Let’s Heed What We Heard Before

The Article Below: More Misinformation from the Media

“ ‘Our country is full.’

“ ‘If you open the borders, my God, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people all over the world.’

“ ‘I believe that this nation is the last hope of Western civilization and if this oasis of the world shall be overrun, perverted, contaminated or destroyed, then the last flickering light of humanity will be extinguished. . . . Today, as never before, untold millions are storming our gates for admission and those gates are cracking under strain.’

“You probably recognize the first quote, tweeted out . . . by President Trump. You may even recognize the second quite, made by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in response to a question to a question at a campaign event on the same day in Oskaloosa, Iowa (and which seems to prove that no party has a monopoly on xenophobia).

“But which politician uttered the third? Sure this warning . . . must be from someone trying to appeal to the current wave of anti-immigrant hysteria sweeping our country, right?

“Wrong. The author of the third quote is Sen. Pat McCarran. He was speaking not this week, but in March of 1953, almost exactly 66 years ago.

“Somehow, despite McCarran’s apocalyptic warning, the United States has survived for the nearly seven decades since he uttered that statement. . . . In 1924, nearly a century ago, the U.S. passed strict national quotasto exclude [immigrants] who were deemed unassimilable . . . .” – Kevin Jennings: ‘Our Country Is FULL?’ I’ve Heard It Before, Kevin Jennings, 4/13/19 [Link]

Fact Check of Article: A common tactic of immigration enthusiasts is to belittle concerns about mass immigration with name calling. Another one is to cite predictions of problems that mass immigration would cause and claim that they did not come to pass. This article has examples of both tactics.

The quote from Bernie Sanders expresses a perfectly reasonable concern. The United States does not have the capacity to lift most of the world’s poor people, or even a significant number of them, out of poverty. To illustrate, world population now grows at a rate of 80 million a year, with most of this increase in poor countries. If we invite them to come by opening our borders, we would be swamped in short order.

Rather than address this reality of limits, the writer dismisses it with the smear word “xenophobia” (hatred of foreigners). But labeling reality with a bad name doesn’t make it any less real.

This writer and others like him often cite the predictions of national decline before passage of the 1924 immigration restriction act. Critics of immigration had pointed to a failure of assimilation and poverty among native and foreign-born workers. They warned of worse to comes. Immigration advocates proclaimed that these prophesies did not come to pass—which proves that concern about immigration is misguided at best and illegitimate at worst.

Actually, what happened proved the exact opposite of what these advocates claim. It is precisely because we limited immigration in 1924 that the dire predictions of didn’t happen. Less immigration promoted assimilation, wages rose, and immigrants and their descendants began to enter the middle class.

Immigration advocates maintain that mass immigration is essential for economic prosperity and national greatness, but the forty-or-so year span of limited immigration between 1924 and the late sixties (when mass immigration took off again) was an era of outstanding national progress.

It was an era of national unity, national pride, growing prosperity, and technological development. That era saw America become the leading economic power of the world, the arsenal of democracy which greatly contributed to the allied victory in World War II. Following the war, America developed a vibrant middle-class economy with relatively easy upward-mobility for all who were ambitious and hard-working. Technological development surged, highlighted by America’s manned mission to the moon in 1969.

Was Sen. McCarran’s warning of what a resumption of mass immigration would bring really so far off the mark? Today, President Trump’s slogan “Make American Great Again” resonates with a very large number of Americans. Its point is that we are no longer great, or at least less great then we once were.

This quite true, and mass immigration is at least part of the reason. Since 1970, the ideologies of multiculturalism and diversity have greatly weakened our sense of national identity and purpose. These ideologies and mass immigration feed on one another. Immigration is making us more multicultural and diverse, which these ideologists say is good. Therefore, they claim, we need mass immigration.

Unlike previous waves of immigration, the current one comes from countries in Latin America with significantly non-Western cultures and from Asian countries with no Western culture at all. This big difference gives credence to Sen. McCarran’s concern that America’s links to Western civilization could be threatened. These links sustain our country’s deepest convictions—government by the rule of law and commitment to personal liberties.

Immigration supporters will reply, no doubt, that the new immigrants can still assimilate, just as past immigrants do. But the cults of multiculturalism and diversity are making it impossible for them to know what the standards of assimilation are. Increasingly these ideologies proclaim that everything about traditional America is evil and tainted—and that newcomers should keep their cultures. No wonder we are no longer as united, confident—and great—as we were prior to the late sixties.

But doesn’t immigration always increase prosperity, as its proponents maintain? Well, if that’s the case, why has the American middle class significantly shrunk since 1970? And why have wage levels since 1970 remained largely stagnant. Increasingly our country is coming to resemble the Third World home countries of most of our immigrants, with a relatively small number of well-heeled people at the top and lots of not so well-off people at the bottom.

It is true that we’ve heard the warnings about mass immigration in the past. It’s a great pity that we didn’t pay them more heed.


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