Untimely Observations

Immigration: Secession Is The Solution

It is often amusing to observe the attempts of left-wing proponents of “immigrants’ rights” to depict themselves as noble defenders of the oppressed and downtrodden against tyrannical and exploitive elites. As is often the case with leftists, reality diverges sharply from their beliefs. There are few issues where elite opinion and the views of “the common people” are more in conflict than on the immigration issue, and “the people” come down firmly against open borders. One study on this question from 2002, and commissioned by no less than the Council on Foreign Relations, indicated that among others discrepancies between elite and popular opinion, 60 percent of the public regards the present level of immigration to be a "critical threat to the vital interests of the United States," compared to only 14 percent of the nation’s leadership, a 46 percentage point gap.” The study concluded that “even on such divisive issues as globalization or strengthening the United Nations, the public and the elite are much closer together than they are on immigration.” Of course, the first epithet to be thrown against advocates of immigration restriction is “racist.” Yet, the research shows that a majority of each of America’s largest minority groups likewise opposes open borders. Sixty-eight percent of African-Americans, fifty-seven percent of Asian-Americans, fifty-six percent of Hispanics, and fifty-percent of Jews agree that immigration rates are too high at present. Plenty of voices that are critical of mass immigration can be found among other minority ethnic groups as well.

The principal reason for the sharp difference between public and elite opinion on this issue is that immigration policy as presently constituted involves an upward redistribution of wealth, power, and resources. Mass immigration involves the suppression of wage levels by increasing the supply of labor, provides clients for social services bureaucrats and other public sector institutions, creates additional constituents for political parties, and new recruits for ethnic lobbies. The ideological interests of self-congratulatory cultural elites are likewise enhanced. All of this is well-known, of course. Yet, the degree to which immigration is directly enhanced and subsidized outright by the state is often underestimated. An article by Rob Freeman at The Occidental Quarterly provides a shocking overview of how deeply ingrained into the system this situation actually is. It is a situation that imposes great costs on ordinary people in terms of lower wages and higher unemployment, taxes, diminished quality of schools and other public institutions, reduced availability of social services, crime and increased ethnic conflict, loss of community cohesion, neighborhood blight, and eventual demographic overrun and cultural dispossession. In other words, open borders is essentially a tool of class warfare being waged by elites against the peasants, i.e. us ordinary people. Sam Francis coined the term “anarcho-tyranny” to refer to this system whereby the state demands the authority to intrude into areas of society previously or traditionally recognized as inviolable, while slacking on the job with regards to the traditional or conventional responsibilities of government, e.g. crime control and border defense.

Imagine a scenario where immigration is taken out of the hands of elites and made accountable to public opinion, say, along the lines of the Swiss system as Srdja Trifkovic has described it:

Switzerland has the toughest naturalization rules in Europe. If you want to become Swiss you must live in the country legally for at least 12 years—and pay taxes, and have no criminal record—before you can apply for citizenship. It still does not mean that your wish will be granted, however, and the fact that you were born in Zurich or Lugano does not make any difference. There are no "amnesties" and illegals are deported if caught. Even if an applicant satisfies all other conditions, the local community in which he resides has the final say: it can interview the applicant and hold a public vote before naturalization is approved. If rejected he can apply again, but only after ten years.

If every city, town, or county in the United States were suddenly granted veto power over immigration or naturalization requests, we can be relatively certain that mass immigration would end overnight. Virtually all of the “red counties” depicted on the typical electoral map would halt immigration tomorrow, and so would most of the majority-black big cities. This would leave only trendy liberal areas like Santa Cruz or Madison, border areas where immigrants and their immediate descendents are already a majority, and plutocratic/bureaucratic headquarters like New York, L.A. and D.C., to continue with the “come one, come all” approach. Of course, the Swiss model would never be allowed under the present federal leviathan, so its implementation would have to be accompanied by secession, which would further curb immigration by halting federal subsidies to it. It is unlikely that the present trend towards demographic overrun and cultural dispossession will be reversed as long as the present regime/ruling class maintains power, just as it was unlikely that political and economic reform of a genuinely substantive and enduring nature could have been achieved in Russia if the Soviet system has survived. Therefore, more extreme paths toward cultural self-preservation need to be explored.