Peter Brimelow: Israel, Greece Show Mitt Romney How To Handle Illegal Immigration
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Peter Brimelow writes: This is the talk I just gave to The Social Contract’s 2012 Writers Workshop on Sunday (Sept. 30). The video itelf is here. Many thanks to everyone at TSC.

Let me start off with good, or at any rate interesting, news: Mitt Romney is going to be the next President of the United States.

I know this because FAIR’s President Dan Stein told me so. He told all of us who attended the FAIR Board of Advisers meeting yesterday so.

Now, it’s not often that Dan says anything crazier than me! So I thought this news was worth passing on.

And I should add that Dan also had this new hot young elections analyst for RealClearPolitics speak. I always thought he had the ideal name for an election analyst: Sean Trende! But it turns out that he pronounces it “Trend-y”

At we like Trende, because he agrees with us! He’s started to say things that I can modestly we’ve been saying for the last twelve years. Such as “the Hispanic vote is much exaggerated.” And “the real target of opportunity in American politics is the white working class; the white working class is up for grabs.”

Anyway, it turns out Trende takes Romney’s chances quite seriously too.

Now one of the functions of the Main Stream Media is to explain, after the fact, why whatever happened was inevitable.

So how did Mitt Romney become inevitable?

Maybe it was any one of a series of statements, made within the last year and throughout this summer.

Here’s one–from his landmark speech to the US Chamber of Commerce. Romney said:

You will not like this, but we plan to legislate strict laws and enforce them with a firm hand against the illegal employment of infiltrators and foreign workers. We are flooded with surge of immigrants who threaten to wash away our achievements and damage our existence… They are causing socio-economic and cultural damage and threaten to take us back down to the level of the Third World. They take the jobs of the weakest Americans 

Or maybe it was this one:

I intend to make life miserable for illegal immigrants until they realize their place is not here….

Whoever wishes to keep talking and end up a future witness in the commission of inquiry investigating how America was lost–should talk. Whoever wants to act and ensure an America that we would recognize for his children–should act.

I choose to take action.

Or this:

“I will draw up an emergency program, not just a fence which is a defensive plan, to expel whoever needs to be expelled without thinking twice…”

Maybe it was Romney’s dramatic surprise visit to the South Central Los Angeles–home of the late, great much-lamented Terry Anderson–where Romney said

I heard the residents' cry about their city being flooded with illegal immigrants. One needs to stand there and listen to them, to hear the despair of the mothers and fathers and business owners, who feel that they are losing their city and the ability to have a normal life.

Or maybe it was Romney’s plan, announced early in the summer, to build a detention center that could hold 1.1 million illegal aliens.

Well, of course, Mitt Romney didn’t say any of those things.

(And of course he’s not ahead in the polls either)

All these statements are (suitably edited) versions of what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai and other Israel politicians have been saying recently.

Netanyahu really did address the Israel equivalent of the Chamber of Commerce. He really did visit South Tel Aviv, where illegal immigrants have concentrated and where there were riots earlier this year.

And the Israelis really are building a detention center—its opponents call it a concentration camp, but the Israeli leadership doesn’t care. It’s projected for 30,000 people. I just scaled up–Israel has 7.9 million inhabitants, and America 314.028 million.

Illegal immigration to Israel basically began in the second half of the last decade—mainly cross the Egyptian frontier. It’s gotten significantly worse since the Arab Spring and the fall of the Arab dictators.

The official estimate, which we can assume to be a lie, was 55,000 illegal aliens in January 2012. That’s equivalent to 2.2 million in US terms. Netanyahu himself has estimated 60,000—which he says could grow to 600,000. I wonder if that’s an informed guess, because it’s equivalent to 24 million in the US, which is about the upper bound of unofficial estimates. (The Census official estimate is 9 million.)

Israel’s illegal aliens are heavily African, particularly from South Sudan and Eritrea. Of course, they claim to be refugees, but they’re not generally facing persecution at home other than the usual Third World chaos. They’re actually just “economic refugees.”

The Israeli response to this influx has been heartwarmingly ferocious

The Israelis, of course, are the world experts on border fences. They built one first on the Gaza Strip, and then on the West Bank. And those fences did end the suicide bomber crisis of some ten years ago. The West Bank fence is surprisingly long, because of the complexity of the border–430 miles, a quarter of the length of the US southern border.

On we link to a great interview with an Israeli expert on fences. He said it was a “liberal illusion” to imagine that fences don’t work. It’s just a question of resources, and will.

Recently, Netanyahu has announced that Israel will now build a fence on its Egyptian and Jordanian border. So that’s going to be another couple hundred miles.

The Israelis have introduced other border enforcement techniques. For example, years ago when I was researching Alien Nation, I was being shown the Mexican border by the Border Patrol and my guide pointed out some canyons in the ridge above us and said “We can’t patrol there at night, it’s too dangerous.”

I asked: “Why don’t you just use dogs, send dogs up there?”

(You know—bite them!)

The guide, he was a young Hispanic, was deeply shocked. He said: “Have you ever seen a police dog in a crowd?”[Alien Nation (PDF) p. 237]

Well, now the Israelis are using dogs.

The Israelis are also implementing interesting new ideas in internal enforcement.

On, we discussed two reports in Israel newspapers we discussed back in July. Here’s one:

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved on Sunday a bill that would impose a jail sentence or fine on illegal aliens who send money abroad.

The bill will come up for its initial reading in the Knesset Monday and is expected to pass…

According to the new law, transfer of funds abroad by an illegal alien will be punishable by six months in jail or a fine of NIS 29,200. A person convicted of assisting an infiltrator to transfer funds will face up to 12 months in jail – twice the sentence facing the infiltrator himself. [My emphasis—PB]

The stricter punishment for those assisting in the transfer is meant for dealing with the people creating the infrastructure for the money transfers.

Why didn’t we did think of that?

Well, actually, we did think of that–we ran several articles about different aspects of the idea. See here and here.

Here’s the next news story:

Migrants who are denied residency in Israel would be forced to leave the country before appealing the government's decision to deport them, according to an Interior Ministry-sponsored bill put out yesterday.

In an explanatory note, the Ministry acknowledged it was seeking to reduce the number of appeals… "In this way, it is possible that most of the appeals will become superfluous and we will save ourselves unnecessary legal proceedings." [!!! My emphasis—PB]

The only American news outlet which (to its great credit) noted this story was the  Forward: Israel Hopes To Ban African Remittances July 08 2012. 

This June, Reuters ran a story about an Israel initiative to pay illegals from the Cote d’Ivoire a cash bonus to leave. I quote.

Ivorian migrants who leave on their own volition will receive a sum of $500 for each adult and $100 per each child, Yishai's ministry said.

"Infiltrators that do not leave in this period will be arrested and will lose eligibility for the stipend," it said in the statement.

Why is this happening?

It’s happening because Israeli leaders care about their people. American leaders do not.

This contrast drew the curiosity of Allison Kaplan Sommer of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, who inquired Are U.S. Jewish organizations hypocrites on immigration?  (Jun 17, 2012). She wrote: 

American Jewish organizations have loudly applauded President Obama’s decision to issue an executive order, allowing law-abiding, school-attending young illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to remain in the country to apply for two-year deferrals of deportation and for work permits.

Kaplan Sommer linked to a nauseating gloat at JTA News (Jewish organizations praise Obama on deportation deferment, Friday, June 15, 2012) which lists 5 major Jewish organizations cheering on the Obama Administrative Amnesty Coup D’état


Kaplan Sommer then bravely continued

And yet, by contrast Israel’s policy decisions on illegal immigration–culminating in today’s airlift of South Sudanese back to their homeland–has resulted in a resounding silence from the same organizations…organizations that have historically lobbied the U.S. government in the direction of liberal immigration policies in the United States, are not exerting the same kind of political pressure when it comes to Israeli treatment of refugees and economic migrants.

She reminded her readers that when the late May Tel Aviv riots occurred

American Jewish organizations did not quickly condemning the attacks on the African migrants in South Tel Aviv and the inflammatory remarks...when they began in late May. Later the same day, journalist Peter Beinart made the same criticisms a blog post entitled The Sound of Silence (Daily Beast, May 24, 2012) Over the next few days, condemnations were, in fact, issued by the organizations. Would they have happened without the online pressure? Who knows?

She concluded

If a group takes a stand on what the U.S. government should do about immigrants–who aren’t even political refugees–especially when they invoke their own immigrant history, as the National Jewish Democratic Council did, should they not also grapple with what is happening in Israel?

And this is the important point. She guessed

Right now, the Israeli deportations are not a story in the United States, and it is likely the organizations fear that issuing statements on the subject would be an invitation to unflattering coverage of the story in the media.

That, actually, was not something about which Kaplan Sommer needed to worry. For example, our Google News search indicated only one U.S. MSM outlet dared to mention the Reuters story about Cote d’Ivoire I cited above.

The reason we don’t hear more in the MSM about the remarkable parallels between the Israeli illegal alien problem and our own—and the even more remarkable differences in the policy response–is because it just doesn’t fit the liberal agenda.

You know, the internet is in many ways a gift from God. I mean, it made possible! It’s broken down the Main Stream Media cartel.

But, paradoxically, it’s also made possible the much more intense policing of the MSM itself. There are these leftists media watch-dogs, like Media Matters which I believe is funded by George Soros, there are private listserve groups to which many Leftist journalists belong—the most famous being “Journolist” which was caught coordinating coverage of the Obama campaign.

I think you see this in the remarkable disciplined way in which the MSM is keeping Romney off-balance. They all focus on one point of attack and refuse to let him off the hook. (If you want to know what coverage would be like if pro-Romney forces controlled the MSM, look at the DRUDGE Report).

At, we no longer publicize when one of our writers is going to do a radio or TV show, because we know the station will get calls demanding that they cancel. I have the same problem with speaking engagements.

The result of this is that the ambit of debate in the MSM is actually much narrower than it was fifteen-twenty years ago.

The other country I’m going to talk about, Greece, provides another case of this phenomenon in action.

Last year, the Greeks announced that they too were going to start building a 128 mile fence.

Dozens of stories appeared in European and Asian newspapers about this fence. But when we last did a Google News search, not one leading U.S. paper had mentioned the matter

You might think that with the border fence issue being undeniably present in US politics, the news that another country was using one might be of interest...if you thought the MSM was about news.

But it’s not about news, it’s about control. And this determination to prevent rational consideration of a fence on the Mexican border has long been one of the wonders of the immigration controversy.

Greece’s illegal alien problem is longer-standing than that of Israel. It began about twenty years ago, when the Communism collapsed and the Balkans were no longer behind the Iron Curtain. (Which was a very effective fence, by the way!)

More recently, Greece has become basically the doorway to the European Union for illegal immigrants from Asia and Africa. They go through Turkey, which is apparently not restraining them out of pique that it has not been allowed to join the EU itself.

(Sounds familiar—just as the Mexican government makes no effort to restrain the flow to the north. Of course, Washington has never asked it to.)

In the past, up to 90% of these illegals just passed through, but increasing numbers have been staying.

Almost exactly four years ago, 2008, we ran on an article by the Greek journalist Ioannis Kolovos who cited estimates that legal and illegal immigrants together were about 2.5 million. The total Greek population is about 11 million, so that was about 27% foreign born. By comparison, the US foreign-born population is only about 12 percent. (And that includes me!)

Remember, Greece had had essentially no immigration until the last 20 years.

The Greeks responded much more like the Americans than the Israelis. Kolovos cited the legal immigrant figure because many there had already been several amnesties (the Greek word for it is “regularization”) by 2008—with the result, of course, that more illegals came.

One recent estimate is that about 7%-10% of Greece’s population are illegal aliens, up to one million people.

The Greeks responded like Americans in another way too. I quote Kolovos in 2008:

Using the country's newly-found population "diversity" as a Trojan Horse the established media, the academic elite and establishment politicians are pushing for the application of the doctrine of multiculturalism in all aspects of public life but mainly in Education. They have started revising all school textbooks, especially those of History, in order to make them more "inclusive", although it is questionable how a nation's history can be "revised" in order to "include" and "accommodate" children originating from 75 different countries (as is the case in Attica schools).

Furthermore, the elites are promoting a 'liberal' sense of nationality and they want to change Greece's Citizenship code. Moreover, plans for voting rights for regularized immigrants, birthright citizenship for their children and affirmative action plans are under way.

Sound familiar?

There’s obviously a lot of US-style political correctness in Greece—witness the fate of poor Voula Papachristou, the triple-jumper who was kicked out of her Olympic national team for mocking African immigrants and expressing support for Golden Dawn, an insurrectionary Right-wing party.

(Her offending message–which was referring to reports of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus in her home country–read: “With so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home-made food!” What was the big deal?)

But this Greek paralysis seems to be changing for two reasons:

  • The Greek financial crisis
  • The very real prospect of inundation—pace of illegal immigration seems to increasing by as much as 30% a year.

Greece is in terrible shape economically. The unemployment rate was 23.1 percent in May. [Greek Unemployment a Record 23.1%, WSJ, August 15, 2012] More than half of young people under 25 are jobless — 54.9 percent. Most illegals, of course, are young men of working age.

And Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias recently told reporters it was going to get worse:

"A migration wave is starting to show, it has not yet reached Greece in large numbers, currently it is heading to Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, but the country must be ready.”

The Greeks have responded to this with some innovative ideas of their own. You’ve all heard of flash mobs—a group of “youths” get together and overrun a store or something. Well, the Greeks seem to be pioneering flash deportations. They randomly grab illegals off the street and deport them.

There have been reports that they dump truckloads of them in towns in Macedonia in the middle of the night. This really irritates the Macedonians, but the Greeks and Macedonians are usually irritated with each other. They also put them on ferries to Italy. The Italians have figured this out and return them, so the Greeks send them back again. It’s sort of like ping pong! [Illegal Immigration Emerges as New Crisis for Greece—And EU, By Matinas Stevis, WSJ, September 15, 2012]

And it’s working.

Afghan refugees, huddled in their flat in central Athens, told CBN News that coming to Greece was the biggest mistake they ever made.

They called their life in Greece "a nightmare," and claimed they hide in their home as much as possible to avoid being beaten up in the street. [Afghan Refugees: Life in Greece Worse than Taliban, By Dale Hurd, CBN, July 31, 2012]

Now, of course, beating immigrants up is definitely not nice. But you don’t have to worry about it happening in the US! Eric Holder would prosecute it as a Hate Crime—under the legislation the Obama Administration muscled through early in its term (exactly as I predicted here).

And you don’t have to worry about immigrants being accused of hate crimes for beating up Americans! Holder made it clear that whites are not protected by his hate crime legislation.

Let me go back to Mitt Romney. When he was still running in the primaries, before he Etch-A-Sketched immigration enforcement out of his campaign, he made the excellent point that with the right incentives illegal aliens would “self-deport.”

This was greeted with utter incomprehension by the MSM. But of course the concept has been extensively discussed in the patriotic immigration reform community—where it’s more usually termed “Attrition Through Enforcement”—for a very long time. (At, we call restriction “patriotic immigration reform” to distinguish it from the…other kind).

As Roy Back said on NumbersUSA’s blog, shouldn’t the MSM check in with the opposition occasionally?–like, once every five years?

Well, at we see our role as upping the ante. So we have added the concept of “strategic deportation.”

It’s really a version of the much-celebrated Broken Windows theory of policing. You deport where it will send a message. In other words, when that Dreamer/ Screamer/ Stealer came off the podium at the Democratic National Convention, she should have arrested and kicked out.

(The Mexicans don’t allow foreigners to participate in political activity in their country. They deport them even if they’re in the country legally.)

Last week, the Daily Beast published a typical sob story about illegals in Greece (Syrian Immigrants Flood Greece, by Barbie Latza Nadeau, September 25, 2012). It concluded:

On Friday, thousands of immigrants took to the streets of Athens to protest the maltreatment in an attempt to focus international attention on the growing problem. But before the march ended, nearly 400 had been detained.

Now that’s the way to do it!

Thanks very much!

Peter Brimelow [Email him] is the editor of

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