According to the those on the political Left, America has always been a nation of, by, and for immigrants, in terms undefined, unregulated, and unlimited. But inclusive rhetoric is a recent development in U.S. immigration policy, one that stands in stark contrast with our nation’s former longstanding practice of prudent, selective immigration.
Progressives seem to forget it was Democrat Ted Kennedy, on the eve of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, who assured an uneasy Congress that “our streets will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually.” Turns out there were 1.8 million immigrants in 2016 alone. That line didn’t age well, did it?
Kennedy promised the bill “will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia.”
Some might say Kennedy was tacitly mollifying a concern about America being overwhelmed with immigrants from what, based on desperately impoverished conditions therein, might be considered “shithole” countries. There’s nothing inherently wrong with what Kennedy said. Nations have the right to regulate immigration, after all.
“Complicit” With What Now?
But how would Senator Cory Booker react to those remarks today? I can’t see Booker slamming Kennedy like he did Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, whom he likened to a Nazi enabler when she failed to rebuke President Trump’s remark that she didn’t hear, because she wasn’t in the room.
Neilsen, the consummate professional, remained calm against Booker’s tirade. “I decline to spend any more of my time responding other than to say the obvious—I did not and will not lie under oath and say I heard something I didn’t,” Nielsen said.
How principled, genuine even, of Nielsen—Lindsey Graham could learn a thing or two from her. Booker was left with his “tears of rage” at Neilsen’s “complicity” in enabling a racist America wherein we do the unthinkable: control our borders, enforce immigration laws, dictate who may immigrate, and upon which conditions they may remain.
Even if Trump had used the now trending expletive—which he denies—it seems much less problematic than Kennedy’s promises, now broken, that under the 1965 immigration law, “the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset,” and “the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think.”
Would Booker have been “seething” had he been in Congress when Kennedy, “liberal lion of the Senate,” made those remarks? Just imagine the tears of rage flowing down the cheeks of Booker’s huge head at Kennedy’s placating ethnocentrists. But Booker probably wouldn’t have had a problem with it, because when progressives say things that according to their convenient selectively applied standards may be considered racist, it’s just different. Race-baiting has become a staple of political discussion, because when faced with intellectually sound challenges to awful policy, it’s much easier to take the ad hominem route, slandering someone as an irredeemable “racist,” than it is to defeat pesky well-thought-out points.
Immigration Rights . . . and Wrongs
Kennedy assured Congress that immigrants from “Africa will have to compete and qualify in order to get in.” Compare that radically reasonable statement to today’s Judge Andrew Napolitano, who insists that “immigration [i]s a natural human right.” A completely serious, ostensibly sober Napolitano maintains that the rights enshrined in the Constitution of the United States of America actually apply to all people, everywhere, and that because “only God is sovereign,” nations as such may not be and therefore borders aren’t just un-American, they’re un-Christian.
I don’t think anyone needs to provide a serious rebuttal as to why Napolitano is abjectly wrong in his claim that our Constitution should paternalistically dictate the lives of all mankind, but someone should remind Napolitano that the Christian God, in which natural law is rooted, categorically created nations, “and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” And here I thought this was basic Sunday school stuff.
Indeed, Napolitano, a self-described “constitutional originalist,” seems to have forgotten that George Washington first set the tone for pragmatic immigration policy. Washington rebuked unrestricted immigration, saying that the United States should prioritize “useful mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions.”
Is that racist?
Perhaps to Booker and Napolitano. But the reality is that selective and regulated immigration ensures immigrants will actually have a chance to succeed once in America. For example, selective immigration from Nigeria has resulted in Nigerian immigrants earning substantially higher median household incomes on average than those of blacks born in America, largely due to the fact that nearly two-thirds of Nigerian immigrants admitted to the United States hold college degrees before their arrival.
Selective immigration isn’t racist, it’s only selective. Now, to say there are more Norwegians on average with college degrees than there are Nigerians is either racist or a harmless fact, depending on how far along the left-hand path you are.
Economist Noah Smith calls this the “magic of high-skilled immigration.” When a nation “selects immigrants for their educational background and technical skills, it doesn’t just get smart people—it gets families committed to education, hard work and future-oriented life planning.” Moreover, employing an immigration system akin to the Canadian model, which prioritizes immigrants by training, experience, education, language skills, their ability provide for themselves, and even their capacity to appropriately participate in society, is no more racist than referring to countries that lack sewage systems as holes where sewage is collected.
This is the condition of the Washington establishment—bureaucrats are boldfaced in their rewriting of our foundational history and our principles into a narrative that warrants them to, as journalist Steve Sailer once said, “invade the world, invite the world.”
The real reason why entrenched Washington elites and their constituents are willing to revive the Brown Scare and recklessly fuel divisive identity politics is that they want to protect their pet project of America exporting freedom and democracy to every corner of the world. We can’t do that, particularly not to oil-rich countries where liberalism is an alien concept, if America declares that it actually has borders. Washington can’t be the capital of the world, and thus prescribe what’s best for the world, if what we are is encapsulated within American borders.
For an illustrated example, look no further than Haiti. In 1994 the Congressional Black Caucus urged the Clinton Administration to invade Haiti and reinstall Jean-Bertrand Aristide from exile in the United States back into power. Later, in 2004, the Bush Administration effectively forced out Aristide, when a chief of staff of the U.S. embassy in Haiti told “him that [Aristide] would be killed ‘and a lot of Haitians would be killed’” if Aristide “did not leave and said he ‘has to go now.’” Invade the world, invite the world.
Borders begin with immigration control and national sovereignty, two things that constitute major phobias for our Beltway elite.