On Immigration, We Don’t Ask the Right Question

If someone proposes that next year we should import 10,000 unskilled immigrants from Pakistan, the first question we should ask is: why do we need them? But that is the one question that no one ever seems to pose.

In the Atlantic, David Frum has an excellent essay titled “America’s Immigration Challenge.” Frum asks, slightly less directly, my question. He describes the bizarre policy of chain migration that dominates American immigration law, then notes:

However one assesses [the Farook family] chain and its consequences, it seems clear that the large majority of legal immigrants choose to come—or, more exactly, are chosen by their relatives—for their own reasons. They are not selected by the United States to advance some national interest. Illegal immigrants are of course entirely self-selected, as are asylum seekers. …

Donald Trump’s noisy complaints that immigration is out of control are literally true. Nobody is making conscious decisions about who is wanted and who is not, about how much immigration to accept and what kind to prioritize—not even for the portion of U.S. migration conducted according to law, much less for the larger portion that is not.

Frum’s basic point is that while some immigrants (most notably from India) are doing well, many more are not. Unskilled immigrants tend to assimilate to the worst features of lower-class American society and to decline after the first generation. These paragraphs get to the heart of the matter:

Americans talk a lot about the social difficulties caused by large-scale, low-skill immigration, but usually in a very elliptical way. Giant foundations—Pew, Ford—spend lavishly to study the problems of the new low-skill immigrant communities. Public policy desperately seeks to respond to the challenges presented by large-scale low-skill immigration. But the fundamental question—“should we be doing this at all?”—goes unvoiced by anyone in a position of responsibility. Even as the evidence accumulates that the policy was a terrible mistake from the point of view of the pre-existing American population, elites insist that the policy is unquestionable … more than unquestionable, that the only possible revision of the policy is to accelerate future flows of low-skill immigration even faster, whether as migrants or as refugees or in some other way.

Even as immigration becomes ever-more controversial with the larger American public, within the policy elite it preserves an unquestioned status as something utterly beyond discussion. To suggest anything otherwise is to suggest—not merely something offensive or objectionable—but something self-evidently impossible, like adopting cowrie shells as currency or Donald Trump running for president.

Emphasis added. You really should read the whole thing.

A reader who takes a strong interest in this issue writes:

Frum’s piece is a comprehensive and devastating discussion of immigration, in particular the catastrophic 1965 act. When the immigration celebrationists hail New Transformed America™, the “more diverse” brown America…when they proclaim that Trump in particular (who, ironically, except for talking dirty, is terrible on non-Muslim immigration) and Republicans in general, when they call us racists (did you know Islam is a “race”?), when David Brooks (“you’ll just have to get used to more crowding and disorder”) sneers at us as “the long receding roar of white America,” when concern trolls advise the Republicans and conservatives to be accommodating of the New America because of…what? Historical inevitability?

…then we must always recall that New Transformed America™ did not just happen. It was engineered deliberately and intentionally by the left; it is not a natural phenomenon that just happened and here we are 50 years later, oh well. And they continue to engineer the great transformation relentlessly. A bipartisan cabal of scofflaw employers, Big Ag, race hustlers, blind ideologues and political opportunists, in collusion with a craven and supine MSM has created lie after lie, misdirection and intentional nonfeasance of our democratically enacted immigration and employment law. When, again, did we vote for this?

It’s disastrous and not least because of the population growth–a 50% increase over the past 40 years, and well on the way to a population of over 500 million within another 40 years. Have we voted for that?

It needs to be ended, immediately, full stop. The political/media elites foisting New Transformed America™ on us, against our wills and with deceit, intentional non-feasance and vilification of opponents need to be held to account.

This is, I think, the view of most Americans, and politicians ignore it–or worse, demean it–at their peril.