There has been some fuss about the qualifications of Eduardo Aguirre, President Bush’s newly appointed head of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Much of the fuss, however, misses the mark. Mr. Bush hasn’t appointed an unqualified man as much as he has, characteristically, used this appointment to make political hay.
Other than being part of the administration’s ongoing public relations battle for the Latino vote, Bush’s choice of a Latino immigration success story as his immigration pointman is intended to shamelessly signal that speaking authoritatively about immigration is the prerogative of an immigrant of ethnic descent. To make immigration-related decisions for the nation, you should, at the very least, be a minority.
A minority is certainly what my family was at the American Immigration and Naturalization Service headquarters in Montreal, as we waited to complete the final leg of the immigration odyssey. It was hard not to notice—and the PC Patrol will hit the roof because I did—but we were, as far as I could see, the only family of European descent in that room. We were immigrating to the United States of America, but the room was a linguistic tower of babble minus the English language.
The lopsided ethnic mix at the INS processing point was no coincidence; it is a consequence of American immigration policy starting in 1965. Had we been legal immigrants during the 1950s, we would have formed part of an inflow of new arrivals of which over two-thirds would have hailed from Europe or Canada. Similarly, during the Great Wave of immigration from 1890 to 1920, immigration policy guaranteed that newcomers reinforced the ethnic composition of native Americans; they were from the traditional northern and western European sources.
This policy persisted until 1965, when the Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act took effect, repealing the national-origin criterion and replacing it with a worldwide egalitarian quota that invited each country to contribute equally to the influx. The policy triggered an unparalleled, unselective, relentless human tsunami.
It was then that immigration policy also became predicated on family reunification rather than on skills relevant to the American economy. Unless American companies are recruiting wizened elderly people and small children who speak in foreign tongues, most of the immigrants assembled with us were the extended family of citizens. My spouse’s “outstanding researcher” designation was very clearly not the rule in our intake.
Coupled with the allure of a generous welfare system, this change accounts for the generally poor quality of immigrants since 1965, and their unsustainable never-ending numbers—one qualified individual is a ticket for an entire tribe.
The 1965 Act radically transformed the U.S.’s original ethnic mix. Since its implementation, immigration to the U.S. has indeed been predominantly from the Third World. As Patrick J. Buchanan notes in Death of the West, this is the largest population transfer in history, with mass immigration from Africa, Asia, and Latin America destined to displace the American historical majority. Bill Clinton’s glee gives an indication of what’s ahead. Thanks to state-orchestrated immigration policy, he told a cheering high-school audience, “In little more than 50 years, there will be no majority race in the United States.”
Implied in Clinton’s jubilation, and in that of “the permanent government of bureaucrats, mediacrats, educrats, assorted policy wonks and intellectuals,” to use Peter Brimelow’s taxonomy of the toxic classes, is the following: 1) The American European historical majority was a bad thing; it needed to be cut back through state intervention and centralized oversight. 2) Immigration to the U.S is a universal right.
The soon-to-be-dispossessed historical majority never got to debate these empty assumptions.
Shoring up the immigration tyranny is yet another myth crushed with courage and candor by Brimelow in his Alien Nation. As the fable goes, America is a multicultural nation of immigrants, and nobody whose ancestors arrived as immigrants can possibly oppose mass immigration without falling into self-contradiction. Against this, consider the foolishness of supporting for purely nostalgic reasons a policy that was turned toxic.
Furthermore, the nation was never founded as a multicultural nation, at least not in the manner in which the term is enforced nowadays. The U.S. was biracial: Roughly 19.3 percent were black, but the people who established the political order, described by Thomas Jefferson as “a composition of the freest principles of the English constitution, …derived from natural right and natural reason,” were white, overwhelmingly British Christians.
While illegal immigration is logistically vexing, it should pose no problem of principle. Every sane individual agrees that the roughly 12 million illegals have no right to be here, and that repelling invaders who may endanger the lives and property of nationals is an uncontested function of government. It’s as obvious as the Pope is Catholic to all except loony liberals, willfully misinformed utilitarians at the Wall Street Journal, and utopian libertarians, who get hopelessly lost somewhere between what is and what ought to be.
By focusing exclusively on the illegal immigration no-brainer, however, most media scribes and immigration watchdogs are providing a useful diversion from the crux of the immigration problem. And playing into the hands of an administration that wants us to forget that legal immigration is the real catastrophe.