Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, April 2004
By interesting coincidence, Patrick Buchanan held his most recent meeting on immigration just a few days after the last American Renaissance conference. Since the mid-1990s, his tax-exempt American Cause has put on events that are billed as “bring[ing] the brightest minds together to explore the ideas that make America a great nation.” This year, under the theme of “Exporting Jobs, Importing Workers,” the brightest minds were trying to think of ways to save the country from destruction.
This was an interesting contrast to the AR conference: an energetic gathering of “mainstream” immigration control groups that never talk about race. It is instructive to take the temperature of the non-racial right on immigration, and if this group is any indication, the temperature is rising.
Protectionism was a very strong sub-theme at this conference. Jock Nash, who is a trade negotiation lawyer for the Milliken textile company, made no bones about the need to manage trade to America’s advantage. He pointed out that in February, the United States lost manufacturing jobs for the 43rd month in a row, and others argued that if this continues, we will eventually be buying even our weapons from China. When it comes to trade, “we don’t want a level playing field,” he said. “We want a home court advantage.” He said America should always come first: “I don’t care what happens in Mexico or Sri Lanka or Cambodia. America first, our friends next, and everyone else, get in line.”
Speaker after speaker echoed this theme. Pat Choate, who was Ross Perot’s running mate in 1996, said the only way to balance our trade with China was to refuse to let in any more imports. Richard McCormack, editor of Manufacturing & Technology News said the Europeans have straightforward quotas on Chinese imports and we should, too.
There was less agreement on how to keep American companies from paying people in India and China next to nothing to do computer programming, web page design, mechanical drawings, and even X-ray diagnosis and architectural design over the internet. Some panelists could not see how this could be stopped, but William Hawkins, an economist at the US Business and Industry Council and the author of Importing Revolution, said wages paid to workers outside the country should not qualify as business expenses for tax purposes. Mr. Choate proposed an “equalization tax” on such wages that would bring them up to the level paid to Americans.
It is all very well to fiddle with tariffs and taxes, but no one pointed out that, aside from natural resources, the wealth of a country depends on the productivity of its people. America will continue to be wealthy only if its people continue to be good at inventing things, making things, and offering first-rate services. It takes smart people to do that. As Richard Lynn has shown in IQ and the Wealth of Nations, rich countries get that way because their people are intelligent. Trade policy will make no difference if the United States keeps importing prolific Third-Worlders who cannot be trained for high-productivity jobs.
If, at the same time, it keeps taxing the competent to subsidize reckless procreation by incompetents, its population will eventually be no good at anything. If we ever deteriorate to the point where the average American is no more intelligent or hard-working than the average Filipino, we will have the same average income — and deserve it. Whether we import them or breed them ourselves, untrainable dullards will be poor, untrainable dullards, and drag the rest of us down with them.
There was much hand-wringing about China at this conference, but no one pointed out that it has already passed stiff laws that prohibit criminals and defectives from having children (they will no doubt be the next groups to be granted asylum in the US and Canada). As soon as the cost of embryo selection goes down, the Chinese will have no scruples about using it, and if they build up to an average IQ of 115 while we drop into the 80s, they will dominate us in every way.
As Mark Twain used to say, nothing astonishes people more than to tell them the truth. It would have been great fun to astonish the American Cause, but no one who has ever spoken at an AR conference was invited to speak.
When it comes to the question of importing workers, the panelists agreed: it has to stop. Because this conference was about the economic effects of immigration, little was said about the cultural consequences of immigration, much less the racial impact, but there were still interesting differences in emphasis.
The one area of agreement was that Third-World immigration most hurts blue-collar workers. Some speakers, such as Roy Beck of Numbers USA, turned this into an appeal even Hillary Clinton might respond to: He called our immigration policies “a war against workers, a war against blacks, a war against Hispanics.” He argued that blacks have been repeatedly knocked off the ladder of success by repeated waves of immigrants desperate for work. At a more general level, he said a society like ours that is replacing well-paid factory jobs with low-paid service jobs has “an immoral system,” and that “clean-hand workers” like the participants at the conference had a responsibility to fellow citizens who have no more than a high-school education.
John Templeton, a science journalist and the only black at the conference, pushed this argument specifically for blacks: Blue-collar brothers have to compete with low-rent Mexicans. However, he was much more interested in what whites are up to, larding his talk with plenty of references to segregation and “racism.” He seems to think the H1B visa program, which lets employers bring in foreigners to do specialized work, has been a great way for Silicon Valley companies to avoid hiring blacks! Every year, he publishes something called the “Silicon Ceiling Report,” in which he complains about how few blacks have good jobs in the computer industry. He did concede that as companies send jobs overseas “white men have become commodities, too.” In answer to a question as to why Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton do not talk about low-wage Mexicans taking away jobs from blacks, he said that “their funding sources won’t let them.” Judging from Mr. Templeton’s own emphasis, there may simply be more fun and profit in complaining about rich white people rather than poor Hispanics.
K.B. Forbes, Executive Director of the Council of United Latinos, had another ethnic perspective. He described himself as the “token Hispanic” at the conference, but is half-Irish and half-Chilean, and looks European. He takes seriously Mr. Beck’s view that massive immigration really is “a war on blacks, a war on Hispanics,” and is trying to persuade Hispanics that immigration will only drive down their wages. He insisted that many Hispanics are against the Bush amnesty — 45 percent, which is not far behind the 55 percent for the country as a whole. He tries to publicize cases like that of the Salvadoran car mechanic who was happy making $10.00 an hour, but was fired when two illegal Koreans showed up, willing to work for $4.50 an hour each. He conceded that, so far, there is not much sign of Hispanic resistance to immigration, but claimed that many Hispanics are completely “red, white and blue” and that Hispanic opposition to immigration is a “sleeping giant” beginning to stir. He seemed entirely sincere — he got a good round of applause when he said all illegals must be rounded up and deported immediately — and if he can get Hispanics more interested in higher pay than ethnic solidarity, good for him.
On the question of what to do about illegals, some of the speakers were firm and some were squishy, but all were on the right side. Steven Camarota, who spoke for the reasonably high-profile Center for Immigration Studies, had something of a technical approach. He pointed out that the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) already has a backlog of six million cases, and would be paralyzed by the 10 million or so applications a Bush amnesty would bring. He is not in favor of outright deportation of illegals, arguing that if employer sanctions really do dry up the job supply, illegals will go home on their own. He also opposes putting soldiers on the border because they are bound to shoot somebody. Since “we make public policy by pathetic anecdote,” he said, a few dead Mexicans could discredit the whole idea of firm border control. No one pointed out that the threat of being shot would be enough to close the border. It might take a few shootings for the threat to be taken seriously, but that would pretty much solve the problem.
(Mr. Camarota did make the excellent point that immigrants are not going to save Social Security. Most of them earn low wages, pay few taxes, and consume social services. Also, what Social Security really needs is an increase in the ratio of workers to retired people, but many immigrants bring in their aged parents, who never paid a dime in taxes, and they will, themselves, grow old and go on Social Security.)
T.J. Bonner, the head of the border patrol agents union, had a similar perspective on illegals. He thinks it is hopeless to try to stop them all at the border and then pay no attention once they get in. He said if the country really wanted to solve the problem only by patrolling the border, it would need one million agents, rather than the current 11,000. He said all police departments must treat illegal entry as the crime that it is, and that we must prosecute employers who hire illegals. He said the best way for companies to avoid hiring them is to look hard at Hispanics who don’t speak English, but they can’t do that because that would be “discrimination.”
The Bush amnesty proposal has made his job harder. Apprehensions in some sectors rose 30 percent after the announcement, and Mr. Bonner said some who are caught immediately ask, “How do I sign up for the new amnesty?” He doesn’t want soldiers on the border because he says they don’t have the right training.
Pat Choate was the squishiest on Mexico. He said that because it is our neighbor it is “special,” and we should do everything possible to raise its standard of living. We should build factories there rather than in India or China (or Pennsylvania?) even if the profits are lower, so as to give Mexicans good jobs. Dan Stein of the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR) got a good round of applause when he retorted that the only way to handle Mexico is to seal the border.
Three-term congressman from Colorado Tom Tancredo was the keynote speaker. He is a very important figure who has almost single-handedly made a national political issue out of immigration, so it is worth examining his remarks in detail. He laughed at the Bush amnesty proposal, calling it “dead on arrival.” He said that in his five years in Congress he has never seen so vigorous a popular reaction against a proposal. All his Republican and even some Democratic colleagues say they are swamped with mail from outraged constituents. At Republican leadership retreats, he used to be the only congressman who would talk about immigration, but at the most recent retreat he said he didn’t have to say anything; 15 or 20 others were yelling about the amnesty.
He told about one Southern congressman who is a gynecologist and still has a practice. He got a big laugh when he imitated a thick Southern accent, and quoted his colleague: “I have done an informal poll of my patients and have found that amnesty is about as popular as genital herpes.”
Mr. Tancredo said he cannot understand how Mr. Bush thought his plan would win Hispanic votes. “The very next day, the Democrats did what they always do, they outbid us, and said we should give them instant green cards.” Mr. Tancredo believes immigration “is a dagger pointed at our hearts,” that the influx, both legal and illegal, combined with multiculturalism, threatens the identity of the country. He said instruction in school is anti-American, and that our children “should know a little more about Western Civilization than that Columbus came to America and destroyed paradise.” He called the Mexican government a “co-conspirator” in the threat to America, and talked about a Mexican official who explained to him that “it’s not two countries; it’s just a region.”
He said almost no one in Congress stands for anything except being reelected. When people accuse him of “having an agenda,” he says of course he has an agenda, and that no one should be in Congress who doesn’t have one. He said it has been “a wonderful experience” to be a politician with a real purpose, who works for what he truly believes is best for the country. He said he used to be sympathetic when colleagues told him they admired what he says but can’t do the same, but now he has no patience. “Either you care about your country or you don’t,” he says. Mr. Tancredo is all for putting soldiers on the border. He is thinking about running for the Senate, and says he will campaign for two things: a moratorium on all immigration, and no amnesty, ever.
The tenor of the immigration debate would change completely if there were just a few more members of Congress who took Mr. Tancredo’s positions and pushed them as hard as he does. He was an ebullient, effective speaker, and began and ended with a standing ovation. He is also quite approachable. He spent 20 minutes after his talk, chatting and laughing with admirers, and gives an impression of sincere bonhomie. He had used Samuel Huntington’s expression “clash of civilizations” in his talk, so I asked if he meant there was a civilizational clash between Mexico and the United States. He gave me a quizzical look and said no. The clash of civilizations was between Islam and the West, but if America is disunited because of ethnic identification it will not be able to respond to the challenge.
Patrick Buchanan spoke last, and struck an optimistic note. This is “the darkest hour before the dawn,” he said, adding that “the people are with us, and the politicians are beginning to listen.” He regretted that 12 or 14 years ago, when he was running for president, the mood of the country was not what it is today. He was glad to see that the Bush amnesty appears to be dead. He said the by-elections two years from now may be a good chance to put up third-party candidates against sitting congressmen who refuse to understand immigration. He concluded with a confident prediction that “the people who love this country for what it is will prevail over those who think it’s just a place to make money.”
He was not the only speaker to say the mood in the country is changing. Dan Stein predicted that “we are about to see a tsunami” of opposition to immigration, and said it “will be about the hottest topic in politics once we get gay marriage taken care of.” Several others spoke of Congress finally taking notice.
The audience — at about 150, it was perhaps a record for an American Cause meeting — likewise seemed upbeat and energetic. As is always the case at meetings of this kind, it was to the right of the speakers. Every firm sentiment got applause, and one man kept shouting “lock and load, lock and load.” A half-dozen participants introduced themselves to me as AR readers, and many others gladly accepted introductory copies of the magazine. There is no doubt that more and more Americans are seeing the light; perhaps as Mr. Buchanan said, the dawn is not far off.
What are we to make of the non-racial immigration-control movement? Its leaders are certainly well meaning, and they are able to carry their message to audiences that cover their ears when we talk about race. There is no doubt that some people find an economic or cultural argument more palatable. Nor should we sneer at Roy Beck’s pitch to liberals about how immigration hurts blacks and Hispanics. If he can interest Hillary Clinton in helping blacks by keeping out immigrants, God bless him. His is a very useful lobbying organization that makes it easy for people to stay in touch with their congressmen and that reports on every member’s vote on every bill that touches on immigration.
Is there really as much anti-immigrant sentiment among Hispanics as K.B. Forbes claims? If there is, it is probably based on the contempt many Cubans and South Americans feel for Mexican prune pickers, but why not harness it if it is there?
We should never lose sight of the fact that anyone who opposes immigration — for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reason at all — is our ally. To oppose immigration is, in effect, to oppose the displacement of whites by non-whites. Displacement is the greatest threat today to our race, and we must support and encourage anyone who works against it, whatever his motives. It may be that when real immigration reform passes, it will be sold to Congress as a loving gesture to our black and Hispanic brothers and sisters. That would still be a great achievement.
We, of course, have no reason to shift our emphasis. The immigration-control movement is full of people who, themselves, never talk about race but are happy for others to, and whose commitment is fueled by the knowledge that there is far more at stake than blue-collar jobs. Our ranks are growing steadily, and ultimately, only a fully-formed consciousness of race will save our civilization. In the meantime, let us applaud the efforts of the mainstream right.