Today’s Number of the Day from pollster Scott Rasmussen notes that 76% of American voters believe that illegal immigration is bad for the country. That is a substantial majority (and it makes you wonder about the other 24%).
When breaking that number down by partisan affiliation, it’s not surprising that 90% of Republicans believe that illegal immigration is bad. What is somewhat surprising is that 63% of Democrats believe that illegal immigration is bad. That suggests that opposing illegal immigration and border control continue to be winning issues.
The exact source escapes me at the moment (it was, I recall, a piece on a conservative website), but I’ve read at least one analysis of the 2018 midterm elections that faults President Trump’s focus on illegal immigration as what scuttled Republican victory. That’s a disingenuous analysis: political predictions and historical trends suggested Democratic victory, and the predicted “blue wave” was more of a mild basement flood: a slim majority in the House, with Republicans retaining the Senate. If anything, one could argue the focus on immigration prevented a blue wave, though I’ll concede there were likely multiple factors at play (including the progressive mob‘s attack on the Justice Brett Kavanaugh).
Rasmussen notes that 84% of Americans believe that legal immigration is good for the country. That’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, it belies the progressive argument that “deplorables” are closet racists and nativists. I wish Rasmussen had included the affiliation breakdown of that support, but I imagine the numbers would show a substantial portion of Republicans agree (mathematically, that would have to be the case).
On the other, it suggests that Americans are still afflicted with an overly rosy view of immigration. Americans are quick to point out past instances of anti-immigration sentiment against Irish, Italian, Jewish, and other non-Northern European immigrants. Now those ethnic groups are virtually indistinguishable from “heritage Americans” (English and Scots-Irish immigrants). The reasoning, then, is that, given time, any group will become Americans.
That logic doesn’t hold. Surely some cultures and groups are more adaptable and assimilable than others. What that analysis misses, too, is that in the early 1920s, Congress instituted strict immigration restrictions, almost to the point of a moratorium on immigration. The United States then went through the twin crucibles of the Great Depression and the Second World War, allowing the mass of Southern and Eastern European immigrants that washed into the country from the 1870s-1910s to bake into the American pie. Italians emerged from those struggles are full-fledged Americans.
I would argue that the United States is due for a revived National Origins Act. A ten-year moratorium on most immigration would not be unreasonable. Hispanic immigrants can assimilate, but they never will if their numbers are constantly reinforced with their fellow countrymen. That’s why Mexican immigrants are waving Mexican flags, and native Mexicans in Mexico City are booing the National Anthem. Mexico’s unofficial policy is to undertake a reconquista of the American Southwest by flooding it with immigrants—just as yanquis took Texas in the 19th century. Our porous border is a safety valve for Mexico’s inability to protect its own citizens from the narcotraficantes.
Give those immigrants a chance to get “baked in.” We also need to take a critical, uncomfortable look at Islamic immigration. Somali immigration to Minnesota has radicalized the politics of that State in a bizarre, twin mix of Islamism and progressivism.
Unfortunately, none of these proposals seem politically viable while 84% of Americans believe legal immigration is good for the country. Sometimes, legal immigration is good—but right now, we need to limit immigration.
Increased cultural diversity naturally yields increased social division, something we can ill-afford at a moment when our own culture is tearing itself apart. Let’s get our own house in order before inviting anyone else to move in.