Yearning to Breathe Free: Immigration Redux
By Howard Hyde
By Howard Hyde
[Excerpted from "Escape from Berkeley: An EX liberal progressive socialist embraces America (and doesn't apologize)".
The Only Resource That Counts
The Only Resource That Counts
Among the strongest influences for me to discard my liberal-socialist “default factory setting” for a conservative free-market worldview were Julian Simon of the Cato Institute, Milton (“Free to Choose”) Friedman of the University of Chicago and various members, past and contemporary, of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board. Again, Simon demonstrated that the most indispensable resource of all is not oil, coal, or uranium, but human beingsliving under liberty and the rule of law with private property rights. In addition to his magnum opus, “The Ultimate Resource (2)”, Simon also wrote essays, studies and treatises such as “The Economic Consequences of Immigration”. In this work, he concluded that immigration is a benefit to the U.S. economy on net balance. The essence of Simon’s analysis that the free flow of labor to where it finds its most useful application in the world is as essential to economic health and general prosperity as the unimpeded flow of raw materials, intermediate producer components and finished consumer products; free international trade, as advocated by most economists since Adam Smith. For his part, Friedman highlighted the stories of immigrants to America, including his own parents, starting at the bottom and moving up the economic ladder by the grace of hard work under laissez-faire government. Ronald Reagan famously welcomed immigrants in his radio broadcasts of the 1970s, before he was President, and in his “Shining City Upon a Hill” speech at the end of his presidency. More recently, Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal makes a compelling case for liberal immigration policy in his book, “Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders; Six Arguments Against Immigration and Why They are Wrong”.
I have long felt that conservative talk radio hosts like Mark Levin and Michael Savage, and political leaders, pundits and candidates foaming at the mouth in public over illegal immigration were needlessly alienating Hispanic and other immigrant voters, shooting ourselves in the collective foot and handing the Democrats free ammunition with which to demagogue the issue and paint Republicans as intolerant and hostile, if not racist. For about five recent years, I spent more time and energy studying and practicing Spanish than economics or any other subject outside of my rent-paying professional work, in part because I wanted to be a part of a sincere and effective Republican outreach to the Hispanic community. I produced a sister website to CitizenEcon.com, HHCapitalismo.com [note the ‘o’]: El Informe Capitalista con Howard Hyde: Un foro internacional para la defensa de la Libertad y de los Mercados y Pueblos Libres, where I published my pro-free-market economics and conservative-libertarian Republican immigration articles in Spanish. These initiatives culminated in the Univision radio interviews and lecture-screenings of American Revolutionary War films in Spanish churches previously mentioned.
When I began speaking to Republican clubs a few years ago, I was in complete alignment with the Tea Party on such issues as taxes, the IRS, constitutional governance, Obamacare, Agenda 21, Common Core, etc., but on immigration I cut against the grain. Gathering statistics from various sources, I presented, consistent with the aforementioned influences, the following facts and opinions:
• Immigration as a proportion of population today is about half of what it was in the peak years a century ago.
• Immigrant workers complement the native population more than they compete directly, with greater numbers at the low and high ends of the skills and education spectrum, while natives are concentrated toward the middle.
• Net immigration from Mexico in 2010-2012 was approximately zero, due to the diminished opportunities of the Great Recession (which suggests an absurd and perverse “solution” to the immigration problem: destroy the economy so that no one will want to come here anymore).
• New immigrants are more concentrated than are natives in the youthful labor force ages when people contribute more to the public coffer than they draw from it. The average age is 28.
• Putting aside the Great Recession and non-recovery, our economy still creates hundreds of thousands of jobs each year that only require minimal training. The supply of native-born workers without a high school diploma is shrinking by about 300,000 per year. All of Obama’s unemployed college graduates are not pining to pick lettuce.
• Cities with high immigrant populations have lower prices for child care, house cleaning, gardening, dry cleaning and other services essential to permitting, for example, middle-class college-educated women with children to pursue professional careers. It’s not just the greedy super-rich and multinational corporations that benefit from “cheap labor.”
• Illegal immigrants who use fake Social Security numbers to get “legitimate” jobs pay into the system through payroll deductions but will never be able to collect benefits. This is a windfall for the U.S. Treasury and a life-extender for our embattled entitlement programs.
• Social Security and Medicare are by far the most expensive transfer payments made by the government, and these payments go almost entirely to natives. Immigrants typically arrive when they are young and healthy, and older immigrants do not qualify for Social Security for many years after their arrival.
• We need a policy that makes it more difficult for criminals and terrorists to hide among the masses of otherwise honest immigrants who come for work and opportunity.
• Offering and accepting employment at mutually agreeable wages is not fundamentally immoral, even if the letter of many laws prohibits it, from legal residency requirements to minimum wages. Going after employers for the “crime” of hiring willing workers who are not engaging in murder, robbery, theft, fraud, assault, rape, persecution or conspiracy, is among the least effective or morally justified solutions to the acute problems associated with illegal immigration.
• Many politicians and candidates in both parties have had their careers or campaigns derailed when it was revealed that they had hired domestic help that was—say it ain’t so!—illegal (Meg Whitman comes to mind). Meanwhile, many local and state government agencies are actively expanding services intentionally targeted at “undocumented Americans,” effectively legitimizing them in contradiction to federal law. We need to declare a truce in which we do not punish people for acting in accordance with de facto reality.
• In terms of public health and security, a more open immigration policy that permitted workers to enter through the front door without fear would provide the opportunity to perform screenings for infectious diseases, as well as criminal background checks.
• Hostile ideological infiltration and agitation, such as Communism, is a homegrown issue, not an “immigration” problem. The battleground of radical Leftism is in the public schools and universities, in labor union policy and unaccountable administrative agencies, not the border.
• Narcotraffic is also not an “immigration” issue, but an issue of international crime and terrorism. Putting aside “Fast and Furious,”it is native-born American drug consumerswho furnish guns to gangs via their market demand expressed in dollars.
• We say we want people to get in line behind everyone else, but we haven’t provided any line at all for millions of potentially legitimate people to get into.
• In summary, immigrants make more positive contributions to our society than they impose negative costs, and we should liberalize and streamline the process of allowing people to enter and stay in the U.S. legally.
I further argued that mass deportation was not a realistic option and that a pathway to legal status (NOT fast-track to citizenship or “amnesty”) for the estimated 12 million illegals residing in the United States was in America’s, and the Republican Party’s, best interest.
Needless to say, this appeal to Republicans in favor of a liberal (small “L”) immigration policy didn’t go over well with all of them. The response was about 50-50 for vs. against me, some telling me “Hell no!” and a few telling me that they had changed their point of view as result of what I had said.
These positions have become increasingly difficult to defend, not just in the overheated political arena, but on the merits. In a nutshell, the erosion of liberty, of the rule of constitutional law and private property rights that has been creeping for decades and accelerating since 2009, is wearing away the benefits of immigration and exacerbating its inherent worst social, political and economic hazards. Free-for-all immigration combined with a socialist welfare state that invites fraud and devalues both the host culture and citizenship itself, while neglecting the protection of native-born citizens and dishonestly accounting for the threats to the same, is a recipe for disaster. Libertarian advocates for open immigration policies cannot dismiss the arguments of restrictionists out of hand, especially as the issue heats up under a regime that has become daily by degrees less libertarian and more arbitrary and capricious.
For purposes of exposition and analysis of the hazards of uncontrolled or erroneously managed immigration, we can group the arguments for and against restricting immigration under the categories of:
• Unfair/harmful economic competition
• Crime and demographics
• Media and government corruption
Economic collateral damage
• Cultural challenges
• Partisan gamesmanship
• Invasion (“La Reconquista”)
• Islamic fundamentalist Sharia law
There are valid arguments on multiple sides of each of these categories, some stronger than others. The point is not to rush to a simplistic conclusion, but to inform and possibly provoke deeper thought about perspectives not previously considered. In some cases, I will simply play Devil’s Advocate in lieu of expressing a dogmatic opinion.
Intra- and international competition is a fact of life that we can’t stop; to attempt to do so would be to ensure that we slouch toward the type of stagnation that is currently gripping the Eurozone and Japan and to allow China and other rivals to surpass us in both prosperity and international clout. Protectionism run amok precipitated and exacerbated the Great Crash of 1929 and the ensuing prolonged 25% unemployment of the Great Depression (see “Why We Don’t Need a New New NEW Deal” earlier in this book). We should tread very carefully upon that path.
Just the same, this doesn’t mean that we have to fling the door open with no control whatsoever.
Low-Skill Labor “Shortage”
Proponents of open immigration often claim that immigrants aren’t substantially hurting Americans by their competition, as they are mainly doing jobs for which there are insufficient numbers of native-born Americans. This argument is more convincing when the economy is strong and growing, with full employment achieved. While it may not be the fault of immigrants that Americans can’t find jobs, the fact of the matter is that our economy is currently (from 2009 through 2016) in the worst employment condition in nearly forty years. And while it may be true that most Americans do not aspire to fruit-picking for their careers, it is a fallacy to say therefore that no Americans can or should do manual labor for some part of their careers, or that it would be harmful to the American economy or character if they did.
Nobody is born with a PhD in astrophysics. All of us progress through levels of education, physical strength/fitness and experience, to reach peaks sometime in adulthood. Like anyone else, all native-born Americans pass through a stage in their lives—like age 18, or 15, or even 12—when they are fully qualified and fit for work requiring minimal training and not much else. My brother and I worked newspaper delivery routes—an autonomous, largely unsupervised job which actually requires a significant level of responsibility—when we were just eleven. So have millions of other American boys and girls since 1620.
Why not, then, engage young people part-time to do some of the work? It would not in the least hurt native-born teenagers and twenty-somethings, white, black, Asian, “rich” or “poor,” to spend a few months or years of their lives doing some real manual labor that Americans have always done throughout history. Learning the responsibility and necessity of real work is probably more valuable than what the average high school senior or college freshman gets from our institutions of politically correct Leftist indoctrination today, with far greater long-term value in terms of economics and maturity. They might even learn to appreciate and have more empathy for the people who labor with their hands and their backs throughout their lives. The Marxist studies that they resume after a summer of harvesting vegetables or processing chickens might even be more meaningful to them after experiencing first-hand the proletariat’s contact with the soil or the factory floor.
If we stopped subsidizing useless Leftist “social justice” and ethnic grievance studies programs, cut welfare for able-bodied Americans and reduced immigration levels, the wages offered for manual labor would eventually rise to the level that poor, unemployed and even middle-class American young people would be given sufficient incentives to engage of their own free will. This would have both economic and moral benefits for the country as a whole.
Just a thought. The unions would oppose such a thing, of course.
H-1B Visa Blues
American high-tech workers have to compete with Indians, whether they are here or in India; Russians, whether they are here or in Russia; Chinese, whether they are here or in China. It is plausible that they are a greater benefit to the U.S. economy working here where they generate additional jobs for us. In particular, it seems absurd to kick people out of the country after they have just graduated from one of our prestigious STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics) degree programs.
But is the H-1B Visa program the right way to do this?
The H-1B Visa program permits highly educated foreign professionals such as computer programmers and engineers to work in the United States for a limited time period. Ann Coulter has likened this program to indentured servitude because the foreign worker is not at liberty to quit a job he or she doesn’t like without losing the residency permit with it and having to start over from his/her home country. This essentially fosters a lose/lose proposition for both the foreign immigrant worker and the American who is obliged to compete against him/her; the employers have the employees and prospective candidates over a barrel.
Michelle Malkin and John Miano have made a substantive contribution to this discussion with their book Sold Out: How High-Tech Billionaires and Bipartisan Beltway Crapweasels Are Screwing America’s Best and Brightest Workers, singling out the H-1B program and its advocates for criticism and deconstruction.
As an American IT professional myself with a front-row seat to the issues that Malkin and Miano talk about, I could hardly be more receptive to their point of view. Malkin and Miano are 100% correct to point out that there is not now, nor has there ever been, a shortage of qualified native-born American workers and graduates in the STEM fields. And they have done a first-rate job of investigative journalism, exposing corruption, fraud and abuse in the programs.
Yet Malkin and Miano’s analysis and conclusions are not completely satisfactory. There are plenty of factors other than and larger than just immigration or the H-1B program which could be exerting a decisive influence on the outcomes that we agree that we deplore, such as American workers being coerced into training their cheap foreign replacement workers just before being laid off. There are hundreds of regulations that have turned our entire economy into one giant bureaucratic socialist post office, screwing ALL of us, not just techies. But there are no references in the book to Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley or TEFRA (about which more below). These are not trivial omissions; to strain for a metaphor, it’s like blaming the speedboat wake for capsizing your sailboat while ignoring the tsunami behind the speedboat, caused by illegal offshore nuclear weapons testing.
America Has No Competitive Advantage in Bureaucratic Governance
Persons interested in what public policies have screwed American high-tech workers should take a hard look at Section 1706 of the Tax Equity and Fairness Reform Act (TEFRA) of 1986 (any time you see the word “fairness” in the title of any legislative project, be afraid; be very afraid). It was this act that put corporations under threat of having their independent contractors reclassified as employees by the IRS, with all the back pay and benefits that that implied, unless they met very stringent multi-point criteria of independence. As a result, corporations cut back severely on engaging cowboys like me and my colleagues unless there was a third-party agency buffer in between (taking a cut of between 10% and 33% of the hourly rate), driving a wedge between the cost to the client and the benefit to the consultant. That, probably more than foreign competition, killed the independent American programmer. Insane geniuses may break through, but mere “A-minus” techies are toast.
This one law has had a devastating impact on this sector of the economy, yet few people have written about it, Steve Forbes (in 1998) being one notable exception:
Congress should repeal a particularly pernicious tax law that was enacted in 1986. The statute makes it unnecessarily difficult for computer programmers to operate as independent contractors because Congress and the IRS felt these contractors have more opportunity to cheat than individuals who are employees of regular businesses. The IRS thus treats these individuals as if they were engaging in tax scams and tries to shut them down. Corporate employers figure it is cheaper in the long run for these freelancers to become full-time employees than it would be to fight the IRS over whether they “qualify” as independent contractors.
Why were programmers singled out over a decade ago for this extreme treatment [my emphasis]? Because in those days they lacked the lobbying clout of doctors and lawyers. Talk about discrimination. This prohibition aimed at high technology should go the way of Prohibition.
In this high-tech age—when computer programmers are in short supply (don’t forget the Year 2000 problem) and when Congress may liberalize immigration laws to lure foreign programmers to our shores—this ban on programmers’ becoming individual entrepreneurs is absurd.
More and more Americans are getting the entrepreneurial itch. Why won’t Congress let them scratch? Operating on their own, many of these programmers would be more productive and inventive. The wealth of the nation would increase—and, as a result, tax receipts would be higher.
New York Times journalist David Cay Johnston nailed it when he wrote in 2010:
The law, known as Section 1706 of the 1986 Tax Reform Act, made it extremely difficult for information technology professionals to work as self-employed individuals, forcing most to become company employees.
Many software engineers and other such professionals say that the law denies them the opportunity to become wealthy entrepreneurs and that it makes it harder to increase and refine their skills, eventually diminishing their income.
Harvey J. Shulman, a Washington lawyer who represented companies that supported the desires of software engineers to be independent contractors, estimated that the law currently affects at least 100,000 such people.
“This law has ruined many people’s lives, hurt the technology industry, and discouraged the creation of small, independent businesses critical to a thriving domestic economy,” Mr. Shulman said in an interview Thursday. “That the law still exists—even after its original sponsors called for its repeal and unbiased studies proved it unfairly targeted a tax-compliant industry—shows just how dysfunctional and unresponsive Democratic and Republican Congresses and our political system have been, even on relatively simple issues.”
The law was sponsored by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Democrat of New York, as a favor to I.B.M., which wanted a $60 million tax break on its overseas business.
Their dead hands live on.
What terrible economic harm, what gross injustice, what egregious violation of the civil or private property rights of Americans has been remedied by this legislation (or, for that matter, 99% of the 1.5 million pages of the Federal Register)? All it has done is make the market less flexible, less creative and more regimented. Thousands—perhaps millions—of Americans have had their opportunities to become entrepreneurs cut off at the knees by this single law, yet no one seems even to know that it exists.
In other words and more broadly than just one clause buried in a single 30-year-old statute, what is probably more consequential to American high-tech workers—or any other Americans, for that matter—than immigration and the H-1B program, is the unprecedented burdensome and counterproductive regulatory environment under which businesses, especially banks, operate in the United States today.
In a free market, companies compete against each other on the basis of satisfying customers with the highest quality products and services at the lowest cost, which they can only accomplish by the most effective deployment and management of productive and satisfied employees and contractors. Companies that engage in myopic business practices, like hiring two “cheap” workers at $30 per hour only to discover that they are less productive combined than a single “expensive” worker who commands $50 per hour, will be severely punished in the marketplace and go out of business if they don’t change their practices. Put another way, the $50-per-hour worker is the one who provides the lower labor cost to the employer or client if he or she is more than twice as productive as two workers who “only” demand $30 per hour apiece. And multiple studies have demonstrated actual differentials of up to ten times the productivity between seasoned master programmers versus rookie coders. Such a dynamic would tend to reward American technologists who pioneered virtually all of the technologies that we depend upon today and are known for their creative initiative, risk-taking and out-of-the-box thinking.
But in a market where companies are forcibly focused on compliance with government regulatory agencies, such market dynamics and feedback mechanisms diminish to the vanishing point. The autonomy and decision-making authority of smaller organizational units is curtailed in favor of obedience to protocols and pre-established rules and workflows. Decentralized autonomy gets crushed by centralized autocracy. Softer multi-dimensional qualitative distinctions, like English communication skills, personal initiative, cultural affinity with colleagues and customers, willingness to take risks, creativity, etc., get overwhelmed in the management calculus by one-dimensional metrics such as hourly wage rates. Customers, contractors, managers and employees alike all see their range of options shrinking along with their incomes.
If we were to terminate the H-1B program tomorrow without addressing the destructive force of government interference in the market, the worst economic injuries to American high-tech workers—as well as all other American workers—will yet remain. Greater interference in the market by government agencies like the Department of Labor, to scrutinize companies’ hiring decisions and wage rates, will almost certainly do more harm than good. In any case, arguing for more government intervention, as Malkin implicitly does when she says such things as, “The toothless Labor Department has little authority to stop them,” is not a conservative, free-market position.
Freemen Can’t Compete with Slaves, so Maybe We Should Free the Slaves
A counterintuitive improvement to the H-1B program’s corrupting effects might actually be to give visa holders greater freedom than they currently have to quit or change employers without losing their residency status. Workers who have more choices are not as captive to their current employers and therefore exert less downward pressure overall on wages, salaries and benefits. Giving them greater freedom might even liberate their repressed creative and risk-taking energies, making them more like what Americans pride themselves on being.
Ending indentured servitude in America doesn’t necessarily mean turning foreign workers away.
“Cheap Labor” and “Greed”
“Big business just wants cheap labor,” say some immigration critics. Well, that’s news, isn’t it? Actually, everyone wants cheap labor, at least when they are paying for it, and everyone wants their own labor to be as expensive and in high demand as possible. Indeed, from time immemorial it has been the classical art of the politician to simultaneously promise high milk prices to the dairy farmer (the seller) and low milk prices to everyone else (the buyers), while hoping nobody notices the inherent contradiction.
“Greed,” as I have argued many times against liberals, Democrats and Marxists, is a meaningless condemnation unless it is accompanied by evidence of actual force, fraud and/or coercion. By that measure, the most egregious exemplars of greed are government officials, followed closely by political party bosses and special-interest lobbyists.
So, immigration is only one part of the complete economic picture.
Ann Coulter is one of the most articulate critics of immigration—legal and illegal—in America today. For this reason, in this chapter I will quote extensively from her book Adios, America! The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole, and will follow-up on her sources and references, in order to gauge how well they substantiate her claims. Put another way, this chapter is largely an extended review of her book, its ideas, facts, claims and conclusions, in order that the reader may draw his or her own.
Do Immigrants Exhibit a Greater Propensity for Crime than Native-Born Americans?
Looking at Bureau of Justice Statistics data, Coulter found that as of December 31, 2011, Hispanics committed about 84% as many murders as whites, 45% as many (reported and convicted) rapes and 35% as many property crimes. Compared to their percentages of the population, however, that means that Hispanics are two and a half times as likely to commit murder, a third more likely to commit rape, and just slightly more likely to commit property crimes. And that is based on a 3-to-1 ratio of whites to Hispanics in the population. If the real ratio is closer to 3.9-to-1, as the low-estimators of illegal immigration would have us believe and as the U.S. Census says, then that makes Hispanics look even worse: 326% as likely to commit murder, 176% as likely to commit rape, and 137% as likely to commit property crime.
However, comparisons between demographic groups do not tell the whole truth if they do not account for age. Due to fertility rates that are lower both in relation to contemporary Hispanics and to the past, the median age of a white non-Hispanic American today is 41, while the median age of Hispanics is 27. Mexicans, the dominant Hispanic ethnicity, average just 25 years. . . Which just happens to be the peak age for testosterone junkies of any ethnicity to act out destructively. The crime rate for 40-plus-year-olds ranges from a high of two-thirds down to one-third or less of that of 25-year-olds. Adjusting the numbers mentioned previously, then, the likelihood of a Mexican of a certain age committing murder or rape, giving wide latitude to margin of error, is not materially higher than that of a white American of the same age committing the same crime. For property crime, the white rate holding age constant may be higher than the Hispanic rate.
This also the context into which we have to evaluate Coulter’s claim that “Mexicans . . . have murdered a minimum of twenty-three thousand Americans in the last few decades” in contrast to “only” four thousand killed by Islamic terrorists over the same period, including 9/11. Is it terrorism, foreign invasion, or “just ordinary crime,” which we might have with or without immigrants?
The significance that we ascribe to certain deaths, killings and other assaults and tragedies is at least as significant as the “objective” body count. Otherwise, Pearl Harbor and 9/11 could be dismissed as no more disturbing than the aggregated statistics on automobile accidents or heart attacks and cancer. Coulter is making the case that crimes committed by Mexicans in the United States are the equivalent of terrorism or war, not just part of our ordinary and “acceptable” domestic crime rate. Not all Americans have caught up to Coulter’s viewpoint.
The problem may not be so much that we are importing people more likely to commit crimes than that the ethnic source of our young people is changing. Put another way, the ethnicity of our murderers and rapists is being transformed, without necessarily altering the overall aggregate rates of crime. If these rates are going up, it may have nothing to do with ethnicity or immigration.
If this is true, then our focus may need to shift from crime to culture. Perhaps if we stop immigration from Mexico, our crime rate may go down, not for any reasons specific to Mexico or Mexicans but for reasons having to do with the nature of 25-year-old men of any race. On the one hand, such men commit the most violent crimes, but it does not therefore follow that we need to rid the country of young men.
Japan has one of the most homogeneous ethnic populations of any country, near-zero immigration, and one of the lowest crime rates in the world. And a median age of 46. Its economy has stagnated for over a decade (in contrast to the expectation during the 1980s that it would soon grow to swallow the world) and its culture has been in serious decline. As Mark Steyn wrote in his demographic bestseller (how many of those exist?), “America Alone,” “Japan offers the chance to observe the demographic death spiral in its purest form. It’s a country with no immigration, no significant minorities and no desire for any: just the Japanese, aging and dwindling”. And in an article for National Review Online: “49 percent of women under 34 are not in any kind of romantic relationship, and nor are 61 percent of single men. A third of Japanese adults under 30 have never dated. Anyone. Ever. It’s not that they’ve stopped ‘having sex’—or are disinclined to have hot wax poured on their nipples. It’s bigger than that: It’s a flight from human intimacy”.
Also, as Mark Steyn noted, there was no civil disorder in Japan after a tsunami took out several of its cities and thousands of its citizens in 2011, as might be expected following a natural disaster in other countries (like the U.S.). “Looting is a young man’s game”.
If the crime rate is unacceptable, then we may need to focus on crime as such—crime as a general social problem—rather than as a phenomenon of immigration. And if we don’t want to import 25-year-old men, then we’ll either have to start producing more of them ourselves (a project which may take up to 25 years and 9 months to realize—Perform Your Patriotic Duty Today!) or decide to what degree we want to trade off crime with economic, demographic and cultural stagnation. The looming Social Security crisis offers perverse incentives, as it was always destined to.
But Coulter is not to be dismissed too hastily. We have noted before the hazard of confusing aggregated statistics for truth. In economics, the real meaning is to be found at street level, in the millions of transactions and trade-offs that particular individuals, families, entrepreneurs, consumers and associations make, voluntarily or under duress, with one another, in specific circumstances. The truth about crime and its meaning may likewise lie in the contemplation of actual events as much as, or more than, abstract numbers. Moreover, it is worth asking whether the nature and character of the crimes committed by foreigners are the same or different than similarly-categorized crimes committed by homegrown Americans.
Coulter says no. To this end she has rendered a vital service, not least consisting of her recounting of hundreds of horrific cases in stomach-turning detail throughout her book.
Let us therefore contemplate the below cases of murder, rape, honor killing, human trafficking, terrorism, and frauds and scams, and consider what role the dimension of immigration plays in each of them. Following that, we’ll examine how honest the media and government are in reporting the facts about these crimes, to get a sense of how well we may trust what we think we know.
Coulter writes, “A Chinese immigrant in New York, Dong Lu Chen, bludgeoned his wife to death with a claw hammer because she was having an affair. . . Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Edward Pincus let Chen off with probation—for murder—after an anthropologist testified that, in Chinese culture, the shame of a man being cuckolded justified murder”.
Where are the feminists on this case? Coulter provides an answer: “The female [my emphasis] head of the Asian-American Defense and Education Fund, Margaret Fung, applauded Chen’s light sentence, saying that a harsher penalty would ‘promote the idea that when people come to America they have to give up their way of doing things. That is an idea we cannot support [my emphasis].’”
To which we may fairly reply: Why the hell not?
Perhaps this story is a mere anecdote in the bigger picture of American society and aggregate crime statistics. Here are some more samples of Coulter’s “mere anecdotes”.
• The seven people murdered by Chechen immigrants Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who planted a bomb at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013
• The three people, including a fifteen-year-old girl, Ashley Chow, murdered in North Miami in 2012 by Kesler Dufrene, a Haitian immigrant and convicted felon who had already been arrested in the United States nine times
• Sixty-seven-year-old Florence Donovan-Gunderson and three National Guardsmen—Heath Kelly, Miranda McElhiney and Christian Riege—fatally shot in a Carson City IHOP by immigrant Eduardo Sencion in 2011
• The thirteen soldiers killed at Fort Hood in 2009 by Major Nidal Malik Hasan, son of Palestinian immigrants
• The thirteen people murdered by Vietnamese immigrant Jiverly Wong, at an American Civic Association in Binghamton, New York. Wong became a naturalized citizen two years after [my emphasis] being convicted of fraud and forgery in California.
• The five people murdered at the Trolley Square Shopping Mall in Salt Lake City by Bosnian immigrant Sulejman Talovic in 2007. Talovic was a high school dropout with a juvenile record.
• The thirty-two people murdered at Virginia Tech in 2007 by Seung-Hui Cho, a South Korean immigrant
• The six people killed in northern Wisconsin in 2004 by Hmong immigrant Chai Soua Vang, who shot his victims in the back after being caught trespassing on their property
• The six men murdered by Mexican immigrant Salvador Tapia at the Windy City Core Supply warehouse in Chicago in 2003 because he was angry about being fired. Tapia was still in this country despite having been arrested at least a dozen times on weapons and assault charges. Only foreign newspapers mentioned that Tapia was an immigrant. Thirty-four American journalists blamed the gun.
• The three people murdered at the Appalachian School of Law in 2002 by Nigerian immigrant Peter Odighizuwa, who was angry at America because he had failed out of law school
Coulter on Terrorism:
According to the GAO [Government Accountability Office], 27 percent of terrorism convicts in the United States were lawfully-admitted immigrants, on their way to becoming citizens; 57 percent were citizens, naturalized citizens, or foreigners brought into the United States for prosecution [and either acquitted or convicted of lesser crimes, entitling them to asylum]…America has even granted asylum to participants in the Rwandan genocide.
Terrorism abetted by chain migration/family reunification:
Najibullah Zazi . . . pleaded guilty in a plot to bomb the New York City subway in 2010. Zazi had been born into a tribe in eastern Afghanistan and came to America in his teens. He dropped out of high school and had an arranged marriage to his cousin in Pakistan. His ticket to entry was his father—whose ticket was, in turn, a brother living in Queens.
Americans were shocked in 2014 when snuff videos from a group no one had ever heard of before, “ISIS” or “ISIL”, beheading its enemies in its blitzkrieg march into the territories abandoned by Obama. But, as Coulter points out, the Mexican drug cartels have been producing “decapitation porn” for years.
In July 2010, Arizona governor Jan Brewer publicly claimed that there had been beheadings in the desert of her state. Coulter: “Salon.com cited Brewer’s remark to sneer that ‘as you can see, Jan Brewer is crazy’ . . . Three months after Brewer’s claim, Mexicans beheaded a man in Arizona. Within the next two years, a headless body turned up in the Arizona desert, and the dismembered body of a nineteen-year-old American girl was found in Oklahoma. All three dismemberments were believed to be the work of Mexican cartels—confirmed in the first Arizona case”.
Frauds, Scams and Rip-offs
Coulter lists twenty instances of criminal offenses, ranging from Medicare fraud to credit card theft to laundering drug money, which she found for the month of September 2014 alone, committed by people with familiar names like Xilin Chen, Khachatur Bislamyan, Azizur Ullah and Javed Sunesra. The sum of the amounts involved in the fraud cases, where she mentions it—which is in a minority of cases and does not take into account law enforcement, court and jail costs—is $300 million. This may be anecdotal evidence, but Coulter insists that these are largely imported, foreign-specialty crimes. A welcome contribution to our “diversity”?
Anecdotes vs. Hard Data
But anecdotes aren’t scientific, not good enough? Very well; how about some mind-numbing official statistics from the Government Accountability Office then?
The number of criminal aliens in federal prisons in fiscal year 2010 was about 55,000, and the number of SCAAP [State Criminal Alien Assistance Program] criminal alien incarcerations in state prison systems and local jails was about 296,000 [total: 351,000] in fiscal year 2009 (the most recent data available), and the majority [68% of those] were from Mexico. The number of criminal aliens in federal prisons increased about 7 percent from about 51,000 in fiscal year 2005 while the number of SCAAP criminal alien incarcerations in state prison systems and local jails increased about 35 percent from about 220,000 in fiscal year 2003. . . [I]n 2005, GAO reported that the percentage of criminal aliens in federal prisons was about 27 percent of the total inmate population from 2001 through 2004.
The stories about crimes committed by foreigners don’t end with the crimes themselves. The real story may be seeing to what lengths the media will go, not only to avoid revealing that the perpetrators were not native-born Americans but to completely distract the reader with superfluous imagery like “small town” or “farmers” and references to years-old famous but irrelevant cases of rape involving American rapists. Thus, in 1998 and 1999:
About three dozen Hmong [Laotian mountain culture] men were indicted for a series of gang rapes and forced prostitution of our girls in the Fresno area, including the gang rape that reminded the Times of high school football players in New Jersey a decade earlier. . . Never did the Timesinform its readers that the Fresno gang rape was committed by Hmong, nor did the Timesprovide the names of the suspected rapists—not through the arrests, indictments, pleas, and convictions.
In 1989 in Missouri, a married couple, the wife Brazilian and the husband “Palestinian,” stabbed their own 16-year-old daughter to death. The girl’s dying screams were caught on an audio tape due to the father already being under surveillance as a suspected terrorist. The parents’ grievance against their daughter was that she had dishonored the family, in part by dating a black American boy. According to Coulter, the New York Times called this “a family drama involving clashes of cultures.”Another case of classification being more muddying than enlightening.
Coulter even cites at length a story of foreign sex trafficking by fraudulent H-1B immigrants from India in—wait for it—Berkeley, California. It seems a team of Berkeley High School journalism students were able to do the job that the “responsible” adult American media just won’t do anymore, which is to report the facts without deference to political correctness. Whodathunk that brainwashed Leftist Berzerkeley students would have the chutzpah to do that? The indoctrination machine must be cracking. Go Yellowjackets! Go Daily Jacket!
The New York Times in 2008 reported on a new, disturbing category of terrorist: the “American” suicide bomber. The first individual so identified was a man named Shirwa Ahmed, a “Minnesotan.” Of Somali extraction.
Another disturbing trend reported by the American mainstream media and Democratic legislators is “Americans becoming radicalized,” like David Coleman Headley. Headley’s real name is Daood Sayed Gilani and he is Pakistani with American citizenship by virtue of being an anchor baby, who spent nearly his entire childhood and youth in Pakistan. Gilani was one of the terrorists who went on a murderous rampage in Mumbai, India, in 2008. Coulter: “Of more than fifty articles mentioning Gilani in the New York Times, only five so much as mentioned his real name—dismissing it as his ‘birth name’ or ‘the Urdu name he was given at birth.’”
Coulter also notes that when the Islamic terrorist is in fact, a radicalized Anglo-American, the press has no problem using his “birth name” or “the English name he was given at birth,” as in the case of Michael Finton, a.k.a. Talib Isalam, who attempted to bomb a Chicago federal building.
More “American” Jihadists, as noted by Coulter:
• Najibullah Zazi of Afghanistan
• Umer Farooq of Pakistan
• Waqar Khan of Pakistan
• Many Zamzam of Egypt
• Ahmed Abdullah Minni of Eritrea
• Aman Hassan Yemer of Ethiopia
• Aafia Siddiqui of Pakistan, married to nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad
• Anwar al-Awlaki of Yemen
It doesn’t help the credibility of the mainstream media in reporting on illegal immigration that their king, the New York Times, is 17% owned—the largest single share—by Mexican telecom monopolist and world-class billionaire Carlos Slim.
But if media reporting on immigrants, crime and terrorism is bad, the American government’s misinformation, disinformation or complete lack of information may be worse.
As Goes Media Reporting, So Go Government Statistics
Why should the conclusions of Coulter’s research be so much at odds with those gathered, presumably in good faith and with rigorous academic integrity, by researchers who have come to polar opposite conclusions?
The most prominent reason cited by Coulter is the extreme difficulty of getting a straight answer out of government data. The statistics bureaus that we taxpayers are paying for along with all the cops, public defense attorneys, judges, prison guards and social workers who come into direct contact with criminals of all stripes, seem to be not the least interested in counting and categorizing them for objective analysis. Coulter notes that it is easier to get statistics on how many rental units have broken or missing stair railings or mold in the bathrooms, or how many residents of American Samoa have no battery-powered radios in their homes, than how many foreign-born people in the country have committed crimes.
For example, reading between the lines of Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports, Coulter found that:
In 2011 . . . America was incarcerating at least—the absolute minimum estimate—351,000 criminal aliens: 55,000 immigrants in federal prison and 296,000 illegal aliens in state and local facilities. . . The GAO’s estimate of 351,000 incarcerated aliens excludes:
1. All legal immigrants in state or local prisons;
2. Convicted illegal aliens for whom the states did not submit reimbursement requests to the federal government;
3. Prisoners whose country of birth could not be determined;
4. Immigrants who have been naturalized;
5. Children born to illegal aliens on U.S. soil;
6. Immigrants without at least one felony or two misdemeanor convictions;
7. Immigration detainees; and
8. Illegal immigrants who committed crimes after being amnestied by Reagan in 1986.
To be extra opaque, the GAO counted all immigrants in federal prisons—legal and illegal—but counted only illegal immigrants in state prisons and local jails.
Why exclude legal immigrants? Isn’t that worse [i.e., doesn’t that reflect even worse on who were are granting U.S. citizenship to]?
Since government data on immigrants and crime is not as transparent, comprehensive or integrated as it should be, independent collection from multiple sources is necessary in order to clarify the picture. Coulter cites the New York State Department of Corrections, who found that “foreign inmates were 70 percent more likely to have committed a violent crime than American criminals.” Among those, here is the list of nationalities, together with the number of criminals of each nationality, found in New York State prisons:
• Dominican Republic: 1,314
• Jamaica: 849
• Mexico: 523
• Guyana: 289
• El Salvador: 245
• Cuba: 242
• Trinidad and Tobago: 237
• Haiti: 201
• Ecuador: 189
• Colombia: 168
What about inmates of European (i.e., closer culturally to American) origin? Here is the 2007 New York State Department of Corrections list, again as cited by Coulter:
• Denmark: 1
• Czechoslovakia: 2
• Netherlands: 2
• Switzerland: 2
• Ireland: 4
• Poland: 27
• Germany: 46
• England: 49
Even these numbers may overestimate the number of ethnic or fully assimilated cultural Europeans, since nationality is not ancestry, and citizenship has been doled out very liberally in Europe (or as Mark Levin calls it, “Yorp”) for the past couple of generations. For example, one of those “British” criminals, arrested for pedophilia in Florida, was Shuhel Mahboob Ali.
Government officials scrupulously avoid mentioning the national origin of criminals if they can possibly help it. In 2007, Richard DeLeon Flores sped through a stop sign in Kansas and struck two cars, killing a teenage girl. He required a translator at his arraignment and trial, yet the Leavenworth County Attorney’s office claimed to have no knowledge regarding Flores’ citizenship status. Apparently, they didn’t consider it relevant.
And what they don’t find relevant, they don’t report, so we can’t find out, unless we dig a lot deeper on our own, as Coulter has done.
Even if we were to accept the argument that on net balance, illegal immigrants contribute more to the public piggy bank than they withdraw, it has to be acknowledged that there are gross imbalances between and among the sectors of society and government which receive surplus windfalls versus those bearing intolerable burdens. Local communities and organizations—for example, county-run hospitals and municipal school districts—are being crushed by the costs of treating and educating foreigners who are here without permission and who do not pay for the services rendered. Premature babies, for one, cost over $50,000 a pop.
If it is true that illegal workers using stolen or fictitious Social Security numbers pay into the federal system without being able to withdraw from it, then there is an obvious solution: channel the surplus contributions to Social Security into a fund to compensate local entities for their undue burden. Did any Democrat ever suggest that? I doubt it, not least of all because it would have neutralized a keyargument for the federal takeover of health care.
Such a proposal would doubtless be attacked as an assault on the sacrosanct Social Security system—something people are pretty touchy about these days.
So, it would seem that we have a lose/lose proposition: forego the “illegal” windfall revenue to the Social Security kitty or get ripped off by freeloaders. If the supposed benefits of immigration are prohibited from compensating the manifest costs, then some Americans are having their rights violated and their property plundered by other Americans and by foreigners whom the government has the responsibility to keep out. This is not defensible morally or economically.
There is abundant evidence of the uncompensated social costs of immigrants, legal and illegal. Coulter:
[A] more detailed breakdown of the costs and benefits shows that college-educated Americans pay an average of $29,000 more in taxes every year than they get back in government services. . . By contrast, legal immigrants, on average, get back $4,344 more in government services than they pay in taxes. Those with only a high schooldegree net about $14,642 in government payments, and those without a high school degree collect a whopping $36,993. . . The vast majority of illegal aliens—about 75 percent—have only a high school diploma or less, so . . . [finish this sentence yourself].
Los Angeles (city and county) is a prime example of a place overrun with costs associated with illegal immigration. Coulter writes, “According to the county supervisor [Michael Antonovich], Los Angeles alone spends more than $1.6 billion a year on illegal aliens—$600 million for welfare, $550 million for public safety (mostly jail costs), and $500 million for their healthcare.”
Coulter sprinkles comments and anecdotes about welfare use by legal and illegal immigrants throughout her book. The strongest backing for her positions come from various studies conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies, or CIS, which in turn are based on analyses of the Current Population Survey, or CPS, which is a statistical survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau for the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For example, excerpting from the pre-introduction to the report “Welfare Use by Immigrant Households with Children: A Look at Cash, Medicaid, Housing, and Food Programs” by Steven A. Camarota, CIS Director of Research,April 2011:
• In 2009 (based on data collected in 2010), 57 percent of households headed by an immigrant (legal and illegal) with children (under 18) used at least one welfare program, compared to 39 percent for native households with children.
• Immigrant households’ use of welfare tends to be much higher than natives for food assistance programs and Medicaid. Their use of cash and housing programs tends to be similar to native households.
• A large share of the welfare used by immigrant households with children is received on behalf of their U.S.-born children, who are American citizens. But even households with children comprised entirely of immigrants (no U.S.-born children) still had a welfare use rate of 56 percent in 2009.
• Welfare use tends to be high for both new arrivals and established residents. In 2009, 60 percent of households with children headed by an immigrant who arrived in 2000 or later used at least one welfare program; for households headed by immigrants who arrived before 2000,it was 55 percent.
• For all households (those with and without children), the use rates were 37 percent for households headed by immigrants and 22 percent for those headed by natives.
Or, in Coulter’s words, “We’re told—as if it’s good news—that immigrants use welfare at only at 18 percent above the native-born rate. No, the fact that any immigrants are on welfare proves we’re not taking the right immigrants.”
Many contemporary philosophers and even economists, from Mark Steyn to Thomas Sowell, have pointed out the primacy of culture over economic determinism. While free markets have the virtue of permitting individuals the greatest freedom to pursue their own happiness in accordance with their own values, those values are in the main derived from culture, and all cultures are NOT equal; most cultures in the world are, in fact, hostile to the traditional American values embodied in our founding documents, free-market economy and Judeo-Christian heritage. It’s not a good idea to dilute the culture that produced the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the abolition of slavery, the end of Jim Crow segregation, the vote for blacks and for women, an end to the persecution of homosexuals, the rights of migrant farm workers etc., if you consider all of the above to be good things. America could not have achieved the freedom, prosperity and civil rights that it has under any other culture than the one that we inherited from the Founders. Will Hispanics and gays be better off when we are more like tribal Somalia or the Muslim Middle East?
Less than 2 percent of births in the United States are to girls under the age of 16, and of those, the majority are Hispanic. In other countries from whom we are importing people, percentages are much higher; 15 percent in Argentina and 17 percent in Uruguay, for example.
American feminists in particular should be concerned about importing higher degrees of sexual abuse and assault into our country. There has never been a culture and society more considerate of the rights and dignity of women than the Anglosphere, the descendants of Anglo-Saxon peoples now distributed from Britain to the United States and from Canada to Australia. Not even France comes close. Ann Coulter presents an appalling catalog of rapes, sexual molestations, and human trafficking committed against native-born and immigrant women and girls by immigrants from third-world countries, from Mexico to India to the Middle East. Under Islamic culture, it is common for girls to have their clitorises cut out—not necessarily using anesthesia—in a “purification” ritual, failing which they would be considered “unclean.” In that same culture, the woman or girl is more likely to be prosecuted for the crime of having been raped than the rapist(s). Are these wonderful contributions to our cultural diversity that we wish to permit, or “better” yet, celebrate and encourage?
Cultural Compatibility and Assimilation
Cultural traits like average IQs, propensity to crime or antisocial behavior, affinity with America’s founding principles and documents, etc., are not fixed and immutable; like anything else under the sun, they evolve over time. Thomas Sowell has noted, for example, that Jewish immigrants arriving in the U.S. from Eastern Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had low IQ scores, while black American children in public schools in Harlem during the 1940s scored comparably to those pupils in all-white schools in New York’s working-class Lower East Side, and occasionally surpassed them. DNA is not destiny, and to embellish Coulter, Anglo-Saxon culture and polity can be acquired by people lacking a drop of King John the First’s blood.
But assimilation takes time, measured in decades and generations, and some cultural traits can remain dominant even after centuries, explaining inequalities and disproportionate demographic patterns that are not otherwise explainable by genetics or “environment.” The relevant question is, do we have the capacity to absorb and assimilate the people from unlike cultures at the rate at which they are arriving? It is not encouraging when an increasing number of “spokespersons” for foreign groups insist that it is we Americans who must assimilate to the cultures of the rest of the world. “Can they?” and “Will they?” are separate questions. If they will not, then we risk committing civilizational suicide.
Post-Constitutional Polity and Culture
Ellis Island in the Nanny State
Jason Riley and others in his camp charge that the arguments put forth by immigration restrictionists today are no different than the tired old unfounded rantings of one hundred, two hundred or even three hundred years ago against people of different nationalities or ethnicities moving in, all of which turned out to be much sound and fury signifying nothing. Even Benjamin Franklin had railed against Germans at the time. But there are differences, and they fundamentally change the game.
Up to one hundred years ago, whether they were welcomed with open arms or spat upon, immigrants were expected to pull their own weight along with native-born Americans, learn English, work for a living, and adapt to the culture and civic institutions—in a word, assimilate. There was no entitlement bureaucracy, and the government trod on the economy with a very light, laissez-faire footprint, as Milton Friedman, an advocate of liberal immigration policies, pointed out. What institutions existed to help immigrants were largely of the community church or synagogue self-help variety, where the more-assimilated members of immigrant groups assisted newcomers in adjusting to the culture of the host country.
Before the immigration bill spearheaded by Senator Edward Kennedy in 1965, according to Coulter:
Seven countries each provided 5 percent or more of the total number of immigrants each year—Italy, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Poland, the Soviet Union, and Mexico. . . By 2000 Mexico was the only country supplying more than 5 percent, accounting for nearly a third of all immigrants to the United States. . . In 1970, there were fewer than 10 million foreign born in the United States, and 75 percent of them were from Europe. By 2010, there were 40 million foreign-born in the United States and only 13 percent were from Europe.
Among countries sending us legal immigrants as of 2013, Canada is in fifteenth place, with 1.3 percent of the total, behind Mexico, China, India, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Vietnam, South Korea, Colombia, Haiti, Jamaica, El Salvador, Nigeria and Pakistan. The United Kingdom is in eighteenth place, behind Ethiopia and Nepal, and is followed immediately by Iran and Burma.
Today, in contrast to our laissez-faire past, the combined local, state and federal government footprint weighs in at 40% or heavier, with an elaborate and entrenched entitlement system that is shot through with corruption and abuse. Scores of advocacy and lobbying firms have sprouted up to defend the “civil rights” (read: free goodies) for their clients at the expense of native-born Americans, while insisting upon ever-reduced demands on immigrants that they support themselves and conform to American culture and traditions. This ain’t your grandpa’s Ellis Island.
Below is a partial list of the organizations which did not exist one hundred years ago which advocate on behalf of various sectors of the immigrant population. Are all of these focused primarily on getting their clients to embrace traditional American values and personal responsibility, learn English and the Constitution and adapt to the host country’s values and norms?
• ACLU Immigrant’s Right Freedom Network
• The National Immigration Law Center
• The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
• The National Network for Immigration and Refugee Rights
• The Office of Migration and Refugee Services
• The American Immigration Law Foundation
• The American Immigration Lawyers Association
• The Border Information and Outreach Service
• The Farmworker Justice Fund
• Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees
• The Immigration Legal Resource Center
• The International Center for Migration, Ethnicity, and Citizenship
• The Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Taskforce
• The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service;
• The National Association for Bilingual Education
• The National Clearinghouse on Agricultural Guest Worker Issues
• The National Coalition for Dignity and Amnesty for Undocumented Immigrants
• The National Coalition for Haitian Rights
• The National Farm Worker Ministry.
• The National Council of La Raza (“The Race”)
¿Cómo se siente, ser mascota?
In 2009, the Democrats, holding both houses of Congress in addition to the White House, could easily have passed comprehensive immigration reform with the cooperation of many Republicans and with goodwill and political capital left over for their other pet projects. The fact that they neglected both immigration and the suffering economy and job market in order to focus like Darth Vader’s Death Star on their century-long priority of socialized medicine gives away what they really think of Hispanics and Republicans; the former are just pawns in their political game, to be used and manipulated, and the latter are only useful as whipping boys (and girls) on whom to blame their own failures, not to be seen agreeing with on anything in public.
Nor is the 2009 Democrats’ cynical treatment of their captive Hispanic mascots anything new in that party’s gamesmanship. As Coulter writes:
A year before the 1996 presidential election, the Clinton White House worked feverishly to naturalize 1 million immigrants in time for Clinton’s reelection. Criminal background checks were jettisoned for 200,000 applicants, so that citizenship was granted to at least 70,000 people with FBI criminal records and 10,000 with felony records. Murderers, robbers, and rapists were all made our fellow Americans so the Democrats would have 1 million new voters by the 1996 election. In 2013 alone, the Obama administration released 36,007 convicted criminal aliens with about 88,000 convictions among them, including 426 for rape and 193 for murder.
May be good for the Democratic Party, at least in the short term. But good for America?
President Obama’s attempts at granting legal status to millions of illegal aliens without consulting Congress have been so reckless and unconstitutional that even the pro-open-borders Wall Street Journalhad to applaud a Texas court’s injunction against the Obama administration’s unilateral actions. “The injunction isn’t about prosecutorial discretion. It is about granting illegal aliens benefits not allowed by law.”
As for the “immigration” crisis of late 2015, the Syrian refugees, and whether we should grant them asylum, citizenship and/or halal meals, Mark Steyn points out:
According to the United Nations, 49 percent are non-Syrian. As to whether they're refugees, well, usually, refugees flees as families. Yet here, from those UN statistics, is the breakdown of those “refugees”: 13 percent children; 12 percent women; 75 percent men. That's not the demographic distribution of fleeing refugees, but of an invading army.
Or Thomas Sowell:
The refugee crisis in Europe is one of those human tragedies for which there are no real solutions, despite how many shrill voices in the media may denounce those who fail to come up with a solution.
All the new generation will know is that they are not doing as well as other people in the country where they live. They will also know that the values of their culture clash with the values of the Western culture around them. And there will be no lack of “leaders” to tell them that they have been wronged, including some who will urge them to jihad.
Europeans have already seen this scenario play out in their midst, creating strife and even terrorism. Most of the Muslims may be peaceful people who are willing to live and let live. But it takes only a fraction who are not to create havoc.
No nation has an unlimited capacity to absorb immigrants of any sort, and especially immigrants whose cultures are not simply different, but antagonistic, to the values of the society in which they settle.
The inescapable reality is that it is an irreversible decision to admit a foreign population of any sort—but especially a foreign population that has a track record of remaining foreign.
Barack Obama's decision to pull American troops out of Iraq, with happy talk about how he was ending a war, turned out to be a bitter mockery when the policy in fact opened the doors to new wars with unspeakable horrors in the present and incalculable consequences for the future.
Sending money to Middle Eastern countries that are taking in Muslim refugees makes a lot more sense for the West than taking in more refugees themselves. It may even encounter far less political opposition at home. But a real attempt to deal with the underlying causes of this human tragedy will probably have to wait until Barack Obama is gone from the White House.
Republican Demographic Blues
For their part, Republicans are, with reason, concerned about the electoral calculus of their stance on immigration. Many hope eventually to regain the 40% of the Hispanic vote that George W. Bush achieved in 2006, in spite of that being a losing year overall for Republicans in the House and Senate due to perceptions about the Iraq war. But Coulter counters that Republicans are wasting ammunition going after groups that are never going to pull the lever for them, like Hispanics and blacks, while neglecting and alienating traditional white Anglo-Saxon Protestant male voters who are the traditional base not only of the Republican Party but of the country as a whole. Conversely, there are others, notably black conservatives like Larry Elder and Jesse Lee Peterson, who say that Republicans can win black votes if they would just 1) show up, 2) engage and 3) tell the truth the same as they do to white audiences, instead of watering down the message with mushy platitudes about Martin Luther King, Jr.; in a word, stop pandering (okay, two words). That might work in the case of Hispanics, too (just substitute Cesar Chavez for MLK in the “do not pander” column).
Coulter also provides some backbone-enhancing encouragement to Republicans:
In 2011, 73 percent of CaliforniaHispanics [my emphasis, mostly because I am a Californian] said they’d support a candidate who wanted to “secure the border first, stop illegal immigration, and then find a way to address the status of people already here illegally.” In a 2014 Univision poll, 58 percent chose “require border security first” over “pass immigration reform.”
Moreover, support for beefing up border security and deporting illegals may be stronger than might be supposed from reading or viewing the mainstream media or poll summaries. For example, in a poll taken by the Field Research Corporation in California in February 2013, in spite of the description, “NEAR-UNIVERSAL SUPPORT FOR ALLOWING LONG-TIME UNDOCUMENTED RESIDENTS TO STAY AND BECOME CITIZENS UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS. MAJORITY ALSO BACKS GRANTING CALIFORNIA DRIVER'S LICENSES TO THESE RESIDENTS,” in the fine print it noted that 46 percent of respondents supported (versus 43 percent opposed) “Continue the policy of having federal immigration agents round up, detain and deport immigrants found to be living here illegally.” That number rose to 54 percent if only white non-Hispanics were counted; 24 percent of Latinos agreed.
In a political environment where neither side of an issue can point to unambiguous and unchallengeable support for their position, especially where that support is less objective and fact-based than based on popular perceptions and opinions, the decisive factor is leadership: take a stand for what you believe is right, persuade people to your point of view as best you can and let the chips fall where they may. The leaders most sought-after in a crisis are the ones no one would listen to the day before because they were considered crank alarmists. Just ask Winston Churchill.
It may come as surprise, but many intellectuals and politicians in Mexico are not huge fans of us gringos. The loss of half the territory of Mexico in the Mexican-American War of 1946-7 remains an open wound at least as fresh in the Mexican intelligencia’s and political class’s mind as the resentments of some present-day American southerners regarding the outcome of the Civil War.
The difference between the Mexicans and Dixie is that the former have a plausible possibility of winning their lost territory back by overwhelming the southwestern United States demographically. Considering the absolute numbers and percentages of Mexicans swelling the populations of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, this possibility cannot be dismissed as a pipe dream or exaggerated threat in the long term.
Whether this is in the interest of Anglo-, Afro- or Sino-American Texans or Californians—or for that matter, the Mexicans who come across the border for a better life—is another story entirely. It may not be politically correct to say so, but the United States has been better-governed than Mexico for the past 170 years, or ever. It has provided better security and economic prosperity for all, including Mexican immigrants, than has the Mexican government.
Mexico does not lack natural resources; it has simply chosen the socialist model of state control and ownership (see: Pemex) instead of the free-market capitalist model of private property, and the Mexican people have suffered the inevitable consequences. Put another way, the United States does not have a national oil company operating on behalf of el pueblo, and we are no worse off for the fact.
Mexico has plenty of technology and smarts; Monterrey is high-tech hub, the Mexican Silicon Valley from which hails one of my own smartest and closest colleagues and bosses. But in Mexican society and government, business contracts and privileges are awarded on the basis of political pull, most notoriously Carlos Slim’s monopoly on the telephone system. Mexicans get substandard phone service in exchange for the bragging rights of having one of the richest billionaires in the world. As for the common people, says Coulter, “In Mexico, every transaction between a citizen and a government official involves a cash bribe.”
Mexico had a good president in 1880, a fine upstanding man named Porfirio Diaz. If he had followed George Washington’s example, he might yet be remembered as a great president. But in 1910, after thirty years in office (almost four times as long as Washington had thought proper), he still wouldn’t leave. Like too many tinhorn dictators today, he considered himself indispensable. It took a ten-year bloody civil war to effect a succession in Mexico, the outcome of which was substantially flawed.
Mexican intellectuals blame the United States for many of their ills due to our undue interference in their affairs. I suspect that with respect to the “progressive” president Woodrow Wilson, they may have a case. But we did not force them to organize their political economy along corrupt socialist/statist principles—and that is the single greatest factor holding them back.
It is not in the interest of anyone living in the United States, least of all poor Mexicans, that the government of Mexico, let alone the drug cartels, should reign over any part of what is today de facto and de jure Los Estados Unidos de America del Norte. To the contrary, if Mexico sends us 25 percent of its population, perhaps it is we who should govern 25 percent of Mexico’s remaining territory—percentage as measured by economic value. Ditto any other country that sends us any percentage above 1 of their population.
The desire for La Reconquista is real. The tactics are in full deployment today. It will not succeed if we remain true to the principles that made the United States superior in the first place. But there are real and present forces, especially in our universities and political lobbying sector, which are working tirelessly and with the fuel of our own money against us.
We judge this to be an insignificant concern at our peril.
Allahu Akbar in the Streets of L.A.
In October 2015, hundreds of Muslims blocked a street in Los Angeles to conduct Islamic prayers, and no authority prevented it or broke it up. This is not an innocent act. It is a calculated, cultural, religious and political assault on our once Judeo-Christian nation—testing, probing to see how far they can go, how much they can get away with, and then pushing ever farther. We don’t have to guess as to how far this may go; we have only to observe what is happening in Old, Tired Europe, where the native Europeans have completely lost the confidence of their cultures and socialism has eaten away at their moral and economic strength. The Los Angeles incident is only the furthest Westward push of this movement.
You don’t have to be a conservative to have your doubts about Islamic culture being good for America. Bill Maher: “This idea that all religions share the same values is bull***t and we need to call it bull***t. . . If you are in this religion [Islam], you probably do have values that are at odds [with American values]. This is what liberals don’t want to recognize.”
Will the liberals recognize that it will take more than Kumbaya Twitter hashtag campaigns and candlelight vigils of soft and squishy non-committal solidarity after the ISIS attacks on Western civilians in Paris on November 13, 2015, and the malicious murder of fourteen innocent Americans by Muslim extremists at a government agency Christmas Party in San Bernardino, California, on December 2, 2015? I’m not holding my breath.
The choices we have to make are not between mass deportation on the one hand and complete amnesty on the other. We have to choose between sets of complex and imperfect trade-offs, based on an assessment of reality distilled out of hard statistics, disputed facts and competing claims. Perfection is impossible, but there are huge opportunities for improvement. I will outline the policy suite which I believe holds the greatest promise of improving the economy and reducing both the crime rate and the conflicts among Americans and immigrants, in the next chapter (no fear; it’s much shorter than this one just past).