Illegal Immigration: Elite Illiberality

Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, June 17, 2013

The divide over immigration reform is not primarily a Left/Right or Democratic/Republican divide; instead, it cuts, and sharply so, across class lines. Elites blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigration to ensure that the opponents of the latter appear to be against the former. They talk grandly of making legal immigration meritocratic, but fall silent when asked to what degree. They talk darkly of racist subtexts in the arguments of their opponents, but skip over the overt ethnic chauvinism of proponents of amnesty; they decry conservative paranoia over a new demography, but never liberal euphoria over just such a planned reset. They talk deprecatingly of rubes who do not understand the new global realities, but never of their own parochialism ensconced in New York or Washington or San Francisco. They talk of reactionaries who do not fathom the ins and outs of the debate; never of their own willful ignorance of the realities on the ground in East L.A. or southwest Fresno.

The elites favor de facto amnesty for a variety of self-interested reasons. For the corporate echelon, creating a guest-worker program and granting amnesty—without worrying about securing the border first—ensures continued access to millions of cheap laborers from Latin America. The United States may be suffering the most persistent unemployment since the Great Depression. There may be an unemployment rate of over 15 percent in many small towns in the American Southwest. American businesses may be flush with record amounts of cash, and farm prices may be at record levels. But we are still lectured that without cheap labor from south of the border, businesses simply cannot profit.


Many employers appreciate the myriad advantages of hiring illegal immigrants. Although supporters of amnesty are bold in leveling charges of illiberality against their critics, the unspoken truth is that insistence on access to cheap labor is about as reactionary and unethical as one can imagine. Off the record, employers will admit they are reluctant to hire jobless African-American youths, although the black community is suffering historic levels of unemployment. They are not even eager to hire second-generation Hispanics, who, according to the employers’ creed, have lost the firsthand memory of crushing Mexican poverty and thus their parents’ desperate work ethic.

Instead, employers want a continuing influx of young workers who will undercut the wages of American citizens. {snip}

Employers do not care that the presence of 11 million illegal aliens has driven down entry-level wages. They are not concerned about the depressing cycle of illegal-immigrant labor: The young male from Latin America works extraordinarily hard for 20 years. But by the time he’s 40, he is married with children, and discovering that without education, English, or skill sets, he has no way forward.

Arms and backs that were near superhuman at 25 are often shot at 50. When the 45-year-old illegal alien can no longer pick, or cook, or rake as he once did, the employer loses interest, and the state steps in to provide him with rough parity through subsidies for housing, health care, food, and legal assistance, and meanwhile it has been educating his children. Because second-generation immigrants are deemed less industrious than their worn-out fathers and mothers—and Hispanic males in California graduate from high school at little more than a 60 percent rate—the need arises for another round of young hardy workers from Latin America.

In past times, this depressing cycle of exploitation was justified by low unemployment or ongoing wars that siphoned off American manpower. But why the need for imported labor in times of near-record joblessness, relative peace, and often-record profits? The elites simply turn a blind eye to out-of-work Americans, the low wages of illegal laborers, and the cynicism of using up human capital and letting the state pick up the subsequent social costs. How odd that profit-making from cheap labor is considered liberal, while concern for low-paid American workers is written off as xenophobia.

Most elites talk of nativism and racism as being what fuels opposition to their brand of comprehensive immigration reform. Yet I doubt that the wealthy Silicon Valley residents who clamor for “reform” send their children to public schools. Indeed, in the fashion of the Southern academies that popped up in the 1960s during court-ordered busing, Silicon Valley is currently experiencing an explosion in private schools.

Apple, Google, and Facebook 1-percenters are much too sophisticated to call these booming apartheid prep schools “academies,” but they are burgeoning in reaction to worries that the flood of illegal service workers from Latin America has finally lapped up to the outskirts of Palo Alto and Menlo Park. Once-topnotch public schools like Menlo-Atherton are now whispered about as “problematic,” given the growing enrollment of the children of illegal aliens.

In truth, do not expect Washington politicians, La Raza leaders, or agribusiness owners to send their children to the Sanger school system in the outskirts of Fresno, or to enroll them in Cal State Bakersfield. Their elite status mostly exempts them from the ramifications of their own ideology in a myriad of ways. If taxes must rise in California to pay for one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients, or to prop up public schools that have descended to 48th in the nation in math and English test scores, or to bring some parity to the nation’s highest percentage of people below the poverty line, most of the elite can afford the increases. For some, the higher taxes even become a sort of penance—a kind of abstract generosity necessary to expiate their unwillingness to assimilate, integrate, and intermarry in the concrete.

Meanwhile, forget the tire-store owner and the electrical contractor who have no such margin of error, and are written off as mean-spirited for resenting rising taxes to pay for soaring subsidies to the growing immigrant underclass. That the caricatured Neanderthal followers of Sarah Palin resent the social costs of illegal immigration and the fact that their children’s education is directly affected by the entry of millions of new non-English-speakers is, well, their own fault.


Indeed, the tragedy of illegal immigration is that it becomes the cornerstone for hundreds of agendas: those of the self-interested Mexican government, exploitative American employers, the new ethnic chauvinists, the upper middle classes who deem themselves lords of the manor, and, yes, the elite whose professions are as noble as their deeds are not.


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  • Mass immigration doesn’t just drive down the wage-salary scale in industries where lots of illegal alien labor is used, it drives down wages and salaries across the board for almost everyone. And to some people, that’s a feature, not a bug, and the very point of why they are for “comprehensive immigration reform.”

    • John Smith

      Except 23 million government workers (who are almost all liberal Democrats) and the reason for that is because they engage in massive deficit spending to keep their standard of living artificially high. Obviously, the private sector worker has no access to this “benefit.”

      • The__Bobster

        Just the business owners in the private sector.

      • Xerxes22

        No, most government workers are not liberal Democrats. The FBI, CIA and the military are also government workers. Unfortunately, the stupid party keeps demonizing these people and in the process throws away a lot of potential White votes.

      • me

        Bantus. Just say the word, man! And the Black communities are being impacted the most, for the time being. The elites are going to be surprised when the whole nation starts looking like the movie, “From Dusk Till Dawn”, and there isn’t going to be any George Clooney to rescue these dumb asses because they can’t mow their own lawns or raise their own spawn. They have to have a squat monster do it. And the corporations can hire them for peanuts, as well. But remember–if you pay in peanuts you’re going to attract only monkeys….greasy, Marxist, lazy monkeys.

  • David Ashton

    And don’t forget the agenda of the leftist revolutionaries as they prepare their cadres on the streets for the next part-ethnic demonstrations in the next crisis of capitalism. The short-sighted greed of the financial plays right into the hands of long-sighted neo-marxian revolutionaries. Look at Europe.

    • The__Bobster

      Eventually this country will turn into Brazil, where the elites need bodyguards when they go outside their gates.

      • David Ashton

        Unless we stop it.
        Brazil is not setting an optimistic example to your fellow-Americans.

  • Erasmus

    Our business elites monomaniacal pursuit of more immigration into this country to bolster corporate profits reminds me of Lt-Col. Nicholson, (Alec Guiness), from “The Bridge on the River Kwai”: In his monomaniacal pursuit to build the bridge, , a subordinate goal, Lt-Col. Nicholson loses sight of things more important and effectively begins to work to undermine the goal of his own people to stop the Japanese war effort. In working to advance the goals they learn in B-school, similarly, our business “elites” lose sight of the more important goal of maintaining a functioning society of which they are still part.

    Soullessness in members of the right (Rubio, Bush, McCain, Graham) is just as corrosive toward the civic health of a society as soullessness among members of the left. How many parents would be proud if one of their children one day said he’d like to grow up and be like Senator Rubio, McCain, Graham, Schumer, Flake or one of many others?

    Few would, I’ll wager.

    • The__Bobster

      The Clintons are proud of ugly Chel-see-yah, who has turned out to be just as corrupt as her parents.

    • NordicHeritage

      The famous Lucius Cassius, whom the Roman people used to regard as a very honest and wise judge, was in the habit of asking, time and again, ‘To whose benefit?”
      Marcus Tullius Cicero

      This quote is essential for people to understand. Who benefits from mass immigration? Once people understand that then they can begin to see how screwed we are as a country.

  • Eagle_Eyed

    I agree that corporate greed drives open borders to a point, but greed is ubiquitous throughout man’s history whereas elitist alienism is not. Japan has rich business elite without a cheap labor lobby.

    The white elite feel morally superior, their liberalism demands it, and while they might not be economic Marxists they certainly are cultural Marxists. Thus the foreign–because of its foreignness–is good while anything traditional, white, Christian, etc. is restrictionist, backward, and without any legitimate claim to self-preservation.

    • Lop_Eared_Galoot

      The white elite feel morally superior, their liberalism demands it, and while they might not be economic Marxists they certainly are cultural Marxists. Thus the foreign–because of its foreignness–is good while anything traditional, white, Christian, etc. is restrictionist, backward, and without any legitimate claim to self-preservation.
      Do not judge them too harshly Eagle, for it is genetic instinct at play.

      We lived through a bottleneck or three in our times in Eurasia during the Great Winter that brought our people down to a few thousands, more than once.

      Those who survived were those who learned to urgently seek out new tools, materials and especially genes to avoid inbreeding depression as tribal insularism.

      Obviously, women would lead this ‘liberal acceptance of genetic donais’ movement, though whether they were chattel to it’s needs or sought it out on their own is questionable.

      It’s strength has made us one of the most innovative and irrepressible of population groups on the planet, while we bred only amongst ourselves.
      But in an era where we no longer compete against each other (Gee Thanks, Einstein) and have a dread instinctive fear of being ‘shunned’ (Gee Thanks, Hitler) we have turned our ability to exploit the moment inwards, upon each other.

      And our racial opponents in the genetic arms race see this weakness of stable will for what it is and move in, hungrily.

      Racial Liberalism is not our only or even dominant trait however. Indeed, it varies in it’s virulence between populations as eras. When our people migrated into new lands where they were the foreign influence in a sitting host population whose worth they did not know, their insularism in fact rose to protect them.

      Migrant groups like the Germanic tribes were known to practice extreme segregation, as the natives of Iberia discovered, much to their pleasure, after the overrun by the Vandals and Visigoths when native populations like the Basques faced annihilation only to find reprieve as the Germans were noted as (and admired for being) very much ‘a people apart’. Maintaining high standards of acceptable racial behavior among their own in fact led to survival for peoples on the brink.

      It is thought that this, along with the strict legislative rules of the Liber Ludiciorum on which Spanish law was based, were the beginnings of the Spaniards’ own obsession with Casta`.

      Economic Mercantilism is also a sure proof of racial genetics driven insularism as instinct writ large, seeking or at least /creating the opportunity/ for a speciation moment.

      The Jews were of course this way, long before the Middle Ages persecution drove them to restricted job categories.

      But so were the English when dealing with on-continent powers much larger and thus wealthier than they were. In those moments when men like Richard were not actively seeking more French land for themselves, they were creating separation for their bloodlines as _French Speakers_ in a native Germanic Angle-land. The institutionalization of French Lords as a new upperclass replacement for Saxon ones in English townships and counties actually killed Latin amongst the elite of in the nation within a couple centuries of William’s conquest.

      But what is interesting is that, even with deeper blood ties to France than home, they began anew a process of conserving English gold for English material goods and demanding outside barter payments above and beyond their own costs (for timber and wool and pottery among others) as a means to create leveraged trade as economic status.

      ALL of these things are indicators of species gene-protective and expansionist behaviors, controlling resources as land while remaining separate in their quest for independent advantaged sweeps of genetics.

      They are the tools of evolution understood at least subconsciously, in our own hands use.

      And while we cannot afford to be racist in the taking of other’s lands anymore (we don’t have the numbers even if we were so inclined) it has always been a matter of pride for me that our peoples’ Folk Way has been the struggle against each other and the exclusion of outsiders from our gene Paths as a means to build up our quality as our destiny in achieving something…more.

      Than what the other impoverished racial groups have.

      We abandon this drive and become lost in embrace of billions of R-Bred OPs only at our extinctive peril.

  • The__Bobster

    Elites blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigration to ensure that the opponents of the latter appear to be against the former.

    Actually, there’s not much of a distinction nowadays. The legal ones look pretty much look like the illegal ones.

    Only 10% of the legal ones get in due to merit. But they’re used to undercut the wages of the upper-middle-class instead of the poor.

  • JohnEngelman

    This is a surprisingly good article. I do not expect National Review to run an article criticizing the corporate elite.

    • Charles Lufkin

      National Review has developed a surprisingly good line on immigration.Almost every day on NRO there are excellent anti-amnesty article.Give it a look.

      • Erasmus

        The American Spectator doesn’t seem to be taking any line at all on immigration. Of course, now that featured writer Grover Norquist by his support for amnesty has shown how false his colors really are, it becomes increasingly difficult to take The American Spectator seriously.

        I wonder if TAS shouldn’t do a Derbyshire on Grover.

        • JohnEngelman

          How is Grover Norquist’s support for amnesty inconsistent with anything else he has ever stood for?

          • Jefferson

            Not only is Grover Norquist a pro-amnesty/pro-open borders guy, he is also a huge fan of the Muslims.

            Grover Norquist is so left wing on the issue of race, that he makes the Democrat Bob Beckel look like a racially aware White man in comparison.

          • JohnEngelman

            But Grover Norquist is very right wing on economic issues that benefit the richest one percent of the country. The reason he is “pro-amnesty/pro-open borders” is because those enables employers to cut wages, raise prices, and get higher profits.

          • David Ashton

            So what can be done about this?

          • Jefferson

            Grover Norquist is a crony capitalist. He gives capitalism a bad name.

            Real true fiscal conservatives like myself look down on crony capitalists who are nothing but a bunch of fake “conservatives”.

  • IstvanIN

    How many members of Obama’s administration whom the press call white are actually white? Those are our ruling elites. The rest are just puppets.

  • White Mom in WDC

    Sex and money are the two biggest motivators for people. The elite are reptilian and base in nature and have no moral compass guiding their actions. They have no loyalty to country. The patriots lying dormant in the USA must step up. The elites must be exterminated as well as the corrupt politicians they have paid off. There is no other way. What form or medium in which the extermination fashions itself in will be seen

    • Erasmus

      Priceless. Thanks.

  • KenelmDigby

    Victor Davis Hanson uses the word ‘apartheid’ to describe the duplicitous attitude of the elitists and the immigrationists towards the immigrants themselves.
    On the one hand, the immigrationists love to pose as ‘virtuous and magnaminous’ in making a big show of ‘fighting on the immigrants behalf’ and utterly destroying and insulting opponents of immigration at the same time.
    On the other hand, the immigrationists just use the immigrants as anthropidal livestock, beats-of-the-field, human cattle. They are there to work for peanuts – pick the immigrationists’ cotton, wipe their elderly butts, make their beds, do their trash work in fact, so that immigrationist princesses won’t have to break a fingernail.
    The cold-blooded cynicism and deceit is breath-taking. Honestly, the immigrationist really HATE the immigrants, in reality they just see them as fleshy units of production and nothing else, to be used and discarded at will.

  • MartelC

    its important to realize that our elites don’t see a ‘problem’ their wealth has doubled or tripled during each “crisis’. They get cheap nannies, cheap workers, and they gain control by having unruly rabble (subsidized by middle class tax payers) who intimidate and create the need for more control and government.

    So really, what’s the problem?

  • Lila Dennis

    Let’s not forget that our country started as a colony of the British..It was set up to to provide trade profits for the elite. Nothing has changed since then.

  • WR_the_realist

    That’s commons sense from National Review that will be completely ignored by all our congressmen. It would be nice if some congressman would stand up and read that into the congressional record even though we all know that if the CSPAN camera moved back a bit we’d see that he was speaking to an array of empty seats.

  • Paleoconn

    Not just cheap labor. Votes for their party, the Demorats.