Samuel Gompers, the founder of the American Federation of Labor, was a Jewish immigrant who supported the early 20th-century immigration cut-off. In a 1924 letter to Congress, Gompers wrote that there would always be two powerful forces hostile to any attempts to restrict immigration to the United States: corporate employers who want a steady supply of cheap labor, and racial groups who want to import more of their own countrymen.
Nearly three generations later, a third powerful force needs to be added to Gompers' list: immigration lawyers. Today, perhaps the most insatiable special interest pushing for mass immigration is the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), an organization of 7500 immigration attorneys.
AILA lobbies relentlessly in Washington to sabotage every piece of pro-borders legislation that comes down the pike. It's no wonder. Immigration law is big business. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for lawyers is $91,320 per year. Multiply that by the number of AILA members, and we are talking about a nearly $700 million-a-year industry.
Disgracefully, the media relies heavily on AILA representatives for information about immigration policy. In 2001 alone, according to a Lexis-Nexis search, there were 363 news stories using the phrase "American Immigration Lawyers Association." However, we could not find a single instance in which the reporter citing an AILA source also noted the financial motives all AILA members have in promoting mass immigration.
Luckily, you won't have to wait until that happens to see an AILA representative challenged on the motive underlying their crusade for open borders. In the second week of April, Public Television's "Debate/Debates" will air a taped debate on the question: "Do We Take in Too Many Immigrants?" VDARE.COM’s Peter Brimelow, Jim Staudenraus of FAIR and myself take on Daniel Griswold of CATO Institute, Hussein Ibish of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, and Ted Ruthizer of AILA on the other.
The team arguing "no" is nicely representative of the anti-borders crowd. The CATO Institute's Griswold stands in for Gompers' "corporate employers" forces, Hussein Ibish stands in for Gompers' "racial groups," and Ted Ruthizer stands in for the new force: immigration lawyers.
In NYC, the show airs on WNYE. Nationally, the show airs on over 196 PBS stations - check your local PBS listing.
Ted didn’t like us questioning his motives. Don’t sit too near the ringside!