Jerry Kammer is one of those self-identified liberal journalists who combine support for reducing the total number of immigrants with prim opposition to distinguishing between more and less desirable kinds of immigrants He has just written a book: Losing Control: How a Left-Right Coalition Blocked Immigration Reform And Provoked The Backlash That Elected Trump, published by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), where he is now a “senior research fellow,” his Main Stream Media career having presumably fallen victim to the “Curse of Stein”. It is a useful history and contains original material. But it also illustrates the utter bankruptcy of Kammer/CIS’ attempt to sell a Politically Correct immigration patriotism.
Kammer started out as a Mexico correspondent for the Arizona Republic in 1986, where he reported on the lives of Mexican workers in the border factories known as maquiladoras. In 2000, the newspaper reassigned him to Washington, DC, where, he writes, “my education in the nitty gritty of immigration politics at the national level began.” Attending a National Immigration Forum dinner, he listened as an odd combination of immigrant rights activists and business interests cheerfully agreed on the need to import and legalize as many foreign workers as possible, to the obvious detriment of Americans’ wages. He writes:
Who, I wondered, was lobbying for the American workers competing with the new arrivals? The answer, I learned, was no one. As the former labor secretary Robert Reich once put it, “There’s no National Association of the Working Poor. There’s no special interest lobbying group working on behalf of people trying desperately to find and keep jobs.”
So in 2002, Kammer says he jumped at the opportunity to work the immigration and border beat for the Copley News service, a chain whose flagship paper was the San Diego Union-Tribune:
From the Copley office in Washington’s National Press Building, I traveled widely in the Southwest and across Mexico. Nearly everyone I met had relatives in the US, and most of the young men talked of joining them.
Kammer was realistic enough to see that America could not absorb all the millions who might want to come. He also saw that emigration served as a safety valve for Latin America’s corrupt ruling class, which might otherwise have to make concessions to popular discontent.
In 2009, Kammer moved to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), whose researchers he had often interviewed for stories:
While I thought some of CIS’s positions were too hard line, I respected its work, which featured reports from a wide range of experts, including several who identified as liberal restrictionists. I believed that CIS played a valuable role as immigration skeptic [and] provided a valuable counterweight to the enormously bigger expansionist lobby.
Kammer emphasizes that an excessive number of immigrants makes assimilation more difficult, threatens America’s natural environment, lowers the wages of our most economically vulnerable fellow-citizens, and places unfair and often unmanageable strains on hospitals, schools, courts. He quotes a 1913 satirical sketch of the perfect field as seen by California’s farmers:
The supreme qualities of the laborer are that he shall work cheap and hard, eat little and drink nothing, belong to no union, have no ambitions and present no human problems. Particularly, he should appear from nowhere when we need him, put up with what accommodations he finds, and then disappear . . . until we need him again.
While such ideal beings are not to be found in our fallen world, the closest approach to them is probably the illegal immigrant from Mexico. As Pres. Truman pointed out seventy years ago, “they live always under the threat of exposure of deportation; they are unable, therefore, to protest or to protect themselves” [Special Message to the Congress on the Employment of Agricultural Workers from Mexico July 13, 1951].
Yet in 1952, when Congress approved a bill to make the harboring of any illegal alien a felony, Texas congressman Lloyd M. Bentsen (then representing Texas’s 15th District as a Yellow Dog Democrat) was able to attach a proviso that hiring was not a form of harboring: the only guilty party in such a transaction was the worker! An absence of effective employer sanctions has remained to this day the Achilles’ Heel of all efforts to deter illegal entry.
The number of illegals arrested at the Southern border began increasing dramatically in the 1970s. Shortly after Ronald Reagan became president, a congressional committee recommended combining a long-overdue legal prohibition on hiring illegals with an Amnesty for those who had been in the US long enough to become established. This resulted in 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA).
IRCA’s central flaw was that employers were required to accept any document that “reasonably appears on its face to be genuine” as proof of the bearer’s right to work in the US. All attempts to require a more reliable verification system were met with cries that this would lead to racial discrimination and/or a police state. Indeed, employers who voluntarily insisted on more convincing documentation left themselves vulnerable to racial discrimination lawsuits. The predictable consequence was a lucrative trade in phony documents. Kammer quotes a 1988 LA Times investigative report: “Many [employers] acknowledge that they knowingly accept questionable documents, while others are ignoring the law’s requirements altogether.”
Word quickly spread that workplace enforcement presented little risk, and America’s illegal immigrant population grew from 3.5 million to 12 million or more.
As Kammer points out, many liberals simply assume that there cannot ever be any downside to immigration:
I searched in vain through [the Carnegie Foundation’s] grants’ databases, reports, and public pronouncements, for some recognition that mass immigration has created both winners and losers…
But he found only “ritualistic invocations of the blessings of unrestricted immigration.”
Losing Control also features valuable chapters documenting organized labor’s abandonment of native American workers, the Sierra Club’s abandonment of the population issue, and the rift between hard-pressed black workers and their political leaders whose primary concern is to protect the rainbow coalition against Whitey.
But Kammer is totally unwilling to consider is that not all groups are equally likely, statistically speaking, to send America immigrants who can establish successful and productive lives here. He describes the Immigration Act of 1924, for example, as “blatantly discriminatory” for allowing more arrivals from Europe than from Timbuktu.
This is a common criticism, but it is wrong. As a general rule, Americans have always favored the immigration of more people like themselves. Most Lower Slobovian Americans, in other words, would support increased immigration from Lower Slobovia while remaining indifferent or hostile to increases involving other groups. Such is human nature. The 1924 Act sought to head off ethnic conflict over immigration by basing the national quotas it instituted on the percentage of each group in the existing American population.
The legislation was neutral in regard to the country’s ethnic mix, without meaning to imply that there was anything perfect about that mix per se Congress’s aim was precisely to avoid favoritism—in other words, discrimination—between our country’s ethnic groups.
Of course, since the ethnic mix of America was different from that of the planet as a whole, this necessarily involved discriminating between sending countries by taking more from Europe and fewer from New Guinea. You can refuse to play favorites either among ethnic groups already present in the US or among sending countries. But you cannot logically practice non-discrimination in both areas.
But by disregarding the ethnic interests of America’s existing inhabitants, the 1965 Immigration Act has in effect perpetrated a demographic coup against our country’s historical ethnic core. Today, any immigration proposal that left our country’s already much reduced European-American majority intact would be met with howls of outrage. But that is because the outrage mob wants to reduce the numbers and influence of legacy Americans. If that is not “racial discrimination,” what is?
And this raises the basic tactic that immigration enthusiasts have employed against their opponents. Kammer actually came across one Arizona political consultant, a certain Alfredo Gutierrez, who happily spelled it out:
We call things racism just to get attention. We reduce complicated problems to racism, not because it is racism, but because it works.
Thus I did not expect Kammer to be able to teach me anything new about the Southern Poverty Law Center, but he has tracked down someone with inside information about its decision to declare the notoriously anodyne Beltway herbivore Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) a “Hate Group.” (VDARE.com, being more effective, was named an $PLC “Hate Group” three years earlier, in 2004.) This turns out to have been a concerted campaign planned months in advance, with the $PLC acting as both judge and prosecutor.
In October, 2007, the Center for American Progress sponsored a meeting in Washington, DC between representatives of the National Council of La Raza, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), the National Immigration Forum, and the SPLC’s Mark Potok and Heidi Beirich:
Potok and Beirich proposed a strategy to target [FAIR]. By labeling [them] a hate group and mounting a campaign to spread the word, they said, they could badly damage FAIR. “We’ll take them out,” they promised. They were received like heroes.
This is a central SPLC tactic: Posing as disinterested “experts” or “monitors” of extremist groups gains them moral authority for what in reality is political thuggery against anyone they dislike. As Mark Potok acknowledged in an unguarded moment: “Our aim is to destroy these groups” [ A Look at "Homegrown Terror" CNN, January 21, 2005].
Of course, the SPLC had criticized FAIR for many years without applying the incendiary “Hate Group” label to them. They needed some pretext, however flimsy, for doing so:
So Potok cooked up a cover story. He said that after learning that FAIR officials had met with a right-wing group from Belgium [the Vlaams Belang], he “decided to take another look at FAIR.” And behold: “When our work was done, it was obvious that FAIR qualified as a hate group.”
Not a word about Potok’s own conspiring with the Center for American Progress. The “FAIR officials” turned out to be just one man: Jack Martin, a communications officer who often conducted low-level meetings with visitors from abroad. “I’ve met with officials from Communist China,” he explained to Kammer, “and that doesn’t mean I’m a communist.”
The new “Hate Group” designation was announced in December, 2007, under the headline FAIR: Crossing the Rubicon of Hate. The National Council of La Raza quickly made it the centerpiece of a national “We Can Stop the Hate” advertising campaign. It cited the SPLC as an independent authority, and only those who studied the fine print on their website discovered that the SPLC was itself allied with the campaign. Among articles reporting the story, Kammer reports,
…not one examined Potok’s justification for the designation. Not one identified the SPLC as an ally of the campaign to attack FAIR. Most of the reporting added no context beyond a denial from FAIR, which found itself in the awkward position of the man who is asked if he has stopped beating his wife.
Which is all very well, but Kammer himself twice refers to VDARE.com in his book as “white nationalist,” completely ignoring VDARE.com’s careful debunking of the charge. And he utterly fails to answer VDARE.com’s point that, for example, when he parricidally triangulated against CIS founder John Tanton in a 2010 presentation, he was simply validating the Left’s “devil terms.”
Instead, Kammer harrumphs that VDARE.com accused him of
“undermining the patriotic struggle.” This perverse notion of patriotism is a big problem at the fringes of contemporary restrictionism. It has been the material for more broad-brush smears of those of us whose efforts to restrict immigration have nothing to do with repugnant notions of white identity and everything to do with our conviction that for immigration to be successful it must be limited.
Well, boo hoo! Needless to say, this stupid and cowardly attempt to throw braver and more incisive immigration patriots off the sled and to the wolves has not prevented Kammer’s CIS from being designated an SPLC “Hate Group,” in 2017.
But, hey, Kammer himself was recently allowed to publish an Op-Ed in the New York Times!…although only because he conceded the case for Amnesty—and even triangulated against CIS, his own employer.
The plain fact is that the greatest electoral victory that immigration patriotism has ever had (regardless of how effective its implementation has been) was Donald J. Trump’s election in 2016, which occurred precisely because he campaigned on American nationalism and implicit “white identity”. Politically Correct restrictionists like Kammer, who even in this book refers to Trump’s “ugly xenophobia,” opposed him every step of the way and still haven’t got the message. Kammer even attacked Ann Coulter’s anti-immigration best-seller Adios America as “crude propaganda,” although it provided Trump’s killer line about “Mexican rapists,” perhaps the most successful campaign kick-off in American political history. And Coulter has gracefully acknowledged that VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow’s 1992 National Review (!) cover story Time To Rethink Immigration? opened her eyes to the issue.
Kammer’s book title suggests that liberals should worry about the backlash that elected Trump. But it is obvious that they simply propose to repress it. Ironically, Kammer’s cowardice is itself contributing to that repression.