Politics makes strange bedfellows, they say, and on no issue do they get stranger than immigration. American restrictionism (understood as a movement that seeks perennially to restrict immigration as a matter of principle not temporarily for some prudential reason like national security) has historically stood on two pillars: Labor protectionism (with or without a dose of nativism) and population control. Both have been the province of lefty outfits — the first of unions and the second of enviros. For example, in the 1970s, all the leading environmentalists — such as economist Garrett Hardin, Democratic Sen. Gaylord Nelson, biologist Paul Ehrlich (whose Population Bomb became an overnight sensation) — were also restrictionists. They feared that "mass migration," especially from third world countries with higher fertility rates, would lead to overpopulation and environmental catastrophe in America and the West.
But the strange thing is that lefties are increasingly repudiating both strains and becoming more pro-immigration. However, conservatives are embracing both strains and becoming more anti-immigration.
Indeed, the right is the sole link to mainstream respectability for three of America's most influential restrictionist groups — FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), CIS (Center for Immigration Studies), and NumbersUSA — all founded by John Tanton, an ophthalmologist who laments that Hitler gave eugenics a bad name…
While FAIR is perhaps the ickiest of the restrictionist trio, they're all quite bad. NumbersUSA president Roy Beck, who Tanton has blessed as his "heir apparent," blames population pressures due to "mass" immigration for practically every economic and environmental ill in America, real or imagined (but mostly imagined)…
And that brings us to the third major restriction group: the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which Tanton spun off when he found himself losing the "battle of ideas." CIS's express charge was to promote restrictionism on more acceptable intellectual grounds. This move paid off when the conservative National Review, a perennial immigration opponent, gave CIS executive director Mark Krikorian (whom I have debated) along with many of his colleagues and researchers — including Jason Richwine, whose dissertation recommending IQ tests for immigrants and musings at white nationalist websites forced him to resign from the Heritage Foundation — a regular blogging platform.
If this is not strange enough, go here to read the whole thing for even more strangeness.