April 10, 2018


The Ideology of Illegal Immigration (VICTOR DAVIS HANSON, April 10, 2018, National Review)

Illegal immigration has become so deeply embedded for so long within contemporary power politics, demography, and cultural change, so charged with accusations of racism, nativism, and xenophobia, that we have forgotten its intrinsic contradictions. [...]

The illegal-immigration project will ultimately fail because although its politics are transparent, its practice is incoherent, and chaos is therefore its only possible end. 

VDH is exactly right that illegal immigration is based on ideology; he's just exactly wrong about which part, the former or the latter.  Because, it is inescapably the fact that America had rathar open immigration until limits were imposed for racist reasons.

The 1965 Law That Gave the Republican Party Its Race Problem (JOSH ZEITZ, August 20, 2016, Politico)

Between 1820 and 1924, roughly 37 million European immigrants came to the United States, in addition to a much smaller number of immigrants from Asia. (To place that figure in context, it's helpful to consider that the population of the United States in 1850 was just 23 million.) For the first 60 years, Northern Europeans--Irish and Germans, especially--predominated. The second great wave drew newcomers from Southern and Eastern Europe, including large numbers of Italians, Greeks, Slavs, Poles and Jews from the Russian Empire. Smaller numbers of immigrants also came from China and other Asian countries. By the early 20th century, immigrants and the children of immigrants comprised upwards of 75 percent of the population in major cities like New York, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland and Detroit.

Since 1790, when Congress passed the nation's first immigration act, prevailing law had restricted naturalized citizenship to "free white persons." What constituted a white person was by no means clear. While today it is intuitive to classify German-, Irish- or Italian-Americans as white, in the mid-19th century, many native-born Protestants regarded newcomers as unwhite and therefore singularly unfit for citizenship. In establishment outlets like Harper's Magazine, editorialists lampooned Irish immigrants as drunken, lazy and idle, while cartoonists portrayed immigrants as possessing ape-like, subhuman physical attributes.

With "whiteness" being such a crucial attribute, it was little wonder that many immigrants--including many Irish Catholics in large, northeastern cities--worked aggressively to draw a sharp distinction between themselves, on the one hand, and free African-Americans, on the other. Blackface minstrelsy, a popular form of entertainment among new immigrants, enabled racially suspect Europeans to establish that they were, in fact, white (after all, only a white person need "black up" to play the part of an African-American) and to project onto African-Americans the same vicious stereotypes that American nativists ascribed to Catholic newcomers.

By the late 19th century, America's new cultural and civic diversity--a result of immigration from Southern Europe, Eastern Europe and Asia, and the emancipation of black slaves--resulted gradually in a popular classification of humans along hierarchal lines. In 1911, a government commission broke the population into "45 races or peoples among immigrants coming to the United States, and of these 36 are indigenous to Europe." Bohemians (which, in today's terms, would translate to citizens of the Czech Republic), the report determined, were "the most advanced of all" Slavic racial groups. "The ancient Greeks were preeminent in philosophy and science, a position not generally accredited to the modern Greeks as a race ... they compare with the Hebrew race as the best traders of the Orient." Further, "the Gypsy resents the restraint of higher social organization ... to him laws and statutes are persecutions to be evaded." The Southern Italian was "an individualist having little adaptability to highly organized society." Whereas German and Irish newcomers had seemed distinctly unfit for citizenship in the mid-19th century, scientific racial analysis now considered them a higher category of white than Southern and Eastern European newcomers, most of whom were Catholic or Jewish. 

The era's nativism rested on a complex bedrock of labor competition, religious intolerance and fear of anarchism and communism. But scientific racism was always at its core. It formed the intellectual basis of the Immigration Act of 1924, which limited the annual number of immigrants from any given country to just 2 percent of the total number of persons born in that country who resided in the United States in 1890. By using 1890 as a benchmark, the law favored older immigrant groups from Northern and Central Europe. For Jews, Italians, Greeks, Slavs, Poles, Croatians and Russians, the door effectively swung shut. (For the Chinese, that door had been closed since 1882, when Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act.)

The year 1924 was the high-water mark for scientific racism, which became increasingly unpopular in Depression-era America. Columbia University anthropologist Franz Boas and his protégés Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict were among the first to blast away at the edifice of "race," proving in a series of devastating monographs and articles that human behavior and intelligence were products of environment, not blood, and that no "pure" races could even be said to exist.

This shift in thinking also emerged as a response to the excesses of Nazi Germany.

He's right, again, that this illegal immigration project necessarily fails.  The very notion of immigration being illegal is anti-American and our natural decency always leads to eventual amnesty.

Posted by at April 10, 2018 4:39 AM