America’s Immigration Nightmare
By • 10/24/08
The New Case Against Immigration
Mark Krikorian’s recent book The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal is a comprehensive and unsparing portrait of the America’s immigration nightmare. The book makes plain the essential absurdity of our immigration policies: not only do we invite in millions every year to the detriment of our economy and national cohesion, but we allow them to express public contempt for the white American majority and to undermine our national sovereignty. Not only that, but our government, which is scandalously lax in screening incomers for ties to terrorism and organized crime, is willing to sacrifice national security to the free flow of immigration.
America, in short, sets the interests of immigrants above those of natives. Krikorian’s book is a call to recover our national self-respect.
Immigration facts and figures
In 1970, the population of the US was about 87 percent white non-Hispanic. Today, only 66 percent of Americans are white, and whites will be a minority by 2042. This rapid demographic shift is almost entirely due to mass immigration from the Third World. Annual legal immigration to the US—that is, the number of people receiving permanent legal residence—amounted to 1.3 million people in 2006, up from 400,000 in 1970. Furthermore, illegal immigration brings in about 500,000 per year.1 About 85 percent of immigrants are non-white. Latin Americans make up 55 percent of all immigrants, and Mexicans about a third.
However, the population increase due to immigration is even greater than these numbers suggest because the fertility rate of immigrants is more than double that of natives. About 950,000 babies are born to immigrants every year. Of these, 425,000 are born to illegal immigrants; also known as “anchor babies,” these children, like everyone else born on American soil, are US citizens, and their relatives can use them to gain citizenship through family migration. The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that the total population growth per year due to immigration, including births, is 2.4 million.
If America was importing the best and the brightest from around the world because they brought in needed skills, it could be argued that this tide of humanity benefited the country. However, that is not the case. Only about half of immigrants gain admittance to the country on skills-based visas, and most of these are ordinary people whom employers value only because they ask for cheap wages, rather than for their exceptional skills. Another half of immigrants—over 600,000 per year—come in through family migration, which entitles US citizens to bring in their relatives without regard for national interests.2 The rest come in through political asylum, or the “diversity visa lottery,” which grants permanent residence at random to people from countries that otherwise send few immigrants to the US.
Immigration and the economy
Krikorian’s portrait of the economic effects of immigration makes it clear that the system serves the interests of immigrants themselves rather than those of US citizens. Immigrants are far more likely to use welfare than natives and are, consequently, a net cost to taxpayers.
Nearly two-thirds of Mexican immigrants, and 45 percent of all immigrants live at or near poverty. Twenty-nine percent of all immigrants use some form of welfare, as opposed to 18 percent of natives. Forty-seven percent of immigrants are either uninsured or on Medicaid, nearly double the percentage of natives who are.3 (See The Improvident Races for a detailed portrait of the social and economic deficits of Hispanic immigrants.)
Though no consensus exists on the costs that immigrants impose on taxpayers, they are undoubtedly substantial. Health care for illegal aliens alone costs the government $1.45 billion per year. Incarceration of aliens in federal prisons cost nearly $6 billion between 2001-2004. The state of California spends $1.4 billion per year to incarcerate illegal aliens.4
Immigrants also contribute to the national wealth by paying taxes, but the government spends more on them than they pay in. In 2005, each immigrant household in Florida cost the state and local governments a net $2,000. Illegal aliens alone impose a net cost of $10 billion per year on federal taxpayers.5
Mexican nationalism and American sovereignty
Not only do Mexican immigrants enter the country illegally and mooch off the welfare state, but to add insult to injury, they libel white Americans as imperialist robbers and boast about their plan to reconquer the Southwest. A vindictive attitude towards America is deeply engrained in Mexican culture. Fifty-eight percent believe that the American Southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico, and a similar share think they should have the right to enter the US without our government’s permission. The same spirit prevails among Mexican Americans, who generally believe that the Southwest is stolen land.
Mexican and Mexican-American elites promote this Reconquista spirit. Carlos Fuentes, Mexico’s most eminent man of letters, has written glowingly of the “silent reconquest of the United States” through Mexican immigration. Mario Obledo, former president of the League of United Latin American Citizens and once a state secretary in California, said in 1998, “California is going to become a Hispanic state, and if anyone doesn’t like it… they ought to go back to Europe.”6
This spirit of ethnic chauvinism also typifies the Mexican government’s policies towards the US. The government actively discourages the assimilation of Mexican immigrants into American society and encourages themselves to think of themselves as part of a “Greater Mexico,” to use Krikorian’s term. Juan Hernandez, then a Mexican official, said in 2001 of Mexican-Americans, “I want the third generation, the seventh generation, I want them all to think ‘Mexico first.’”7 In case you suffer from the common delusion that Republicans are pro-American, Hernandez is currently working for the McCain campaign!
The Mexican government also flagrantly violates our national sovereignty by using its consulates to lobby, often successfully, for changes in immigration, education, and other US policies. Such consular activism is unprecedented and certainly illegal, as international law states that consular officials “have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of the State.”8
The most salient example of this consular activism has been has been the campaign to persuade government offices and businesses to accept the use of the Mexican consular identification card, or the matricula consular, for official and business purposes. Virtually the only people who need the card are illegal aliens, so this lobbying is a clear effort to erode the distinction between citizens and non-citizens. The consulates have been successful: by 2004, 377 American cities and 178 banks accepted the ID. The Mexican government also lobbies for driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, illegal alien sanctuary policies, and bilingual education in schools. It lobbies against English-only ordinances and measures designed to restrict government benefits to illegal aliens, such as Arizona’s Proposition 200.9
The threat to national security
9/11 exposed the incompetence of all levels of the American immigration system. Consulates that process visas abroad, immigration inspectors at entry points into the US, and government officials who monitor immigrants within the country—all bear a share of the blame for the disaster. American consular officials in the Middle East granted the hijackers visas on the basis of applications that were incomplete or contained obviously false information.10 Immigration inspectors allowed one hijacker in at an American airport despite the fact that he lacked the appropriate visa. Another hijacker was smuggled in across the Mexican border.11 Once they were in the country, some of the hijackers overstayed their visas with no punishment.12
One would have thought that such a devastating revelation of the inadequacy of the system would have resulted in meaningful reform. However, in his section on national security, Krikorian maintains credibly that it has not. He describes an immigration system so overloaded and demoralized that no meaningful screening of admittees to the US is possible.13
For example, the one million Mexicans who are caught each year trying to cross the border illegally are normally granted “voluntary return” to Mexico so that they will not clog up the detention and court system. They are taken across the border and released, meaning they can immediately try to enter the US again and go through the same process if caught, rather than suffering criminal penalties for attempting re-entry.14 Similarly, the bureaucracy charged with monitoring immigrants within the US can give only cursory attention to each of the 7.5 million applications for adjustments to immigration status sent in every year. Consequently, foreign organized crime syndicates and God knows who else are able to pump in their minions from abroad through employment visas.15
The laxity in screening and monitoring entrants to the US is reinforced by the “customer-service mind-set” of the system that puts the convenience of immigrants first and national security second. As an example, supervisors at border checkpoints instruct employees to wave through vehicles without inspection if lines get too long.16 As usual, where the interests of immigrants clash with those of natives, the immigrants win.
Post-Americanism and the Great Silencing
Given that our immigration policies are so overwhelmingly detrimental to our country, why don’t we change them? And why is there so little honesty about the realities of the immigration in our nation’s public sphere? Why is it that, in the midst of this nightmare, we have two presidential candidates who not only barely mention America’s most pressing problem, but actually support amnesty for illegal immigrants and increases in our immigration quotas?
As we saw in The Great Silencing, the restriction of discussion on immigration is part of a broader taboo against criticism of minorities by whites. The taboo is the result of leukophobic stereotypes that paint any manifestation of white ethnocentrism, no matter how reasonable, as the thin end of the wedge that will eventually lead to lynchings and genocide. As William McGowan has documented in Coloring the News, the American press has a long history of assimilating attempts to restrict immigration with Nazism and other forms of “racism.”17 Krikorian documents that the Mexican government has done the same thing.18
This rigid hostility to white ethnocentrism has given rise to what Krikorian calls a “post-American” elite, which I have elsewhere called “the destructive class.” This elite identifies with humanity at large rather than with any particular nation, rejects the legitimacy of the United States as a distinct nation-state, and promotes multicultural tolerance as the highest value.19
There is no issue on which elite and majority opinion are more at odds: 60 percent of the American public sees current immigration levels as a threat to the vital interests of the United States, but only 14 percent of elites do.20 However, since the elites control the dominant organs of political commentary, the legitimate rage of the American majority can find no voice.
If America is ever to wake up from the immigration nightmare, the white majority must rebel against the great silencing and assert its right to judge what is best for the country without worrying about wounding minority self-esteem or incurring the wrath of the elites. If we don’t, we can expect to see the complexion and character of our nation change at the same dizzying speed as our government continues to put the interests of immigrants above our own.