A Note from the Editor - Winter 2002-2003

By Wayne Lutton
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 13, Number 2 (Winter 2002-2003)
Issue theme: "Reports from the XXVI Annual Writers Workshop"

A Note from the Editor

The Great Disconnect

Elites vs the Public on Immigration

Since the early 1970s, opinion polls have shown that the public wants legal immigration reduced and illegal immigration brought to a practical end. Concern over these issues has fluctuated over the years. But the September 11 terrorist attacks certainly concentrated the attention of many Americans to dangers posed by virtually unlimited immigration.

Last summer, the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations conducted a poll on a number of important public issues and included questions about immigration and the extent to which it is seen as a threat to the country. In this poll, the general public responded much as it has in the past, with sixty percent of Americans indicating that they believe current immigration levels are a "critical threat to the vital interests of the United States."

The CCFR posed the same questions to this country's elites - defined here as Members of Congress and their chief staffers, top business CEOs, labor union leaders, heads of federal agencies, religion and education leaders, foundation executives, and editors, columnists, and television commentators. Only fourteen percent of our leaders view mass immigration as a critical threat. Indeed, forty-one percent of American elites think that mass immigration is not an important issue at all. A paltry eight percent of the general public holds this view.

Upon reflection, it should come as little surprise that such a gap exists. It is the general public that is exposed to the consequences of mass immigration including crime, job loss, the declining quality of public education and health care services in areas of high in-migration, and cultural disintegration as viable communities disappear. The elites are isolated from the destructive impact of the immigration policies they have pursued for nearly four decades. They reap the benefits of a large and compliant labor pool that provides them with nannies, gardeners, and cheap labor for their businesses. Their children attend private schools or public schools in exclusive suburbs. They don't seek medical care at public facilities facing bankruptcy from the legal requirement to aid uninsured immigrants.

As columnist Samuel Francis remarked, this poll "shows that if the American majority that favors reducing mass immigration because it sees it as a ‘critical threat' really wants to meet that threat, then it must first remove from power the entire class of ‘leaders' who are unable to perceive the dangers of immigration even when its dangerous consequences literally blow them out of their own skyscrapers."

Wayne Lutton, Ph.D.

About the author

Wayne Lutton, Ph.D., is editor of The Social Contract

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