The Face of Anti-Immigration

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One of the many amusements about writing on immigration politics is that any time you use the phrase "anti-illegal-immigration," people will immediately accuse you of accusing them of being "anti-immigrant." (They will also spasmodically defend themselves against non-existent charges of racism.) It is true, as they point out, that some anti-illegal-immigration activists are not anti-immigrant. And it is also true that some of the close-the-borders crowd—including some of its leaders—are. The following are excerpts from an Insight interview with anti-immigration hero Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), published today by FrontPageMagazine.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are losing their jobs to immigrants, both legal and illegal […]

The vast majority of immigrants are low-skill, low-wage earners, and are a drain on this nation […]

We are creating linguistic ghettos where millions of immigrants speak no English while replicating living standards such as those found in Haiti, Calcutta and poor nations […]

Insight reports: "He likewise is concerned about the number of people—between 6 million and 10 million—in the United States with dual citizenship. What does this mean for America's sovereignty and the future of the country?" What, indeed? Perhaps that we are confident enough in our "sovereignty" to allow children of bi-national couples to keep two passports? At one point in the interview, when Tancredo was talking about the Mexican government being happy that there were Mexico-friendly immigrants in the country, Insight jumped in:

Q: That sounds very much like a Fifth Column.

A: Yes!

To sum up: Tancredo considers legal immigrants a "drain on this nation," slanders their neighborhoods with inaccurate comparisons to Third World hellholes, and suggests that millions of those with American citizenship might well be active traitors. Not only is this anti-immigrant, it's hysterical.

NEXT: Protest Flashmobs (Again)

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  1. Anyone for a Banzai style bet about how soon Lone Wacko shows up 😉

  2. As a dual citizen I resent said remarks.

  3. As an immigrant whose family got in legally, I resent being told that being anti-illegal immigrant is anti-immigrant. Even though I may disagree w/ some immigration policies, I think that starting off in a new country as a criminal breeds an unhealthy disrespect for local laws and gives illegal immigrants less of a stake in the success of our country than legal immigrants.

    At the same time I like cheap produce (and all the other products that are cheap as a result of illegal immigration), so I’m genuinely torn at how strictly we should monitor illegal immigration.

  4. Are Tancredo supporters going to extend his arguement to people who have dual U.S.-Israel citizenship as well?

  5. As a dual-citizen, I know where my loyalties lie. Right here. What makes Tancredo think I would be any less disloyal if I just renonced my citizenship in order to lull gullible Americans into thinking I am loyal while my master plan to undermine the American government is going on?

    I mean it’s not like there have ever been any disloyal *cough* McVeigh *cough* Lindh *cough* Rosenberg *cough* Americans before.

  6. I was expecting to find someone arguing that laws against illegal immigration naturally encourage more of it.

    Tom Tancredo is an easy target, but there is ample reason to believe that immigration could be a prolific source of political controversies for the next few years. Partly this is because of neglect; new immigrants generally do not provide politicians with much of a constituency, and as a consequence the agency primarily responsible for dealing with them (formerly known as the INS) is one of the worst, most sclerotic in the entire federal government. Partly it is because of many years of easy times. In a rapidly growing economy even large numbers of immigrants cause less economic and social disruption, but once the economy stops booming that starts to change. Many will be surprised when this happens, but they shouldn’t be.

    And immigration will become increasingly become controversial partly because of the smug complacency that asserts open borders are a sign of national self-confidence, generosity, faith in free markets and all the other virtues we would like to identify with the United States of America. They aren’t. Societies are held together by what their people have in common, not what divides them. It does not follow that because very liberal immigration policies have benefited America in the past this will always be the case in the future

  7. So when are the Arabs who have to pay $30,000 to be smuggled in going to file a civil rights lawsuit agains the coyotes who only charge Mexicans $1500?

  8. As an Italo-American who grew up in Argentina (and who was for a very brief time illegal – mainly due to a bureaucratic snafu, but, whatever), I want to make VERY clear with whom (or who? never sure) my loyalties lie:

    the (always fading in late summer) Boston Red Sox, of course.

  9. I don’t think it is self-contradictory to be pro-immigrant and anti-illegal-immigrant. At all. I’m all for immigrants, as long as they do it legally and are willing (as most legal immigrants are) to be productive, tax-paying members of society. Come to think of it, with the exception of Native Americans, we are a nation of immigrants. It’s no stretch to say immigrants made this nation great. In fact, it’s no stretch to say immigrants made this nation, period. True Americans don’t define themselves by their country of birth, or where their ancestors lived, or any other geographic or genetic trait. Rather, true Americans define themselves by a deep founded belief in a core set of political principles, as spelled out in our Constitution. Unfortunately, precious few Americans today recognize this.

    Come to think of it, illegal immigrants are not all that bad. In fact, there are only two times I have a problem with illegal immigrants:

    1. When they continually belly up to the public trough for government handout after government handout (see California).

    2. When they crash Boeing 767 commercial jet liners into highly populated office buildings.

  10. “It does not follow that because very liberal immigration policies have benefited America in the past this will always be the case in the future”

    So we should predict the future by, oh, reading chinken entrails? Astrology?

    True, history does not always predict the future. But it is the ONLY way. the only way to predict the reversal of an historical trend is to show another historical trend that could overtake it. Sudden reverals occur, but they are truely unpredictable.

  11. Brad S. — Just to belabor the obvious, neither I nor (I think) anyone else here so far have said that it’s “self-contradictory to be pro-immigrant and anti-illegal-immigrant.” In fact, there’s a perfect *logic* for that — immigrants who’ve jumped through the legal loopholes can damned well resent those who have jumped the line.

  12. Mo,

    Re:”starting off in a new country as a criminal breeds an unhealthy disrespect”…”At the same time I like cheap produce…, so I’m genuinely torn at how strictly we should monitor illegal immigration.”

    If immigration were essentially open, you could have your respect for the law and eat your cheap produce too!

  13. Has Tancredo ever managed to pull his methane-clogged head from the depths of his anal orifice long enough to look at what the per capita incomes are for immigrants from Asian countries? Or for that matter, to look at the percentage of Ivy League graduates that claim Asian-American ethnicity? Or how about the percentage of Silicon Valley technology companies run by foreigners in general?

    I know, these are rhetorical questions, but you have to be pretty cynical about democracy to think it’s too much to ask an American Congressman to be less ignorant on a subject matter that’s his cause celebre than your average Alabama high-school dropout.

  14. Actually, I have to admit, if forced to choose, I’d choose France over the U.S. anytime.

  15. Mo,

    I was born in this country, and I have a disrespect for the local laws.

    As for immigration laws, either stricter enforcement or totally open borders would be better than the present system, which is the worst of all possible worlds. As it is, there are nominally harsh laws on the books, with almost totally ineffectual enforcement.

    So employers can import all the cheap labor they want, often with the collusion of the feds in ignoring illegality. But at the same time, because the laws are on the books, employers can hold them over the “guest workers'” heads to keep them docile and compliant. It is illegal aliens who are most vulnerable to sweatshop scams, because of their vulnerability to being turned in and their resulting increased dependance on the boss.

    Yet another example of the principle that the state is not the friend of labor, but the main tool of its exploitation.

  16. Well, open borders, in my opinion are absolutely not the way to go but yes, our present system is screwed up.

    So I’m a little torn on the subject, I know a number of people who have come here illegally from Mexico and eventually became legal, productive citizens.

    It is somewhat akin to drugs being illegal in that it takes otherwise normal productive people and, in a way, forces them to do business with criminals.

    Tancredo is a nut case though. I’m writing this from Phoenix and we do not have any Haiti like conditions in our worst neighborhoods. And the supposed jobs that are being taken? Please. Our 5 day forecast is surface-of-the-sun hot and you are just not getting Richie Cunningham and his buddies up in a palm tree to trim the branches, ok?

  17. Kevin’s point of the employers holding the illegal issue over the immigrants’ heads isn’t really accurate though.

    The employer stands a much greater legal risk if they are found to be knowingly using illegal labor .

    Typically, the illegals will get on at a small manufacturing place and get 7 or 8 bucks an hour using fake SSNs. The skilled machinists and press operator positions are usually either white guys or legal immigrants (they’ve been in one place long enough to acquire the skills) and the rest of the less skilled work goes to the illegals. Everyone is pretty sure who is illegal and who isn’t but no one asks. Every few months, the INS will call and ask the employer about some suspicious SSNs and the word will kind of leak out and the illegals are gone the next day. It’s predictably cyclic. My last partner in that business was a former illegal and he said that the immigration enforcement was a joke today compared to what they went through only 20 years ago.

  18. I say ship all you damn paleface out! America for the NATIVE Americans! The rest of you are the descendents of illegal, treaty-breaking, lying white man, or otherwise came here without my people agreeing to it!

  19. Um, Matthew, “native American” originally referred to someone who was born in the U.S. (hence “nativism” as an anti-immigrant movement). N.A. (for “Indian”) ranks right up there with African-American as a word I’ll never utter except under torture.

    It is very un-PC to violate the WASPs’ inherent right of self-designation–just as bad as the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians.

    I believe the term the PC crowd are looking for is “aboriginal.”

  20. “At one point in the interview, when Tancredo was talking about the Mexican government being happy that there were Mexico-friendly immigrants in the country…”

    Hopefully everyone read the interview. Because, immediately after that mentioned above and the part about a fifth-column, there was this quote from a Mexican government official:

    “By populating the United States with millions of Hispanics who are tied economically, politically and linguistically to Mexico, we are able to exert enormous influence and pressure on U.S. policy and its dealings with Mexico.”

    Perhaps someone could explain that quote away for me? How exactly does it not sound like a foreign country trying to establish a fifth-column in the U.S.?

    At my blog, I “translated” that quote into Canadian, French, and Communist Chinese. Would we allow those countries to even attempt something like this?

    Here, let’s try this “translation:”

    “By populating the United States with millions of Soviet and Eastern European Jews who are tied economically, politically and linguistically to Israel, we are able to exert enormous influence and pressure on U.S. policy and its dealings with Israel.”

    How’s that sound to everyone?

  21. Just to make it clear, and to head off any reading comprehension problems, the quote in bold above is not from me, it’s not from Tancredo, it’s from a Mexican government official.

    To repeat, a Mexican government official said the following:

    “By populating the United States with millions of Hispanics who are tied economically, politically and linguistically to Mexico, we are able to exert enormous influence and pressure on U.S. policy and its dealings with Mexico.”

  22. As for some legal immigrants (more correctly, legal workers) taking jobs, Tancredo may have been referring to the H1-B program. Having worked in Silicon Valley, I have some knowledge of it, but others know much more about it, and I’m sure many pro and anti sites can be found with a bit of googling.

    As for dual citizenship, it’s not just children of bi-national couples. Once again, if you look into this you’ll perhaps see this in a bit clearer focus. For instance:

    “It’s really unprecedented in American history the amount of direct lobbying that’s going on here by the Mexican government to obtain their political goals,” he said. “There’s an increased move for dual citizenship. You have [Fox] lobbying [the U.S. government] for an amnesty for illegal immigrants. You have Mexican consulates pushing for recognition of the ‘matricula consular’ cards, which are issued to illegal immigrants. You have the consulates pushing for in-state tuition for illegal alien Mexican students.”

    While the Tancredo-bashing might be fun to some, isn’t it a bit misplaced in light of the information presented in the article?

    Isn’t a foreign country trying to gain influence in our country by sending us immigrants, well, just a teensy-weensy bit of a problem?

    And, isn’t the following quote from the article a newsworthy event worthy of being followed up on and investigated?

    I [Tancredo] surreptitiously received a State Department memo from the U.S. Embassy in Managua [Nicaragua] that stated they required assistance in aiding Nicaragua in advancing a matricula-card program.

  23. >>As an Italo-American who grew up in Argentina (and who was for a very brief time illegal – mainly due to a bureaucratic snafu, but, whatever), I want to make VERY clear with whom (or who? never sure) my loyalties lie:

    the (always fading in late summer) Boston Red Sox, of course.

  24. Someone this all strikes as a re-run of the “yellow peril” of the 19th century. 🙂

  25. BTW, there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about immigration to the U.S.; its far too complicated, there is too much money involved, and the individual actors are too driven get across the border for it to be stopped. And then there is NAFTA, which forecloses the sort of “border closures” that would be required to stem in any meaningful way the tide of immigrants. Its about as foolhardy as the Romans trying to stem the tide of Germanic people across their borders.

  26. “Frankly, fears about divided loyalties have always struck me as bigoted, and using Jews as a comparative example sure doesn’t mitigate that.”

    So, Gospodin Fyodor, you think it’s bigoted to suggest that someone might have divided loyalties. Therefore, divided loyalties are a bad thing, no?

    Therefore, a country that explicitly states that it wants divided loyalties is doing a bad thing, no?

  27. It is not undocumented immigration, but idiotic immigration law that “breeds an unhealthy disrespect for local laws and gives illegal immigrants less of a stake in the success of our country than legal immigrants.”

    If you take away hostility to feners moving into Mayberry, the only thing that “illegal” immigrants have done wrong is fail to file the proper paperwork with the government.

  28. “feners” is, or course, a misspelling. I meant furners.

  29. “How’s that sound to everyone?”

    Frankly, fears about divided loyalties have always struck me as bigoted, and using Jews as a comparative example sure doesn’t mitigate that.

  30. Anti-Illegal-Immigration reminds me of Pro-IRS arguments – sure it’s stupid and wrong and wasteful and oppressive and damaging to the country as a whole, but just shut up and do what they’re telling you.

    The problem is that we don’t have the least bit effectual or REASONABLE of a legal immigration system. Having to wait 3 years for the government to grant you a license to have a job is what breeds disloyalty and a indifference – and even hate – for the law, because The Law Is Wrong. Wrong laws can be rightfully broken – the only other possibility is that turning over jews to the Nazis (to not do so was illegal) or supposed slaves to their claimed masters was the only moral things to do, as they were the only things legal at the time.

    Forcing people to follow bad laws isn’t just wrong, it’s stupid – the more bad laws are passed AND enforced, the harder it is to keep people from breaking the good ones!

    As it stands today, the legal immigration system is simply broken. It isn’t even reasonable to expect people to follow it anymore, because it’s not even effectual at doing what it supposedly is supposed to do (terrorists seem to have no problem getting here legally).

    The fact is, there are people who we do, or at least ‘should’, want to have as citizens of this country, and ones we absolutely do not want within 100 miles of the place. The government cannot, and does not, filter them effectively, serve the good sufficiently, nor punish or protect us from the bad properly. It just sits there, punishing everyone, making everyone’s life unneccessarily harder, endangering the whole of The United States.

    If the damn thing is just fixed, this shit won’t be such a problem – it will be perfectly reasonable to ban illegal immigration and crack down on it, because all those friendly and productive lawn care workers and maids _will be here legally_, and the rapists, murderers, terrorists, and free-riding leeches will not – to the extent that it is possible to judge them distinct, naturally.

    Lastly, the idea that people who actually did it legally have a reasonable beef with those who don’t is simply wrong; it boils down to nothing more than “If I had to suffer, you should have to suffer too!” This isn’t “good”. This isn’t “moral”. It isn’t “reasonable”. It’s “natural” – but it is none the less sick, and it serves to spread, condone, and perpetuate oppression. It is evolutionarily valuable? Sure – it illiminates the competition by tearing down those who get ahead in ways you won’t or haven’t, and by blocking an avenue for someone getting ahead of you. That does not make it any the less detestable or unreasonable.

  31. On a different tack, a quick bit to ponder: if the government can rightfully stop immigration or international outsourcing to protect the salaries and jobs of (politically influential) citizens, then by the same right and logic, could they not also control/restrict/regulate (private) educational institutions, learning tools (like books), and professional training and teaching just the same? After all, it is precisely the same thing – more supply of a given kind of labor can lower the price for all the labor. So why, if it is ok for the government to manipulate the price of labor such as through preventing immigration, should it not be able to use licensing and banning of professional education and training just the same?

    Furthermore, to take it all the way out, could not the government thus have the right to engage in various birth control efforts in the same way, so as to manipulate the market in such a way as to produce what they deem is the optimum amount of children born per year? Not enough and they start raising the price (or otherwise restricting) condoms and birth control pills, and too much and they start subsidizing or otherwise mandating/coercing their use.

    That the government can get involved in massive problems, like uncontrolled population increases that genuinly threaten societies ability to exist and function, is one thing – to be able to get involved merely to optimise and fine-tune things is quite another, if for no other reason than it can’t do that kind of thing for shit.

    The idea that the government can rightfully, or should, control immigration (what about emmigration – people leaving? can it stop people from leaving as well?) can have it’s own charm on it’s face, but beneath the surface it seems as just as bankrupt and anti-productive as all the government schemes to do better than the market could possibly do on it’s own.

  32. Err, that last sentence should read as follows:

    The idea that the government can rightfully, or should, control immigration to ensure certain market outcomes (like wage levels) (what about emmigration – people leaving? can it stop people from leaving as well?) can have it’s own charm on it’s face, but beneath the surface it seems as just as bankrupt and anti-productive as all the government schemes to do better than the market could possibly do on it’s own.

  33. Wacko, it’s fucking Mexico! Who cares? What are they going to do? Why does it matter to me?

    Even granting you the benefit of the doubt on all the facts and implications, I still can’t rouse myself to care. It’s fucking Mexico!

  34. Listening to the worldwide conversation about how the US is a singulary wicked, unilateral, hegemonic hyperpower, I am continually astounded that ANYONE would wish to come here.

    I saw that Mexican president Fox himself was extermely distressed with the morality of America due to the Iraq war and, of course, Chretin hates this immoral country.

    The Arab world, we are told, HATES this wicked anti-Allah country and all its immorality. Gosh, it seems EVERYONE hates us.

    It is difficult to square the universal loathing of the US with the very strong desire for millions and millions to come here. Which is it?

    Therefore, I propose we make immigration illegal for anyone from a country that has expressed displeasure with the US. For instance, let’s round up all Arab students and send them home. They hate us anyone, we are told. And that way they can help make their countries more middle class, rather than leaving the countries to their less-educated, more Islamist brethren.

    If they REALLY believe that we are evil, let’s make it easier for them to resist the temptation to come here in the first place.

  35. i need to know who is for or against imigration and why i need this responded to as soon as possible for a project thanks

  36. It really disappoints me that there are this many people willing to allow immigrants to destroy America. There need to be radical changes in all of our immigration laws to tighten immigrant leashes and keep them from entering our country illegally. Millions of jobs are shipped out of America by manufacturing companies, and millions of jobs are taken by the massive immigrant surge, yearly! Our nation will no longer have borders to it soon, if we stay on this track. And if you read this and it makes you happy, I hope you are some day forced to leave this great Nation.

    And Mo, Get out of our country you illegal immigrant.

  37. I believe that if you’re not a Native American, you have no right whatsoever to talk about illegal immigration. Who was in America first? It sure as hell wasn’t the English, or any of the other early explorers; the Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese. It was the Indians, or Native Americans, or whatever you wish to call this poorly treated group of people. Native Americans were more than likely 100% of the total human population of America. According the the census taken in 2000, it is now 0.9%. Quite a drop, wouldn’t you say?

    After reading the comments on this page, I know that some of you will argue with me. It’s unavoidable because some of you simply fail to realize that we who call ourselves Americans and believe that we rightfully belong here, do, in fact, NOT belong here. We who are not Native American are the true illegal immigrants.

    I don’t care what anyone’s reply is to what I have to say. Chances are that I won’t be back, so it really doesn’t make any difference to me. So, have fun slandering my post and myself and pointng out the errors in it that you can not do to your own.

  38. Apparently my lack of sleep is getting to me. The title of this page is ‘Anti-Immigration’, and not ‘Illegal-Immigration’, which is what my post was about. Perhaps I should sleep more. I suppose that my argument could be used in some way in the ‘Anti-Immigration’ debate as well though. Well then, I shall be going. Once again, have fun with my post.

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