Immigration a gogo
Still I must remind myself that much of the country does not share this view. Far from being the dumb rubes of the caricature propagated by the Eastern elites, they detect an insidious alliance between left and right that is not good for this country. While the left-liberal faction is generally not honest enough to say that they favor open borders, they are quite content with the present situation of looking the other way. Many secretly harbor the hope uncaring, individualistic ice-people like us will be countered by the growing presence, soon to be a majority, of compassionate, communitarian sun-people. The new America is to “look like the world.” For its part, business doesn’t care what the ethnicity and language of its workers are, as long as they have access to a docile work force.
The two groups overlap in the way that Hollywood stars, professors, pundits and the whole tribe of well-healed symbolic analysts benefit from cheap maids, nannies, and kitchen help in the fancy restaurants they favor.
Absent any real discussion, we are undergoing a fundamental reconfiguration of the demography of this country. It is a revolution by stealth.
Now comes Aristide R. Zolberg with a big book, A Nation by Design, that is intended to support the policy of immigration a gogo. Zolberg cites a 1965 law as evidence that the United States “redesigned itself as the first nation to mirror humanity.” We must be grateful to Mr. Zolberg for stating so clearly the aims of the unlimited immigrationists. Yet the 1965 law had no such purpose. It allotted a quota of 20,000 to each country in the Eastern Hemisphere. Many European countries failed to fulfill their quota, while third-world countries did. But that was not the intention. Also unforeseen was the “family reunification” scam, whereby one immigrant can bring in, through a chain process, an unending series of others. A single baby born in the United States can anchor this process. The US is indeed coming to look more like humanity, but when did we as a nation agree to adopt this policy?
Zolberg further claims that there is no way to stop immigration without turning the United States into a police state. This is nonsense. Japan, which allows virtually no immigration, is not a police state.
To be sure, Japan is a series of islands, and its borders are easy to protect. We could protect our borders too-—if the power elite would only allow it. Many of those who say that a fence would never work acknowledge, ruefully or not, that Israel’s fence is effective. And that fence is not even complete.
We are seeing a shell game here. Congress has passed a bill for a 700-mile fence, but without allocating the money to build it. We can be sure that if such a thing is ever created, the honchos in Washington will see that it is constantly breached. Business needs a cheap workforce, and liberal Harvard professors and Hollywood stars need maids, nannies, and landscapists.
We have been told that one thing Bush and the Democrats agree on is the “comprehensive” immigration bill. That, of course, will make sure that the spigot is kept turned on. The scenario may be a little different, but not much so. It seems certain that if we do not get the “comprehensive” bill, we will get the status quo. Either way, the floods of immigrants will keep coming.
Cynicism is amply justified, but it is also important to understand why the chicanery is happening. The virtually unimpeded flow of immigrants across our Southern border is a facet of the Washington Consensus, a set of arrangements that suit the power structure in the most important countries in the world, but which are inimical to their peoples. NAFTA is a good example. It has done us in the US little good, but has allowed Mexico to be flooded with US businesses that choke out native enterprise.
H. Ross Perot was right when he said that we were going to hear a loud sucking sound as jobs left this country. He was only wrong about the source of the sound. It is coming from Asia, not south of the border. In addition, bilateral arrangements masquerading as “free trade” encourage of flood of cheap goods from China and other Asian countries, driving down US wages and killing many of the manufacturing jobs that managed, just barely, to survive. In the meantime third-world countries are suffering because advanced Western nations keep out their agricultural products with quotas and high tariffs. This too is “free trade.”
The insidious thing about the Washington Consensus is that it doesn’t matter which party you vote for. You will get it anyway. NAFTA, for example, was the joint creation of Clinton and the Republican moneyed interests.
Let the elitists beware, for revolt is in the air. The arrogance of the Washington consensus is one of the principal factors fostering the rise of blue-state populism. This new orientation will be protectionist and xenophobic. It will probably consort with socially repressive policies regarding freedom of speech, abortion, and gay rights. Watch out elitists, the nativist yahoos are organizing.
I see nothing to celebrate here. If it happens, though, this repressive populism will constitute yet another baleful legacy of the Washington Consensus.
There is a concluding issue that is personal. When I buy food at my local minimarket or get into a cab, I do not ask my server for his papers. For all I know many of these people are “undocumented,” as the anything-goes types like to put it. Could it be that in my small, small way I am one of those business people who is looking the other way at illegal immigration?
I could do better in daily life, I suppose. But what's the point. I am irretrievably damned because I live in the People's Republic of Manhattan