I’m right about Immigration, and unfortunately much of the rest of the Right, El Rushbo, Michelle Malkin, Victor Davis Hanson, Charles Krauthammer, John Hinderaker, and so on ad inifinitum are wrong, and I’m prepared to prove it.
Lights on in your heads, so-called conservatives, and pay attention. I’m going to deliver a series of arguments, and I’m going to demolish the nativist arguments one by one.
Let’s start off by properly identifying what kind of policy on immigration is the authentic American traditional policy and what is the nature and etiology of our current immigration laws.
One common rubric in my own thinking on American politics and public policy consists of asking myself: How did we used to do things?
I am firmly persuaded that, in all sorts of areas, Americans used to do things right, but along came Progressivism, small-l liberalism, socialism, crankery, and Modernism, and today we go around living under dysfunctional institutions, operated commonly on the basis of illusions and bad ideas, and we live buried under a colossal pile of taxes and regulations which our ancestors would never have put up with.
What is the correct policy on the currency? We ought to have the kind of currency we had back in 1905, real money minted in gold and silver or paper certificates immediately exchangeable for real money, ideally with images of Indians, Liberty, and Big Game animals on all our coins.
So, tell me, nativists, how did we used to handle immigration in the good old days when America was America and the country was free and ruled by common sense?
The answer is that, before 1900, immigration (with the exception of non-European racial groups believed in the period to be unassimilable) was unregulated. If you weren’t Chinese or Japanese and you wanted to come to the USA to get ahead, the door was wide open. In 1903, the kind of terrorism afflicting Europe and America at the time produced the Anarchist Exclusion Act. That act prohibited immigration to the United States by Anarchists, epileptics, beggars, and pimps.
We didn’t even have standard Naturalization forms and procedures until the passage of the Naturalization Act of 1906, which for the first time required some knowledge of English for Naturalization and which formalized and federalized the Naturalization process.
So, federal administration of immigration really began in 1906. And the really meaningful restrictions on Immigration were passed, out of panic inspired by the rise of Bolshevism and the Russian Revolution, in 1921 (the Emergency Quota Act) and in 1924 (the Johnson Act). It was these laws which set annual limits on the numbers of people who could enter, which limits were originally small percentages of the numbers of persons from particular countries already resident in the United States.
Here’s a major news flash, fellow conservatives. The 1920s laws placed no quotas on immigration from the Western Hemisphere. All the Mexicans and Salvadorans who wanted to come here could do so, until the Hart-Callar Act of 1965, which repealed the old racial exclusions and the 1920s quota system. Limiting immigration racially and on the basis of current representation in the US population was, in the Civil Rights era, deemed politically incorrect and “an embarrassment.” The new law opened the door to immigration from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
So, what is the real status of our respective positions?
I favor going back to the old, traditional American virtually-unregulated pre-1906 regime. I’d favor going back farther, but I think we have a need to exclude Muslims resembling the need in the early 1900s to exclude Anarchists. I support the real historical, traditional American open door immigration policy.
The rest of you folks are jumping up and down, supporting federally-managed population engineering, federal interference with the free movement of labor, and federal violation of the basic right to offer and accept employment, and government coercive resistance to organic and voluntary economic processes, all on behalf of some kind of half-baked notions of preserving an imaginary and impossible-to-preserve point of population and cultural stasis. You are enthusiastically supporting Progressive Era Statism and, even worse, the policies of a really bad 1960s democrat-passed immigration law, while I want to go right back to 1905. Obviously, I’m the real conservative, and the rest of you fellows, even poor old Rush, have gotten yourselves muddled and confused about what the real conservative position actually is.
This is long enough for now. I’ll discuss some of the anti-immigration arguments, like the “law-and-order” argument, in later postings.