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Immigration, Republicans, and the End of White America
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution
 
  • ViewAsPDF2 Will mass immigration destroy the GOP?
  • Can our middle-class society survive high immigration levels?
  • Is there any political solution to our current immigration difficulties?

 

TAC-WhiteAmerica Last June the U.S. Census disclosed that non-white births in America were on the verge of surpassing the white total and might do so as early as the end of this year. Such an event marks an unprecedented racial watershed in American history. Over the last few years, various demographic projections from that same agency and independent analysts have provided somewhat fluctuating estimates of the date—perhaps 2042 or 2037 or 2050—at which white Americans will become a minority. This represents a remarkable, almost unimaginable, demographic change from our country of the early 1960s, when whites accounted for over 85 percent of the population and seemed likely to remain at that level indefinitely.

Many years of heavy foreign immigration have been the crucial element driving this transformation, but even if all immigration—legal and illegal—were halted tomorrow and the border completely sealed, these demographic trends would continue, although at a much slower pace. Today, the median age of American whites is over 40, putting most of them past their prime child-bearing years. Meanwhile, America’s largest minority group, the rapidly growing population of Hispanics, has a median age in the mid-20s, near the peak of family formation and growth, while both Asians and blacks are also considerably younger than whites. In fact, since 1995 births rather than immigration have been the largest factor behind the near doubling of America’s Hispanic population.

As in most matters, public perceptions of America’s racial reality are overwhelmingly shaped by the images absorbed from the national media and Hollywood, whether these are realistic or not. For example, over the last generation the massive surge in black visibility in sports, movies, and TV has led to the widespread perception of a similarly huge growth in the black fraction of the population, which, according to Gallup, most people now reckon stands at 33 percent or so of the national total. Yet this is entirely incorrect. During the last hundred-plus years, American blacks have seen their share of the population fluctuate by merely a percentage point or two, going from 11.6 percent in 1900 to 12.6 percent in 2010. By contrast, five decades of immigration have caused Asian Americans—relatively ignored by the news, sports, and entertainment industries—to increase from 0.5 percent in 1960 to 5 percent today, following the fifteen-fold rise in their numbers which has established them as America’s most rapidly growing racial group, albeit from a small initial base.

These national changes in racial distribution have been quite uneven and geographically skewed, with some parts of the country leading and others lagging. For example, during the 1970s when I was a teenager growing up in the Los Angeles area, that city and the surrounding sprawl of Southern California constituted America’s whitest region, about the only large urban agglomeration whose racial character approximated that of the country as a whole—around 85 percent white—and my own San Fernando Valley area in particular exemplified the popular image of suburban picket fences and lighthearted “Leave It to Beaver” family comedies. Yet during the two decades that followed, Southern California underwent an enormous immigration-driven demographic transformation, creating a new Los Angeles which was almost 80 percent non-white and a surrounding region in which whites no longer held even a mere plurality.

This sweeping racial shift, involving the movement or displacement of over ten million people, might easily rank as the largest in the peacetime history of the world and is probably matched by just a handful of the greatest population changes brought about by war. The racial transformation in America’s national population may be without precedent in human history.

Republicans as the White Party

It is a commonplace that politics in America is heavily influenced by race, and these enormous demographic changes since 1965 have certainly not gone unnoticed within the political world. For decades, white voters have tended to lean Republican while non-whites have been strongly Democratic, so the swiftly falling ratio of the former to the latter has become a source of major concern, even alarm, within the top ranks of the GOP, which received a sharp wake-up call when gigantic California, traditionally one of the most reliably Republican states, suddenly became one of the most reliably Democratic.

During the mid-1990s there was a powerful strain of thought within conservative and Republican circles that the best means of coping with this looming political problem was to reduce or even halt the foreign immigration that was driving it. But after several years of bitter internal conflict, this anti-immigrationist faction lost out almost completely to the pro-immigrationist camp, which was backed by the powerful business lobby. As a result, the Republican Party mantra became one of embracing “diversity” rather than resisting it and focused on increasing the Republican share of the growing non-white vote. Former President George W. Bush, strategist Karl Rove, and Sen. John McCain have been the most prominent advocates of this perspective.

Rove invested huge resources in maximizing Bush’s Hispanic numbers in 1998 during his easy Texas gubernatorial reelection campaign and achieved considerable success, persuading some 40 percent or more of local Hispanics to vote the Republican ticket that year, a major shift of political loyalties. This later allowed him to tout his candidate’s excellent Hispanic rapport in national GOP circles, which was an important factor in gaining him the presidential nomination in 2000. Although Bush’s national Hispanic totals were much less impressive in the 2000 race, and the vast funds he invested in a quixotic attempt to carry California were totally wasted, Rove and his allies redoubled their efforts during the 2004 reelection campaign, and buoyed by the continuing patriotic aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, largely succeeded. Although the percentages have been much disputed, Bush seems to have carried somewhat over 40 percent of the Hispanic vote nationwide in 2004, although he was once again trounced in California.

• • •

Part of the Bush/Rove political strategy was to take a leading role in passing a sweeping immigration-reform measure, aimed at legalizing the status of many millions of (overwhelmingly Hispanic) illegal immigrants, easing the restrictions on future legal immigration, while also tightening border enforcement. Leaving aside policy matters, the political theory was simple: if the Republican Party changed the laws to benefit Hispanic and other immigrants, these groups and their children would be more likely to vote Republican, thereby helping to solve the GOP’s demographic dilemma. Rove endlessly pointed to 40 percent as the necessary GOP level of future Hispanic support—score above that number and political victory was likely, score much below it and defeat was nearly assured. Although this precise quantitative target was obviously intended for rhetorical effect, it does seem to represent the dominant strain in conservative thinking, namely the need to combine a strong white vote with a solid minority of Hispanics and Asians, thereby allowing the Republicans to survive and win races in an increasingly non-white America. (Meanwhile decades of fruitless efforts to attract a significant share of the black vote would be quietly abandoned.)

But does this political strategy actually make any sense? Or are there far more effective and more plausible paths to continued Republican political success? Although almost totally marginalized within Republican establishment ranks, the anti-immigrationist wing of the conservative movement has maintained a vigorous intellectual presence on the Internet. Over the years, its flagship organ, the VDare.com website run by Peter Brimelow, a former National Review senior editor, has been scathing in its attacks on the so-called Rove Strategy, instead proposing a contrasting approach christened the Sailer Strategy, after Steve Sailer, its primary architect and leading promoter (who has himself frequently written for The American Conservative). In essence, what Sailer proposes is the polar opposite of Rove’s approach, which he often ridicules as being based on a mixture of (probably dishonest) wishful thinking and sheer innumeracy.

Consider, for example, Rove’s oft-repeated mantra that a Republican presidential candidate needs to win something approaching 40 percent of the national Hispanic vote or have no chance of reaching the White House. During the last several election cycles, Hispanic voters represented between 5 and 8 percent of the national total, so the difference between a candidate winning an outstanding 50 percent of that vote and one winning a miserable 30 percent would amount to little more than just a single percentage point of the popular total, completely insignificant based on recent history. Furthermore, presidential races are determined by the electoral college map rather than popular-vote totals, and the overwhelming majority of Hispanics are concentrated either in solidly blue states such as California, New York, Illinois, and New Jersey, or solidly red ones such as Texas and Georgia, reducing their impact to almost nothing. Any Republican fearful of a loss in Texas or Democrat worried about carrying California would be facing a national defeat of epic proportions, in which Hispanic preferences would constitute a trivial component. Pursuing the Hispanic vote for its own sake seems a clear absurdity.

Even more importantly, Sailer argues that once we throw overboard the restrictive blinkers of modern “political correctness” on racial matters, certain aspects of the real world become obvious. For nearly the last half-century, the political core of the Republican Party has been the white vote, and especially the votes of whites who live in the most heavily non-white states, notably the arc of the old Confederacy. The political realignment of Southern whites foreshadowed by the support that Barry Goldwater attracted in 1964 based on his opposition to the Civil Rights Act and that constituted George Wallace’s white-backlash campaign of 1968 eventually became a central pillar of the dominant Reagan majority in the 1980s.

In many cases, this was even true outside the Deep South, as the blue-collar whites of Macomb County and other areas surrounding overwhelmingly black cities such as Detroit became the blue-collar Reagan Democrats who gave the GOP a near lock on the presidency. While the politics of racial polarization might be demonized in liberal intellectual circles, it served to elect vast numbers of Republicans to high and low office alike. George H.W. Bush’s “Willie Horton” ad and Jesse Helms’s “White Hands” ad have been endlessly vilified by the media, but they contributed to unexpected come-from-behind victories for the candidates willing to run them. And in politics, winning is the only metric of success.

Sailer suggests that a very similar approach would work equally well with regard to the hot-button issue of immigration and the rapidly growing Hispanic population, arguing that the votes of this group could be swamped by those of an angry white electorate energized along racial lines. He cites Pete Wilson’s unexpected California gubernatorial reelection victory in 1994 as a perfect example. Deeply unpopular due to a severe statewide recession and desperately behind in the polls, Wilson hitched his candidacy to a harsh media campaign vilifying illegal immigrants, and although his Hispanic support plummeted, his white support soared to an equal extent, giving him a landslide victory in a race the pundits had written off and sweeping in a full slate of victorious down-ticket Republicans. Sailer’s simple point is that individual white votes count just as much as Hispanic ones, and since there are vastly more of the former, attracting these with racially-charged campaign themes might prove very politically productive.

An additional fact noted by Sailer is that the racial demographics of a given region can be completely misleading from a political perspective. As mentioned earlier, Hispanics and other immigrants tend to be much younger than whites and much less likely to hold citizenship. Therefore, a state or region in which whites have become a numerical minority may still possess a large white supermajority among the electorate. Once again, today’s California provides a telling example, with Hispanics and whites now being about equal in numbers according to the Census, but with whites still regularly casting three times as many votes on Election Day.

The Sailer analysis is ruthlessly logical. Whites are still the overwhelming majority of voters, and will remain so for many decades to come, so raising your share of the white vote by just a couple of points has much more political impact than huge shifts in the non-white vote. As whites become a smaller and smaller portion of the local population in more and more regions, they will naturally become ripe for political polarization based on appeals to their interests as whites. And if Republicans focus their campaigning on racially charged issues such as immigration and affirmative action, they will promote this polarization, gradually transforming the two national political parties into crude proxies for direct racial interests, effectively becoming the “white party” and the “non-white party.” Since white voters are still close to 80 percent of the national electorate, the “white party”—the Republicans—will end up controlling almost all political power and could enact whatever policies they desired, on both racial and non-racial issues.

• • •

Many might find this political scenario quite distasteful or unnerving, but that does not necessarily render it implausible. In fact, over the last couple of decades, this exact process has unfolded in many states across the Deep South, with elected white Democrats becoming an increasingly endangered species. Each election year, blacks overwhelmingly vote for the “black party,” whites overwhelmingly vote for the “white party,” and since whites are usually two-thirds or so of the electorate, they almost invariably win at the polls. Although Republican consultants and pundits make enormous efforts to camouflage or ignore this underlying racial reality, it exists nonetheless.

By contrast, appeals for white support based on racial cohesion would be almost total nonstarters in 95 percent white Vermont or New Hampshire, or in many other states of the North in which the local demographics still approximate those of the country that overwhelmingly supported the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s. But today’s national white percentages are much closer to those of 1960s Alabama and Mississippi, where whites fought that legislation tooth and nail on racial grounds. And as the nation’s overall demography continues its inexorable slide from that of Vermont to that of Mississippi, will white politics move in that same direction, especially if given a push?

Now I think a strong case can be made that such a process of deliberate racial polarization in American politics might have numerous adverse consequences for the future well-being of our country, sharply divided as it would become between hostile white and non-white political blocs of roughly equal size. But given the extremely utilitarian mentality of those who practice electoral politics for a living, the more important question we should explore is whether it would actually work, purely on the political level. Might this strategy of racial polarization be applicable across the country as a whole?

Non-Whites and Blacks

Consider an interesting datapoint. It is certainly true that the over the last century those states with the smallest white majorities have generally had names like Mississippi, South Carolina, and Alabama, and these have exhibited a very distinctive brand of white politics and race relations. But the least white state of all has actually projected a very different cultural image.

Whites were a minority in Hawaii at the time of statehood and have always been so, with the relative numbers of whites and Asians shifting somewhat based upon the various flows of migrants. Furthermore, the original white colonists and plantation elites historically had had a quite conflicted relationship both with the Native Hawaiian population whose leadership they supplanted and also with the large numbers of Japanese, Chinese, and other Asian workers originally imported as impoverished plantation laborers.

Yet although the local Republican Party has generally skewed toward the 25 percent of the population that is white, while the Democrats have been more popular among the majority Asians, the state’s reputation has overwhelmingly been one of easygoing race relations, a high degree of intermarriage, and a complete lack of vicious political conflict. Ideologically, Hawaii’s white minority seems to think and vote much more like the racially liberal residents of 95 percent white Vermont than as members of a racially polarized minority bloc, locked in endless political struggle with its non-white opponents.

Perhaps Hawaii is just a unique case, being a chain of small tropical islands located thousands of miles off the mainland and heavily dependent upon tourism for its economy. But there is an additional example. After Hawaii, the state with the next lowest white percentage throughout most of the 20th century was New Mexico, with the number of whites fluctuating at around half the total depending upon the ebbs and flows of the white and Hispanic populations, before eventually falling to 40 percent in 2010.

And although New Mexico hardly possesses Hawaii’s enormously positive social image—it is mostly rural with a small economy—it has also never developed the reputation of being a boiling racial cauldron, with whites and Hispanics locked in a bitter battle for power. Mention “New Mexico” and the popular images that spring to mind probably revolve around UFOs, vistas of great natural beauty, and government research laboratories, not longstanding racial conflict.

These examples lead to the suspicion that the history of bitter racial politics across most of the Deep South may represent less a conflict of white vs. non-white than one of white vs. black, and this seems quite plausible. After all, slavery and its legacy have for centuries constituted the deepest wound in American society, provoking a bloody Civil War which cost the lives of almost one third of all white Southern men of military age. The history of black/white racial relations is arguably the single most significant element in American political history, so we should hardly be surprised if it continues to heavily influence the politics of numerous states and cities, including those outside the South.

By contrast, although relations between whites and various other groups—Asians, Hispanics, and American Indians—have sometimes been hostile or even violent, these conflicts have never been nearly as long nor intense and are more like the often contentious relationships between various white ethnic groups. As our schoolbooks endlessly emphasize, black/white relations do indeed constitute a unique aspect of American history.

• • •

These alternate hypotheses about the underlying sources of white political behavior may be explored empirically by examining the electoral data across the 50 states. Like it or not, today’s Republican Party does indeed constitute the “white party,” drawing almost all of its national votes from whites, while the Democratic Party serves as the “mixed party,” with roughly comparable support from whites and non-whites. Therefore, white support for Republicans, particularly at the national level, may serve as a reasonable proxy for a state’s apparent degree of “white racial consciousness,” whether implicit or explicit.

Under the “Sailer Hypothesis,” white alignment with the Republicans should be heavily influenced by the white share of the population, with the residents of lily-white states exhibiting little racial consciousness, while those living in states in which whites have slender or non-existent majorities would tilt much more heavily Republican. A second possibility to consider might be called the “Hispanic Hypothesis,” in which the heavy influx of Hispanic immigrants, both legal and illegal, pushes whites toward the harder-line Republicans; since the vast majority of today’s Hispanics come from a relatively recent immigrant background, a state’s overall Hispanic population can be used as a good approximation for this independent variable. Finally, there is the “Black Hypothesis,” in which the long history of black/white racial conflict is assumed to be the primary factor, and the percentage of blacks in the local population is what generally influences white political behavior.

For the sake of simplicity and to minimize the confounding impact of local political issues and personalities, the easiest output variable to examine would be the percentage of the white vote that supported the Republican presidential ticket over the last 20 years. On a population-weighted basis, the correlation results for elections from 1992 through 2008 across the 50 states are as shown in the chart below.

WhiteAmerica-chart1

The results seem conclusive. The correlations between the Hispanic percentage of each state and white voter preferences are approximately zero for all presidential elections, implying that the presence of large Hispanic populations appears to have virtually no impact upon white political alignment, either one way or the other.

By contrast, the evidence for apparent black/white racial conflict being the driving force that prompts whites to vote Republican seems very strong: the correlations between the size of the black population and the degree of white GOP support range from 0.43 to 0.70, with a mean of 0.55, being both quite substantial and very consistent over time.

The data regarding the “Sailer Hypothesis” is bit more interesting, with the correlations between a state’s overall non-white percentage and white Republican alignment being small but noticeable, ranging between 0.14 and 0.31, with a mean of 0.20. However, we must remember that a considerable fraction of America’s non-whites are blacks, with the ratio declining from around half in 1992 to about one-third by 2008, and obviously the strong black correlations impact the non-white result. In fact, the Sailer Hypothesis curve closely tracks the weighted average of the Hispanic and Black Hypothesis curves, the difference being mostly due to America’s small but growing Asian population. Thus, any “Sailer Effect” in white voting patterns appears almost entirely due to the black portion of the non-white population and is therefore merely a statistical artifact.

• • •

In many respects, this conclusion merely constitutes a quantitative confirmation of the conventional political wisdom, which stretches back for many decades. For example, in the aftermath of the successful Reagan Revolution of the 1980s, prominent journalists Thomas and Mary Edsall published the widely praised Chain Reaction, which emphasized the underlying racial factors prompting America’s political realignment, and several similar books appeared around the same time, notably Peter Brown’s Minority Party. Numerous other authors had earlier made the same general point about the politics of the “white backlash” vote in the 1960s and 1970s, the era of urban unrest and forced busing.

In recent years, the Republican Party has grown quite embarrassed over these roots of its modern political rise and has therefore made considerable efforts to downplay such underlying racial factors relative to more innocuous issues such as support for low taxes or small government or patriotism or even traditional religious values, and this sustained effort to rewrite history partly accounts for much current amnesia. But the data speaks for itself.

There is another, more subtle reason why so many of America’s political elites and pundits tend to miss the clear signs of this obvious racial relationship, and it becomes apparent when we examine the scatterplot distribution of these election results for the most recent 2008 presidential vote, including the 50 states and also the District of Columbia. (Scatterplots for the previous presidential elections look very similar.) The results for the individual states mostly follow the sort of distribution we would expect for a strongly correlated result, but there is one huge exception: white voting patterns in D.C. constitute an enormously strong outlier. By a wide margin D.C. is simultaneously more heavily black than any state while also having whites who are the most liberal and Democratic in their voting behavior.

WhiteAmerica-chart2

D.C.’s population is much smaller than that of nearly all states, so including it in our weighted correlation calculation would have only slightly shifted the results. But in the real world of today’s centralized political culture, the world of politicians and media pundits and political journalists, D.C. ranks as a colossus in mind share, playing a huge role in shaping ideological perceptions and therefore carrying a weight probably greater than that of California or Texas, or perhaps even both combined. And under such a mind-share weighting, that single city filled with a population consisting almost entirely of blacks and very liberal whites serves to substantially mask elite perceptions of the stark racial dynamics that influence political ideologies almost everywhere else in the country.

An Anti-Immigration Backlash

Let us consider the political implications of these striking results. Since the large-scale presence of non-black non-whites—primarily Hispanic and Asian immigrant groups—does not seem to produce much white political cohesion along racial lines, the continued growth of these populations can hardly represent a potential boon for the Republican Party. Meanwhile, harsh Republican rhetoric or policies that target these groups would naturally tend to drive them into the arms of the Democrats. Under such a scenario, the GOP loses millions of non-white votes without gaining any white votes in exchange, resulting in political disaster.

A perfect example of this danger may be found in the recent political history of California, whose huge size and heavily immigrant population render it a useful testbed for the nation as a whole. During the four decades from 1950 to 1990, California supported the Republican presidential ticket almost without fail, going Democratic only during Lyndon Johnson’s unprecedented 1964 landslide. The state was considered as solidly Republican as Wyoming or Idaho, and the huge number of electoral votes it carried combined with the enormous expense of contesting them established it as the anchor of the GOP presidential strategy, leading to the widespread notion of a Republican “lock” on the White House.

Although Hispanic and Asian numbers had been growing steadily for years, their support for Republicans had been growing as well, and by the early 1990s, a GOP candidate could regularly expect to receive around one-third or more of the Hispanic vote and half that of the Asian. For example, Pete Wilson’s narrow 1990 gubernatorial victory over Dianne Feinstein, which significantly relied upon his criticism of “racial quotas,” was achieved with 53 percent of the white vote, 47 percent of the Hispanic vote, and 58 percent of the Asian vote according to the prestigious California Field Poll used by the New York Times, though others placed his ethnic totals lower.

But all of this permanently changed following Wilson’s harsh 1994 reelection campaign, whose television ads relentlessly scapegoated Hispanic immigrants for the state’s terrible economic woes. Although his words were carefully chosen in lawyerly fashion to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, his message was perceived very differently, and his loudest grassroots activist supporters certainly made no such distinction. Moreover, the resounding California Republican landslide that resulted soon emboldened the newly established Republican majorities in the U.S. House and Senate to focus on passing anti-immigration legislation, which thus placed legal Asian immigrants in the same political crosshairs.

As a direct consequence, Republican support sharply dropped among Hispanics and Asians and has never really recovered. Moreover, the immigration battle frightened and energized many traditionally apolitical Hispanics into finally naturalizing and registering, and during the 15 years that followed, their share of the state vote more than doubled to 22 percent, severely compounding the blow to Republican prospects.

The consequence was that gigantic California—almost as populous as Texas and New York combined—suddenly switched from being the strong anchor of every Republican national campaign to being the equally strong anchor of every Democratic one. In the years that followed, the large GOP congressional delegation was decimated and the powerful state Republican Party, which had once propelled Nixon and Reagan to national leadership, was reduced to near irrelevance.

Consider the interesting case of Howard Ahmanson, long one of California’s wealthiest politically-active Evangelical Christians and during the early 1990s routinely described by the media as a central pillar of the Christian Right within the Republican Party. In a prescient 1993 letter to Commentary, he warned of the rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment in conservative circles and expressed a concern that Republicans would “doom themselves” if they drove away these socially conservative voters, perhaps losing them for generations, just as previous Republicans had done with Italian and Irish immigrants a century earlier. The California Republicans completely ignored his warning, with the political consequences already noted.

In Ahmanson’s opinion, today’s California GOP has shrunk to the point where it now represents only the most dogmatically taxophobic elements of the state. Meanwhile, the Democrats have expanded so much that they usually incorporate both sides of almost every political divide: business and labor, whites and non-whites, the rich and the poor, liberals and conservatives. This inclusiveness certainly extends to the staunchest socially conservative voters, since it was the overwhelming support of California non-whites that defeated gay marriage at the ballot box in 2008. And these days Howard Ahmanson is a registered Democrat.

There is no logical contradiction between the powerful backlash of California whites against immigrants 20 years ago and the apparent lack of such political sentiments today. In the early 1990s, the state’s demographics had just undergone a period of very rapid change, and middle-class whites were naturally fearful and alarmed about the consequences of these changes and the possible behavior of so many millions of new immigrants from such different backgrounds, especially in the immediate aftermath of the deadly Rodney King riots. This left them easy targets for political demagoguery. But after a few years had gone by, most whites concluded that their new neighbors seemed like pretty reasonable people, not too different from themselves, and racial concerns dropped to the lower levels of most public opinion surveys, usually ranking below jobs, housing, healthcare, and sometimes even traffic.

Similarly, most Hispanic and Asian newcomers have developed perfectly amicable relations with their white counterparts, but still remain deeply suspicious of the Republican Party, whose leaders had spent several years defaming and attacking them. Such ethnic suspicions might occasionally be overcome by a particularly unusual Republican candidate, as we saw in the case of worldwide film superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger—himself a heavily-accented foreign immigrant—who managed to win a couple of landslide victories. But they proved enormous barriers to more typical Republican candidates, who began each statewide campaign with what amounted to an automatic ten or 15-point deficit at the polls and almost invariably lost as a result.

This can be seen in the details of the most recent California election cycle. As the only statewide Republican officeholder and a wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner was assumed to have a lock on his party’s gubernatorial nomination and naturally attracted the support of all major segments of the GOP apparatus. But then former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, an utter political neophyte but with a billion-dollar fortune, decided to enter the race and immediately became the darling of the party’s mercenary establishment, given the bottomless funds she promised to spend on her campaign. Outmatched financially, Poizner was forced to refocus on right-wing primary voters, and as a highly opportunistic fellow, he decided to ride the national tidal wave of anti-immigration fears then sweeping across the country and make it the centerpiece of his campaign, eventually spending $25 million of his own money on the effort.

The result was that he lost the primary by 40 points. When you run as an immigration hard-liner, spend $25 million on your race, and lose by 40 points among the hard-core conservatives who dominate Republican primaries, you’re clearly selling the dog food that dogs just won’t eat. These days, anti-immigration candidacies in California possess about as much resonance as anti-papist candidacies in Massachusetts.

Afterwards, Whitman went on to spend an astonishing $180 million in her campaign, nearly all of it her own money, and in a year featuring an enormous national backlash against career politicians lost in a landslide to former Governor Jerry Brown, who had almost continuously been an elected official or a political candidate for the previous 45 years. Meanwhile, the best nationwide year for Republicans in two decades saw their California party lose every statewide race, mostly by wide margins. Such is the dismal political legacy that Pete Wilson bequeathed to his most unfortunate local successors.

• • •

Now consider the likely political future of a state such as Arizona, ground zero of the most recent national anti-immigrant backlash by nervous whites. A severe recession and rapidly changing demographics had alarmed Arizona voters, many of them elderly retirees from elsewhere, leaving them vulnerable to wild rumors of a huge immigrant crime wave, including beheadings and kidnappings, almost all of which was complete nonsense. As a result, harsh anti-immigrant measures were passed into law, and their mostly Republican supporters won sweeping victories among an electorate that is today roughly 80 percent white.

But buried near the bottom of a single one of the innumerable New York Times articles analyzing Arizona politics was the seemingly minor and irrelevant fact that almost half of all Arizona schoolchildren are now Hispanic. Meanwhile, according to Census data, over 80 percent of Arizonans aged 65 or older are white. A decade or more from now it seems likely that Arizona whites and Hispanics will enjoy perfectly good relations, and the former will have long since forgotten their current “immigrant scare.” But the latter will still remember it, and the once mighty Arizona Republican Party will be set on the road to oblivion.

Even in a rock-solid Deep South Republican state like Georgia, Hispanics have now grown into a remarkable 10 percent of the population, up from almost nothing in the early 1990s, and represent an even larger share of younger Georgians. So unless the local Republican Party can somehow greatly enhance its appeal to the 30 percent of Georgians who are black, the current wave of anti-immigrant legislation may prove highly problematical ten or 20 years down the road.

This pattern highlights a central dilemma faced by today’s Republican leadership. In states or regions experiencing heavy waves of non-white immigration, the party’s white conservative base tends to grow alarmed, and any particular spark—an economic downturn, a brutal crime widely publicized by the media—can lead to an explosion of racial hostility. At that point, thoughtful Republican candidates are faced with the choice of either following this populist appeal to immediate victory, often attracting the crossover support of large numbers of Democratic or independent voters in the process, or gritting their teeth and opposing it.

If they take the former approach, temporary electoral victories, no matter how sweeping, almost invariably become long-term disasters in political alignment. But if they take the latter stance, they sacrifice the sort of immediate opportunities that tend to figure very high in the minds of most politicians, and even risk losing primaries to harder-line rivals with shorter horizons or fewer scruples.

Since the Democratic Party is already so heavily influenced at the national level by non-white voters and pro-immigrant activists, local Democrats possess little leeway on this sort of issue, and any candidates who might consider adopting a populist anti-immigrant platform would quickly find themselves blacklisted by the party leadership, quite possibly becoming Republicans at the end of a bitter ideological divorce.

But when we consider the case of California and the numerous other states that now appear to be following along that same demographic trajectory, certainly including the Republican anchor state of Texas in which whites recently became a minority, today’s high levels of immigration seem to be forcing the Republicans into a very difficult strategic position, not necessarily over the next five or six years, but over the next ten or 20. Is there any way they can somehow escape this racial trap, perhaps by curtailing immigration? Moreover, can such a proposal be justified on anything other than political grounds?

Our Population Ponzi Scheme

This obviously leads into the endlessly contentious topic of immigration, and whether or not today’s high levels provide benefits that outweigh their problems. There are few subjects so likely to provoke angry emotions in political circles, as well as sweeping ideological justifications, personal vilifications, and factual claims that have no basis in reality. Furthermore, this is one issue in which individuals quite frequently feel compelled to take one position publicly while very clearly holding the opposite belief in private; and such dishonesty seems to occur in both directions of the debate.

Many of the leading factors driving populist opposition to immigration, such as perceptions of high crime rates or anti-white ethnic hostility, seem completely incorrect. As I demonstrated in a 2010 article, all available evidence indicates that most immigrant groups tend to have approximately the same crime rates as white Americans of a similar age, or perhaps even a bit lower. Similarly, there is overwhelming evidence that today’s immigrants want to learn English, gain productive employment, assimilate into our society, and generally become “good Americans” at least as much as did their European counterparts of a century ago.

The notion that masses of non-white immigrants, legal or not, will turn our cities into violent battlefields or support ethnic separatist movements which shatter national unity are total absurdities, and the people who believe such claims are fools. And as we have seen above from the accumulated voting data of the last couple of decades, after a brief transition period, whites and non-white immigrant groups seem to coexist perfectly well, or at least as well as did the various white ethnic groups on the East Coast 50 or 60 years ago.

However, the fact does remain that America’s current immigration levels are extremely high, not merely relative to the 40-year pause between 1925 and 1965, but even relative to the previous peak reached during the early years of the 20th century. Over the last decade, the flow of immigrants has often hit a million or more per year, a rate that would have seemed almost unimaginable during the immigration controversy of the early 1990s, when Peter Brimelow warned of America becoming an “Alien Nation” in his alarmist book of that title. The number of foreign-born Americans has doubled in the last 20 years, while almost a quarter of all American children today have at least one foreign-born parent, nearly matching the level reached during the absolute height of European immigration a century ago.

The result of all this has been a quite remarkable rate of national population growth. During the early 1970s, when environmental concerns, such as depletion of resources and overpopulation, became leading causes among the liberal intelligentsia, America’s population was a little over 200 million, and growth was rapidly diminishing, with birth rates falling to replacement levels following the end of the postwar Baby Boom. But soon after those activists declared victory and moved on to new and varied ideological causes, population growth—driven almost entirely by immigrants and their children—suddenly started up again, with numbers reaching unprecedented levels: 250 million in 1990, 275 million in 2000, and well over 300 million today. A couple of years ago, urban-development expert Joel Kotkin published The Next Hundred Million, a book in which he trumpeted the likely fact that the American population would reach 400 million within about 30 years. Does an eventual billion inhabitants of the 50 states now seem utterly impossible?

Such rapid and massive population growth is found nowhere else in the developed world and is rare even among the more successful developing countries. The European nations, Japan, and China are all approximately stable in their populations, and in most cases are projected to undergo some decline in the near future. Even crowded Mexico, long the leading source of anti-immigrationist dystopian nightmares, saw total fertility rates drop to replacement levels a few years ago, as increasing levels of affluence and education permeated the population.

Large and growing populations certainly do produce national benefits as well as burdens, and America’s wide-open interior spaces still provide a much lower overall population density than small and crowded European countries. But if our national population trends are so wildly discordant with those of almost all our international peers, perhaps we should at least question them.

• • •

There are obvious reasons for this curious lack of national debate. The solvency of our Social Security system is buttressed by such rapid population growth, which increases the number of current workers relative to retirees. The housing sector—which during the peak of the bubble became America’s largest industry—is heavily dependent upon population growth to boost demand. But support for immigration based on these arguments amounts to an endorsement of Ponzi schemes in which growth must continue indefinitely in order to maintain the same benefits. And as we have seen in the recent past, Ponzi schemes eventually collapse, usually leaving devastation in their wake.

Meanwhile, consider the strange continued silence of the once vocal environmentalist groups, for whom massive housing growth and endless suburban sprawl are hardly cherished dreams. I strongly suspect that the difference between their energetic criticism a generation or so ago and their quiescence today centers on the matter of race: back then, America’s population growth was driven almost entirely by the white birthrate, while today non-white immigration and the children of such immigrants are the overwhelming source. And these days in American society, very few individuals—least of all the sort of affluent liberals who focus on the environment—care to risk being branded with a “Scarlet R”.

As a prime example of this dynamic, consider the case of the Sierra Club, one of America’s oldest and largest environmental groups, which quite naturally had always made population growth one of its major concerns. During the mid-1990s, a wealthy California environmentalist, David Gelbaum, himself the grandson of Jewish immigrants from Europe and with a Mexican-American wife, grew outraged over the nasty racial tone of the political battle unleashed by Pete Wilson and Proposition 187 and privately pledged $100 million to the Sierra Club on the condition that it never turn anti-immigration. This requirement was accepted, permanently silencing that organization.

Even without such explicit inducements, we should hardly be surprised that liberal, cosmopolitan, upper middle class environmentalists would be extremely uncomfortable enlisting in a political cause typically spearheaded by the sort of loud right-wing populists whom they personally detest as “racist rabble.” Sometimes strange bedfellows do find it extremely difficult to share the same bed.

Meanwhile, many other powerful lobbies within our political system derive important real or perceived benefits from endless population growth. The massive inflow of often impoverished and desperate immigrants tends to weaken unions and drive down working-class wages, thereby increasing corporate profits, a slice of which is then rebated back to the campaign accounts of the elected officials who maintain such policies. Some of the more expansively-minded neoconservatives feel that if America must establish a hegemonic world empire, it necessarily requires a vast population to do so, especially given their expectation of an inevitable conflict with China. Particular proposals from some of these individuals carry strong echoes of the decaying Late Roman Empire, with Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, having suggested that we should offer automatic American citizenship to any foreigner willing to enlist in the U.S. military.

But if we take a step back and ask ourselves to consider the current outcome of all these interlocked policies, we discover a very sorry situation. The massive immigration of the last couple of decades is certainly not the sole or even the leading cause, but it is an important contributing factor. Endless foreign wars, partly made possible by the availability of pliant immigrant cannon fodder, have ruined America’s worldwide reputation and its finances. A gigantic housing bubble, inflated by heavy immigration-driven population growth, has collapsed, wrecking the American economy and endangering our financial system. And the extremes of American wealth and poverty have reached levels never previously seen in our society.

This last point is perhaps the most significant, but also the least often articulated, given that both political parties are largely funded by the same financial interests.

The Politics of Rich and Poor

In recent decades, American society has undergone an almost unprecedented concentration of wealth, now reaching the point at which the top 1 percent possess as much net wealth as the bottom 90-95 percent. This same top 1 percent received over 80 percent of the total increase in American personal income between 1980 and 2005, and that trend has almost certainly accelerated since then. Late last year New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof sounded the alarm that America might soon reach the extremes of wealth and poverty found in the notoriously polarized societies of Argentina and the “banana republics” of Latin America, then needed to retract that claim when he discovered that we had already long since passed most of those countries in that regard. And in a widely discussed Vanity Fair article, Economics Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz characterized today’s America as being a country “Of the One Percent, By the One Percent, and For the One Percent.” This state of affairs is clearly not beneficial to the less wealthy 99 percent of our society, but he also pointed out that the obvious potential for social instability should deeply concern the more thoughtful members of the One Percent themselves.

Furthermore, much of this economic decline has been absolute rather than merely relative. Adjusted for inflation, median personal income has been stagnant for the past 40 years, and a substantial fraction of the population has seen a sharp drop in its standard of living, a situation almost without precedent in American history. Meanwhile, the costs of numerous budget items such as healthcare or higher education have risen very rapidly, thereby forcing more and more families into what Paul Krugman has characterized as a system of permanent “debt peonage” or what Warren Buffett has similarly described as a “sharecropper’s society.” As a result, nearly a quarter of American households have zero to negative net worth, and a single unexpected illness or economic setback can push them to the brink of destitution.

To some extent, this long stagnation in financial well-being has been masked by the material benefits derived from the exponentially growing power of our electronic technologies and also by the false sense of wealth temporarily provided by the housing bubble. But with the collapse of the latter, many Americans are finally discovering just how poor they really have become. And in many respects, this economic situation seems far worse in America than in most of the other wealthy countries we have long regarded as our economic peers, so it cannot simply be blamed upon problems of technological displacement or the rise of China or global free trade.

It is perhaps not entirely coincidental that this 40 year period of economic stagnation for most Americans coincides exactly with 40 years of rapidly rising immigration levels. After all, the concept that a huge influx of eager workers would tend to benefit Capital at the expense of Labor is hardly astonishing, nor does it require years of academic research into the intricacies of economic theory.

Consider, for example, the case of self-educated union activist Cesar Chavez, a liberal icon of the 1960s who today ranks as the top Latino figure in America’s progressive pantheon. During nearly his entire career, Chavez stood as a vigorous opponent of immigration, especially of the undocumented variety, repeatedly denouncing the failure of the government to enforce its immigration laws due to the pervasive influence of the business lobby and even occasionally organizing vigilante patrols at the Mexican border. Indeed, the Minutemen border activists of a few years back were merely following in Chavez’s footsteps and would have had every historical right to have named their organization the “Cesar Chavez Brigade.” I think a good case can be made that during his own era Chavez ranked as America’s foremost anti-immigration activist.

But today’s union leaders have grown almost completely silent on the obvious impact that large increases in the supply of labor have on the economic well-being of ordinary workers. A crucial explanation is that for reasons of citizenship and language, the overwhelming majority of immigrants are employed in the private sector, particularly the small-scale non-unionized private sector. Meanwhile, population growth tends to increase the need for teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other government employees, thereby benefiting the powerful public-sector unions that today completely dominate the labor movement.

• • •

This relates to another perfectly valid criticism raised by anti-immigration activists, namely that the net fiscal impact of many immigrants is substantially negative. The notion that large numbers of immigrants and their families subsist on welfare or that Mexican immigrant mothers often have five or ten children is sheer nonsense. Immigrants actually have very high labor force participation rates and relatively low rates of welfare dependency, while the vast majority of their families stop at two or three children, a number somewhat higher than that of today’s native-born whites but really no different from the typical American family during the hallowed 1950s. And since, as mentioned earlier, immigrant crime rates are about average, there is no large additional cost for police or prisons.

The fiscal difficulty lies not on the expenditure side but on the tax side. Most immigrants, especially illegal ones, work at relatively low paid jobs, and the various taxes they pay simply cannot cover their share of the (extremely inflated) costs of America’s governmental structure, notably schooling. Furthermore, for exactly this same reason of relative poverty, they receive a disproportionate share of those government programs aimed at benefiting the working poor, ranging from tax credits to food stamps to rental subsidies. Immigration critics have persuasively argued that the current system amounts to the classic case of economic special interests managing to privatize profits while socializing costs, wherein immigrant employers receive the full benefits of the labor done by their low-wage workforce while pushing many of the costs—including explicit income subsidies—onto the taxpayers. Obviously, all these same factors are equally true for non-immigrant Americans who fall into the category of working-poor, but the large continuing inflow of low-wage workers greatly exacerbates this basic fiscal problem.

Immigration and the Political Trap

But even if we conclude that our high immigration levels represent a serious national problem, is there any possible solution? The political reality is that both major parties are enormously dependent upon the business interests that greatly benefit from the current system and are also dominated by disparate ideologies—libertarian open-borders and multicultural open-borders—whose positions tend to coincide on this issue.

As an extreme example of the bizarre ideological views of our current political elites, consider a less-publicized element of the immigration reform plan that President George W. Bush trumpeted during his 2004 reelection campaign. This provision would have allowed any foreigner anywhere in the world to legally immigrate to America if he accepted a minimum-wage job that no American were willing to fill, an utterly insane proposal which would have effectively transformed America’s minimum wage into its maximum wage. Naturally his opponent, Sen. John Kerry, saw absolutely nothing wrong with this idea, though he did criticize various other aspects of Bush’s immigration plan as being somewhat mean-spirited.

Furthermore, while significant Democratic support for curtailing immigration appears almost unthinkable given the party’s internal dynamics, a committed Republican effort—unlikely though it might be—would seem doomed to failure due to the racial aspects of the issue. Republicans would immediately be subjected to withering Democratic attacks in the media—whether or not these were fair or sincere—and as a result would lose much of whatever remaining non-white political support they still retained, while the GOP plan would never have the slightest chance of gaining majority support in Congress, let alone a filibuster-proof majority. The Republicans would suffer massive political damage without any possibility of achieving legislative success, and knowing that, would never undertake the effort. So they don’t.

After all, even strictly enforcing existing immigration laws is almost impossible in our current political and media climate. Although the press has recently highlighted the hundreds of thousands of undocumented residents annually deported under the Obama administration—and this has sparked a sharp political backlash among his pro-immigrant supporters—such a number is negligible compared to the estimated total of 11 million or so. Only the most utterly egregious employers of those workers have ever paid serious penalties, and the dollars involved are usually trivial compared to the economic benefits of ignoring the law. In almost all cases, “employer sanctions” have amounted to just a (small) cost of doing business. When both worker and employer have a strong mutual interest in evading a law, enforcement becomes very difficult and cumbersome, just as we have seen in the case of our endlessly violated drug laws.

Even so, attacking the employment side of the equation remains the most effective approach. Virtually all immigrants come here for jobs, so eliminating government benefits would merely serve to further immiserate millions of families, who would remain in this country regardless. Having immigration agents conduct random sweeps through ethnic neighborhoods would engender enormous fear and anger and also deter immigrants from reporting crimes, while constituting a massive violation of traditional civil liberties. Even building a fence and doubling the border-patrol would probably have just a small impact across such an enormously long border, not least because an estimated one-half of all illegal immigrants enter the country legally and then overstay their visas. If the magnetic appeal of the American job market could somehow be reduced or eliminated, such ancillary measures might prove useful, but if the jobs remain, the immigrants will remain here as well.

Escaping the Low-Wage Society

So we are faced with several apparently insoluble and reinforcing dilemmas. Passing legislation to curtail immigration seems a political non-starter with both parties, and enforcing such legislation even if passed is equally unlikely. Yet as an almost inevitable consequence of the current system, the bulk of the American population—including the vast majority of immigrants and their children—falls deeper and deeper into economic misery, while government finances steadily deteriorate, leading our country to a looming calamity whose outcome appears both dire and quite difficult to predict. Over the last century, the political consequences of a largely impoverished middle class and a bankrupt government—whether in Latin America or in Central Europe—have often been very unfortunate.

By contrast, the sharp constriction in the labor supply resulting from steep reductions in additional immigration would dramatically boost worker wages, especially at the low end, with current immigrants themselves being among the greatest beneficiaries. An increase of a couple of dollars per hour or more could make huge improvements in the difficult existence of the working poor, perhaps allowing them to exit the debt treadmill and stand a better chance of eventually rising into a revitalized middle class. Admittedly, corporate profits might suffer a little and some businesses at the lowest end might disappear; but corporate profits are already doing quite nicely these days, and it makes no sense for developed countries to desperately compete with the impoverished Third World for jobs that are only viable under Third World salaries. Immigration restrictions that raised working-class wages by a couple of dollars an hour would also do wonders for the fiscal health of the Social Security system and government finances in general.

But perhaps the obvious escape from this seemingly inescapable political trap is as simple as merely reversing the direction of cause and effect. Consider the consequences of a very substantial rise in the national minimum wage, perhaps to $10 or more likely $12 per hour.

• • •

The automatic rejoinder to proposals for hiking the minimum wage is that “jobs will be lost.” But in today’s America a huge fraction of jobs at or near the minimum wage are held by immigrants, often illegal ones. Eliminating those jobs is a central goal of the plan, a feature not a bug.

Let us explore the likely implications of this simple proposal. The analysis that follows should be regarded as impressionistic and plausible rather than based on any sort of rigorous and detailed research. It is intended to raise possibilities rather than provide answers. Also, let us assume for the moment that these higher wage requirements would be very strictly enforced.

First, the vast majority of workers in America’s surviving manufacturing sector—whether in unionized Seattle or non-union South Carolina—already earn far more than the existing minimum wage, so their employers would hardly be affected, resulting in almost no impact on our international competitiveness. The same would be true for government employees, resulting in negligible cost to the taxpayer.

By contrast, the bulk of the low-wage jobs affected fall into the category of domestic non-tradeable service-sector jobs, which cannot be replaced by overseas workers. Many of these jobs would disappear, but a substantial fraction would remain viable at the higher wage level, with employers either raising prices or trimming profits or more likely a mixture of both. Perhaps consumers would pay 3 percent more for Wal-Mart goods or an extra dime for a McDonald’s hamburger, but most of these jobs would still exist and the price changes would be small compared to ongoing fluctuations due to commodity prices, international exchange rates, or Chinese production costs.

Meanwhile, many millions of low-wage workers would see an immediate 20 percent or 30 percent boost in their take-home pay, producing a large increase in general economic activity, not to mention personal well-being. We must bear in mind that an increase in the hourly minimum wage from the current federal level of $7.25 to (say) $12.00 would also have secondary, smaller ripple effects, boosting wages already above that level as well, perhaps even reaching workers earning as much as $15 per hour.

The likely impact upon immigrant workers, whether legal or illegal, would be quite varied. Those most recently arrived, especially illegal ones with weak language or job skills, would probably lose their jobs, especially since many of these individuals are already forced to work (illegally) for sub-minimum wages. However, workers who have been here for some years and acquired reasonably good language and job skills and who had demonstrated their reliability over time would probably be kept on, even if their employer needed to boost their pay by a dollar or two an hour.

Thus, the force of the policy would fall overwhelmingly on those immigrants who possessed the weakest ties to American society and still retained the strongest links to their country of origin. By contrast, those immigrants—legal or otherwise—who had lived here for some years and therefore had gradually become part of the community would mostly emerge unscathed, probably receiving a very welcome boost to their family income. Some anti-immigration activists might find this prospect extremely distasteful, but half- or two-thirds of a loaf is better than none.

Moreover, although this wage structure would tend to “grandfather” a considerable fraction of existing illegal immigrants, it would constitute a very formidable barrier to future ones. Paying $12 per hour might be reasonable for a reliable employee who had worked with you for several years, but would be much harder to justify for an impoverished new arrival speaking minimal English and with no track record. To a large extent, the undocumented job window in America would have permanently slammed shut.

In effect, a much higher minimum wage serves to remove the lowest rungs in the employment ladder, thus preventing newly arrived immigrants from gaining their initial foothold in the economy. As a natural consequence, these rungs would also disappear for the bottom-most American workers, such as youths seeking their first jobs or the least skilled in our society. But over the last few decades, these groups have already been largely displaced in the private-sector job market by immigrants, especially illegal ones. Whereas 40 years ago, teenagers and blacks tended to mow lawns and work as janitors, in most parts of the country these days, such jobs are now held by recent arrivals from south of the border. So the net loss of opportunity to Americans would not be large.

Furthermore, recently arrived illegal workers must very quickly find employment if they hope to cover their living expenses and remain here rather than being forced to return home instead. But first-time American job-seekers are already living with their families and anyway have no other home to draw them away, and consequently could spend months seeking an available job. Thus, a higher minimum wage would tend to disproportionately impact new immigrants rather than their American-born competitors.

• • •

The enforcement of these wage provisions would be quite easy compared with the complex web of current government requirements and restrictions. It is possible for business owners to claim they were “fooled” by obviously fraudulent legal documents or that they somehow neglected to run the confusing electronic background checks on their new temporary dishwasher. But it is very difficult for anyone to claim he “forgot” to pay his workers the legally mandated minimum wage. Furthermore, the former situation constitutes something of a “victimless crime” and usually arouses considerable sympathy among immigrant-rights advocates and within ethnic communities; but the latter would universally be seen as the case of a greedy boss who refused to pay his workers the money they were legally due and would attract no sympathy from the media, the police, juries, or anyone else.

Very stiff penalties, including mandatory prison terms, could assure near absolute compliance. Virtually no employer would be foolish enough to attempt to save a few hundred dollars a month in wages paid at the risk of a five-year prison sentence, especially since the workers he was cheating would immediately acquire enormous bargaining leverage over him by threatening to report his behavior to the police.

The proposed change would simply be in the rate of the minimum wage, rather than in the structure of the law, so certain relatively small modification and exceptions, such as including estimated tips for some restaurant employees, might be maintained, so long as these did not expand as a means of circumventing the statute.

Depending upon the state, the current American minimum wage ranges between $7.25 and $8.67 per hour. But is a much higher national minimum wage such as $12 per hour really unreasonable by historical or international standards? In 2011 dollars, the American hourly minimum wage was over $10 in 1968, during our peak of postwar prosperity and full employment, and perhaps that relationship was partly causal. Although exchange-rate fluctuations render exact comparisons difficult, the minimum wage in Ontario along our northern border is currently well over $10 per hour, while in France it now stands at nearly $13. Even more remarkably, Australia recently raised its minimum wage to over $16 per hour, and nonetheless has an unemployment rate of just 5 percent. With the collapse of America’s unsustainable housing-bubble economy of the 2000s, our unemployment rates seem no better and in many cases considerably worse than those of affluent Western countries that have refused to pursue our race-to-the-bottom low-wage economic strategy of recent decades.

• • •

But suppose this boost in the minimum wage succeeded at one of its primary goals and eliminated the jobs of many millions of America’s large undocumented population. Would these current workers and their families remain here anyway, perhaps turning to crime as they became financially desperate? After all, huge numbers of immigrants were employed in housing construction, and following the collapse of that industry their unemployment rates have soared, but most of them have stayed here anyway rather than going home again.

The central point to recognize is that most illegal immigrants, and a substantial fraction of legal ones, enter America with the original goal of short-term economic gain, intending to work for a few years, save as much money as possible, then go back home to their family and friends with a nice nest-egg. Frequently, these plans are unrealistic—saving money proves more difficult than expected—and local ties develop. But except for financial factors, even those individuals who have lived here a decade or longer often still dream of returning to their native countries, sometimes even after they have married, had American-born children, and put down considerable roots.

Among other factors, the cost-structure of American society is extremely high compared with that in most of the developing world, where dollars go much farther. This is the primary reason that substantial numbers of non-Hispanic American retirees have chosen to relocate to Mexico with their pensions, despite considerable barriers of language and culture.

Furthermore, as discussed earlier, the fiscal costs to the American government of low-wage immigrant families can be enormous. A couple working jobs at or near the present minimum wage pays negligible taxes, while if they have two school-age children, the grossly inflated expense structure of American public education may easily result in an annual taxpayer burden of $20,000 or more, even excluding the substantial costs associated with all other public services. And if one or both of these parents lose their jobs due to a soaring minimum wage, the fiscal burden grows still more severe.

The obvious solution, both humane and highly cost-effective, would be for the government to offer immigrants extremely generous financial relocation packages if they return home to their own countries. A tax-free cash payment perhaps as high as $5,000 or even $10,000 per adult plus a much smaller sum per minor child, together with free travel arrangements, would constitute an enormously attractive offer, probably being much more than they had managed to accumulate during many years of difficult low-wage labor. If the legal changes proposed herein had already caused their jobs to disappear, such a relocation offer would become irresistible. (Naturally, the full financial package would require hard evidence that they had already been living in America for a year or more, thereby preventing foreigners from crossing our borders simply to game the system.) Given the massive fiscal burdens inherent in the current situation, even such generous financial terms would probably pay for themselves almost immediately.

An important aspect of all these proposals is that they are largely self-enforcing. Workers would be perfectly aware of the simple minimum wage laws, and harsh penalties would deter employers from taking the risk of violating them. The disappearance of low-wage jobs would remove the primary lure for new illegal immigrants, and generous cash relocation packages would lead many existing ones to eagerly turn themselves in and seek deportation. Although the Border Patrol would continue to exist and immigration laws would remain on the books, after a short transition period these would become much less necessary, and a vast existing system of government bureaucracy, business red tape, and taxpayer expense could safely be reduced.

Even principled libertarians, fervently opposed to the very concept of a minimum wage, might find this system preferable to the status quo, which contains an enormously complex web of regulations and employment restrictions; the civil libertarian nightmares of identity cards, national databases, and workplace raids; and an existing minimum wage on top of all these other things.

The Political Balance Sheet

The political response to this package would obviously not be uniformly favorable, but would almost certainly be more so than for any typical immigration-restriction proposal.

Most of the larger corporations, especially those in the industrial sector, would be minimally affected by the wage changes, while benefiting from the (eventually) decreased burden of immigration-related reporting and paperwork requirements.

Many large retail establishments would be forced to pay higher wages, but since these requirements would be uniform, hitting all of them simultaneously, they would be able to raise prices in unison to cover much of the additional expense, a situation very different from one in which well-paid unionized companies are driven to the wall by their lower-paid non-unionized competitors. Furthermore, during the course of this severe recession, giant companies such as Wal-Mart have disclosed disturbing trends of declining sales, and this has widely been ascribed to the growing impoverishment of their lower-middle-class and working-poor customers. A dramatic rise in the wages of low-end groups would reverse this situation and probably boost the fortunes of Wal-Mart and its peers.

Large agricultural interests are heavily reliant upon illegal labor, but while they might be unhappy about raising their workers’ pay by a significant amount, they would find this situation vastly preferable to actual enforcement of today’s immigration laws, which would immediately put them out of business. Anyway, although agricultural labor is difficult and unpleasant, most field workers already earn well above current minimum-wage levels, averaging just over $10 per hour in 2009, so the required increase would be much less than what one might assume. And unlike the situation decades ago, only a small fraction of today’s illegal immigrants are employed in agriculture.

Many small textile manufacturers and other businesses that survive only by relying upon very low-paid immigrant labor, working in near-sweatshop conditions, would probably be driven out of business. But that is the intent of the proposal.

The reality is that most of the larger, more powerful business interests in America are much less heavily impacted by minimum wage laws than by all sorts of other regulatory and legal issues, not to mention healthcare and pension costs. A simple change in minimum-wage rates would provoke only a small fraction of the organized business opposition generated by many of the other sweeping national proposals of recent decades, notably healthcare reform. Small business interests, influential in Republican circles, would certainly oppose the measure, but they would largely stand alone.

• • •

A greater difficulty on the Republican side of the aisle would involve the entrenched ideological positions of many conservative elected officials and pundits, who over the years have come to vaguely regard minimum wage laws as being “bad,” both economically and even spiritually, having substituted dogma for thinking. As an example, conservative firebrand Rep. Michele Bachmann recently hinted that the solution to America’s current economic problems might involve substantially reducing our existing minimum-wage rates. Presumably, she believes our country would prosper by cutting its wages to Sub-Saharan African levels, then naturally importing millions of Sub-Saharan Africans happy to work at those rates.

But we should also recognize that these days a crucial component of the Republican electorate consists of working-class whites, often strongly religious ones, who tend to live in non-unionized low-wage states or who otherwise generally subsist, sometimes with considerable difficulty, on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. Proposing a large wage increase to a socially conservative evangelical Christian who works at Wal-Mart and currently struggles to pay her bills would be the sort of simple, clear message that might easily cut through an enormous amount of ideological clutter. And even if Rush Limbaugh, who earns tens of millions of dollars each year, denounced this proposal as “big-government liberalism,” for once his views might not find receptive ears. I suspect that a very substantial fraction of Michele Bachmann’s supporters fall into exactly this socioeconomic category.

The minimum wage represents one of those political issues whose vast appeal to ordinary voters is matched by little if any interest among establishment political elites. As an example, in 1996, following years of unsuccessful attempts to attract the support of California politicians, disgruntled union activists led by State Sen. Hilda Solis, now serving as President Obama’s secretary of labor, scraped together the funds to place a huge 35 percent minimum wage increase on the state ballot. Once Republican pollsters began testing the issue, they discovered voter support was so immensely broad and deep that the ballot initiative could not possibly be defeated, and they advised their business clients to avoid any attempt to do so, thus allowing the measure to pass in a landslide against almost no organized opposition. Afterward, the free-market naysayers who had predicted economic disaster were proven entirely wrong, and instead the state economy boomed.

Finally, we should remember that many of the most militant and ideologically fervent grassroots activists within conservative ranks are vehemently anti-immigration, often largely on racial grounds, and sometimes focus on that one issue to the exclusion of most others. For them, the very realistic prospect of dramatically cutting the numbers of America’s huge undocumented population, reducing future illegal immigration to a mere trickle, and even perhaps encouraging a substantial fraction of our legal immigrants to return home would be tremendously attractive, and they might make life very uncomfortable for any Republican politician who opposed this plan without providing a realistic alternative in its place.

The political calculus among Democrats would be much simpler. Any neoliberal Democratic officeholder who balked at a large rise in the minimum wage by citing the economic theories of Milton Friedman or the research reports of Goldman Sachs would be trampled into the dust by his enraged constituents, disappearing forever.

• • •

A little over a century ago, Henry Ford took the bold step of doubling the regular wages of his assembly-line workers to the then remarkable sum of $5 per day, thereby achieving international fame as well as enormous business success for his own company. According to most accounts, this event was a crucial factor in creating the prosperous middle class that eventually dominated America’s 20th-century history, and Lenin later hailed Ford as one of the world’s greatest revolutionary heroes, urged his followers to closely study Ford’s writings, and argued that so long as America possessed leaders of such wisdom, no Communist revolution would be necessary there.

These days, times have changed. But perhaps a similarly bold step, which similarly raises the income of America’s working class and similarly crosses many ideological lines, would help safeguard and maintain the national prosperity that men like Ford originally created.

Ron Unz is publisher of The American Conservative . He thanks Razib Khan for his assistance in gathering the state demographic and election data and running the resulting correlations.


(Reprinted from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
The White America Series

70 Comments to "Immigration, Republicans, and the End of White America"

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  1. Rossbach
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    Alhough this article makes some good points, I cannot agree with its defeatist tone. It is not the Democratic and Republican parties or their self-interested political calculus that will determine the demographic (or economic) future of this country, but the American people themselves. No matter what the Karl Roves of either party say, the bottom line is this: America is our country and Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to mass immigration, be it legal or illegal. Americans are quite aware that mass immigration is a recipe for national suicide and they are slowly beginning to make their political “leaders” aware of this, too.

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  2. I loved Leave it to Beaver, However when Lucille Ball started the I Love Lucy show, she made them hire this Cuban dude Desi Arnaz, with his heavy Spanish accent. Dag Gammit! things just went down hill in America after that. I’ve had enough already. I am officially resigning from the White Race.

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  3. JoeS
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    Just quietly slip a requirement for all businesses to use e-verify into some unrelated bill. Don’t make a big fuss about introducing a tough immigration bill. Of course this requires a Republican House and Senate and Presidency to pass.

    But overall, it’s over for white Americans. Everything it too little too late.

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  4. Matt
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    The defeatist tone is deliberate. Unz likes immigration and doesn’t want it to end.

    Either Unz or myself misunderstands the Sailer Strategy. My impression was that it was not about making the Republicans the white party so much as making the Democrats the black party. In this way, other ethnics–Whites being the prime target–could be peeled off once they realize that the Democrats’ commitment to black issues will always trump the commitment to their issues.

    Unz also whitewashes the situation in California. It is true that there is not mass violence in the streets, but this is largely due to 1) de-facto segregation and 2) the fact that white people aren’t generally rabid KKK members. Regardless of race or beliefs about immigration, most people aren’t going to run around burning crosses. It’s also not really surprising that immigration takes a back seat to more everyday concerns, especially in the face of media silence on the matter.

    Unz also says that a fence and border patrol wouldn’t have much effect, but 50% is a pretty large effect. Fences, contrary to immigrationist belief, do work, which is why people put them up on their land all the time.

    Finally, it is just untrue that hispanics have similar crime rates to whites. Just check your local most wanted list to explode this theory. Unz’s previous article was debunked by several sources.

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  5. How many times does it have to be stated — Pete Wilson won, handily.

    No other prominent state-wide Republican, not Lundgren, not Matt Fong, not even Whitman, has run on immigration issues. All have lost. In contrast, nominal Republican Ahnold did run against Gil Cedillo’s drivers licenses for illegals bill — of course among a large number of other issues at the time — and he won.

    If Unz wants to look at a culprit in GOP’s dismal showing, even among whites, he needs to look at people like his hero Ahmanson. White Californians are pro-choice, not crazy about the religious right, and pro-environment. The party is perceived, unfortunately, as a religious right and anti-environmental, in the pockets of developers, party.

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  6. Matt
    says:
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    One thing I don’t understand: if immigration is contributing to the end of White America, then it seems quite sensible to want to end immigration, for the same reason that going to the hospital to prevent my imminent death seems rather sensible. If Unz thinks immigration will bring about the end of White America, and supports it anyway, then he is supporting the end of White America. There’s no way around this, and he and other immigraionists should be made to answer for it. Why is White America bad and why should it end?

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  7. Knowone I know wants an end to white America, America would not be the same without a significant number of people of anglo/european heritage, however it is the sentiment of nativist America that needs to end.

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  8. The author makes a strong case that the Republican penchant for casting itself as the party of “strong borders” and no mercy for illegal immigrants, even children, will lead to its irrelevance in the near, if not immediate, future. But the idea of paying immigrants to leave out of Congressional appropriations is objectionable on both Constitutional and fiscal grounds. If we want to encourage a mass re-migration of Spanish speakers south of the border, the answers seem obvious and nearly painless. Congress should rescind the free-trade regime instituted with China, India and Southeast Asia, and institute tariffs to diminish these imports, while at the same time dropping any remaining barriers to importation from Mexico. The flow of imports to the U.S.A. will remain unchanged, if not decrease, while the Mexican economy and employment opportunities will boom. Optimally, job prospects between the U.S. and Mexico will be as equal as between the U.S. and Canada and worries about immigration, legal or otherwise of Mexican nationals, will come to an end. If the nations of our hemisphere succeed in creating a prosperous peace of mutual respect and acceptance, it may become necessary to protect both Anglo and Hispanic America from unwanted immigration from the war benighted lands of the Eastern Hemisphere. But policing a border defined by two vast oceans and the polar icecaps should be far more practical than a thousand miles of desert and the Rio Grande.

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  9. mpresley
    says:
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    Blacks as a group instinctively understand that the end of white America means the end of blackness at is has existed since Reconstruction. Unlike most whites, Hispanics and, to a lesser extent, Asians (lesser because there are less of them) have no instilled guilt toward blacks, and are in fact quite hostile towards them. The coming majority Hispanic nation will be similar to Mexico, and at that point I almost feel sorry for blacks who, as a group, have heretofore been able to count on the race card for spoils. I cannot imagine what they will do once the Hispanics take over.

    As far as the Republicans go, I seriously doubt they will embrace whites as a group, but will more and more pander to whatever Hispanic vote they think they can get. However it is useless, since Republicans will never be able to out pander Democrats . Therefore, my prediction is that the Republican party will become extinct. But one never can tell, and I am happy to be surprised differently.

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  10. Scott
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    I find Unz’s cool indifference to the concept of white America pretty refreshing in the end. I think there was an Anglo/Protestant America, with a distinctive hegemomic culture, but it’s long gone. White (or not white) America really doesn’t mean much relative to the other big “what kind of America” questions –its class structure, its environment, it’s foreign policy, its economy.
    The Times today noted the Likudist influence on the GOP. That seems far more ominous, and real, than worries about whether educated Asians and Hispanics will dilute the power of the “white party.”

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  11. Sean Scallon
    says:
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    ” And as we have seen above from the accumulated voting data of the last couple of decades, after a brief transition period, whites and non-white immigrant groups seem to coexist perfectly well, or at least as well as did the various white ethnic groups on the East Coast 50 or 60 years ago”

    There is a reason for this which Mr. Unz did not mention and it is called “white flight”. Those whites who remain in California got along with their new neighbors and those who did not wish to try and get along simply packed up and moved to Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Idaho and Utah and made those states even more Republican than they already were. Indeed, no stats were provided of net-outmigration of whites from California and where they went to but it is reasonable to figure such demographic trends made the GOP’s collapse in California more inevitable than it might have been whereas the latter has not been true in Texas which is also now a non-majority state yet still has a dominant Republican Party. Expect more such migration from areas which pass from majority to non-majority in years to come with the already heavily Republican plains states to benefit.

    The real power behind the Ron Paul campaign is the creation of a Republican Party which can transcend such racial identity by focusing on a single idea of “freedom”, which as Dr. Paul says, “brings us together” Now maybe it’s naive to think this way, but at least it is an alternative than having one’s politics resemble those of South Africa. The question is whether the party’s voters can successfully look into the future and see the better alternative for one’s heirs or selfishly take the quick and easy path of today for quick wins rather than long-lasting power. In fact it’s true on a lot of issues, not just immigration.

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  12. Ken Hoop
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    Instead of merely lamenting the lack of practicality in utilizing either major party to address the situation, it is obvious that one who truly cares about sustaining, one might now say,redeveloping an organic Euro-American dominant nation, will look for third party solutions.

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  13. Geoff G.
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    Matt wrote:

    “Regardless of race or beliefs about immigration, most people aren’t going to run around burning crosses.”

    Back during the ’20s, quite a few of them were.

    Here’s my rejoinder to this kind of argument: the definition of “white” has proven to be considerably more elastic than is often suspected. Influxes of Mediterranean, Eastern European and Jewish immigrants in the early 20th century were met with considerable hostility. The KKK of the ’20s was at least as active against immigrants, Catholics and Jews as it was against blacks.

    And yet today, very few people today would deny that Italians or Poles or Ashkenazim are white. The definition expanded from the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic Protestant identities to include pretty much every European background.

    There’s no real reason to expect that precisely the same thing won’t happen with Hispanic and Asian immigrants today. There is strong reason to expect that intermarriage and assimilation will eventually lead to the differences between Hispanics, Asians and whites being seen as insignificant as the differences between Scots and Italians today.

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  14. Kirt Higdon
    says:
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    I appreciate the amount of thought and research that Ron Unz puts into his writing. I voted for Mr. Unz in his attempt to get the republican nomination for governor. Unhappily, he lost.

    I think it would probably be a good idea to raise the minimum wage to $10 or $12 per hour and then index it for inflation to prevent the steady erosion of the standard of living of the poor, expecially the young. But I doubt if this would have the effect of causing large numbers of illegal aliens to leave the country. Large numbers of them (along with plenty of native blacks,hispanics and whites) are employed in the informal economy as lawn care people, baby sitters, nannies, small restaurant and beauty salon workers, small project construction workers, etc. They have no incentive to drop a dime to report their employers to state labor boards and, of course, their informal employers have no incentive to start keeping accurate books or (as one person suggested above) to use e-verify. Raising the minimum wage would benefit those in the formal economy.

    As far as the “death of white America” goes, I’ve never seen any advantage to me from living in a country where whites are the majority, nor disadvantage from living (as I do now) in a community where whites are a minority. I have found plenty of advantage, including life-long friendships, which have resulted from living in a country which permits immigration. I have no desire to live in a continent wide hermit kingdom.

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  15. “There is strong reason to expect that intermarriage and assimilation will eventually lead to the differences between Hispanics, Asians and whites being seen as insignificant as the differences between Scots and Italians today.”

    That logic might work, given an end to immigration as happened in 1924 — an action that also took the wind out of the sails of the KKK.

    However I think not, as the genetic and cultural differences are far greater — there are blond haired, blue eyed Italians. Indeed the Italic languages are the closest in indo-european family to the Celtic. But there are few-to-no blond haired blue eyed Mestizos (now we are getting very Amerind Mexicans from south Mexico) or Asians.

    Frankly, I want my ancestors to look something like me, and given current immigration trends, they will look something closer to Benito Juarez.

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  16. Kirt Higdon
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    Italic languages? Romance languages in other words – like Spanish. Here in south Texas, there is plenty of intermarriage between latinos and non-latino whites, leading to blond and blue-eyed, even red-headed mestizos. Of course, the Amerindian component of the mestizaje is being constantly watered down.

    BTW, I think you mean you want your descendents to look like you. I’m hoping mine are a lot better looking than I am.

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  17. James Wilson
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    Mr. Unz neglects other trends that supposedly made wages stagnant over the past 40 years, particularly the inflationary policies of the FED.

    And, if a larger number of available workers is so bad, we might as well blame ending the draft, which increased the numbers of young native-born men looking for work. (I imagine, however, that Mr. Unz believes ending the draft was a good thing, as do I.)

    And, his solution of raising the minimum wage will accomplish three things:

    1. Many more jobs will be lost than Mr. Unz imagines, as businesses will seek greater automation and “self-service” methods. (This is why you have to wipe your own windshield at the pump.) There’s nothing wrong with automation, but it should be adopted by market signals, not the increased compliance costs of the minimum wage.
    2. The minimum wage jobs that do remain will become more stressful and demanding, because employers will hold all the leverage over their employees.
    3. The underground, cash-only economy will grow, leading to an even greater decline in tax revenue.

    The best course is to reduce public “education” and cut social services, and make it EASIER, not harder, for individuals to start businesses or find jobs.

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  18. FOR CERTAIN: The underground economy is no respecter of minimum wage laws.

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  19. Greg
    says:
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    The piece started out well, but devolved into a spectacle of fatal proportion when it got to immigration. I guess we can put both “American” and “conservative” in scare quotes now when describing this publication–as it often is neither.

    White Americans, (the only ones reading websites like AmCon), are starting to realize a post-white America looks much different than the rosy-colored Hollywood-created multiculti fabricated utopia they once believed in. Black/white tension was bad enough for much of the 20th century. But with the massive Mexican invasion in the SW, it is clear the 21st century will see race relations become more complicated and tense–all to the detriment of an aging white American populace.

    Whites have been told America is a “land of immigrants” and that “diversity is strength.” Of course, for the first 200 years 99+% of all immigrants were hard working, Christian and Jewish white Europeans. And even they didn’t all get along. While some non-white immigrant groups *are* beneficial economically and commit little crime; their customs, traditions and morals are alien to us in the Occident. The fact Chinatowns exist in many major US cities show how poorly many Asians have assimilated into American culture. This is not good for America.

    The problem, ultimately, is with the illegal Mexicans. Not only are their crime rates demonstrably higher, so too are the government services they take. This has been demonstrated in countless places, notably by the current Secretary of State of Kansas (and actual conservative) Kris Kobach. If Hispanic immigration rates continue, much of the US ceases being productive, industriousness, innovative, and moral. Conservatism loses out to a culture of corruption, handouts, and welfare-dependency. We’re seeing it already. Although a small percent could be absorbed if pressured to assimilate, they are forming too large of an influence in our country.

    It is amazing to see a defense of Republican pandering at the supposed independent American Conservative. When a Republican administration dares to attack hateful Islamic regimes, the publication goes off the deep-end with inane pejoratives to excoriate the “neo-cons,” yet is now concerned with Republican electoral hopes 10 years down the road? Some independence. Instead of worrying whether or not the GOP will exist later, the focus should be on *conserving* the republic. Is this not what being a *conservative* is all about?

    If, in 50 years the trends continue and the nation is completely transformed demographically, the Republican Party will still exist. We needn’t worry about the organization named the GOP. The Democratic Party was pro-slavery for the first part of its existence yet it is still around. Parties evolve to fit the changing wills of the electorate.

    However, I don’t care about the future of the Republican Party. I care about the future of the United States. As an American with ancestry back to pre-Revolutionary War days, I don’t see why I should have to pander to those who willingly break the laws of our republic, fly the Mexican flag, and sincerly hate us “gringos.” The country can be taken back by strict immigration enforcement that will not only reverse demographic trends, but allow for the absorption of assimilated Hispanics who feel no allegiance to Mexico. This includes a restricted legal immigration that seeks only English-speaking Canadians, Australians, and Europeans.

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  20. Matt
    says:
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    Geoff G, the upper estimate on Klan membership in the 20s was 6 million out of a population of 110 million or so. Assuming 10 million blacks and 10% foreigner, that gives us about 7% participation. Even if every one of them were burning crosses, that’s nowhere near a majority or even a significant plurality.

    As for Hispanic expectations, we don’t need handwaving analogies about the Irish and Poles; we have actual data on Hispanics and their descendants. It’s not good. It doesn’t remotely resemble the situation with Jews or Italians. I can’t say what will happen in the future, but just ask yourself one question: has the frequency of hearing and reading Spanish in your daily life increased or decreased over the past 10 years? The question practically answers itself.

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  21. eep
    says:
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    I agree with much of what he says. Illegal aliens are here and many are here to stay. It would be better to deal with them as people with common interest than enemies, especially since they aren’t going anywhere. I think he makes a good case for why wages should be increased. If businesses want people to buy goods then they need to pay them better. The Henry Ford quote reminds me that we need jobs other than retail, government, and fast food. I think intellectual property rights should be reconsidered. Americans could improve upon the mass produced products made in China and elsewhere.

    Mr. Unz loses me on the concept of paying them to go home. The whole world would come if it could for free money. I wouldn’t be surprised if people tried to game such a system. I don’t think portions of the US can support a huge population. I think increasing the minimum wage to try and curve the incentive for illegal immigration is worth a try. Poor people need to be able to survive and I don’t think the system is going to change for the better with the current ruling class.

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  22. David
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    I think you get it exactly backwards, Mr. Unz. California did not go blue because Republicans became too anti-immigrant. California went blue because too many illegal immigrants (and/or children of illegal immigrants) became voters. This is an all-or-nothing existential crisis for the Republican Party, and really, the American Republic as a whole: either illegal immigration is eliminated, and the majority of illegal immigrants deported (or voluntarily repatriate themselves), or the Republican Party as we know it will cease to exist, and with it, the American ideals of liberty and freedom.

    I don’t know what’s so hard for so many Republicans and conservatives to understand: poor people who are not white vote for Democrats. There are a few small pockets of exception to that rule scattered around the country (mostly having to do with isolated foreign policy questions like Cuba and Vietnam), but by and large we’re talking about 90+% of the poor and nonwhite vote. The Democrat strategy is clear: create as many voters as possible who fit that profile, no matter the cost to everything else. It’s not an irrational strategy even as it erodes the earning power of their core constituencies because if they succeed, then they win all of the marbles. If every illegal immigrant in America because a citizen tomorrow, Democrats would win national elections going away for decades to come, guaranteed, no matter how badly they ruined everything else.

    But even given that, it’s not the future of the Republican Party that worries me, but the country. This country is founded on the ideal of the rule of law, not of men. Whereas in most other countries, one’s successes or failures in life are intricately connected with the doings of those in power, especially a strong central government, typically corrupt, arbitrary and capricious, in our country, successes and failures are attributed to one’s own hard work, integrity, honesty, with the government limited, but fair to all parties. When you introduce tens of millions of new citizens into the mix whose very entry into the country violated the rule of law, and whose grant of citizenship was so clearly the result of a politically corrupted, arbitrary and capricious process, what do you think that will do to our national ethos and culture?

    Stop playing these stupid political games with this issue. We are either going to have America as it was founded, a democratic republic, or we are going to be just another American banana republic, with a population divided between a small group of well-connected very rich people, and legions of poor people, with the two groups having in common only their total dependence on government largess for everything that they have in life.

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  23. Arthur J.
    says:
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    More pro-immigration propaganda from the pro-immigration fanatic Ron Unz.

    In his last piece on Hispanic crime, Jason Richwine found that Unz miscalculated the data. Can’t wait to see the errors on this one.

    Unz is clearly blindsided by his ideological fanaticism about immigration. He is so pro-immigration that he cannot even see the forest through the trees.

    America historically has been a European nation, and many do not want it to become another failed mestizo nation, another Mexico. Regardless if Mexifornia votes Republican, it will still be a failed Mexifornia.

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  24. ” Here in south Texas, there is plenty of intermarriage between latinos and non-latino whites, leading to blond and blue-eyed, even red-headed mestizos. Of course, the Amerindian component of the mestizaje is being constantly watered down.

    BTW, I think you mean you want your descendents to look like you. I’m hoping mine are a lot better looking than I am.

    Yes, I meant descendants, and do hope they look better than, but similar to, me. But here in California I fail to see how the Amerindian component is being watered down. We are getting a lot of people from Southern Mexico who look to be near 100% indian — and many speak no Spanish. In fact, I think the data show that it is increasing in Mexico itself, as the richer, whiter Mexicans have fewer children.

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  25. “I’ve never seen any advantage to me from living in a country where whites are the majority, nor disadvantage from living (as I do now) in a community where whites are a minority”

    Kurt Higdon

    Funny, but Mexicans do — which is why they come to the US in droves.

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  26. NotYou
    says:
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    Well on the bright side, when whites become a minority they will not be singled out anymore as being the majority oppressing the minority.

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  27. Pointsman
    says:
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    “that single city [DC] filled with a population consisting almost entirely of blacks and very liberal whites serves to substantially mask elite perceptions of the stark racial dynamics that influence political ideologies almost everywhere else in the country.”

    This is an excellent point, and one that applies to other issues.

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  28. Pete
    says:
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    Looking fwd to canceling my TAC subscription!

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  29. Severn
    says:
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    >”harsh Republican rhetoric or policies that target these groups would naturally tend to drive them into the arms of the Democrats.”

    You toss this off in a single casual sentence, but it is the lynchpin of your entire argument. Is there any evidence at all to support it? No, there is not. The Hispanic-American vote does not ebb and flow based on “harsh rhetoric or policies” with respect to immigration.

    After Reagan and the Republicans passed the 1986 amnesty the GOP should have reaped a windfall of Hispanic votes, according to your theory. Instead its share of the Hispanic vote dropped sharply.

    John McCain sometimes gave the impression that he was running for President of Mexico and not the US. He lost the Hispanic vote in a landslide.

    Hispanics in America are people who want increased spending by government. Amnesty for illegals is not high on their list of priorities.

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  30. Severn
    says:
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    >”today, very few people today would deny that Italians or Poles or Ashkenazim are white. The definition expanded from the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic Protestant identities to include pretty much every European background.”

    This is an urban legend. There never was a time when Italians or Poles (or Irish) or Germans were not considered “white”. Were they the full equals of the ruling class WASP’s in every respect? Of course not. But they had full equality under the law. Legally, they were on the same footing as any New England Brahmin whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower.

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  31. IanH
    says:
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    As somebody who lives in California, I can tell you that this notion that everyone gets along is patently untrue.

    It’s no accident that that 1986 amnesty and the years following it correlated with an explosive growth in exurban development in the Inland Empire, San Diego County, and Kern County. Who do you think moved there? White families who could no longer live in LA or Orange or San Bernardino Counties. Compare Orange County of the late 70s and OC today, and you’ll see what I mean.

    Furthermore, a huge amount of the white population still living in the state are empty-nester baby boomers. They’ve remained where they are because they either don’t want to leave or, more likely, can’t sell their house. They have no choice.

    There are so many fallacies in this article that I’m truly insulted.

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  32. hbd chick
    says:
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    “Similarly, there is overwhelming evidence that today’s immigrants want to learn English, gain productive employment, assimilate into our society, and generally become ‘good Americans’ at least as much as did their European counterparts of a century ago.”

    the more i think about this statement, the more i realize how ludicrous it is. if hispanics were so keen on becoming “good Americans,” then why does univision exist in this country? why aren’t all those hispanic immigrants watching nbc or hbo with the rest of us americans? why are there telenovelas on my tv instead of soap operas? why are they watching fútbol instead of football? why are they booing at the national anthem when it’s played at a soccer game? why do i have the option to press 2 for spanish wherever i go? why aren’t they all just learning english immediately upon arrival?

    i suspect it’s because a h*ckuva lot of them just aren’t interested in becoming “good Americans.”

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  33. helpful
    says:
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    Try reading the PDF (button on first page). Much easier on old eyes like mine.

    A lot of fascinating stuff, and interesting takes on many subjects. Heavy going for a blog though, and I intend to read it again before I comment. In the meantime:

    “During the mid-1990s, a wealthy California
    environmentalist, David Gelbaum, himself the grandson
    of Jewish immigrants from Europe and with a
    Mexican-American wife, grew outraged over the nasty
    racial tone of the political battle unleashed by Pete
    Wilson and Proposition 187 and privately pledged
    $100 million to the Sierra Club on the condition that
    it never turn anti-immigration.”

    Freedom of speech anyone?

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  34. tbraton
    says:
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    “the more i think about this statement, the more i realize how ludicrous it is. if hispanics were so keen on becoming “good Americans,” then why does univision exist in this country?”

    And why do we need ballots written in Spanish or any language other than English?

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  35. Aiser
    says:
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    As a Hispanic-America, I would not be so sure on the fate of the Republican party. I’m a registered Hispanic republican and I guess what you can call a “Ron Paul fanatic libertarian”.

    There does seem to be some inconsistencies with the majority of Hispanic voting patterns as most do vote Democrat, but don’t share the same views as it’s base. Most Hispanics and Latinos are religious Catholics ad oppose gay-marriage and abortions overwhelmingly something the Democratic base supports.

    Then there’s the problem of how too many Hispanics and Latinos are dependent on Govt. When your a Govt dependent then yes most likely you will vote Democratic, how ever as the economy continues to deteriorate and hyperinflation perhaps kicks in, then entitlement programs will certainly be cut in a draconian manner. These groups of people are incentive’s to have more children with programs like food stamps, but what happens when such a program is no longer available?

    Eventually truth wins out and people regardless of background will be forced to realize the unintended consequences of thins such as unions, minimum wage laws and the disaster that is a fiat currency.

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  36. James
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    I agree with some of Unz’s claims, but he’s dead wrong about Hispanics and whites getting along. Sure, they’re not beating each other on the streets with clubs, but there is much animosity (at least in the three cities I’ve lived).

    The problem with Unz’s argument is that he assumes that Hispanics will assimilate the same way whites have. But there is a bit problem with this argument. About 98% of the Hispanics coming to the US aren’t Western.

    As others have quoted at other websites:

    The CIA World Fact books puts Mexico at:

    60% Mestizo
    30% Amerindian
    and
    less than 10% European

    Using genetic testing, Ruben Lisker has found lower-class mestizos to be:

    59% Amerindian
    34% European (oft. Spaniard)
    and 6% Black

    Average mestizo IQ: 86

    These people are not Western.

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  37. correct
    says:
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    “Admittedly, corporate profits might suffer a little and some businesses at the lowest end might disappear; but corporate profits are already doing quite nicely these days,”

    You can say that again. They are at record levels.

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  38. @James: “I agree with some of Unz’s claims, but he’s dead wrong about Hispanics and whites getting along. Sure, they’re not beating each other on the streets with clubs, but there is much animosity (at least in the three cities I’ve lived).”

    Hmm, so James wants to keep prattling on about how Hispanics are “not Western,” are kind of dumb, and really so other that there is no possibility of them integrating.

    And curiously enough, he has experienced some animosity vis-a-vis Hispanics where he has lived. Who could imagine?!

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  39. jb
    says:
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    “And yet today, very few people today would deny that Italians or Poles or Ashkenazim are white. The definition expanded from the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic Protestant identities to include pretty much every European background.”

    I’m not entirely certain about Jews, but I don’t believe for a minute that Italians (the people of Cicero and Leonardo!) or Poles were ever considered non-white by anybody.

    I asked my mother about this once. She is in her 80′s, of pure Eastern European extraction, and she would often tell us stories about how her people were mistreated, and ridiculed as “hunkies,” by more established white Americans. Yet when I told her of the claim that Eastern Europeans were once considered non-white, she was flabbergasted! The idea anyone might ever have thought of her, or her people, as non-white, had never once occurred to her, not in her entire life.

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  40. Brad
    says:
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    I have a somewhat different take on the scatter plot. Excluding DC (which I agree is anomalous), the alleged correlation between the black population % and white voting patterns is completely due to states that were in the Confederacy, and in particular, the “deep south” states (ex Florida) from Louisiana to South Carolina. For states that weren’t in the Confederacy but have sizable black populations (Maryland, Delaware, New York, New Jersey), the white voting patterns are pretty much the same as in the country as a whole. So rather than interpreting the graph to mean that states that have larger black populations have white populations that vote more Republican, I think it says that southern states tend to have large black populations and white populations that vote very Republican.

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  41. “Any neoliberal Democratic officeholder who balked at a large rise in the minimum wage by citing the economic theories of Milton Friedman or the research reports of Goldman Sachs
    would be trampled into the dust by his enraged constituents, disappearing forever.”

    It would almost worth it to do it for that reason alone …

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  42. JonF
    says:
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    JB,

    By “non-white” I think the author (and others who make this comment about past immigrants) really means that those immigrants were considered “people not like us” and often “people inferior to us” by Americans whose families were well-established here. Not a matter of skin color or putative race a such.

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  43. ProcessGA
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    ” [anti-immigration voters] might make life very uncomfortable for any Republican politician who opposed this plan without providing a realistic alternative in its place.”

    I fully intend to.

    This article was provocative, content-rich and well worth reading. While I disagree with a number of its points, I learned a lot. With reservations, I’m willing to try out your idea, the great proviso being that good ideas are inevitably tarnished, diluted, distorted and often as not rendered unworkable in the course of becoming law, especially as it is enforced.

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  44. cfountain72
    says:
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    “This includes a restricted legal immigration that seeks only English-speaking Canadians, Australians, and Europeans.”

    Really? There are actually people like this still living in America today?

    I would tend to agree with the sentiment that immigration levels are too high to allow for proper assimilation. I also tend to agree with Ron Paul that we have more of a welfare problem than an immigration problem, and that making sure illegal residents do not have access to these benefits will be a filter unto itself. I also know that some of the damned hardest working people I’ve ever known are of Mexican decent.

    But I also get the sad impression that some folks genuinely believe that if someone has too much melanin in their skin, and/or can’t speak English, that they are incapable of understanding the Constitution or the concepts of liberty and responsibility. With respect, I don’t think I need to tell you that an awful lot of native born, caucasian, English speakers have as little knowledge of what America ‘means’ as do the folks smuggled into Arizona in cargo trucks do. In fact, some of them even try running for president.

    Peace be with you.

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  45. ezpass
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    Why don’t we hear more about a ban on immigrants working for THE GOVERNMENT?

    A ban on immigrants working for local, state and federal government would be easily enforced and definitely improve opportunities for the native born. A no-brainer that could be implemented TOMORROW.

    Good to see American Conservative back on the immigration beat. Mr. Unz makes a strong case. Strange new respect for Cesar Chavez …

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  46. Mercer
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    The most depressing part of this article was reading about other countries having a much higher minimum wage. Considering workers there also get health care I think it is comical to hear people proclaim how exceptional America is.

    via nr agenda: Michael Dukakis wrote a piece along the same lines in 2006:

    ” if we want to reduce illegal immigration, it makes sense to reduce the abundance of extremely low-paying jobs that fuels it. If we raise the minimum wage, it’s possible some low-end jobs may be lost; but more Americans would also be willing to work in such jobs, thereby denying them to people who aren’t supposed to be here in the first place. ”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/25/opinion/25Duk.html

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  47. Turmarion
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    Scott, I couldn’t have said it better myself. What is important is indeed “the other big ‘what kind of America’ questions –its class structure, its environment, it’s foreign policy, its economy.” If our values are passed on, and we make America the kind of country it should be, who cares if its inhabitants are white, brown, whatever? Unless, of course, the “what kind of America” questions include having blond hair and blue eyes–must resist…agghh…must resist Godwin’s Law….

    Mitchell Young: Frankly, I want my ancestors to look something like me, and given current immigration trends, they will look something closer to Benito Juarez.

    I assume you mean “descendents”. Then I ask you, why? Why would it be a problem for yoiur descendents to look like Benito Juárez?

    Geoff G., good post.

    Matt: I can’t say what will happen in the future, but just ask yourself one question: has the frequency of hearing and reading Spanish in your daily life increased or decreased over the past 10 years? The question practically answers itself.

    He oído, leío, y visto español con mucha má frequencia durante de los diez a&ntilde:os pasados. ¿Por qué es problema? ¡Y yo soy anglo y soy tan blanco como leche! As to my views on language generally, I’d refer you here.

    cfountain72: But I also get the sad impression that some folks genuinely believe that if someone has too much melanin in their skin, and/or can’t speak English, that they are incapable of understanding the Constitution or the concepts of liberty and responsibility. With respect, I don’t think I need to tell you that an awful lot of native born, caucasian, English speakers have as little knowledge of what America ‘means’ as do the folks smuggled into Arizona in cargo trucks do. In fact, some of them even try running for president.

    Absolutely!

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  48. truegrit
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    I think one of the main reasons that their isn’t more riots between ethnic groups in this country isn’t because everyone is getting along fine, its simply because whites refuse to fight back unless it involves punishing a few politicans here and there who support amnesty or jeremiah wright types being shown for what they are.

    America is changing for the worse, I imagine many if not most hispanics are hard working but I don’t want my country turning into Mexico which it is.

    The same thing is happening to the “old countries” where our ancestors came from..Does anyone really consider france still french when mosques outnumber cathedrals?

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  49. Danny
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    I thought this was a very good piece. It’s nice to see that the AmCon is no longer just parroting whatever Jared Taylor’s recent immigrant bashing idea is.

    What a lot of the posters here fail to recognize is that many of us Latinos living in the United States do not fly the Mexican flag, do not belong to gangs, and to not watch univision and do not favor amnesty or a reconquista.

    I may be Latino but I’m an American above all and I plan to stay that way and stay here.

    Those of us here LEGALLY are for the most part, upstanding citizens committed to the Constitution. We are not all Mexican. I don’t want the United States to become Mexico. I may be Latino but I’m perfectly western, thank you very much.

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  50. tejano
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    “I may be Latino but I’m an American above all and I plan to stay that way and stay here. ”

    RIght on. We can’t have millions of illegals of any race running around loose, and they’re going to have to leave, but plenty of Latino Americans are “us”. When you remember the Alamo, don’t forget Juan Abamillo, Juan A. Badillo, Carlos Espalier, Gregorio Esparza, Antonio Fuentes, and Andrés Nava. And don’t forget that our immigration problem is much bigger than Mexico.

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  51. coastcontact
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    Ron Unz’s headline comment “Will mass immigration destroy the GOP—and our middle-class society?” is the troubling part of this commentary. Apparently Mr. Unz believes that White people have a specific gene that is needed to be middle class. There is no evidence that supports such an opinion. Where does Mr. Unz live? Perhaps he is not part of the middle class. By the way since when did Republicans worry about the middle-class. Their concern seems to focus on the rich.

    It is the middle class that will be most impacted by lack of funds to support Social Security and Medicare. It is the middle-class that must rely on unemployment benefits when there are layoffs. The last time I checked the GOP wanted to change or eliminate these programs. It looks like crocodile tears to me.

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  52. jb
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    Wait a minute!!! If the minimum wage is $10/hr in Canada, $13/hr in France, and $16/hr in Australia, why do those countries still have illegal immigrants?

    It looks like this experiment is already being tried in other countries, so we should pay attention to how well it is working there. For example, Australia gets boatloads of would-be refugees, but do they get visa-overstayers who slip into an underground economy, like we do? If a high minimum wage really is an automatic deterrent to illegal immigration, to what extent is it being undercut by “compassionate” social policies in France and Canada? And so on.

    The idea of using a high minimum wage as a weapon against illegal immigration is new (or at least it hasn’t been brought up much by the pro-restriction side) and interesting (in part because, as far as I can tell, it doesn’t conflict with any of the other policy changes advocated by the restrictionist side, so it could simply be added to them, even by those who don’t accept the rest of Unz’s analysis). So we need to look at the experience of other countries carefully to see to what extent it might actually help.

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  53. Wage Slave
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    @jb: “Wait a minute!!! If the minimum wage is $10/hr in Canada, $13/hr in France, and $16/hr in Australia, why do those countries still have illegal immigrants?”

    They have far fewer per capita then we do. For example, Australia has under 50,000 illegals in a country of 20 odd million. (http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/87illegal.htm )

    Even France has under 600,000 in a population of 60 some million. ( http://migration.ucdavis.edu/mn/more.php?id=948_0_4_0 )

    But we’ve got at least 11 million illegals in a country of 300 million. There’s never been anything like it, a world record that only we ourselves seem likely to break.

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  54. Matt
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    “He oído, leío, y visto español con mucha má frequencia durante de los diez a&ntilde:os pasados. ¿Por qué es problema? ¡Y yo soy anglo y soy tan blanco como leche!”

    The problem is that it proves that Hispanic immigrants or illegals aren’t assimilating at all; their presence is leading to changes in the host society to accommodate them. You may think this is fine and dandy, but assimilation it is not. One does not simply overturn established and working norms because society isn’t diverse enough, nor does one put people in an incomprehensible situation–say surrounded by a language they don’t understand–and then demand that they learn to adapt. This all used to be understood.

    I like languages too. I know some Italian and plan to learn Spanish in the distant future. Regardless, my personal feelings mean nothing on this issue.

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  55. It may be worth noting that Alex Tabarrok has strongly endorsed Unz’s idea. He doesn’t like it of course.

    See “How to Unemploy Immigrants” by Alex Tabarrok

    “In a shocking op-ed in the NYTimes two well known liberals, Michael Dukakis and Daniel Mitchell (a former price-control Czar), acknowledge that the minimum wage creates unemployment. Nevertheless, they are in favor of raising the minimum wage. Why? Because it will create even more unemployment among immigrants than among natives.

    The mean-spirited, Machiavellian nature of their op-ed is chilling but I will give Dukakis and Mitchell this, their logic is impeccable.”

    Impeccable no less.

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  56. A few points.

    1. Unz notwithstanding, there isn’t any evidence that Republican support for immigration restriction impacts Hispanic voting over the medium term, much less the long-term. By contrast, there is overwhelming evidence the demographic change is devastating to Republican / Libertarian prospects. See “The Politics of Arizona’s Immigration Law” (http://bit.ly/bwGi7k)

    2. There is vast evidence that immigration is undermining American society, across a long list of dimensions. The absense of violence doesn’t disprove this point. The list of “epic fails” is almost endless. We can start with floundering education, rising crime, unaffordable housing, unemployment, gridlock, illegitimacy, rising taxes, inequality, declining social cohesion, and political polarization.

    The decline of America via mass immigration isn’t even contreversial anymore. See

    “End State – Is California finished?” (http://bit.ly/2x2P6P)

    “At the gathering, held in a plush conference room, one of the experts projected tables and graphs comparing various states. It was there that I had my own “AHA!” moment. The states with thriving educational systems were generally northern, predominately white, and with relatively few immigrants: the New England states, North Dakota, and Minnesota. That bore out the late Senator Patrick Moynihan’s quip that the strongest factor in predicting SAT scores was proximity to the Canadian border. The states grouped with California on the lower end of the bar graph were Deep South states like Mississippi and Alabama with a legacy of racism and with a relative absence of new-economy jobs; states like West Virginia that have relatively few jobs for college grads; and states like Nevada, New Mexico, and Hawaii that have huge numbers of non-English-speaking, downscale immigrants whose children are entering the schools. California clearly falls into the last group, suggesting that California’s poor performance since the 1960s may not have been due to an influx of bad teachers, or the rise of teachers’ unions, but to the growth of the state’s immigrant population after the 1965 federal legislation on immigration opened the gates.”

    and

    “Innovation and education won’t save our economy – The truth that China’s dictatorship and America’s multinational corporations don’t want you to know” (http://bit.ly/gtmx2r)

    “The overall PISA scores of American students are lowered by the poor results for blacks and Latinos, who make up 35 percent of America’s K-12 student population. Asian-American students have an average score of 541, similar to those of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. The non-Hispanic white American student average of 525 is comparable to the averages of Canada (524), New Zealand (521), and Australia (515). In contrast, the average PISA readings score of Latino students is 446 and black students is 441.”

    3. Immigration can’t save Social Security. Sorry folks. Why? First all the numbers don’t work. See “Is the United States Bankrupt?” (http://bit.ly/aMM6k) by the St. Louis Federal Reserve.

    “Second, it is mistake to think that immigration can significantly alleviate the nation’s fiscal problem. The reality is that immigrants aren’t cheap. They require public goods and services. And they become eligible for transfer payments. While most immigrants pay taxes, these taxes barely cover the extra costs they engender. This, at least, is the conclusion reached by Auerbach and Oreopoulos (2000) in a careful generational accounting analysis of this issue.”

    However, that’s the good news. The reality is that low-skill, Hispanic immigration is a disaster for Social Security. Why? Social Security is a progressive system. Low income workers get much more from it, than they put in. The reverse is true for higher income recipients. Of course, higher life expectancy adversely impacts the economics of they system. Given that Hispanics have low incomes and high life expectancy, they are obviously not going to save the system.

    Of course, a more detailed analysis yields even worse results. See “The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to State and Local Taxpayers” (http://bit.ly/aJCZzJ)

    “In 2004, there were 4.54 million low-skill immigrant households. The average net fiscal deficit per household for federal, state and local spending combined was $19,588. This means that the total annual fiscal deficit (total benefits received minus total taxes paid) for all 4.54 million low-skill immigrant households together equaled $89.1 billion.”

    “In FY 2004, the average low skill immigrant household received $30,160 in direct benefits, means-tested benefits, education, and population-based services from all levels of government. By contrast, low-skill immigrant households paid only $10,573 in taxes in FY 2004. A household’s net fiscal deficit equals the cost of benefits and services received minus taxes paid. The average low-skill household had a fiscal deficit of $19,588 (expenditures of $30,160 minus $10,573 in taxes).”

    4. It is obvious to virtually everyone that current immigration policy is driven by cheap labor corporate interests and racial special interest groups. To deny this is very weird. It is also the norm of U.S. history. Samuel Gompers once said

    “America must not be overwhelmed.

    “Every effort to enact immigration legislation must expect to meet a number of hostile forces and, in particular, two hostile forces of considerable strength.

    “One of these is composed of corporation employers who desire to employ physical strength (broad backs) at the lowest possible wage and who prefer a rapidly revolving labor supply at low wages to a regular supply of American wage earners at fair wages.

    “The other is composed of racial groups in the United States who oppose all restrictive legislation because they want the doors left open for an influx of their countrymen regardless of the menace to the people of their adopted country.’

    5. If we raised the minimum wage and deported the illegals, unemployment would go down and wages would rise. It would be the end of the world as we know it. The unimaginable horror.

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  57. Mike
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    Illegal immigration is neither a Democrat nor Republican issue, although both actually support it. Rather, it is all about the money.

    Business, both big and small, love and need Illegal immigrants. It gives them a very low cost, exploitable, and easily manipulated workforce.

    The Feds generally, as a Taxing authority, generally love them because it gives them a population segment upon which they can collect taxes with a highly reduced risk of having to pay it back. Illegals are not going to be requesting SSN benefits, IRS refunds, etc.

    Illegal immigrants are the new slaves. If you want to get rid of them, just go after those that hire them.

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  58. Bill_R
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    Herman Cain’s straw poll victory in Florida gives the lie to the idea that mainstream GOP voters will not vote for a minority candidate. It shows that they will do so, enthusiastically, if that candidate has the right message and upholds the right values. When one considers how the Rove strategy (formerly the Lee Atwater strategy) hasn’t worked out for the Republican Party – I say, “Just give it some time. Eventually, both black and Hispanic voters will make it in the middle class. And when they do, they will follow both their interests and their values and vote Republican”.

    All the paleocons have to give us is Reagan Democrat sour grapes. If these people are unhappy with the GOP, then I’d say go back home and take over the Democratic Party where you belong. If it is too tough to work your way through school, get a college degree, and make something of yourself, then you’re not fit to be a Republican.

    In the final analysis, this article is an insult to white people in America. It demeans their character and their competitiveness. It ignores their sacrifices, and their history. It is just as much an insult to my grandmother’s memory as Obama sneering at those who talk about pulling themselves up by the bootstraps.

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  59. meh
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    Ron Unz: “By contrast, although relations between whites and various other groups—Asians, Hispanics, and American Indians—have sometimes been hostile or even violent, these conflicts have never been nearly as long nor intense and are more like the often contentious relationships between various white ethnic groups. As our schoolbooks endlessly emphasize, black/white relations do indeed constitute a unique aspect of American history.”

    Okay Ron Unz, how will relationships be between blacks and various other ethnic groups – Asians, Hispanics, and American Indians? Can you spell out your prognosis? Or have you already done so if we read between the lines?

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  60. SilverSurfer
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    Alex Cockburn paid some positive attention to this article over at Counterpunch:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/30/goodbye-%e2%80%9cpeak-oil%e2%80%9d-hello-glut/

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  61. As usual Ron Unz has published a very interesting idea. I should say at the outset that I’m an immigrant from india, and received my first real summer internship from Ron in 1994 as a physics undergraduate at stanford. I was there during the prop 187 hysteria and my personal experiences tally with what Ron writes- it sunk the GOP in CA for a generation. In fact, it is so bad that the name R next to a popular official ( LA county attorney cooley) caused him to lose the election because of votes from LA in spite of him being popularly elected in Los Angeles in a non-partisan election! He is right that the same thing will happen in AZ and GA in 10 years- since the GOP activists are causing Hispanic (and Asian) political polarization without any benefit in terms of the white vote for the GOP.
    Now as Ron has suggested the real issue is unskilled immigration that benefits small business owners while imposing dramatic costs on taxpayers, and the path to correction is a higher national minimum wage. This is only possible by a democratic administration- since we all know how much influence small business has in the GOP. While GOP activists may seem despaired, my prediction is that the health care reform, if it survives (entitlements usually do) will eventually cause immigration restrictions, since as Milton Friedman put it open immigration and welfare states do not coexist (see Canada above). Of course, by that time America will be much more racially diverse and mixed, and absent an explicit campaign by the GOP on racial polarization it will be a much more tranquil society- since the central battle of america between whites and blacks will be diluted with Hispanic (the original mixed race) and Asian immigration, intermarriage and assimilation as economic stagnation and restrictions on immigration take hold. In my view the only path of sustained political advantage for the republicans is dropping the tancredos and steve kings. There is another historical parallel- the black vote for the republican party did not bottom till 2008- 43 years post civil rights and 40 years after the original southern strategy started w Nixon (he won close to 40% of the black votes in pre- civil rights era). In today’s america a similar outcome for Hispanics would cause obliteration for the GOP- sailer strategists take note.

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  62. beowulf
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    Ron, the group Universal Living Wage (just add .org) has a diabolically clever idea that’d force metro areas to choice between either a high minimum wage or a low zoning tax– Ed Glaeser’s term for the regulatory cost tacked onto housing prices in (ahem) smart growth jurisdictions. Phase it in over a decade to give (using an extreme example) the Bay Area time to (a) adjust to a $22.90/hr minimum wage or (b) flood the market with new low-income housing or, most likely, something in between.

    “We have devised a National formula that is based on each local economy throughout the entire United States. The formula is designed in such a manner that no matter whether you are in Austin, Boston, or L.A., if you are willing and able to work a 40 hour week, you should at least be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment.”
    * Work a minimum 40 hour week
    * Spend no more than 30% of income on housing
    * Index the minimum wage to the local cost of housing as set each year by the US Department of HUD (Fair Market Rents)”

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  63. Adam
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    I came across a link to this and was pretty amazed reading it. It has to be one of the least emotional, most coldly strategic political articles I’ve ever read, with logical conclusions drawn out of fairly convincing evidence that are actually surprising and not what I would have guessed at the outset, the first time in a long time that has happened. It was strangely heartening, even though I’m not sure I actually agree with any of it.
    Then I read the comments. I really wish I hadn’t. I’m half-Mexicans. My family came here in the late 40s and has become part of that portion of California Hispanics that Ron cites as peacefully coexisting with whites. My mother was disowned by her family for marrying my father but here we are one big happy family, what’s left of us, three decades later, and I have two master’s degrees and don’t even speak Spanish. Yeah, you see a lot of segregation still and resistance to assimilation from the new arrivals, but hey, my family was like that originally too. My dad was beaten up in school and called a nigger in spite of not even being black, held in prison for three days for “matching the description” of a murder suspect, and kicked out of a bar in Nebraska as recently as 1995 just for being Mexican. I still think we’ve ended up fitting in pretty well.
    I’m a conservative person by nature. My grad schooling is in economics. I favor small government, low taxes, non-intervention into private markets. I’m not religious but I’m even anti-abortion. But Christ, these attitudes are why I have so much trouble committing myself to even caring about politics. I voted for Bush in 2004, didn’t even vote in 2008, and now sit pretty damn firmly on the fence right now drifting in the wind just looking for a person who doesn’t play to the lowest common denominator and try to incite one group by blaming the other for all the world’s problems, then I come here to find, sure enough, the world is still full of Republicans who otherwise seem like natural policy allies of mine who speak of the decay of moral fabric in this country due to Mexicans and of not wanting their descendants to look like me, which I certainly hope my own white ancestors didn’t wish, but hey, they probably did, too. It’s weird to realize that my own grandmother, who sure seemed like she loved me when I was a child and she was still alive, probably hated me before I was born.
    I just came back from Iraq and I can’t believe I fought for some of you people. Hell, I killed for some of you people. I’ve got blood on my hands that will never wash off and I come back to find the immigration issue as hot as it’s ever been, with sincere commenters here saying they’d rather this country wall itself off from the barbarian hordes that made my life possible. I can only take solace in the reality that it’s going to happen anyway and most of you will be dead in the next twenty years and hopefully America will not be like this any more.

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  64. Shangey G
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    A thoughtfully written article on a topic like this, but, like many other articles, it leaves out comparisons to other countries.
    For example, Japan has virtually no immigration. It’d be nice to see a comparison of the two countries. It’s politics, it’s society, its’ view of immigrants, it’s identity and it’s social capital, etc. It’s too easy to play up the idea of “white hateful racists”, when most countries around the world don’t have open borders to immigrants/strangers. South Africa is another good example, with black South Africans attacking northern immigrants. Kuwait is a good example of a tribalist/family-based social system. If you are an immigrant in Kuwait, you don’t get the socialist goodies like free University education, housing, etc.
    What if the US had that kind of system?

    You can talk about economics, illegal/legal immigration, pyramid ponzi schemes, minimum wage, labor prices, politics, economic disparity, unions, culture, etc, but at the end of the day, it all whittles down to American white couples choosing to have less children, or no babies at all.

    I cut, copied and paraphrased this quote from somewhere else:

    “The key to any race of people surviving is the woman. The white (European) woman has become so liberal that she is unknowingly destroying her own race of people. White woman have high rates of abortion, interracial marriage which produce nonwhite babies, delay children later in life and many choose to have no children at all, with ‘career’ as their primary focus.
    They are not reproducing in high enough numbers to offset their deaths. White people in America will be 4% of the population in 2097. One thing that whites cannot say is that another group of people have done this to them — this will be self-inflicted genocide.”

    I don’t agree with that last bit entirely. Immigration is completely an artificial process — it happens because the business elites in power decide for us it’s going to happen, whether we want it or not. But I do agree essentially with the key point — The only thing that can turn any of these problems around is white women’s fertility. That’s it.
    No new labor laws will change anything. No immigration reforms. No new technology. Nothing else will work.

    The premise that immigration increases the amounts of young tax-paying workers to pay for social programs for the old and retired, doesn’t hold water. To finance social security, you’d only have to raise taxes maybe a percentage or two higher on the younger workers. Or, simple spend less on the military, and more on seniors — but that’s not the case.

    I’m sure there has been many situations before in history, where a community has had more older people than younger people to take care of them. This could be the case in times of famine, disease or war. But somehow, those societies survived, without immigrating half of the 3rd world.

    Therefore, I think immigration has more to do with keeping labor prices and wages low, rather than this idea of growing a tax base to pay for social security.
    It also has to do with enriching bankers and property owners — All those immigrants need a place to sleep and live, so they either rent or buy a house. If they rent, they are making a landlord richer, who in turn is able to buy up another real estate property and expand. If they buy a house, their mortgage from the bank or broker will make a lender rich for decades. As my Grandma put it, you end up “working for the bank”, making payments for a long time.

    Someday in the future, the breaking point will come when you simply don’t need all these people, immigrants, and all this labor — this human energy. If America is already burgeoning at 350 million people, it could possible have 1 billion people someday. But what are all those billions of Americans going to be doing for work? Cutting each others hair and making pizzas for each other? Sounds like a 3rd world country.

    I can’t remember exactly, but wasn’t it Google that recently developed a taxi cab that could drive and navigate itself? How many cab drivers would be put out of work because of that?
    What if they created a robot that could clean a hotel room faster and better than a human can? Self-cleaning bathrooms already exist. How many housekeepers would that put out of work?
    Would we need all those thousands and thousands of immigrant workers?

    Technological displacement sounds absurd, but it’s already happened. Think about how many more bank tellers the banks would have to hire, if the “ATM” or automated banking machine wasn’t on every street corner. The banks would have to hire 3-4 human tellers for every machine out there.

    Anyways, it’s real hard to remain positive, thinking about this.
    If I could honestly look at this issue and see a rosey future and positive outcomes, I’d say it. But I don’t.
    I’m not convinced that just because everyone has larger LCD screens in their living rooms that things are “getting better”.
    I have to echo someone else’s comment — Too little, too late.

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  65. Ed
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    This article is WOW!

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  66. Robert Hume
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    Ron, Great ideas! But if California raised the minimum wage in 1996 how come there’s so many illegals there now? This is not a rhetorical question, I really hope you can answer it convincingly.

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  67. FJ
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    In the early centuries of European settlement of North America, the British basically drove the Spanish out of what became the United States. What people don’t seem to realize now is that this struggle is still going on, and now, without their even having to fire a shot, the Spanish are winning it back and defeating the British. The appalling and amazing thing is that the British are *inviting* them back, and falling over themselves to *give* the country, it’s governance and culture, to the Spanish, and generally with great guilt that they are not “doing enough” or being ” fair enough”. It is unusual, and sad, to see a great country and culture participate so completely in its own demise and dismantling.

    This is not about a fairer or more egalitarian society; it is about one culture taking over another, and is nothing less than a continuation of the previous war.

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  68. mark green
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    Thank you, Mr. Unz for a penetrating and persuasive analysis. You’ve even managed to convince this life-long libertarian that it’s time to raise the minimum wage. For unique reasons that you’ve brilliantly outlined, raising the minimum wage does now make economic and cultural sense.

    Allow me to respectfully take issue with one claim you make: “The notion that large numbers of immigrants and their families subsist on welfare or that Mexican immigrant mothers often have five or ten children is sheer nonsense.”

    Since many Hispanic families still live in the shadows, up-to-date information about their fertility rates may not be at hand. But I live in Southern California. I see young Hispanic immigrant mothers with five children commonly. This notion is not “sheer nonsense”. I see it. And many of these mothers are still young!

    Plus, while I agree with you that the workplace participation of Hispanics is high, the numbers of Hispanics receiving food stamps in California vastly exceeds–on a per capita basis–that of whites. Finally, since these low income immigrants families rely almost exclusively on free public education, their large families also constitute an extreme drain on California’s limited public resources.

    I believe that you and I agree that Mexican immigrants will integrate themselves into American culture easier, and probably more successfully, than those from Africa. But race and IQ do matter. And it’s Mexico’s underclass that is sneaking into the US. In the long run, this is bad news for our developed and complex society. Moreover, racially diverse nations are usually less trusting and less harmonious than homogeneous civilizations.

    We must therefore continue to deport illegal immigrants and, ideally, increase substantially the number of deportations. Further, Americans should continue to play hard ball on granting citizenship to illegal immigrants already here. I hate to be cruel, but these interlopers can easily return to Mexico and resume life there. Is that really so bad?

    It’s our right and in our interest to preserve America’s enviable European heritage as well as its current demographic profile. Europeans created the extraordinary civilization called America. It’s our right to hold onto it and our duty preserve it. After all, our children have a future, too.

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  69. Raising the minimum wage would only effect one slice of the illegal immigration workforce; those working “legitimate” jobs under fraudulent social security numbers and identity documents. For the illegals who work agriculture, construction, or any of the jobs that pay cash under the table; a higher minimum wage boosts their desirability. Since our current minimum wage doesn’t keep illegals out of the legitimate job market (only proper documentation requirements do), I see no reason why boosting it even higher would. Instead, it will mean more unemployment for low skilled American workers and a boon to cash only payment for work.

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  70. Stan D Mute
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    This piece should be reposted at the top of Unz’ site. It’s as relevant today as when originally penned.

    I’ve always held the belief that raising minimum wages was ultimately inflationary and harmful, but never considered it in context of our rampant invasion. In this new light, I could agree with raising the minimum wage to something near $12-$15/hr, but don’t think that alone will solve our problem. There must be a concomitant change in welfare to force those who’ve become multi-generational dependants into the workforce. In the past, we’ve seen the CCC and Eisenhower highway system increase workforce participation rates. Changing welfare to “workfare” with a massive infrastructure project like high speed rail is one option. Regional projects could also be entertained such as blight removal in Detroit. The city has hundreds of thousands of welfare dependants and blight from horizon to horizon. Require the recipients of public funds to work at the new and higher minimum wage to achieve a public benefit for the expenditures. Different regions have different needs, but I’m sure they all need something. And while this does somewhat strike me as socialist, it’s better than simply handing out free food, shelter, clothing, and transportation.

    In any case, America sits today on a precipice. The ultimate price of changing nothing in our approach will be economic collapse if/when the dollar loses reserve currency status and/or American debt becomes unsustainable due to interest rate increase or other cause.

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