But Is It Right? Acculturation and the Morality of Immigration Control

By Lee Madland
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 16, Number 4 (Summer 2006)
Issue theme: "Immigration and economics: an interview with Cornell University Labor Economist Vernon M. Briggs, Jr."

Of an estimated world population of 6.5 billion, the United States in 2006 is now upon the 300-million mark, at 4.6 percent of the total; this puts it fairly close to the world average in population density. Yet the U.S.A. today now accounts for a solid majority of the entire world's total immigration across international borders. In other words, well over half this migration is into the United States, with comparatively little outflow. This has been going on since the push that effectively set it in motion in 1965, namely the Immigration Act passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Can this flow of humanity, which has been accelerating for forty years now, be sustained?

The hard but inevitable answer is that it absolutely cannot �" not for much longer as history is reckoned. But it can be continued long enough to almost certainly produce severe, quite possibly fatal, consequences for the viability and very survival of the United States of America not so far in the future, meaning well before the present century is out. The time left available to do something effective to prevent this, however, is a small fraction of a century. It likely may be less than a decade. Relatively few people in the United States, in public or private life, seem fully to realize or imagine the inexorable consequences of massive and rapid demographic change, or that even if this lopsidedly one-way flow should be stopped tomorrow those changes will continue and extend far into the future. Those who are aware of this, however, are noticeably growing in numbers and speaking out more often, which is at least one hopeful sign.

Some of the damage is already discernable if one has the courage to look at the situation honestly with a calm and appraising eye untainted with currently fashionable notions of what would be a correct course politically. The sheer numbers are a starting point How much longer can millions of immigrants each year, legal and illegal, continue to flow in still growing multitudes into the worldwide population sink that United States, willy-nilly, has now become?

For an issue of such vital importance, however, most of the long-established American media of print, television and film has adopted an attitude toward immigration that can be succinctly summarized as "the more the merrier," especially if that "more" is as diverse as possible in ethnic or cultural terms �" which reflects the views of a particular intelligentsia which has come to predominate heavily in the American educational establishment and mass media especially since the 1960s, although the roots of this mode of thought go back a lot farther.

The Immigration Act of 1965 turned out to be not only a symbolic but an actual watershed in the flow of immigrants into the United States from all continents with their multifarious cultures in what has steadily increased to unprecedented numbers, a trend which still �" forty years later �" shows no sign of abating. This trend, wholly unanticipated by the Act's original sponsors, has nevertheless been seized upon by many members of the presently dominant intellectual establishment as an essential step toward their vision of a universal nation, after seeing their more than century-old vision of worldwide egalitarian socialism fail �" most dramatically with the disintegration of its putative flagship the Soviet Union, a collapse unforeseen by them and unmourned by most of the world. Nevertheless an elitist vision of theoretical perfection �" utopia �" persists in the West, even if on a smaller stage various American elites perceive a chance of stirring human clay drawn from around the globe into a more crowded but diverse U.S. society which, they fervently hope, will fulfill their dreams. They justify this aim as seeking to reduce world poverty in part by encouraging impoverished multitudes to better their situation by coming to America. Never mind that in other respects many of them have schizophrenically acquired a habit of denouncing America as a major fount of evil in the world.

The last several comments apply especially to the political Left, or major segments of it. But also segments of the Right, even while rejoicing in the demise of pro-Soviet leftism, likewise hold to a similar view favoring wide-open immigration to the U.S., though for different reasons. Labor is one of the costs of doing business. And the availability of low-cost foreign labor especially in lower-level occupations found in much agricultural and domestic work and in many construction and service jobs, tempt employers to look to this source �" especially illegal immigrants willing to work for very low wages, often for less than the legal minimum wage and who frequently are paid "off the books" in cash, which obviates payroll tax deductions as well as costly employer-provided benefits and paperwork �" even though this undercuts the potential wages of not only native-born Americans but also a great many legal immigrants. Hence we hear a constant refrain about "jobs Americans won't do" and that foreign workers are therefore "needed" to perform them, conveniently ignoring the fact that many of them are in the U.S. illegally and that Americans had been filling these very jobs for generations. Those Americans were often young people who used them as respectable opportunities to gain experience and in the process to form sound work habits that would serve them well as steppingstones to greater opportunities. But today, Americans increasingly avoid such jobs wherever growing quantities of illegal labor can be found to work for lower wages.

Thus at present neither the establishment political Right nor Left has been of a mind to seriously address the ever-growing problem of massive immigration. To paraphrase Garrett Hardin, in this regard there has been for some time "a comfy alliance of hard-headed businessmen yearning for profits and soft-hearted liberals seeking praise for yearning to do away with poverty." One does not have to see "profit" as a dirty word nor regard "yearning to do away with poverty" with a jaundiced eye, to understand that either viewpoint carried too far can influence people's attitudes and opinions to the point of overriding common sense and precluding sensible solutions to the problem.

But this alliance of pro-immigration forces has managed to brand as taboo even a calm rational discussion of effective limits on immigration as allegedly racist hate speech and the like, a situation that has intimidated people on both the Left and the Right. Even many who basically favor such limits shy away from discussing problems of immigration beyond repeating the banal platitudes of the day, for fear of being so branded. Most of those who do publicly criticize the porous borders in writings and talk shows concentrate their fire on illegal immigration and often imply unqualified support for even more legal entries, without considering that the legal influx under present law has now risen to unprecedented numbers out of control too.

Even aside from the massive and growing numbers of illegal entries, the current family-reunification and refugee/asylee policies have specifically transferred decisions about who can legally immigrate to America from U.S. citizens and authorities to the immigrants themselves. Do they have relatives or extended family members �" or know people who can be claimed as such? Or if not, can they claim that they themselves are refugees, or need asylum due to "a well-founded fear of persecution" in their home countries? Many do either or both, and such claims are hard to challenge legally, especially in today's climate of moral and legal permissiveness. Citizens of the U.S., even (or perhaps especially) those in the relevant government agencies, thus at present have little real control regarding who is to be admitted into the country.

Even less often brought up in public is the crucial question of how long such huge numbers of entrants, accelerating since 1965 and coming mostly from very different cultures, can be sustained before the very social fabric of the nation threatens to rip apart �" with domino effects in economic well being, political cohesion, and the very existence of America as one nation, indivisible. This last sums up the greatest danger of all.

The irony is that the danger is self-inflicted, traceable to the dreamily idealistic attitudes that produced the 1965 changes in U.S. immigration law. And what may have begun as dreams have been transformed into the Received Wisdom defended stridently by both the hard Left establishment and influential elements of the established Right, which in strange concert summarily dismiss mounting evidence that for several decades the dream has been turning into a nightmare.


Indeed, what is a nation? In the true sense of the word, a nation is an association of individuals �" a people �" who, whatever may be their individual differences, feel a common cultural bond as members of a sizeable group almost always occupying a particular territory, large or small. The commonalities are many, ranging from a single language, ancestral traditions, a sense of shared history, certain underlying beliefs and customs and values, similar ways of looking at and doing things, and a tendency to react to various situations in similar ways �" one could go on and on.

Many think of "culture" in terms of artistic endeavors such as music, the visual arts, literature, and the like. They may also include simple or complex technology, science, and other practical pursuits including ways of conducting business and politics. The most notable examples of these involve applying different kinds of ingenuity and sometimes inspiration. Indeed they are parts of all cultures, but are usually cultural fruits �" i.e., results, not basic causes.

The components of what define a culture are not innate, but learned and transmitted through effort and example from generation to generation. A culture is not determined by physical characteristics such as race, although members of a culture do belong in many cases �" not all �" to a single race, on account of the simple fact of shared proximity for a great many generations. But race is not in itself a component of culture.

The point here is that one does not normally "learn" to be of a certain race. An individual of one race brought up in a culture whose race is different from that of his own ancestors learns the culture of those around him and in the absence of major exposure to anything else, becomes part of it. The term "ethnicity," however, is often used to identify groups with similar cultural and physical characteristics that often go together �" which is useful for many purposes though sometimes confusing in others. But even used in this way, the "ethnic" tag usually implies a cultural identity more than it does racial or subracial characteristics.

Race, then, is not a defining characteristic of a culture. But a shared culture is the basic defining mark of a nation, whatever the racial composition of its people. An independent country which includes several cultural groups who stay distinctly apart from one another in their own regions is not a nation in any true sense. The term "nation" properly applies only to a culturally distinct people, not a political unit. It is an unfortunate reality that many countries around the world are pasted-together jigsaw puzzles of geographically separate pieces inhabited by culturally distinct peoples, sometimes of the same race, sometimes not, but often at odds with one another and rendering the idea of "one nation" a legal fiction that can be sustained from above only by force or threat of it.

It is not the purpose here to judge such situations in moral terms, each case being different. But rather, it is to point out how precious it is to live in a large country such as the United States in which a majority of its people (including large numbers of immigrants and their descendants) consider themselves as part of a nation that has become essentially melded into one of the world's great cultures �" a nation-state which, in a greater sense, still shares and carries on basic traditions of the larger Western civilization from which it springs.

Then too, equally precious is that America has possessed an extraordinary capacity for assimilating into its culture many minorities that have come to its land and enriched it with their own particular contributions while slowly becoming part of it, long the case in the United States. This has been true even of many groups who have come from non-Western cultures such as the Japanese, to cite just one example. But that remarkable American assimilative capacity is now in imminent danger of being overwhelmed by the sheer massive numbers of migrants, chiefly from very different cultures, which since 1965 have come to dwarf the inflow from the country's historic sources of immigration.

And on account of those huge numbers, combined with current intellectual fashions that denigrate the very concept of assimilation and elevate cultural "diversity"�" multiculturalism �" to a goal for its own sake, the rate of assimilation for especially the larger recent immigrant groups has not only dangerously slowed but may be reversing. By most indications it is slowing more with every passing year. It is evident that this is likely to continue for as long as immigration to the United States, legal and illegal, continues at anything like the levels of recent decades.

It is abundantly clear that in virtually all cases the prevailing language identifies a cultural or ethnic group more definitely than does any other single commonality.(1) Language is, after all, the basic means of human communication beyond the very simplest levels, and thus is the primary means of transmitting a whole culture to others in that group and maintaining a sense of belonging to it. Different languages, moreover, are not only easily distinguished and identified, but with study can clearly point to cultural roots, and their present and often long-past extent can be placed geographically. Other cultural indicators, such as various traditions, a sense of history, religion and so on, add important detail to further differentiate cultures and subcultures from one another; but the extent of mutually comprehensible language reigns supreme in identifying the "main picture." Different cultures usually speak different languages.

The well-founded principle that a country should share a common national culture as much as possible does not imply that a culture should attempt to completely insulate itself from foreign influences. A culture or a country that deliberately does so shuts out stimulating sources of new ideas, and tends to weaken and sink into self-satisfied stagnation. History furnishes plenty of examples. During the 1400s the Ming Empire of China ruled over the most advanced civilization on earth. From 1405 to 1433 what was far and away the world's greatest naval fleet of up to 3,500 large ships was engaged in exploration to expand China's influence, from the Western Pacific to virtually the entire Indian Ocean which became in effect a Chinese lake for trade purposes. But a change in political factions resulted in the entire navy being dismantled during the rest of that century and China withdrawing within itself, leaving the field open to Europeans who were just beginning to probe the open seas; and going on to achieve the kind of world hegemony that China had left wide open by default.(2)

Another East Asian country that stagnated by shunning foreign contacts was Tokugawa Japan during the 1600s until awakening in the mid-1800s. Japan then energetically and successfully played catch-up with the West (albeit with a severe but short-lived setback in World War II) to reach the eminent position in world commerce it holds today.


In the large sense, acculturation depends greatly on three factors time, numbers, and cultural compatibility. These all are intertwined, but let's consider them one by one.

Time. Few coming to the U.S. or to any country without familiarity with the prevailing culture can blend in immediately; there are too many things to learn. It takes time to learn a language and to fully familiarize oneself with a new culture generally, even if one throws oneself into it with a will. Often it takes generations, and in some cases is not accomplished at all. Some individuals and groups do it more quickly and successfully than others. America has been remarkable among nations in its capacity to assimilate in due time different ethnicities, but that capacity is not infinite.

More to the point today: Can America continue this success in the face of the present rapidity of demographic change brought about by an unprecedented combination of huge inflows and static or even relatively decreasing populations in its own culture base? This question applies with special force to the most populous state of all, California �" where, in addition, about as many native-born people are moving out as immigrants are flocking in. If it continues, it will be only a matter of time, and very little time as history is measured, before California and other states (not confined just to the Southwest) effectively cease to be part of the United States. First, culturally. And later �" secession?

A disturbing straw in the wind has been noted by columnist Suzanne Fields:

A poll for the Pew Hispanic Center finds that 55 percent of Americans of Mexican descent consider themselves Mexicans first. A similar study of Muslim immigrants in Los Angeles finds that only 10 percent think of themselves as Americans rather than citizens of the countries they abandoned for new lives here.(3) On this matter, two points should be noted. First, the greater part of the 55 percent who said they think of themselves as "Mexicans first" were post-1965 arrivals and their immediate descendants �" a strong indicator of the huge scale of recent and growing immigration from Mexico, which is inundating the acculturated people of Mexican descent with their sheer numbers. Undoubtedly most of the remaining 45 percent in that survey and their antecedents have been in this country for a long time. As a native Californian I have known many people of Mexican descent who are culturally as fully a part of the American nation as anyone, their families often having been here for generations and often conversant only in English. That the non-acculturated have evidently become an actual majority of the very large Mexican-descended "group" (actually, two quite different groups) is testimony not only to the huge size of the post-1965 influx, but also to the obvious weakening of resolve among Americans to insist on or even encourage assimilation in this era of political correctness �" due largely to the current intellectual elites' pushing of multiculturalism as an ideal. What that so-called ideal of many separate cultures is actually doing is pushing peoples apart, thereby unstitching the seams of the nation.

And second, if the finding of an overwhelming proportion of other-than-American feelings among Muslims in the country's second greatest metro area is even close to correct, little more need be said about the looming danger of further large-scale terror attacks within the U.S. �" especially in view of the fact that the recent horrific bombings in London and the Van Gogh slaughter in Amsterdam were both carried out by fanatical Islamists who had been born and raised in the very countries they attacked. The eminent scholar Thomas Sowell has noted that decades of importing what he describes as human time bombs from the Arab world is like playing Russian roulette on the rationale that "most" of the time you will not be harmed by playing it.(4) Although plainly a greater proportion of empty chambers exist in this case than with the six-shooter, those that are loaded are full �" and many times as lethal, as Americans found out on September 11, 2001 �" and on another fine day, the price of continuing to accept and encourage immigration from high-risk countries such as these, will be .

. . .

Numbers. In the matter of acculturation, time and numbers are closely related. The crux of the matter is that sufficiently large numbers of people from different cultures entering a country at a high rate naturally carries the greatest potential of disruption or even submergence of the existing culture. If this process is sustained over sufficient time and exceeds a certain threshold, that culture will find its very existence in danger. While the point at which this will happen cannot be precisely quantified �" there are too many kinds of variables at work here, including unmeasurable human nature �" there is no doubt that such a threshold does exist, and once a tipping point is reached the process is virtually impossible to reverse. Even outright military invasions followed by centuries of foreign rule have seldom left more lasting effects on a people.

In the United States, a pioneering 1963 work by Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Beyond the Melting Pot, focused on immigrants of 1890�"1920, the thirty years prior to the restrictionist 1920s, who seemed not to be assimilating as previous groups had done �" by far the greatest numbers having arrived during the 12-year period 1903�"1914, until the First World War abruptly cut off that influx. They came mostly from Italy and from Russia, Hungary, several Slavic areas of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire (including Polish, Czech regions, etc.) and other parts of Eastern Europe which included a great many Jews, all these together outnumbering the inflows of previously dominant Northwestern Europeans by about two to one. Other similar studies quickly proliferated, but by the 1970s these "unmeltable ethnics" had begun effectively to melt. For example, half of Italian-Americans born after World War II married non-Catholics, mostly Protestants, and during the 1980s two out of five Jews married Gentiles, "a phenomenon rare if not unknown only twenty years earlier."(5)

By itself this might seem to offer some hope that people deriving from the current flood may eventually assimilate, as descendants of those earlier immigrants have. Some �" probably many �" undoubtedly will. However, several factors are operating today that did not apply then.

First, the recent real immigrant numbers have exceeded anything in the twelve years of the earlier all-time record period of 1903�"1914, which averaged 983,000 admitted per year. Today, for 1993�"2004, the twelve-year average of legal admissions was 840,000; but this slightly smaller figure tells only part of the story, since during the First Wave there were no illegal entrants to speak of. For these most recent twelve years available, however, estimates of net unapprehended illegals have seldom been less than 300,000 per year and in many years over half a million. And remember, those are net estimates. A recent Time Magazine investigation and others have estimated gross illegal crossings for 2004 at a whopping three million, counting multiple crossings and those apprehended and sent back, usually to make further attempts knowing that those who persist will finally get through. (Time cover story, Sept. 24, 2004 issue). Moreover, it's a good bet that because of what amounts to virtually no enforcement of immigration laws for those who get past the patrolled border zones, plus current politically-correct "don't ask" welfare policies, the percentage who stay permanently has been rising steadily. In 2005, estimates of illegal immigrants presently in the U.S. range from about 9 million to 20 million.(6)

Second, it is clear that the greater the immigrant numbers, the more difficult acculturation becomes. Some have dismissed the size of today's unprecedented influx by pointing out that immigration during those early years of the twentieth century represented a larger percentage of total U.S. population at the time; and, after all, at least their descendants were eventually assimilated as Americans. True. But a crucial difference is commonly overlooked, or ignored. In the early years of the twentieth century, although immigration reached numbers comparable to today's legal entries �" and during that 12-year period starting 1903 actually exceeded natural population increase for the first time �" Americans were still having large families. This, plus the fact that that 1903�"1914 "supersurge" was limited to a dozen years meant that the existing population was not really being overwhelmed, even though many Americans must have believed so at the time (naturally having no way of knowing how long this would continue).

But today, the net population growth of U.S. native-born stock is approaching a standstill, while that of the dominantly Third-World post-1965 immigrants and their present offspring �" originating in countries where having large families has long been necessary to offset high child death rates �" continue to have large families. The result is naturally a population explosion among the latter groups. It is too much to expect age-old traditions to die quickly just because the original reasons for them have been removed or mitigated. This conclusion is strengthened by the only slight decreases in birth rates even in many Third-World countries where infant and child death rates have been substantially lowered due to the spread of modern medical knowledge and hygiene measures. (Populations in many countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Arab world, continue to grow at rates about double the world average.)

Substantially lower birth rates will no doubt follow eventually, as they necessarily will have to, but when? �" another century, or even fifty years of still rapidly expanding populations, much already in the pipeline, could easily wreak havoc worldwide.

Thus, the combination of still-high birth rates among immigrants today arriving in America overwhelmingly from the Third-World countries, and much lower birth rates among the long-established U.S. populations ( whites, blacks, and others) whose combined majority is diminishing decade by decade on account of the current massive immigration, and who together are currently headed for minority status in not many more decades, means that the demographic base of American culture is threatened with inundation by the sheer numbers of immigrants during a mere blip in history.

The comparison of immigration as having been a larger percentage of total U.S. population during the First Great Wave than in the present one �" so often used by boosters of mass immigration �" is thus revealed as no more than a statistical illusion.

A Third reason that the current Wave's results promise to be unlike those of the earlier one is that during the whole period since the 1965 Immigration Act took effect, there have been no pauses to moderate the growing increase in numbers of immigrants, legal and illegal, year after year. In contrast, the 80-year First Great Wave of 1845�"1924 was interrupted by four pauses, major downturns in immigration lasting six or seven years each, which totaled 25 years or nearly a third of that whole period.(7) Those pauses were potent in giving the nation time to absorb each great surge of the tide that preceded them �" and the last and shortest surge just after the First World War was followed after a late ‘20s slowdown by the longest and deepest pause of all during the 1930s to the mid-1940s, first as a result of the Great Depression and then World War II. That extended period saw little more than trickles of immigrants, far below even the low quotas the law then allowed, which aided acculturation of immigrants and their progeny more than any of the shorter previous pauses.

Indeed, for the eight-year period 1932-1939, the best figures available show that the total emigration out of the United States actually exceeded immigration. Only in the latter half of that period did this situation reverse, but even then the numbers of arrivals remained small fractions of those for the 1920s. The 1930s, followed by similarly low immigration during the war years through 1945, formed the rock-bottom of what is now called the Second Great Lull (8) �" that lull spanning forty years, from 1925 when substantially lower quotas took effect, until 1965.

During the fifteen depression and war years, 1931�"1945, U.S. immigration averaged only some 46,000 per year or just one-ninth that of even the restrictionist 1920s. Soon after the war's end it did rise a bit above somewhat increased quota levels which were augmented by several refugee programs outside the quotas. For the twenty postwar years to 1965, Immigration averaged some 240,000 a year. Even with that jump, the four-decade lull aided the acculturation of immigrants and their progeny more than did all the four shorter previous pauses. But immigration levels were soon to begin an unrelenting ascent after the 1965 Act radically changed the rules and thereby set off the present Second Great Wave. This still-rising wave has been continuing now for over forty years, without any pauses and with no end in sight.

A Fourth factor revealing the greater potency of the present numbers is that today's immigrants are not deciding to return to their home countries at nearly the rates they did during the First Great Wave. Although official U.S. agencies have seldom made much effort to keep count of returnees (and still do not), data of better than usual quality for that era's last quarter-century has been analyzed by University of Wisconsin historian Thomas Archdeacon.(9) He found that for the 1899�"1924 period, ethnic groups that stood out for especially high return rates notably included Italians, their ritornati numbering close to half or 46 percent, and Hungarians at about the same rate. Even these rates were considerably surpassed by certain numerically smaller immigrant groups, ethnic Russians at 65 percent and Romanians at 66 percent, with the highest rates of all being Serbians and Bulgarians taken together, with an amazing 87 percent returning. Considering that easily the largest single ethnic group immigrating to the United States during this time was the Italian, and that the Eastern Europeans as a whole were still more numerous (not even counting the largest ethnic component then coming from Eastern European countries including Russia the Jewish), such high return rates obviously reduced the long-term impact of Southern and Eastern European immigration in a major way, though it must be emphasized that that impact was still very great indeed.

Those in the middle range of return rates included the numerically important Poles with 33 percent returning, Africans at 27 percent (though with rather small actual numbers), and Mexicans (with fairly high but not then dominant numbers) at 24 percent.

The lower ethnic return rates included those of the British at 20 percent, Dutch/Flemish 19 percent, Anglo-Canadians 18 percent, Scandinavians 15 percent, and Germans 14 percent. The Irish and French-Canadians showed very low return rates of 8.9 and 8.3 percent respectively, and Hebrews the lowest rate of all, only 4.3 percent �" fewer than one person in twenty going back.

Not surprisingly, immigrant groups with high proportions of women were much less likely to have high return rates. There is a definite correlation between high proportions of males and high proportions of returnees. Italian immigrants during this same 1899�"1924 period were male by three to one, and the Serbian-Bulgarian contingent was male by nine to one. In contrast the Irish, Jews, Germans, and British had both more nearly even proportions between the sexes and high proportions who stayed. Irish immigrants were unusual in that the numbers of women actually exceeded those of men at the time, in part due to high U.S. demand for Irish domestic workers.

Among the returnees, more than sex ratios and a male desire to find a wife among one's own cultural group were involved, of course. Many went back simply out of homesickness, or, later, to retire to their homeland as a "personage of substance" after having prospered here. Others either decided that life in America had for one reason or another not fulfilled their desires, or they simply failed to progress economically. For them America was not the land of milk and honey they had hoped for. For these and as many other motives as are found in the human psyche, they left.

Overall, it appears that the return rate for the 80-year First Great Wave as a whole was in the range of thirty percent.(10)

With the explosion of continuing economic prosperity after World War II, along with a steady expansion of the welfare state during the last half-century or so, rates of return migration have dropped considerably, and continue to drop as now-entrenched welfare policies trump economic exigencies. Local, state and national government agencies are finding themselves increasingly unable to say "no" to demands for public services and welfare payments from citizens, legal immigrant residents, and now illegal immigrants. It is difficult to say where this will all end, short of a societal collapse that we hope won't happen until after we're safely dead. But what of our children and later descendants? Will they forgive us?

In any case, such nearly universal availability of "free" welfare payments, support and services, has been a major factor in cutting the rates of post-1965 return migration substantially.

Estimates for the first few years of this 21st century, admittedly rough, have given rates of net emigration out of the U.S. at around 200,000�"250,000 per year compared with hard numbers of close to an annual million admitted legally, which by itself would put the proportion of permanent returnees down to one in four or five. But, the true immigration numbers for the last four decades have included the very visibly rising inflow of illegals who are less and less inclined to return. These are now being estimated as exceeding the annual legal numbers. So �" is the real return rate now down to possibly one in ten? No one really knows.

Numbers are more than dry statistics. Real numbers affect what we do, how we think, how we see the world �" and beyond that, what the world is. We had better pay attention to them. Concerning immigration, comprehending the numbers is crucial to understanding the problem. And ultimately, the numbers are crucial to survival itself. Immigrants in relatively small, controlled numbers of almost any nationality, can be accommodated. Huge, out-of-control numbers such as the United States has been encouraging for decades, can undermine and and in the end destroy an entire society.

Cultural compatibility. A fifth key factor, already touched upon, that makes the present Great Wave different from the First one, is the fact that in contrast to the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century immigrants who came overwhelmingly from Europe �" that continent regularly accounting for percentages of total U.S. immigration in the high nineties �" the current wave of legal U.S. immigration has been dominated by Third-World countries,(11) on account of the changes wrought by the 1965 law. By the 1980s the numbers admitted to the United States from the Third World had reached the mid-eighties of percent. But again, those were only the legal entrants. Illegals �" which had been not been a factor in the First Wave �" pushed real immigrant totals to typically more than half again as high.(12) So during those years and since, America's Third-World immigrant share has been in the ninety-odd percents. (The Third World's share of U.S. legal immigration for 2004, the latest year available at this writing, was 85 percent, but by all accounts that was a record year for inflow of illegals; the yet-undetermined illegal net numbers may likely exceed legal admissions, thus bringing the true percentage even higher into the nineties.) The historic proportions of immigrants from Europe and those from the rest of the world have been almost precisely reversed.

Today, more immigrants are admitted legally each year into the United States from Mexico alone than the combined total from all Europe plus Canada. Also �" need one add? �" the increased net illegal flow across the southern border now exceeds legal admissions from Mexico by several times. And other regions are very much in play as well for both legal and illegal entries, particularly the rest of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia.(13)

A fair question often asked by those favoring liberal or open immigration is this If those of the earlier Great Wave did become acculturated over time, why won't the same happen with the current immigrants? Once again, the differences between these two waves are critical. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries new arrivals were overwhelmingly from Europe, albeit starting in the 1880s becoming spread more widely around that continent geographically and culturally than had previously been the case. This did create serious problems in a number of U.S. regions, especially in certain cities. Even so, and despite all their "differentness" as then perceived, they shared a common heritage of Western Civilization: for example, the native languages of nearly all those peoples save Hungarians were of the Indo-European group, facilitating their learning of English which stems from the same roots, and their religious heritage was Christian of one variant or another (or, in the Jewish case, one that had furnished the underpinnings of the Christian faith).

And possibly even more important, they likewise shared many attitudes common to most Europeans, however different they may have seemed to those who had grown up on American shores.

But as we have seen, the bulk of the present Second Great Wave consists of immigration from countries much more culturally distant. The first decade that showed a majority of legal immigrants coming from Third-World countries was that of the 1960s �" even though only half of that decade was affected by the 1965 law. And from the 1980s forward, the combined legal and illegal Third-World immigrant majority has remained above ninety percent.

Still, immigration enthusiasts from both the Left and the Right dismiss all this by unthinkingly praising cultural diversity �" multiculturalism, i.e., cultural separatism �" for its own sake, saying that America is not an ethnic or cultural nation but a "creedal nation," rationalizing that what really unites us is a political creed the U.S. form of government whose leaders are elected largely by popular vote and limited by the Constitution (although just how "limited" the Federal government is today, is another question for another time). But is politics truly the great unifier? Those who defend today's mélange of record inflows by using the creedal-nation argument, are saying that the problems brought on by this sort of immigration are not so much cultural as political �" and that their favored political policies can override and trump the nation's cultural heritage.

They also assume that most new arrivals from basically different cultures aspire to share in American culture. But realistically, do they? Some, certainly, yes �" and most who persevere do succeed in this. But a larger number quite understandably do not, at least not at a "gut" level; it is foreign to anything in their fundamentally distinct ancestral cultures. Certainly all aspire to economic advancement; it's usually their basic reason for coming. Some also aspire to politics since it involves power, but usually within their own groups, which tend to gather in local and regional concentrations. Those groups that become large and concentrated enough, however, can realistically hope in good time to dominate not just communities but whole states and even great regions, with "creeds" very different from that of the once nearly all-embracing culture. When that happens, it will be a definite sign that the prevailing culture �" in other words, the American nation �" is breaking up.

One can hope that subsequent generations will acculturate, especially if intermarriage becomes common. We have seen that this did in fact happen with the flood of people from southern and eastern Europe who came to America during the last decades of the First Great Wave �" but again, these were people who were part of Western civilization to begin with. And the successive nineteenth- to early twentieth-century surges were not only marked by periodic pauses, but the various more "different" non-Anglo-Saxon immigrant nationalities, from the Irish and several Germanic peoples to Italians, Jews, Slavs and others, reached mostly separate peaks and then subsided in their turn.(14) In great contrast, the post-1965 influxes from Third-World countries in especially Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa, thanks to U.S. immigration law and policies since 1965, have for forty years been steadily building upon their bases already here in a continuing upward trend with no pauses. Still another reason acculturation is now more difficult is that large and increasing groups �" the numbers again �" in themselves tend to reinforce their separateness, even across generations.

The larger and more geographically concentrated the groups are, the less need most feel to acculturate.

Finally, let's not forget the changes in American culture from the 1960s to the present, in the direction of more permissiveness in a great many ways, from "celebrating diversity" to abandoning once-energetic efforts to urge and encourage English immersion, even to the point that many schools around the country neglect or even denigrate American history and culture and teach children of immigrant families in dozens of languages while neglecting English (a strange circumstance indeed for the world's most widely spoken language in the world's leading English-speaking country).

Fortunately, in recent years some states such as California, Arizona and Massachusetts have passed public referendums to drop "bilingual" education programs and return to English-only classes, with key support from many immigrant families and auspicious results. The next question is, will this movement accelerate and spread further around the country or finally fizzle. It is not a matter of shunning foreign languages �" this writer, for one, believes that in-depth study and some proficiency in at least one foreign language should be a requirement for graduation of every student in American high schools and colleges as part of a well rounded education that renders one more aware of and conversant with another culture in context with one's own �" but not to the neglect of the home language and culture of the nation in which one lives and breathes. For those whose native tongue is not English, proficiency in the language of this nation must be emphasized if the United States is to remain a nation much longer.

But Is It Right to Limit Immigration?

The answer to this question should be self-evident �" but to many obviously is not, judging by the attitude of defenders of massive legal and even illegal immigration, and the fact that these have intimidated fence-sitters and even many with opposing opinions into silence. The latter should be shouting "It's the country, stupid!" And those who think of themselves as Citizens of the World need to disenthrall themselves of the notion that all countries and all cultures are equal ("except ours which is worse," as many of the guilt-ridden imply). Desiring to help less fortunate countries improve themselves is admirable, but thinking in terms of bringing all nations to a common denominator is both self-destructive and no help to peoples in the Third World who hope to rise out of their miseries. In giving his forcibly delayed Nobel Prize address in 1974, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn encapsulated that idea when he said, "The disappearance of nations would impoverish us no less than if all peoples were made alike, with one character, one face." Read that again. Think about the wealth and breadth of its implications until, one hopes, the full meaning sinks in.

Multiculturalists speak in terms of an attractive-sounding "salad bowl" of separate cultures in one "nation" (Canadians call it an equally nice-sounding "mosaic"). It is evident in world history and human geography that disparate major cultures supposed to live amicably together in union as a "nation" have in fact more often than not remained aloof, resentful, simmering, or at one another's throats.(15) The United States needs to revive the concept of melding into a common American nationhood speaking one language and sharing one main culture, which has worked well in the past while not precluding contributions from other cultures. But when too many clashing ingredients are thrown in, and in quantities that overwhelm, watch out! That is exactly what has been happening and accelerating in the U.S. for a full four decades. Today it's past time that the brakes need to be applied. Firmly.

The first moral principle to be heeded is the most elemental one in human affairs that of simple self-preservation.

If we do not succeed in that, how will it be possible to help others?

The converse to arguments justifying great immigration levels as providing "needed" inexpensive labor here, is that it practices compassion for poor people seeking work. And also that by allowing such high levels, America is helping to alleviate overpopulation problems in their home countries.

The first claim has been dealt with by the internationally noted historian and a longtime family farmer in California's San Joaquin Valley, Victor Davis Hanson. No objective person who reads his writings on the topic will likely believe that either the former Bracero program or the present system of using illegals until they are worn out and then discarding them into the welfare system �" or for that matter the currently proposed "guest worker" programs �" are compassionate.(16)

As for relieving overpopulation, the most elementary knowledge of world demographic reality shows that in no country sending immigrants to the U.S., does its outward flow make any discernable difference in that country's population increases. It does not relieve their population pressures in any meaningful way. If anything, it encourages the sending countries to think of their emigration as a "safety valve" that reduces any need to slow their own population growth. And it certainly inflates population growth in the major receiving countries.

Recall that the United States receives more immigrants than the rest of the world combined. How long can this continue, and with what end result?

A case in point is that the elites who rule Mexico are encouraging their undesired and potentially troublesome underclass (a large majority) to leave, printing official guidebooks with helpful hints for illegal border crossers with the unspoken purpose of reducing domestic problems of their own creation. For the United States, a clear danger is that an inability to acculturate such numbers will create a huge, restive underclass here.

Of course, not all immigrants are unskilled. Although legal admissions based on skills has greatly diminished since 1965, the U.S. still does admit substantial numbers of skilled persons, for example doctors and computer programmers from India (many of whom enter on a "temporary" basis, but who routinely, and understandably, find means to stay permanently). Indian programmers, who are now often dominant in programming meccas like Silicon Valley in California, have had a definite effect of undercutting wages and opportunities for U.S. citizens in that field. (One wonders how the elite editorialists who sing praises of diverse mass immigration would view a flood of writers from say, Mexico, replacing them at lower salaries �" but not to worry, they have no idiomatic facility with English.)

Another moral question from a converse point of view: Do not India and other Third-World countries need more doctors as well as other educated people in many specialized fields? But so many graduates of their countries' top universities come to America with the result that much-needed expertise is lost in their own lands. One can sympathize with their desires. But is fostering such a treadmill really any way to help their native countries?

What about other countries? Do they accept immigrants? Other than Europe and its overseas offshoots, few do. Mexico's elite rulers do welcome a selected few from chiefly Spanish-speaking countries (especially Spain and prosperous whites from elsewhere, slightly diluting their great Indian/Mestizo majority while also encouraging their own to leave for the U.S.). But Mexico does not tolerate Guatemalans, who are more heavily Indian �" those caught crossing into Mexico are promptly interned under primitive conditions until being sent back, if lucky. The Philippines requires that one be married to a Philippine national or have a large amount of capital and commit to invest it there. India does not permit immigration for other than people of "Indian origin." South Korea and a host of other countries simply do not take immigrants, period. China? Forget it. Yet these countries are in the top ranks of immigrant senders to America today. Japan has never opened its doors to immigrants (its only significant non-native group are Koreans, an underclass officially considered resident aliens, but less than 1/300 of the population). As a result, Japan remains essentially homogeneous and at least has avoided the kind of ethnic conflict that has torn many other countries apart.(17) America, in contrast, is expected to continue taking in multitudes from all over the world or be roundly condemned.

While working part-time for a period in the early 1990s as a delivery driver for a pizza restaurant in Ridgecrest, California, I became acquainted with a very likeable immigrant from El Salvador who worked back in the kitchen preparing food and cleaning floors, etc., which the drivers did also between deliveries and after closing. I especially remember his wide-eyed wonder at seeing the first snow falling in his life, an infrequent occurence in the Mojave. During another conversation in Spanish (he spoke no English), Israel told of his difficult trip through Mexico several years before, and mentioned that he still owed over $2,000 to the coyote who had smuggled him along with others into the U.S. �" grimacing in obvious loathing and fear at the very thought of him. With a family to support, he hoped to pay off the debt at usurious interest rates in maybe two or three more years. This is a form of indentured servitude only once removed. Immigration boosters don't speak of it.

Individuals are one thing, large groups another �" individuals can and should be judged individually and treated with all the due respect that one's knowledge of their character allows. Similarly, groups deserve a benefit of the doubt unless there is contrary evidence. But cultural groups are often caught up in collective passions directed against an "other" group, ranging from mild rivalries to burning hatreds nurtured over time. Often cultural differences dismissed by outsiders as minor can split peoples apart, each neither understanding nor appreciating the other. In a struggle between two such groups, either or both, or neither, may be to blame for tensions that can easily erupt into open conflict over territory or other matters. In any case, the human condition is such that such tensions commonly exist. It is futile to wish them away, as those who have formed an artificially constructed vision such as the one that today goes by the name of political correctness, are prone to do and to attempt to force their views on others who feel differently. This is intolerance pure and simple, despite their protestations to the contrary.

Members of ethnic/cultural groups feel a kinship among themselves that throughout history has proven stronger and far longer lasting than artificially enforced beliefs based on political passions of the time. Peoples can and do, after all, change political beliefs and political parties. But they seldom desert their own cultural heritage.

An alarming trend in America in recent decades, and in the West generally, is an apparent reluctance to defend one's own heritage against cultural inroads coming from outside, out of some sense of guilt �" or is it simply weariness? �" urged upon them by those promoting Politically Correct visions of enforced harmony, which in itself is a contradiction in terms. Those who value their heritage are asked essentially to abandon or subordinate it to an abstract vision. And some do, at least for a time. But there is always hope that the underlying culture will reassert its faith in itself and regain its will to defend itself, rejecting the doctrinaire constructions of Political Correctness.

This is not, however, inevitable. While many cultures in history, with all their ups and downs, have long endured, others have fallen and never risen again There is no such thing as

historical inevitability. The theoretical constructs to which many have laid claim have seldom had real staying power. We have quite recently witnessed the collapse of one such construct that loudly proclaimed such inevitability, which almost until it suddenly crumbled and collapsed was implicitly believed by many among our Western elites namely, Soviet international Marxist Communism. A question remaining to be resolved in the West is whether a turnaround in its own cultural self esteem will come in time to save intact the essence of Western culture in general, and American culture in particular. Both can survive moderate change. But not the kind of radical transformation still being pushed insistently by ideologically minded elites enthralled by utopian visions.

This clearly applies to Western civilization as a whole, particularly Europe and its distinctive collateral offshoots such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and southern South America. Jean Raspail said it with forthright honesty: (18)

"At every level �" nations, races, cultures, as well as individuals �" it is always the soul that wins the decisive battles. It is only the soul that forms the weave of gold and brass from which the shields that save the strong are fashioned... Two opposing camps. One still believes. One doesn't. The one that still has faith will move mountains. That's the side that will win. Deadly doubt has destroyed all incentive in the other. That's the side that will lose."

By "faith" Raspail does not mean specifically religious faith, though that may be a part of it, but more generally to faith in one's self, one's culture, one's nation. Not to a theoretical and amorphous "universal nation" that has never existed, but to actual and distinct real cultures and civilizations that have flourished throughout human history

Man has never really loved humanity all of a piece �" all its races, its peoples, its religions �" but only those creatures he feels are his kin, a part of his clan, no matter how vast. As far as the rest are concerned, he forces himself, and lets the world force him. And then, when he does, when the damage is done, he himself falls apart. In this curious war taking shape, those who loved themselves best were the ones who would triumph.

If most people in the West or in America allow a sense of collective guilt, pushed on them by ideologues of Political Correctness, to force them to renounce their heritage and their distinctiveness in favor of a dreamily envisioned World Brotherhood, they will indeed fall apart. Should they expect anyone to put them together again?


If the United States continues to allow without letup the kind of massive immigration that has been increasing for decades, its demographic and cultural make-up will be changed fundamentally and permanently. To a very discernable extent it already has been. A colony of the world indeed, in former Senator Eugene McCarthy's strikingly apt phrase. And as Tom Sowell reminds us, ominously but incontrovertibly, "Immigration is a virtually irreversible decision and it is receiving nothing like the kind of careful scrutiny irreversible decisions deserve."

Immigration to America today is most certainly out of control but is not yet beyond control, if a sufficiently strong will to exert the necessary efforts can be mustered in time. Of course, that is the rub. There is little evidence that in this "Politically Correct" era the government will do it on its own, despite the indefatigable efforts of some in Congress such as Representative Tom Tancredo (Republican of Colorado). Therefore most of the impetus must come from the bottom up, not the top down. If sufficient members of both houses of Congress are given cause to worry about their re-election chances through public pressure, there may yet be hope. There are now obvious signs that most House and Senate members have become worried. As these lines are written they are scrambling to stake out immigration positions, posturing all over the lot from disguised liberalization to tighter restriction, while public concern rises. It's yet too early to hazard a guess at the outcome. In any case, Tancredo's Immigration Caucus is growing �" whether rapidly enough or effectively enough remains to be seen.

One impediment to bottom-up pressure is the much lesser degree of alarm or even awareness concerning the assimilation problem in regions that as yet have received only small numbers recent immigrants, such as parts of the South and Northwest, much (not all) of the Midwest, the northern Great Plains and northern Rocky Mountain region, and northern New England. In such areas those present-wave immigrants with whom locals do come into contact seem to fit in reasonably well, and seldom make waves or major trouble. This is unsurprising precisely because immigrants are relatively few in those areas, which gives them every incentive and opportunity to learn English and blend culturally with the established population as quickly as possible. And at their own pace they do just that, as most like them and their descendants have done for much of American history. The major problems produced by the First Great Wave of immigration (1845�"1924) occurred on account of large influxes of culturally distinct groups arriving in a short time and swamping certain local and regional populations with concentrations of sheer numbers. But as earlier noted, during that eighty-year wave there were four major pauses in mass immigration totaling a full quarter of a century �" which mightily helped the United States, then growing rapidly due to high rates of natural increase that mostly well outpaced overall immigration, and aided further by rapidly expanding industrial development, to successfully absorb and assimilate those groups in due time.

Immigrants in unprecedented numbers are flowing in again, in large part due to the thoughtlessly crafted provisions of the 1965 Law, then confidently expected by its sponsors to attract immigrants from only somewhat more diverse worldwide sources with, it was assumed, only limited new numbers added for just a few years. Few of its original supporters in Congress have since publicly admitted that fateful error, an honorable exception being co-sponsor Eugene McCarthy.(19) And compounding its consequences, unlike the previous wave there have been no pauses. This time it's been an almost continuous acceleration in the numbers of immigrants for forty years now �" overwhelmingly from people culturally far more distinct from the existing American population than were those of the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century inflows �" and today into a country much more crowded and whose established population numbers are close to a standstill because of declining birth rates since the post-World-War-II "baby boom" ended in the 1960s.

While that standstill might be viewed as an encouraging fact by those worried about overpopulation, it has been more than offset by the legal and illegal immigrant flood since the 1960s. As already noted, most of the country's population increase is now produced by immigrants and their immediate descendants �"and bids soon to be all of it. Net population growth in the United States has thus continued unabated. In direct consequence, people whose roots in this land go back several generations and for many in centuries, which includes whites, blacks and others who may have lingering differences but are unmistakenly American �" are facing the probability of all of them, their ancestral cultures having been blended to a large degree into a new and highly successsful one, being together rendered a minority in their own country by the still unending influx of overwhelmingly Third-World immigrants and their descendants �" this not in some distant century but within the lifetimes of many now living.

Hastening the rapidity of such epochal change is the fact that so many in the current immigrant wave are both young and carry on long traditions of producing large families as a means of offsetting high death rates in their old countries. The result is a population explosion among them as a result of both massive arrivals and high natural increases after arrival, during an era when the established U.S. population is heading toward zero population growth. The danger of the present American population and culture being swamped by the continuation and even acceleration of this already forty-year-long process is evident. And compared with the first ten years or so after 1965, the boiler that drives it has now had time to develop a giant head of steam that makes it very much harder to cap. Under the law in force since 1965, entitled extended families (some "created" specifically to render them admissible to the U.S.) pour in legally, even as the illegal flow reaches new heights.

Such rapid changes in the basic demographic make-up of any country, as study of such histories worldwide reveals, have virtually always led to explosive change, not uncommonly resulting in a breakup and the end of that country as a nation. A metaphorical melting pot that blends can be replaced by a frying pan that sears.

The question of whether the United States can weather this continuing transformation if legal immigration is not greatly slowed and illegal immigration stopped, and soon, is in doubt. At the very least the national culture, if by then America can still truly be called a nation, will undergo far-reaching changes, which could very probably prove to be fatal for the United States. The time-scale involved here is on the order not of centuries, but of decades �" and the time in which effective preventive action can be taken may be less than a decade. Is the national will, which is nothing more than the net sum of individual wills, still strong enough to finally call a halt to this unwittingly touched-off process? Does the American culture, or nation �" presently haunted by wildly exaggerated guilt feelings insufficiently offset by a justified pride in its astonishing accomplishments but even now possessing a latent strength that has brought it through more than one great crisis in its history �" have at this late hour the gumption to rise out of her funk and meet the problem head-on, and save herself? Only time, and the time left is perilously limited, will tell.

The clock is ticking.

* * *

End Notes

1. In this connection it is worth quoting a few excerpts from a recent report on an extensive survey of Hispanics in the U.S. by Pew Research "An analysis of the survey results demonstrates that language plays a central role in the assimilation process. … [These] clearly demonstrate that differences in language are correlated to differences in views on a number of topics. … The results demonstrate that on almost all key questions related to assimilation, language contributes to differences in attitudes substantially even after controlling for other factors, such as age, gender, level of education, income, place of residence (urban, suburban, rural), country of origin, political party, religion, citizenship, and generation in the United States. … In general, the attitudes and beliefs of English-dominant Hispanics are much more similar to those held by non-Latinos than the attitudes and beliefs of Spanish-dominant Latinos." Source Pew Hispanic Center. Survey Brief, "Assimilation and Language," March 2004, in its website pewhispanic.org.

2. Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the Seas The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne,1405-1433 (Simon & Schuster, 1994), describes these fascinating undertakings against a background of Chinese culture and politics at the time.

3. Suzanne Fields,"The Menace of Multiculturalism," Sep. 16, 2005. Archived under her articles in NewsAndOpinion.com.

4. Thomas Sowell, "Immigration Taboos," Aug. 16, 2005. Archived under his articles in NewsAndOpinion.com. Reprinted in The Social Contract, Fall 2005, p. 68.

5. This phenomenon, along with the salutary effects of pauses, have been succinctly analyzed by Peter Brimelow in Alien Nation (Random House, 1995), p. 211�"219, with further references.

6. Several estimates have recently been chronicled by Diana Hull, president of Californians for Population Stabilization, in which she lists the following estimates of illegals now in the country Census Bureau, 8.7 million; the Urban Institute, 9.3 million; Center for Immigration Studies, 10 million; Time magazine, 15 million; and Bear Stearns, the investment banking and securities firm, 20 million. The latter study, conducted by Robert Justich and Betty Ng, analyzed "various data not included in the other reports border crossings, foreign remittances, housing permits, school enrollments, demand for language proficiency programs, and service demand in gateway communities for illegals." Diana Hull, "Illegal Immigration," Missoulian, June 28, 2005. (It might also be mentioned here to readers who may suspect lurking bias in a securities firm, that any such biases might more likely be on the side of employers who hire the illegals and thus presumably favor a low estimate rather than the high one acually released.)

7. The first of those pauses, 1858-1864, began with a marked slowdown in Irish immigration, followed by the Civil War. The second and third were triggered by financial panics in 1873 and 1893 followed by recessions, and the fourth by the 1914 eruption of World War I in Europe.

8. The First Great Lull having been the 70-year period from the American Revolution of 1776 until 1845 when the sudden Irish influx initiated the 80-year First Great Wave. Immigration, estimated emigration, and net rates are detailed for 1921-1945 by Roger Daniels in Coming to America A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life, Second Edition (Perennial, imprint of HarperCollins, 2002), p. 287�"91 ff. Figures are for fiscal years then ending June 30 of the named year. (Since 1976 U.S. fiscal years have ended September 30.)

9. Thomas J. Archdeacon, Becoming American An Ethnic History. (The Free Press, imprint of Macmillan, 1983), p. 118�"19, 135�"36, 139.

10. Daniels, p. 127. And Archdeacon, calculated here from top 15 ethnic sources listed, p. 118.

11. A quick but serviceable approximation of Third-World entrants is obtained by considering Europe, the U.S. and Canada as First World, the rest Third World. It's hardly perfect, of course. Russia as "First World" is problematic. Japan, Australia, N.Z., Israel, etc. are clearly First-World, but their tiny U.S. immigration levels affect the totals hardly at all. (The term "Second World" used for the former Communist bloc, is obsolete.)

12. In all graphs showing legal admissions, a dramatic spike for 1989�"1991 represents the three peak years for amnestied illegal entrants who staked a claim on having resided in the U.S. from 1982 or before, over 70 percent from Mexico. A more realistic picture would show no sudden spike but their arrivals being smoothed out over well more than a decade. A moderate two-year dip for 1997�"1998 has been explained as a temporary administrative backlog in the INS admission process. But all through these apparent ups and downs the general rise in net illegal entries has added heavily to the count of legal arrivals, thus maintaining a trend of continually increasing U.S. immigration.

13. For the single year 2004, U.S. legal admissions from Mexico were 175,000, from all Europe 128,000, and Canada 16,000, according to stated country of birth. (The net illegal flow across the Mexican border in that year certainly added many hundreds of thousands and some estimates have put it over a million.) For comparison, legal admissions from all the rest of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Latin America (including Cuba, Dominican Republic and Brazil) totaled 177,000; from the non-Spanish-speaking Caribbean, 45,000; from Asia 330,000; the continent of Africa 66,000; and Oceania (includes Australia and New Zealand) a mere 6,000. Note that Arab and other Islamic countries are included in the above totals for Asia and Africa. Arabic-speaking countries accounted for 27,000 U.S. legal immigrants in 2004, roughly half from the Asian Middle East and half from North Africa. Adding immigrants from two non-Arab potential radical-Islamist terrorist sources in Asia �" Iran and Pakistan �" brings that to 50,000. Dept. of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics, 2004 Yearbook.

14. Germans themselves (apart from other Continental Germanics such as Dutch, Swiss, Scandinavians, and Austrians) are a partial exception to the statement about each group reaching its U.S. immigration peak and subsiding in turn, because for 150 years from the 1820s through the 1960s Germany, except for a single decade (that of World War I), was among the top six immigrant countries listed by the INS �" in fact, in seven of those fifteen decades, even as recently as 1951�"1960 �" Germany was the No.1 U.S. immigrant source country. But just a few years after passage of the 1965 Act, Germany dropped to 15th; and by the 2001�"2004 period was down to 30th.

15. Those skeptical of this statement are invited to read the present writer's "Immigration, Ethnic Strife, Nations �" and America" in The Social Contract, Spring 2000. Countries facing major ethnic tension, outbreaks, or outright break-ups just since about 1970, which include more than half the countries of the world, are examined in as much detail as practicable in a single article of reasonable length, and the troubled areas discussed are hardly exhaustive. A similar survey reaching farther back than merely thirty years will uncover many, many more.

16. Victor Davis Hanson, "Something is Terribly, Terribly Wrong," interview with World Magazine, in victorhanson.com, Apr. 16, 2005. "Barren Policy," written for Tribune Media Services and archived under his articles with the title "‘Guest' Workers or Helots?" in jewishworldreview.com, Aug. 11, 2005. Also, Mexifornia a State of Becoming (Encounter Books, 2003) contains much firsthand information on these matters.

17. One difference between latter-19th-century Japan and the U.S. when both countries were industrializing was that America had a large continent to fill; Japan did not. Japan saw no need for immigration. New ideas can travel without importing large numbers of human bodies.

18. Jean Raspail, The Camp of the Saints. Originally published as Le Camp des Saintes (Paris Editions Robert Laffont-Fixot, 1973). Page citations refer to the fifth American edition (The Social Contract Press, 1995). First quote p. xv, Author's Introduction to the 1985 French Edition, translated by Gerda Bikales. Second and third quotes are from the main text of the novel, translated by Norman Shapiro, p. 121 and p. 7 respectively.

19. Eugene McCarthy, A Colony of the World The United States Today (Hippocrene Books, 1992), especially p. 56�"60 where the he ruefully explains the intent of the legislation and the failure of those who supported it, himself included, to think through its implications and effects. By contrast the bill's floor leader, Senator Edward Kennedy, has never recanted his own key advocacy. Arguing during the 1965 Senate sessions, he stated "Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same. … Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset." See Otis Graham, Jr. in Unguarded Gates A History of America's Immigration Crisis (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), p. 93; or, Peter Brimelow in Alien Nation, p. 76.

During the 1965 hearings a few far-seeing guest critics who had done their homework, notably Myra C. Hacker of the New Jersey Coalition, presciently warned in Congressional testimony that "At the very least, the hidden mathematics of the bill should be made clear to the public."She foresaw a rapidly increasing actual legal immigration from the larger country-mix �" which the lawmakers, to judge from their own triflingly low proffered figures, no doubt found laughable. But scarcely a dozen years later her ominous numbers would prove to have been conservative underestimates. See Lawrence Auster, The Path to National Suicide (American Immigration Control Foundation, 1990) p. 13�"15.

About the author

Lee G. Madland is a consultant in Missoula, Montana. He has a doctorate in geography from the University of California (Los Angeles) and has taught at the University of Las Vegas (Nevada).

Copyright 2007 The Social Contract Press, 445 E Mitchell Street, Petoskey, MI 49770; ISSN 1055-145X
(Article copyrights extend to the first date the article was published in The Social Contract)