Author Challenges Immigration Myths
April 27, 1995, 06:19 PM
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By Peter Worthington

The Toronto Sun

[See also Hot Book Ignites Fires Of Controversy, By Peter Worthington,May 11, 1995]

April 27, 1995

Few things are as risky to criticize these days as immigration policy—unless one is willing to be branded "racist" for questioning or seeking debate on its merits.

Yet that's exactly what Peter Brimelow does in a new book that's shaking up America. Alien Nation (Random House) is refreshingly devoid of euphemisms and argues, contrary to mythology, that immigration is not what made America great (albeit unique). If there isn't a pause, Brimelow writes, present policies will irrevocably alter and wreck America.

Already the racial or ethnic mix of America has changed—all stemming from the 1965 Immigration Act which opened the doors to Third World immigrants. In 147 years prior to the 1965 Act, close to 90% of immigrants were Europeans; since 1965 some 16% are Europeans (82% are Third World).

In 1988, for example, 13% of immigrants to the U.S. came from the Caribbean, where 13 million people live, while 10% came from Europe with 650 million people. It isn't racist to acknowledge this has wrought considerable changes—cultural, economic, political, social. And what's true of America has parallels in Canada. The same elements in both countries tend to cry "racist!" at any hint of criticism.

Brimelow is an ethnic Brit who, before going to the U.S. where he's a senior writer for Forbes magazine, worked variously for Barron's, the Wall Street Journal, Maclean's, the Financial Post. He also used to write a column for the Sun. Brimelow is that rarest of creatures in journalism—an independent, original thinker who isn't intimidated by controversy.

A dispassionate look at the effects of immigration is long overdue, but is virtually taboo—rather like crime statistics in Canada as they relate to countries of origin.

As one who has tended to favor open immigration, I'm since persuaded that Brimelow is right when he hammers the 1965 Act that stresses family reunification—an unmitigated disaster. Allowing unlimited numbers of unskilled relatives in who may be illiterate and who head straight for welfare and then bring in even more relatives of their own, is a blueprint for abuse and problems.

It'd be better if only immediate family members could be "reunified" instead of "extended" families which can run to a dozen or more persons per immigrant. Brimelow says immigrants who crave family reunification can always return from whence they came.

ILLEGALS FLOOD IN

Illegal immigrants are a malignancy. Brimelow notes that some three million illegals a year enter the U.S., and wind up comprising 25% of the federal prison population. California's popular Proposition 187 that would deny illegals taxpayer funding has growing support.

In the past, immigrants who didn't make it in the New World returned home. Ernest Hillen, author of the best-selling Way of a Boy (about his childhood in a Japanese prison camp) recalls going to Holland in the mid-1950s on a ship filled with Dutch immigrants who had failed and were going home. That no longer happens. Once in North America, immigrants who fail go on welfare. There's no weeding-out process.

The myth that "we're all immigrants" is just that—a myth. So is the view that immigrants add to our wealth. Technology and innovation made America rich—but not as rich as Japan, which has no immigration yet continues to grow.

Nearly 50% of Cambodian and Laotian refugees are on welfare; two-thirds of the babies born in Los Angeles county are to illegals—babies that are automatically U.S. citizens.

Britain's leading newspaper, the Telegraph, predicts Alien Nation "will provoke even more outrage than last year's The Bell Curve which postulated links between IQ and race." Like The Bell Curve, Brimelow's message is already being distorted and misinterpreted by those liberals and conservatives who regard immigration as sacred and beyond debate.

UNFASHIONABLE VIEW

Brimelow is simply identifying a cause and effect—the logical consequences of a policy dictated by politics, not economics. His is an unfashionable view that can't be ignored.

Clearly, this is an important, provocative book that is basically correct. To those who say "so what?" if immigrants flood in and change the ethnic make-up of America (or Canada), Brimelow responds "so why?" Uncontrolled immigration has made the plight of blacks worse in the U.S., and contributed to intolerance in Canada. And there is no end in sight.

America and Canada are being changed, without the consent or even knowledge of their citizens, from culturally homogeneous societies into multicultural, multiracial multireligious societies—and these invariably breed discrimination, prejudice, conflict.

Thirty years ago Enoch Powell was pilloried in Britain for predicting racial problems from indiscriminate immigration. Similarly, Brimelow will be attacked as an unwanted prophet with an unwelcome message—especially because he's probably right.