editors at The
Street Journal Edit Page (2/15/01)
had their collective Cyclops eye trained on President
Bush last Friday, as he departed for Mexico.
Their fear was that, rather than listen to them,
the president would allow his attention to drift
toward anti-immigration groups who also have an
interest in his trip.
anti-immigrant rhetoric oozing out of California and
other states that rely heavily on migrant labor is
getting thicker. Lobbyist groups like American
and the California Coalition for Immigration
Reform have even gone so far as to blame their state's
power fiasco in part on its immigrant population (too
and demand? Heresy!
- Favoring immigration reform is not the same thing
as being "anti-immigrant." The Edit Pagers are
of course aware of this, but can't resist a
Edit Pagers claimed "there is no statistical
evidence to support the argument that immigrants
compete with 'natives' for jobs." In fact,
there are volumes of such evidence – e.g.
Harvard economist George Borjas' work,
summarized in his Heaven's
Door, confirmed by the National Academy
of Science's 1997 report The
New Americans. The Wall
Street Journal – neocon Republican Edit Page
and liberal Democratic news section in rare unison
– have simply suppressed
Edit Pagers pointed
to the high rate of job creation over the
last two-decades of high immigration.
But this confuses the cyclical (economic
expansion) and secular (long-term immigration
increase) trends. Without immigration, domestic
wages would have risen more. Without immigration
in any future recession, domestic wages will fall
Edit Pagers concluded by observing that between
September 2000 and January 2001, detentions of
illegal immigrants along the border dropped by 22%
over the same period a year ago.
Whoopee!!! But detentions at the border
have fluctuated regularly, reflecting all sorts of
factors - including enforcement. To posit any
trend on such brief evidence is preposterous.
What word comes to mind regarding WSJ
editor Bob Bartley, who rashly allowed himself
to opine a few years ago that "the
nation-state is finished"?
Mr. Bartley's nation, whatever that may be, is finished.
is not - not yet, anyway.
is the author of The
Immigration Mystique: America's False Conscience
and an editor and columnist for Chronicles
Magazine, where he writes the The Hundredth Meridian
column about life in the Rocky Mountain West.
February 19, 2001