Category Archive 'Illegal Immigrants'

19 Aug 2015

Trump’s Immigration Policies Would’ve Barred His Own Grandfather

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I don’t often agree with Conor Friedersdorf, but this time he nails it. I’m myself the grandson of turn-of-the-last-century Lithuanian immigrants. My ancestors arrived legally, because immigration was all but unregulated before 1905 and had no limits on anyone except East Asians before 1921.

I know a lot of people I went to school with in my hometown, of precisely the same background as myself, who have convinced themselves somehow that their ancestors arrived on the Mayflower, and who are now horrified to see the American landscape polluted by a new wave of exotic greenhorn immigrants speaking imperfect English.

Donald Trump’s immigration paper asserts, as “core principles,” that “there must be a wall across the southern border” because “a nation without borders is not a nation.” And it argues that “any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages, and security for all Americans,” because “a nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation.” Many have observed that America has never had a wall across its southern border, and that no immigration plan has ever improved wages and security for all Americans. By Trump’s logic, America has never been a nation.

One wonders what he calls the country that allowed his ancestors to immigrate here.

He is of German stock on his father’s side.

Prior to his grandfather’s arrival, plenty of immigration restrictionists believed, not without reason, that German immigration had irrevocably changed their communities.

As one example, consider what took place in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“In the 1840s and 1850s, Cincinnati society became increasingly unstable as German and Irish immigrants poured in,” The Cincinnati Inquirer reported in a historical retrospective. When an Italian emissary of the Pope visited in 1853, “German Catholics took to the streets armed with guns, pistols, clubs, canes and sling shots trying to run Cardinal Bedini out of town. The Germans, many of whom fled to the U.S. after the failed European revolutions of 1848, saw the priest as a symbol of repression.”

Two years later, Germans clashed with a nativist mob alarmed by a rumor about electoral shenanigans. “German-Americans barricaded streets into Over-the-Rhine on the north edge of the Miami-Erie Canal,” the story notes. “Members of the Turners, a German physical fitness organization, aimed their cannon and ‘shot it over the head of the mob of nativists that came at them,’ says Don Heinrich Tolzmann, University of Cincinnati German-American studies director and curator of UC’s German-American Collection.” German immigrants, who started many German language settlements in the U.S., “had become such a force at the ballot box that they pushed for—and received—bilingual education in city schools and Sunday beer sales.”

The Know-Nothing Party ultimately failed at mid-century to stop the immigration of both Irish and Germans. And because they failed, Frederich Christ Trump could immigrate to America in 1885.

Read the whole thing.


Building a wall across the entire Southern US border would be preposterously expensive as well as constituting a disgraceful expression of totalitarian statism. Hispanic immigrants are not perfect. They are typically socially and educationally inferior to Americans. Some of them are criminals and undesirable. But that’s the way it always was. You get a certain number of crooks and radicals along with a great mass of perfectly assimilable salt-of-the-earth hard working people. America has always needed affordable labor, and America has always needed a new influx of people willing to take the low-paying, unpleasant jobs which native-born Americans, who have typically moved up and out of the laboring class, cannot be found to do.

17 Jun 2014

Legalizing Them Is the Conservative Thing to Do

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This early 20th Century cartoon depicts Uncle Sam holding his nose as he contemplates the entrance into the country of The Immigrant (who looks rather Jewish), bearing on his back bundles labeled Sabbath Desecration, Anarchy, and Intemperance, carrying luggage labeled Poverty and Disease, and wearing around his neck Superstition.

Peter D. Salins, in the New York Post, makes a conservative case for Amnesty.

[N]o matter who is the House majority leader. Most illegal immigrants will not be leaving the country, either voluntarily through “self-deportation” as suggested by Mitt Romney, or involuntarily through actual deportation, notwithstanding the current administration’s aggressive efforts in this direction.

So, we have only two options in dealing with these 11 million American residents: We can keep them in their current marginal status with all the negative effects that entails for them and their communities or acknowledge their ongoing presence among us and legalize it.

Both they and the country will be much better off if we pursue the latter course.

For the opponents of immigration reform, there appear to be three major concerns. Illegal immigrants: 1) broke the law, and thus shouldn’t be rewarded with “amnesty”; 2) are harming the American economy by displacing American workers and burdening American taxpayers; and 3) are a threat to American culture and values.

Let me offer a rebuttal to each.

On law-breaking: The uncomfortable truth is that our illegal immigrants are not the only law breakers. We would never have had so many of them if it were not for the thousands of employers who broke the law by hiring them and were never penalized because federal authorities — quite intentionally — turned a blind eye to the issue until it became too politically visible to ignore. Perversely, employers have escaped not only legal penalties for their behavior but any blame from those most exercised about illegal immigration.

Regarding their impact on the economy: For starters, for many American industries — and most American consumers — all immigrants, including illegal ones, have been a huge economic asset; countless studies show they not only don’t take jobs away from American workers, they eagerly tackle ones that the native-born shun. Contrary to the popular canards, they save American taxpayers money because the payroll, sales and other taxes they pay far exceed the cost of government services or payments they receive.

Nevertheless, the economic contribution of currently illegal immigrants could be vastly greater. If their status were legalized, the country would realize a human capital bonanza as millions of young illegal immigrants would have the motivation and means to go to college and millions of their parents would be free to further their education and training and become more productive in their careers.

Finally, regarding their impact on American culture and values: It is the assimilation of immigrants that preserves American culture and values, something we have been successful at for centuries.

In that spirit, we should be doing everything in our power to assimilate all of our current immigrants — legal and illegal alike. Yet, keeping our illegal immigrants in a state of perpetual economic insecurity and fear of deportation makes their assimilation well-nigh impossible and, incidentally, also casts a shadow over the assimilation of their legal relatives and friends.

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