an inordinate level of tax, revenue goes down, not up. So what mass migration, with the exception of the far rarer children of the highly-skilled or highly-knowledgeable migrants from highly sought after backgrounds (who are able to create the stable family and economic backgrounds to make their children success stories), effectively creates is a paradigm where the lucky few are expected to pay disproportionately for an unlimited many. It doesn’t work, not even in the highly cohesive, cooperative societies of Scandinavia.

    These are the consequences:

    It’s a recipe for disaster, even before one considers the rise of political partisanship, the role of the Culture War, and the divisive way that the young are being encouraged to look on their fellow citzens. We need more empathy in our societies, and and the realisation the unifying umbrella of a common National Identity, is the only thing that can hold us all together, in what are sure to be increasingly economically troubled and Spartan times.

  6. @cedricwilford: Whatever the intention, the article did not anger me at all. On the contrary, I really enjoyed reading it.

    The story could certainly be told with other focuses, but the article describes well why both business leaders and progressives had and have many reasons to support immigration at the expense of the local working class and lower middle class.
    So many good reasons, in fact, that they now seem to be merging into a single group: The new elite can be economically successful and at the same time highly progressive - in other words, morally successful. And until recently, they had a field day (or rather field decades) ignoring the needs of the hoi polloi and serving their own interests by encouraging and promoting multiculturalism and similar ideologies.

  7. A nation is not only an economy. Economic activity is the bread and butter. We will die without it. But, man does not live by bread alone. This is the dimension ignored when people seek to reduce the question to a GDP number.

    When a nation is still at the stage where the mass of the people are living at the edge of subsistence, it is a great cruelty to interfere in the market. The top priority should be to lift people to a place where they are not always on the brink, rather their horizons expand with the leisure to consider their other desires beside bread. In the United States, for example, where poverty has been vanquished long ago, it seems to me rather a vacuous concern whether the GDP growth is 1% higher or lower. No very consequential difference in the standard of living will proceed from either event.

    The point you are making, I suppose, is the subtle one: the distinction between standard of living, and quality of life. Americans are becoming—and other westerners, too, from what I can see—more aware of their other values, beyond a full refrigerator and a full tank of gas. I get the vivid impression, they wish to become a still more refined and cultured people. They wish to find a conducive measure, an adagio tempo perhaps. The exultant mood of their conquest of poverty is giving way to something new.

    I like it. A lot. I don’t want them prodded, and goaded, and plundered by gangsters. They have earned that. They will resent being deprived of their earnings. They do, even if they have not quite found the apt words. I will fight for them, not the cosmopolitan elite.

  8. The main objective of corporations and business men is making money. Their ‘activist’ image is almost always disingenuous and fabricated. A good example is Gillette, on the one hand trying to sell a feminist agenda but on other hand engaging in questionable human rights practices in their own production process. Big tech companies like Apple and Uber have many examples as well.

    I think that this hypocrisy is very characteristic of our time. The neo-liberal order reigns supreme in the West and have been for a long time. This globalist order creates a high level of power and autonomy to private entities such as multinationals, as the article mentions as well. The traditional left (socialist/anarchist) are essentially out of the game and so are conservatives. However, the new left, focusing on the social rather than the economic, are still very much in the game. In fact, they are endorsed by the neo-liberal right, because the borderless, cosmopolitan world the new left envisions is exactly what big corporations need. Moreover, social justice and identity politics tearjerkers are advertisable.

    The bottom line is, it’s all image. It’s all advertisement and narcissistic virtue signalling. And we see this behaviour not only in big companies but in the general population as well. Especially those people trying to uphold an upper middle class position seem to conform very strongly to this establishment and their behavior. And the same rules apply: very little is genuine.

    I also believe this is why so many people, left and right wing, are utterly confused by the contemporary political landscape.

  9. Crime rates, are not a problem for the first generation, but they do tend to default to America’s endemically high rates for the second generation. Disease, is on non-issue other than the fact that there are legitimate public health concerns to having any population, legally incapable of seeking medical attention. The job losses are a legitimate concern, otherwise why have we seen Americans habitually queueing at Tyson’s foods, or whenever ICE swoops raids a less than minimum wage employer.

    Think of it this way. The reason why there was such an institutional resistance to Elon Musk’s Tesla, with pundits and special interests intent on holding Tesla to a higher standard than any other American ar Manufacturer, was that they knew that only a 2% drop in the global demand for oil, would collapse the prices. The converse holds true when looking at labour supply. It’s why it is almost impossible to find good data on labour supply versus labour prices- because no one really wants to look at the data.

    We all know that labour participation rates are abysmal throughout the West, but nobody want to address the problem, because Government is terrible at fixing the problem, regardless of Party, and employer after employer had been burned, trying to find relatively OK jobs for host populations, only to find that younger Westerners seem incapable of enduring relatively monotonous, repetitive jobs (I blame Child Centred learning). Older workers are more open, and usually more desperate, but this is balanced by the fact that as you get older your ratings tend to decline (which is worker productivity, in a nutshell).

    Remember, if we are talking about Obama era deportations from the interior, then only criminals were the focus of ICE raids during this period. The statistics might make it look as though there wasn’t a real problem, until one considers that repeat deportations were only counted once, for population purposes. Someone who is crime focused, like Trump, would then conclude that there is a real problem, whilst someone of a more compassionate bent, will look at the total number of people, and say there isn’t a problem.

    When many of the career criminals routinely deported by ICE for drug crimes have been in the country 6 to 9 times, this is a real problem. Plus, it really doesn’t help the country having a large portion of the workforce being uninsured, unhelpful towards authorities, and not paying into the tax system, whilst simultaneously consuming public services.

    Of course, it is important to feel compassion towards these people, but the problem is that there really isn’t the money or the resources, to sustain them in the US system, indefinitely. Remember, $24 trillion in debt in this tip of the iceberg as far as American Debt is concerned, the US Government also owes $150 in unfunded liabilities to it’s citizens, in social security and future healthcare.

    The narrative of lower skilled labour being a net positive to the American economy is a complete lie. It ignores the fact that only 20% of the population are net contributors, and only a further 20% are self sufficient. Remember there are Lies, Damn Lies and then there are Statistics, and in this case the lies are based on the desperate need of employers to fill vacant spaces in their organisations with willing labour, instead of doing the hard work of getting Americans on welfare, or sitting in their parents basement playing computer games, into productive, healthy work. Nobody is willing to address the problem, because nobody has easy solution, and Politicians only do easy solutions.

  10. K_Dershem I can assure you, at least from my experience as a legal immigrant who lived in rural Arkansas and now Texas, that most people have no issue w legal immigration. Even Hispanic legal immigrants have an issue w ILLEGAL immigration

  11. Trump was right in that some illegals are rapists and murderers, or are Huspanic people somehow immune to committing crimes?
    Same people that criticize Trump say these poor immigrants are fleeing violence… wouldn’t it be logical to assume some immigrants are violent themselves or do all criminals want to stay in mexico for some reason?!

  12. As I said, I have seen Arguments for both sides that made sense and have good data. That’s one of the problems with this sort of issue, it all depends on how you slice it…

    What I find the funniest is that Obama deported far more than Trump has, to the point where his enemies called him the deporter in Chief. Clinton, as I recall, built the camps, and yet so many in the media were trying to say that Trump did to the point where I have had leftist friends throw complete wobblers at me when I pointed out that Trump didn’t build them.

    Meanwhile, people are trying to protect illegal immigrants by declaring Sanctuary cities. Stupid idea. As is trying to cram in illegal immigrants and to give them the vote. Isn’t good for the country, and it isn’t good for the illegal immigrants either.

    I don’t want to live in a country full of second-class citizens, people who don’t have the full rights of the first class normal citizens, and can be abused anyway you want because they are not full citizens. Also, having too much of an influx of people in a less controlled way tends to mean that they ghettoize. Again, a nice recipe for disaster.

    Many of them are perfectly nice people, and I am sure that I have taught a number of their kids. It just would have been better for all concerned had they come here legally, both for their own sake and for everyone else’s.

  13. This is false. Not half-true. Not conditionally true. False. 100% false.

    The half-truth that left-wing people toss around in their echo chambers, which you have inaccurately reproduced here, is that “immigrants” commit crimes at lower rates than citizens. The key to this lie is the omission of the qualifier “illegal”. Many Leftists, as we well know, deliberately fail to distinguish between legal and illegal immigration in order to mislead. For example, they will imply that critics of illegal immigration are opposed to all immigration.

    These are not honest arguments, and the people making them are not honest people.

    It is particularly dishonest to lump legal and illegal immigrations together when analyzing crime rates, because legal immigrants are, by definition, an extraordinarily law-abiding group. They have to be, or they wouldn’t be allowed to complete the immigration process! Everyone who “survives” the legal immigration process has gone a long time without committing even minor crimes, such that he is allowed to stay. This makes the population of legal immigrants an outlier population. Combining this outlier population with any other population (such as illegal immigrants) will greatly distort the perception of the other population’s criminality.

    This is a distortion that the Left engages in deliberately.

    That left-wing people even attempt to use this talking point is a testament to the movement’s overall dishonesty. Of course, the what the movement hopes to achieve, among other things, is that its junior members will come to genuinely believe the lie that they’re trying to subliminally promote, which is that illegal immigrants are unusually law-abiding. If said junior members can be so deceived, they will become that much more fervent advocates for the cause!

    Somewhere, Saul Alinsky is smiling.

  14. Kurt,

    @jdfree49 has a point.

    Those who focus on the crime rate of illegals are making a huge categorical error. Whether they do this out of malice or because of misguided compassion I don’t know, but focusing on “low crime rates” is hand waving to the nth degree.

    Crime isn’t fungible.

    If the illegals weren’t in the country, then the amount of crime in the country would diminish. That person who was killed by a drunk driver who was an illegal would still be alive today. That person whose bike was stolen would still have today if an illegal alien hadn’t stolen it.

    The overall increase in crime is the problem. If all illegal aliens were squeaky clean, except for one, who killed someone, that would be an increase in crime that wouldn’t have occurred if illegal immigration was not allowed.

  15. 100% of illegals commit crime, they entered the country illegally. That fact alone is why they are eligible for deportation. They cut line. They harm those who went through the process and obeyed the rules. They are cheaters. Saying they commit less other crimes is like saying other than molesting children, pedophiles are more law abiding than most other people.

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