AN UNFOLDING CRISIS
By Daniel James
University Press of America
166 pp., $42.00 (hardcover);
While the United States legally admits more immigrants than the rest of the world combined, the federal government also permits hundreds of thousands of additional people to illegally enter - and remain in - this country every year. The number of these illegal entrants has been rising steadily. Despite opinion polls confirming broad-based public opposition to high levels of immigration, both legal and illegal, all but a very few politicians have chosen to downplay the importance of this issue, if they address it at all.
'[Illegal immigration] affects
almost every aspect of our lives,
from the neighborhoods we live in
to the jobs we seek, and raises
questions about the very
stability of America...'
In his new book, Illegal Immigration An Unfolding Crisis, Daniel James, a widely-published specialist in Latin American affairs, discusses the impact that illegal immigrants are having on Ameri-can society. Illegal immigration, he shows, 'affects almost every aspect of our lives, from the neighbor-hoods we live in to the jobs we seek, and raises questions about the very stability of America if measures are not taken to control it. The develop-ment of a foreign underclass is one of the potentially explosive social forces that massive illegal immigra-tion produces, with its implication of non-assimilable ethnic enclaves and unlawful acts in association with criminal elements including drug traffickers.'
Mexico is the homeland of most illegal entrants and James provides a useful summary of the demographic, political, and economic factors spurring the exodus of feet people from that potentially prosperous land to the United States. Other chapters document the mounting use by illegal aliens of expensive social services, particularly education, health, and other welfare programs; labor market impact; their involvement in the drug trade; border crime; and the threat of urban racial and ethnic unrest. [His book appeared before the most recent round of riots, which, in Los Angeles, witnessed the participation of thousands of illegal aliens.] A final chapter outlines some of the steps that might be taken to control the problem.
James' book contains much useful information. Regrettably, the author has been let down by his publisher, who has grossly over-priced the book. If the asking price was changed to $5.00 for a paperback and $9.95 to $12.95 for the hardcover, it would stand a chance of achieving the circulation it deserves. During an election year, when this book might contribute to the needed debate on immi-gration policy, this is especially unfortunate.
THE COST OF MULTICULTURALISM
By Stephen J. Rimmer
71 pp., $10.00
[Order from the author P. O. Box 1094, Belconnen, Australian Capital Territory, Australia 2616]
Over the past two decades, Australia, like the United States, has witnessed the emergence of multiculturalism. Sold to the public as a policy providing all citizens with respect for their ethnic and religious backgrounds and equal access to society's benefits, in Australia it has fostered the development of new pressure groups, government agencies, and programs that favor recent immigrants - mostly Asians as it turns out - at the expense of the country's majority. In Australia, as elsewhere, the rise of multiculturalism is inextricably linked with the government's recent immigration policies, which have a pronounced Asian bias.
In The Cost of Multiculturalism, Stephen J. Rimmer, a senior economist in the Commonwealth civil service, attempts to assess the economic impacts associated with the policy of multiculturalism. After sifting through a myriad of public- and private-sector economic reports, the author has been able to detail the costs attributable to multiculturalism in fifteen areas of Australia's economy.
The budget for the federal 'Office of Multi-cultural Affairs' includes but a small portion of the total. Federal expenditures for the arts, ethnic broadcasting programs, special education services provided to 'disadvantaged' students and employees, English language programs, housing, health and welfare, must also be taken into consideration. Indirect costs of multiculturalism include greater organized fraud and crime.
'The policy of admitting thousands
of immigrants who possess little
fluency in English has led to
the creation of a substrata of
people who have ... a marginal
role to play in the economy.'
Mirroring U.S. practice, the Australian government has enacted affirmative action programs that discriminate against citizens of English-speaking background. What affirmative action costs the economy is difficult to determine, but it would appear to be substantial. The policy of admitting thousands of immigrants who possess little fluency in English has led to the creation of a substrata of people who have, at best, a marginal role to play in the economy. Those who do find work experience a higher rate of workplace accidents, and have materially contributed to the reduced productivity and reduced wages of those sectors of the economy where they are most often hired.
Australia's ethnic lobbyists and political elite never tire of loudly asserting that multiculturalism is of immense benefit to the country. Rimmer's dispassionate study suggests that, far from being a net plus, multiculturalism is costing Australia's seventeen million inhabitants at least $6.9 billion annually (1.9 percent of the gross domestic product). This likely understates the true cost, since many expenses attributable to multicultural policies are concealed. The author recommends that a Royal Commission be established to weigh the true costs and benefits of multiculturalism. He is confident that, were this done, the public would demand that the policy of multiculturalism be abandoned.
Rimmer's monograph is an enlightening intro-duction to Australia's multicultural and immigration policies. A report very much along these lines needs to be prepared in this country to advance the debate over immigration-related issues.
THE GROWING GLOBAL THREAT FROM
THE CHINESE CRIMINAL SOCIETIES
By Martin Booth
St. Martin's Press
215 pp., $16.95
In 1997, Hong Kong is scheduled to be turned over from the relatively benevolent control of Britain to the uncertain mercies of the masters of Beijing. This change has already prompted an exodus. Among those who are seeking safe haven elsewhere are the Chinese criminal societies, known as the Triads. The United States, Canada, and Australia are their destinations of preference.
Martin Booth, a widely-published British journalist, has prepared an introduction to the clandestine world of the Triads. From their founding as patriotic societies some three hundred years ago, he recounts how they have emerged in the late 20th Century as highly sophisticated criminal fraternities.
In the United States, home to the largest Chinese colony in the world, Triads control the multi-billion dollar heroin trade and are fast expanding into cocaine, marijuana, and 'designer' drugs. Triad societies run protection rackets, engage in loansharking, gambling operations, insurance and credit card fraud, money laundering, computer crime, the counterfeiting of immigration documents, currency, stock and bond certificates, alien smuggling, and a vast prostitution business. Profits are being reinvested in legitimate enterprises, including real estate.
As the author makes clear, the United States and other target countries are currently ill-prepared to meet this new challenge. The Triads and other Asian criminal syndicates pose special problems for law enforcement, since their members are bound to secrecy, and the almost insurmountable barriers of language and culture make successful prosecutions difficult in the extreme.