Steve Chapman Still Gets An "F" On Immigration—But, Hey, He's Still Employed
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The bone-headedness of Establishment libertarians about immigration is no longer a surprise—it's a standing joke at VDARE.COM that one of their flagship publications is called Reason—but Steve Chapman's column Citizenship Should Remain a Birthright (Chicago Tribune, June 27 2010) is, for me, a particularly sad case. Steve and I had been allies in the Reagan-era free market wars and he personally escorted me into the Chicago Tribune editorial board meeting arranged as part of my book tour with Alien Nation. As I recall, they were dumbfounded by any criticism of immigration, and particularly dismayed when, in response to their claim that it was not a problem in Chicago, I was able to point to current stories in their own paper about school overcrowding, all of course in immigrant-impacted areas, as their reporter had needless to say failed to note.

Steve seemed amused. And as we bid goodbye, he said: "I'm still thinking about this".

But he wasn't, of course. Or at least his review, when it was published, was one of the very large fraction I had to grade "F" because it just rabbitted on about the glories of immigration without ever discussing the paradoxical workings of the 1965 Immigration Act—failed to grasp, in other words, that this is a government policy that we're talking about.

Fifteen years later, libertarians (with rare exceptions) have still failed to grapple with this fundamental point.

Steve Chapman did read Alien Nation, however, because he cites it in his current column attacking the growing criticism of birthright citizenship:

One study cited in Peter Brimelow's 1996 anti-immigration screed, "Alien Nation," found that 15 percent of new Hispanic mothers whose babies were born in southern California hospitals said they came over the border to give birth, with 25 percent of that group saying they did so to gain citizenship for the child.

But this evidence actually contradicts the claim. It means that 96 percent of these women were not lured by the desire to have an "anchor baby."

This of course is a deeply silly evasion, typical of a thumb-sucking columnist trying to make a case against a deadline. The un-evadable fact is that the anchor baby issue is huge: for example, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich recently discovered that one-quarter of state welfare payments and food stamps issued in his county go to children whose parents are in the U.S. illegally. There may be as many as 500,000 anchor babies born a yearup to one in ten of all babies born.

But I don't see much sign that Steve has read anything else about immigration since Alien Nation. For example, he apparently hasn't heard of the "birth tourism" racket created by the anchor baby loophole, although we reported one recent case in March and it got into the MSM months later. Nor is he aware of the extensive legal critique of the anchor baby loophole.

Steve is still at the Chicago Tribune, however, quite an achievement—congratulate him.

Maybe he knew something I didn't!

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