NYTimes: The Democrats Have an Immigration Problem

It’s a good, long, detailed article that I recommend. For those who don’t have time to read the whole thing, the most important takeaway is that the so-called “immigration movement” in the US is failing to accomplish anything because it hasn’t defined its foundational principles. It keeps suggesting intermediate steps but nobody is trying to articulate what these steps are supposed to lead to. In doing that, the “movement” assures it will lose to people with a clear organizing principle every time. If you want to be a movement, you should at the very least decide the destination where you want to move.

Just to give a few examples of different organizing principles on immigration: Trump’s organizing principle is that we need less immigrants of any kind. Justin Trudeau’s is that Canada has a tiny population in a huge uninhabited territory, so it needs more immigrants of any kind. The party that just won in Quebec has as its principle that immigrants won’t speak French anyway so there should be fewer of them and those who do come should be bullied into speaking French at all costs. Angela Merkel’s position is (or was?) that the aging population can’t support the existing welfare system, so a large sudden influx of immigrants is crucial to keep it going.

We can all have different reactions to these foundational principles but the point is that they exist. These are clear ideas that we can agree or disagree with. In the US, however, the “immigration movement” lacks anything of the kind. It’s purely reactive in that it can kind of decide that it doesn’t like somebody else’s vision but refuses to come up with its own.

23 thoughts on “NYTimes: The Democrats Have an Immigration Problem”

  1. Trump’s organizing principle is that we need less immigrants of any kind.

    I think Trump’s organizing principle is that we need fewer non-white immigrants, not that we need fewer of any kind.


    1. I have already asked this but there is no clear response: if instead of Hispanic immigrants, we had the same number of very blond Polish or not blond but obviously white Ukrainian immigrants, would the reaction of Trump’s supporters to them be any different? I personally think it would be identical. In the UK, there seems to be a vast resentment against Polish immigrants for economic and cultural reasons.

      I’m an immigrant, so I’m conscious of anti-immigrant feelings when I encounter them, and I don’t see any difference in how anti-immigrant people react to me and how they react to, say, Guatemalan immigrants.


      1. A Mexican graduate student here on an H1B visa, whose Native American ancestry shows, gets harassed on the street & says he doesn’t leave the house alone as much as he would normally, due to safety concerns. Doesn’t walk alone at night, etc.


  2. I would say there is a principle but immigration activists don’t want to articulate it because they know a large majority of Americans would reject it.

    The principle is: “Any person in the world who wants to come to the United States should be allowed to.”

    The left version of this is based on the proposition that border controls (and punitive measures for those that break immigration law) is inherently immoral and mean.
    The right version, not so commonly expressed now, is that all people in America are potentially Americans (or are really American underneath illusions of cultural differences) and so anyone who manages to plant their feet on American soil is actually just expressing their birthright.

    As I always say, you don’t have an immigration policy if you express who you want to keep out and who you want to deport – and immigration “activists” consistently refuse to do either – so their de facto policy is “open US borders”.

    In other words, it’s a terrible unworkable principle that gets rejected by a large majority as soon as it’s expressed.


    1. It’s always, “no, of course, we don’t want open borders. That’s a lie!!!” And then complete silence when you ask, “but what do you want? What’s the goal?”

      It’s so annoying because there’s nothing but sulky silence in response to anything. Hillary already lost an election in large measure because she never said anything specific on the subject. How much more defeat is necessary before somebody formulates a position?


            1. The attacker claims that he was trying to kick the phone out of the woman’s hand, but his aim was off. The stunt isn’t as easy as it looks in all those kung fu movies.


      1. ” always, “no, of course, we don’t want open borders…”

        Okay, it’s a principle by default, it’s the principle that emerges when you look at the stopgap measures they support and the stopgap measures they don’t.


      2. There isn’t just one kind of immigration activist and most people on the ground are focused on a set of cases or issues, all of which answer to questions of human rights and labor rights. This all doesn’t necessarily add up to a global rethinking of the whole thing.

        Laws, general attitudes, etc., all presuppose some asylum cases and some regular immigrants, but there are very many candidates for both and this clogs the system. Add to that that cheap labor is desired, and for that labor to remain cheap there have to be undocumented people.

        Add then to that that it is U.S. policy that creates immigrants and refugees, and this is recognized at some level, so it is felt that more should be let in because their plight is our fault, yet at the same time it is also felt that so many people cannot fit.

        So there are a lot of different problems to address, or to decide not to address, if one really wants to think it all through and create an ultra-rational system. Since there are so many pressures and conflicts around this all, the whole thing is not thought through — not least because all this movement of people is precipitated by complex factors that we do not entirely control.

        The key contradiction, I think, is the one I mention below: cheap immigrant labor is wanted, but for it to be cheap, immigrants must be undocumented, since if documented or given green cards the they are in the regular and more expensive labor market. So we actually want undocumented immigrants, but can’t say so, and at the same time we want human rights and labor rights.

        All of this is hard to keep up with & it’s why it is a whole, huge research field.


  3. My comment was much longer and clearer, but it was lost. It comes down to: US needs some form of enslaved or very low paid labor. Always has. Immigrants, and undocumented ones, are now providing that. With immigration reform they will not be as cheap. This will have economic implications. So the country is schizophrenic: it wants low paid workers, everyone does whether they admit it or not. But this manifests in some wanting no immigrants and others wanting open borders.

    There are of course a lot of other factors to consider but I think this is the fundamental thing: we want cheap labor. And don’t tell me farm work, construction, seafood processing, etc. are unskilled until you have tried them. At speed and on long shifts.


  4. “if instead of Hispanic immigrants, we had the same number of very blond Polish or not blond but obviously white Ukrainian immigrants, would the reaction of Trump’s supporters to them be any different?”

    Yes, that would be different. Polish people are white Europeans and can assimilate with other white Europeans easily. The history of the United States is proof of this. Others are not capable of assimilation, or do not want to assimilate, or both. The purpose of mass immigration from the 3rd world is to replace the white populations of historically white nations. This is also why the Dems seemingly have no stated goals with regard to immigration; the purpose is to breed out gun-toting, suspicious-of-elites, revolution-prone whites, yet if this is stated openly this goal will be rejected even by white leftists themselves. The goal is no more white people.

    With regard to the English hating on Polish immigrants, I have seen this first hand. This is simply anti-white rhetoric being taught and repeated. The idea that an Englishman would be more offended by Polish immigration than Arab and African immigration is absurd.



    1. Apparently, you haven’t met any of today’s Ukrainians if you think they have much interest in assimilating. 🙂 A Hispanic immigrant assimilates completely about three generations earlier. 🙂


      1. Press ‘X’ for doubt. How about I just give you Ukraine for free. What about Germans, Italians, Polish, Spaniards, Swedes, Danes, Russians, English… even the Irish? I mean, you said it yourself. The American right doesn’t want Hispanic immigration, and I’ll tell you right now we wouldn’t mind Ukrainians. So there’s got to be something the people are noticing about Hispanics that they don’t like. This country’s culture certainly isn’t being changed into something unrecognizable by Ukrainians.

        Also, I’m assuming we both know that we aren’t talking about Iberian Hispanic.


          1. So you are trying to convince me, albeit condescendingly, that Russians are far less likely to assimilate than, say, Ecuadorians. Even if you were to somehow personally convince me of this, this again does not change the fact that most white Americans do not hold this position. Maybe you are aware of data that shows that Russian immigrants speak their native language in the home for half a generation longer than Brazilian immigrants. This is not the experience of the American people in the current atmosphere, and you are well aware of this. No one is pressing ‘2’ for Russian anytime they call customer service. Also this is not an issue of scale. I haven’t spoken about personal experiences at all up to this point, only the attitude of the current culture. The United states is very large with millions of immigrants. This large-scale system is feeding you information that American whites do not mind Russian speakers while very much minding Spanish speakers. This is not a random occurrence. If Ecuadorians and Guatemalans were assimilating as well as you would like to believe then no one would have taken notice of them as being “the other”.


            1. Hey, bud, I’m not trying to convince you of anything because I have better things to do with my life. But yes, as somebody much more worldly than you, I’m doing you a great kindness of informing you of how things stand. All you do in response is project your beliefs on “the American people.” That is infantile and makes condescending to you quite unavoidable.


              1. Typical Dunning-Kruger leftist, not even capable of having a simple conversation. You know nothing about me other than the fact that I point out the simplest observations of American politics which you seem to be incapable of acknowledging. This is not projection, you do not know what projection is. I am restating your original observation — that white voters don’t like Hispanic immigrants — and now you are claiming this is my own projection, while trying to pretend like whites can’t assimilate with other whites in a nation that was a pot-pourri of white immigration for 200 years. If you are unaware of even the most basic polling of the attitudes white Americans then you basically have no business discussing politics. Again, my opinion doesn’t even matter. The polls tell us everything you need to know. Oh, and The American People hate people like you, but I love you. People like you are the reason right-wingers get angry and go to the polls. You are just a light (metaphorically, definitely not literally) version of the lunatics banging on the doors of the Supreme Court.



              2. I’m mean and condescending not because I’m a leftist – which I don’t think I am – but because I’m a Russian-speaker. And we are notoriously rude and supercilious.

                Gotcha! :-)))


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