Steve Kubby, the open-border libertarian immigration enthusiast has had another brain event. Like the previous one, I’m pleased to inform you this one is not serious. Kubby continues to demonstrate that, for his position, he can muster only assertions, not argument, and some very bizarre assertions at that.
For one, Kubby has developed his own novel root-cause “theory” of immigration. He claims not to support free immigration, but rather a euphemism he terms “re-opening our borders so that documented foreign workers would find a revolving door, not a deadly one-way fortress.” Kubby, it would seem, is suggesting that the problem arises not because immigrants enter, but because, once in the U.S., they can’t escape.
Immigrants, apparently, don’t really want to settle in the Promised Land (U.S.A.!), but would ideally prefer to wander in and out, while supporting “their beloved communities” of origin. Kubby is seriously claiming that if not for the ostensibly closed borders, people from Mexico, the People’s Republic of China, the Philippines, India and Vietnam would make their stash and head straight back to their bucolic motherlands.
Where in bloody blue blazes does Kubby get this facile idea? And what rank paternalism to imagine foreigners are these exotic beings who can’t wait to resume their tourist-friendly, ethnically-distinct lives back home. Warts and all, the U.S. is still the freest, most prosperous place on earth. Of those lucky enough to enter, few ever entertain leaving, even if they own rice paddy real estate back home.
Even if we accept (incorrectly) that immigrants are an economic gain for all, material considerations may not be the most important thing. Post 9-11, Americans may be wishing that the country did not harbor a fifth column of legitimate immigrants, rooting – perhaps even actively working – for the demise of the United States.
Indeed, the immigration quagmire isn’t reducible to dollars and dimes. In “Alien Nation,” Peter Brimelow calls attention to the need “for some degree of ethnic and cultural coherence” in order to safeguard the free market and freedom itself. Americans may be legitimately wishing for that very coherence, a coherence that was sundered beginning with the 1965 Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act, when national-origin restrictions were repealed.
Like Buchanan, Brimelow alerts to the alarming consequences of an immigration policy that has ensured that 85 percent of the 16 million legal immigrants arriving in the U.S. between 1968 and 1993 hailed from the Third World. Once conferred with citizenship, each and every immigrant may lawfully sponsor more relatives who, in turn, can do the same. For an illegal, it takes nothing more than breeding on U.S. soil to acquire an American relative (baby is automatically a citizen).
It so happens that the gains from immigration to the U.S. economy as a whole are small. George Borjas, professor of Public Policy at Harvard University, confirms that since the 1965 Amendments, “the United States has been granting entry visas to persons who have relatives in the United States, with no regard to their skills or economic potential.” “Immigrants today,” writes Borjas, “are less skilled than their predecessors, more likely to require public assistance, and far more likely to have children who remain in poor, segregated communities.”
While welfare schemes are immoral and should not exist, the problem here is the quality of immigrants entering the U.S. For the kind of immigrant that is given preference under current policy, welfare is a magnet. More damning is that the longer immigrants reside in the country, the more likely they are to receive welfare. There is an acculturation to U.S. largess.
Immigrants similarly acculturate to the politics of petulance. In previous decades, immigrants assimilated. They are now encouraged, not least by identity-politics activists, to cling to an almost militant distinctiveness.
Kubby’s admonitions about our “ethnic mistrust and xenophobia” are of a piece with the state’s multicultural credo. In the service of their political ambitions, and bolstered by their lickspittle toadies in the media and academia, social planners deploy state-enforced ideology as justification for distributing our wealth as they see fit, and deciding to what extent our lives can be “reasonably” jeopardized by an en masse importation of bought-and-paid-for constituents.
Open border types are usually egalitarians. Perhaps they even mean well when they insist that we be forced to “share” the fruits of our labor with newcomers who stake a claim to it. The same cannot be said of government-spawned immigration policy.
Rumored to be under way is an attempt to seek an “amnesty” or a legalization program for roughly 8 million illegal immigrants. Mindful, no doubt, of their voting potential, Bush may call for restoring food stamps to some 363,000 legal immigrants at an estimated cost of $2.1 billion over the next decade. Who will pay up? Since the country’s personal income tax burden rests unfairly on 32 million people – most of them of the pale, patriarchal, penile variety, or whatever the current multicultural pejorative is for the besieged white male – I guess they will.