Tuesday, January 13, 2004
More about the immigration proposal:
A lot of folks seem to think Bush is doing this because of short-term political considerations, that this is the biggest His-pander in his-tory. A lot of other folks think that Bush just has no idea what he's doing. Veteran immigration-foe Steve Sailer is sufficiently enraged by the proposal that he's gone right off the rails; he speculates that the Bush proposal is really part of a nefarious plot to remake the American nation to make it more hospitable for President George P. Bush (the current President's nephew) three decades from now.
I don't think any of this is right. Dana Rohrabacher gets closer when he talks about Bush's "personal compassion" but I don't think that's it entirely. I think Bush - and a lot of pro-immigration folks - think that it's just inevitable that large numbers of people will come from poor, overpopulated countries to rich ones; that what it would take to keep them out would be inhumane; and therefore the only question is how to manage the influx properly, rather than how to stop it. I'm not sure they're wrong. At least, it's notable to me that every major Western country - including some that have historically been hostile to immigration, like Switzerland - has experienced mass immigration in the past 40 years. Britain, France, Germany, Italy - even Spain and Poland have immigrants now. In some cases, most of the immigration is legal; in others, there's an illegal immigration problem. Heck, even Israel, which has enough trouble integrating its legal, Jewish immigrants, has tens of thousands of illegal immigrants. American immigration law is deeply flawed. But there's more at work here than just bad law.
Of course, Japan has essentially no immigration, and their demographics look pretty similar to Germany's. What's the difference? Geography? Language and culture? Lack of Western guilt about ethno-centric policies? I dunno.
In any event, I'm not trying to argue that mass immigration either is or isn't inevitable. All I'm saying is that I think Bush believes it's inevitable, and this is a major part of the motivation for his proposal.