Book Review: The New Case Against Immigration

The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal

by Mark Krikorian

Sentinel Publishers, 2008; 295 pgs, HB; $25.95

Mark Krikorian’s credentials as an advocate for immigration reform are impressive: armed with a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, he has served 15 years as executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington D.C. think-tank that promotes stricter immigration standards. He frequently testifies before Congress, publishes articles in such venues as the Washington Post and the New York Times, and appears regularly in the media, including CNN, National Public Radio, etc. Now, as the author of The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal, he brings an even stronger voice to the debate over immigration.

Like Krikorian himself, The New Case Against Immigration is an authoritative resource for information and motivation. The statistics he compiles are stark: The U.S. spent some $4.5 billion subsidizing the education of foreign college students in 2005-06; immigrants created about 86% of the growth in uninsured in 1998-2003; annual legal immigration (potentially leading to  citizenship) rose from less than 400,000 in 1970 to nearly 1.3 million in 2006. The author cautions: ”The total foreign-born population has ballooned, from fewer than 10 million in 1970 (less than 5 percent of the nation’s population) to nearly 38 million in 2007 (12.6 percent of the population).”

Krikorian’s opinions are as unambiguous as his facts. He notes that when immigration enthusiasts praise the diversity of our newcomers, they mean the opposite: it is overwhelmingly Mexican.

The author calls the Mexican surge of immigration “Drang nach Norden” (“Drive Toward The North”), comparing it to the demographic invasion of German immigrants into Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages. Although he does not think there will be an actual Reconquista of the Southwest in the sense of a secessionist movement, Krikorian fears the Mexican government will expand its power beyond its borders and acquiring undue influence. He warns of a commanding constituency, directed by a powerful Mexican-directed lobby, which will have “authority over the decision making of federal, state, and local governments all over the United States.”

The core argument in The New Case Against Immigration is that immigration is an affront to American sovereignty, harming the economic, social, and practical lives of citizens. The author observes that because of governmental policies are forcing errant population growth, the U.S. expects an added 100 million people within 30 years. “The bottom line is that immigration today is responsible for two thirds of population growth,” Krikorian writes, “First of all, the American people average two kids per family. They didn’t ask for another 100 million people. Second, this artificial, politically induced population growth undermines modern quality-of-life goals we embrace—preservation of open spaces, environmental stewardship, and protection of our national parks.”

The historical “adolescent America” needed an investment of immigrant resources from peoples eager to assismilate. Krekorian maintains that today modern communication enhances transnationalism—encouraging the ties individuals have with their country of origin. Legal and illegal immigrants sustain their roots while retaining the ability to settle abroad, diminishing the idea of American nationalism. The origins of immigrants, primarily from Mexico and Latin America, also limits diversity and prevents assimilation. Massive numbers of Hispanic immigrants are able to retain cultural connections by manufacturing Spanish-speaking enclaves, a concept foreign on such a massive scale until up until the last few decades.

The New Case Against Immigration emphasizes that in addition to 12-15 million illegal Mexican aliens, Hispanics total about 50% of all immigrants in America, posing major implications for assimilation. This is further acerbated by support from U.S. businesses seeking cheap labor, substantial legal assistance from the Mexican government, and a powerful open borders lobby run by politically liberal elites. As counteractions Krekorian proposes rejecting any form of amnesty; slowly having illegal immigrants removed from the country through attrition—ending illegal aliens’ access to jobs; and comprehensively increasing deportations .

Krikorian’s alternatives to unbridled legal immigration are sensible. He recommends dramatically lowering the total amount of legal immigration by limiting family reunification to spouses and dependent children. He calls for cutting off almost all employment-based visas except for “aliens of extraordinary ability,” who have “unique, remarkable abilities and would make an enormous contribution to the productive capacity of a nation.” He even suggests immigrants possess a minimum IQ of 140 to enter the U.S.

One fact, found in the introduction to The New Case Against Immigration, should prompt readers to scour every page: ”Starting with the 1965 immigration law [gutting the more practical and protective 1924 statues], America resumed its adolescent policy of immigration, leading to the largest wave of newcomers in its history. Fully one third of all the people ever to move to the United States, starting from the first Siberian to cross the Bering land bridge in search of game, have arrived since 1965.”


This review appeared in the Fall, 2009 issue of The Journal of Political, Social and Economic Review

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