The Immigration Solution: Peter Brimelow's Review
Print Friendly and PDF

[Published in the Washington Times, January 1, 2008]

Anyone foolhardy enough to write a book advocating immigration reduction has to decide whether to mention the elephant in the census data—the fact that, by commission and omission, through the workings of the epochal 1965 Immigration Act and by effectively ceasing to enforce the law against illegal immigration, the government is engineering a racial revolution. Entirely because of public policy, a country that was 90 percent white in 1960 will have a non-white majority sometime in the 2050s. This is a transformation without precedent in the history of the world.

Mention this fact and you are hysterically attacked, as Pat Buchanan was last year for his best-selling book State of Emergency. Don't mention it—the prudent course adopted by Heather Mac Donald, Victor Davis Hanson and Steven Malanga,  authors of The Immigration Solution —and you are ignored. As far as I can see, they have received no print reviews at all.

Which is a shame. Absent race, The Immigration Solution is an excellent summary of the state of economic, sociological and historical play in the immigration debate. The authors might very well have thought that their facts and analyses were conclusive all by themselves, with no need to take further risk. But this is immigration. Its elite enthusiasts have shown they are peculiarly immune to facts and analyses.

Nevertheless, the immigration issue is unmistakably on the move. This year, for the first time, all the Republican presidential candidates have felt the need at least to lie about their commitment to stopping illegal immigration. (Legal immigration is still mostly ignored.) Given that the Democratic contenders have had their feet planted firmly in cement by their ethnic constituencies' blind insistence on amnesty, it's distinctly possible that immigration will play a major role in the fall election. What else has the Republican Party to run on?

Indeed, The Immigration Solution is itself evidence of the issue's emergence within the conservative Establishment. It originated in articles by the authors published in City Journal, the policy magazine of the Manhattan Institute, one of the largest free-market think tanks in the country. (Full disclosure: My late wife was publisher of City Journal in the early 1990s.) All of these articles appeared after September 11, which seems to have been some sort of epiphany for the magazine's editors, and one of them was also the basis of another book, Mexifornia by military historian Victor Davis Hanson, which has the distinction of being the only book critical of immigration ever to be politely reviewed by the fanatically open-borders Wall Street Journal—probably because of Mr. Hanson's prominent support for the Iraq war.

(In this book, Mr. Hanson updates his earlier essay, noting the accumulation of data to support his earlier impressionistic account of a developing Hispanic underclass. Much of this data is efficiently summarized by Heather Mac Donald in her chapters on Hispanic crime, family breakdown, and general failure to assimilate.)

It would be for a scarred veteran of the immigration wars to say there is little really new in The Immigration Solution, though it's very well packaged. Thus Steven Malanga in his impressive chapter on economics notes that native-born Americans receive essentially no aggregate net economic benefit from immigration—which means that America is being transformed for nothing. But I reported this astonishing consensus among labor economists in my own book, Alien Nation, more than 12 years ago.

However, the point is that no one took any notice of me, nor of the National Academy of Science metastudy that reached the same conclusion in 1997. For most Americans, this news is new.

And I was fascinated to learn from Ms. Mac Donald that Hispanic gang members, unlike black gang members, tend to have day jobs. Must be that work ethic President Bush keeps going on about.

The Immigration Solution concludes with sensible proposals, commendably directed at illegal and legal immigration, even including a "debate" on the citizen-child interpretation of the 14th Amendment—critical to getting illegal immigration under control.

Who knows—in an election year, we may be hearing more about them.

Peter Brimelow is editor of VDARE.COM and author of the much-denounced Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster, (Random House - 1995) and The Worm in the Apple (HarperCollins - 2003)

Print Friendly and PDF