David Frum Takes All Sides of the Immigration Issue

Never Trumper par excellence David Frum has a longish article in this month’s Atlantic where, interspersed with obligatory jabs at President Trump, he outlines at length his confused take on immigration.

He starts, irrelevantly,  with immigration’s glories.  “Of the 122 Americans who won a Nobel Prize from 2000 to 2018, 34 were immigrants. Four of the five Americans who won Nobels in 2016 were born outside the country.  Of the 41 Fortune 500 companies created since 1985, eight had an immigrant founder. In many ways, the United States is a stronger, richer, and more dynamic country because of international migration.”

Why, he adds, he himself is an immigrant.  From Canada.  So it’s all good, right?

Not necessarily.  That stalwart defender of national sovereignty Hillary Clinton herself has advised Europe (free of charge, even)  to “get a handle on migration,” though at the same time she did hasten to proclaim her admiration for “the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken, particularly by leaders like Angela Merkel.” By selling the birthright of future generations of Europeans as Merkel has done, Europe has now “done its part,” said Ms. Clinton.  Frum reports that her remarks have drawn rare criticism from other leftist politicians, because “immigration on a very large scale is politically stressful.” You have to feel for them.

American leftist pols used to be more receptive to immigration restrictions, Frum says. In 2015, Bernie Sanders charged that open borders was the policy of the right wing(!)  Even the sainted Barack Obama confessed in one of his autobiographies that he wished his auto mechanic could speak English.  Stressful indeed.

What happened to the left? Wait for it….Donald Trump, that’s what. Trump came along and forced his opponents into opposing every idea he ever had, including restricting immigration, which they really wanted to do. Honest.

There next ensue a few paragraphs excoriating President Trump for “demagoguery” for pointing out that a 7000-member caravan of Central Americans aiming for our southern border constituted a problem. The caravan was real and was in fact a problem, but Trump “manipulatively oversold” it.  He should have been more like Mr. Frum.   Nuanced and all that.

Frum then relates some pretty harrowing statistics about huge numbers of third-world people anxious to come to America.  But America, he assures us, can’t protect itself by “huddling behind a concrete barrier,” when large numbers of those aspirants can afford the price of a plane ticket. (Border control at airports being impossible for some reason.)

What follows in the rest of this mish-mash is David Frum agonizingly going back and forth, weighing the pros and cons of immigration and weighing them again, playing a sort of verbal ping-pong with himself, displaying that awful stressfulness he mentioned earlier.

Along the way, he comes up with some patently bogus “pros,” such as “Immigrants are making America safer” because they don’t commit crimes at the rate that natives do.  Similarly, “Immigrants are making America less self-destructive” because they have fewer firearms and don’t shoot themselves as often.  This silliness is contained near the end of his 8000 words, probably because he considered it a safe bet that no one would get that far.

Eventually, Frum seems to conclude that we should do something about restricting wholesale immigration, not to save the country or anything so rube-ish as that, but to preserve our left-leaning political parties. They are being threatened by those mean old fascists like Donald Trump and Marine LePen.  On behalf of the establishmentarian left, he writes:

“Immigration has done particular damage to political parties of the moderate left. From the 1970s until the 2010s, social-democratic parties dominated the politics of the European Union member states. As of last spring, among the 28 governments of the EU, only Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Sweden were led by social democrats. The German Social Democrats have suffered a staggering series of defeats at the national and state levels. In the October 2018 state elections in Bavaria, they lost half their seats, finishing in fifth place behind the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party.”

His pullquote lays it out: “If liberals insist that only fascists will enforce borders, then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals refuse to do.”

And thereby put the liberals out of business.  The native-born people of Europe and America be damned, but we gotta save the system.

See The Atlantic for Frum’s article.





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