So much easier said than done, not to mention understood.
Always virtue conscious, Bubble Americans glow over immigrants. Immigrants enrich the nation. Struggling immigrants embody virtues unknown to low-end white Americans, who are selfish and xenophobic. Newcomers come first. It is the duty of the U.S. to welcome them. That’s what makes America great. That’s who we are.
But a large portion of the electorate, it appears, does not agree. It thinks the U.S. immigration system is broken. It wants to reduce the number of low-skilled foreigners flowing into the country. Shaming White America mixed with opened borders and the prospect of amnesty was not a vote grabber this year.
Still, wholesale purges remain a fevered fantasy among Times editorialists and some Trumpists. “Nativist ideologues and white nationalists around Mr. Trump are itching for him to be merciless,” shivered the New York Times editorial board last week, and to make good on a “pledge of mass deportation.”
Trump’s bluster does not help. “What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” Trump said on 60 Minutes five days after the election. “But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally.”
“In immigrant-rich communities across America,” the Times editorial continues. That’s the giveaway! Immigrant-rich! The Times grandees are thinking about that nice housekeeper, Maria, or Santiago, the great guy who takes care of the plumbing at the East Hampton place. Only a Bubble Person would say “immigrant-rich.”
Hop on the midday express train to the Bronx amid the jostling, bling, multiple body tattoos, and rap-blaring smartphones. Who is paying for this pandemonium, an economic American might ask. Visit the seedy 7-Eleven in a bad part of town, maybe Reading, Pennsylvania. You’ll see something different from Maria and Santiago. You might encounter a forlorn young day laborer and his common-law wife with an infant, out on a limb and looking to buy something to eat. Then there are elusive predators, slumlords like Chor Ng of the Oakland, California, Ghost Ship fire.
The great majority of immigrants are Hispanic, mostly Mexican. Of an estimated 35 million Mexican-Americans, perhaps half are here illegally. The numbers are loose. Estimates range from 11 million up to 20 million. Some come from worldly colonial cities; others are destitute, illiterate indios uprooted from the desert. It’s not one big Latino family. Five million Puerto Ricans are clustered in the Northeast. Dominicans, Cubans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans — a million from each country — also reside in the U.S. Each of these groups is ethnically self-aware, deeply so. (It is even more laughable to think of Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, and Filipinos as one “Asian” people. But we do.)
From Wal-Mart inventory to housekeeping in motels, working the nation’s assembly lines, groves and fields, and construction, slaughtering chickens and building roads, immigrants — legal and illegal — do the work, the unglamorous work. While an increasing number of native-born Americans live off dividends or handouts, the U.S. has created an immigrant working class for whom near-poverty by prevailing U.S. standards is wonderland. Native-born Americans left in the labor market, meanwhile, face a relative lower standard of living.
Immigrants only take jobs that Americans won’t do is a lie. Mexicans and other Latinos work hard, employers agree, and to retain cheap labor, they resist electronic verification and other means of discovering illegal immigrants. The “good immigrants” are friendly, considerate people, deferential to their bosses and customers. Yet as they work hard at less than desirable, low-paying jobs, they depress wages.
Thoughtful Americans know there will be no mass deportations. In Trump’s America, as in Obama’s America before it, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will stop plenty of illegals at the border. It will remove vagrants, criminals, and parasites on a case-by-case basis. There will be no Berlin-like Wall from San Diego to Brownsville.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the administration will enforce immigration laws on the books, working with Congress to make overdue revisions in imprudent “family reunification” policies, visa lotteries, and other legal chicaneries. The DHS will signal “game over” to clunkers who milk American ambivalence, benevolence, and rule of law. Immigration lawyers, NGOs, sanctuary cities, and a self-righteous fifth column will impede these reforms at every step.
Audacious minds have given the country fair warning. John Fonte at the Hudson Institute has studied national identity for more than a decade. Victor Davis Hanson’s prescient Mexifornia (2003) set out California’s direction on this account. Social critic Steven Sailer observed in a 2004 paper at Foreign Policy Research Institute:
• From a practical point of view, any country’s immigration policy must answer two basic questions: What should be the quantity of immigrants? And, what should be the quality of immigrants?
• Choosing immigrants wisely can make a big difference in the quality of life of current citizens.
• The overall goal, therefore, of a democracy’s immigration policy would logically be to choose the quantity and quality of immigrants that maximizes the well-being of the current citizens, not of the foreigners who would like to immigrate.
Doesn’t this all sound sensible? For Times editors and asset-rich progressives eager to “transform” America, protect their wealth, and prance proudly as diversity’s new aristocracy, the answer is resoundingly, “no.”
Cinco de Mayo, 2015 (S Pakhrin from DC, USA/Creative Commons)