The Open Borders attack

At least a dozen times in MR comments I’ve seen remarks describing me as an Open Borders advocate; this is in spite of having written explicitly to the contrary (here, see also here).  I do favor more immigration, including of the unskilled variety.  But truly open borders would put an unbearable strain on the cultural foundations of American liberal democracy; many of the immigrants themselves would be the biggest losers.  Maybe Megan McArdle (no, not her) had a good post saying much the same.  The more radical libertarians should take a cue from what is best in conservatism.

Why should the ascription of an open borders position prove so common?  Many of the anti-immigration arguments are correct when applied to the open borders position, so why not set up, find, or create the debate where one’s position is strongest?  When it comes to marginal changes, the results of which depend on empirical study, it is harder to be a polemic doomsayer.  An increase in unskilled immigrants — surely good for the immigrants themselves, and yes we can debate how many and from where — will not bring disaster to the United States.

(It is also worth pointing out that many of these "unskilled" workers in fact do a much better job at construction or carpentry than American-born alternatives.  If the immigrants are getting $15 or $20 an hour, the American might well receive less.)

The failure of the recent immigration bill was a partial surprise, but asset prices didn’t much move one way or the other.  Similarly, if a swarm of Latinos were going to turn southern California into a degenerating Mexifornia, real estate prices would be plunging.  The reality is that prices have fallen with the burst of the real estate bubble but have otherwise been rising throughout a period of continuing and predictable Latino immigration.  (Contra Steve Sailer, robust real estate prices do not come automatically from greater numbers and thus "rising demand"; it is easy enough for large numbers of rotten people to ruin land values if the inflow is destructive in net terms.)

Matt Yglesias hopes something better might yet come than the failed and highly imperfect immigration bill.  He sees a steady trend toward greater influence for liberal Democrats and a better chance in the future.  I see this issue as a Black Swan; no matter which party holds the presidency, one focal and negative public event could set back the cause of immigration reform for twenty years.  I am sad that nothing good is likely to happen soon.


My over/under for the number of comments Steve Sailer writes under his name in response to this post: 17

Once again, Tyler, two words: opportunity costs. With its superb weather and dominance of the hugely lucrative global entertainment industry, LA should be the finest city in America by now, Seattle with sunshine.

It's not. For example, in all of Los Angeles County, which includes some of the richest suburbs in America, only one out of six 18-year-olds, whether publicly or privately schooled, scores 1000 or higher on the SAT (the equivalent to just 890 on the pre-1995 SAT). In the LAUSD, it's less than 1 out of 12.

LA's fate is a harbinger for the rest of the country: increasing inequality. For some, that will turn out very nice. For a lot of Americans, not so much.

Ted Kennedy is a Sith Lord, he has single handedly ruined this beautiful country with his politically correct bull, beginning in 65. Never were the people consulted, this evil man has destroyed this country.

The immigration debate is going the same direction as our so-called dialogue regarding alternative energy sources. The wrong people are doing the debating and making the decisions. Rather than a discussion between various alternatives for bio fuel, we get corn-based ethanol shoved down our throats - as opposed to much more eco-friendly and efficient sugar cane-based ethanol. Other alternatives aren't even a part of the dialogue (e.g. hydrogen-based fuel, etc.).

The immigration debate seems to be taking the same tone - as if there are only two options. Open borders or closed borders. Why can't we keep a cap but raise the threshold?

Also, why are we rewarding law-breakers and penalizing those who have followed the process and are awaiting their turn to immigrate?

Cute comment about Mexicans doing carpentry and construction work better (based on zero evidence) than their American born blue collar equivalents. Translation: the American workers hardest hit by this invasion kinda deserve their pain, given the shoddy quality of their workmanship. There really is no limit to the vicious rationalizations the new class is capable of making in order to deny the catastrophe this invasion is bringing to the United States. After all, it's not their United States that's being undone.

tj, check out the second link he gives above, Tyler's poles seem to be cosmopolitan/giving and nationalistic/selfish.

There are two points to this debate:

1. Borders should be well controlled, and we should know who is in our country and for what purpose. That is part of what having a distinct country, separate from other countries, means. We are incredibly deficient in this, chiefly vis a vis our third world neighbor to the South.

2. Immigration targets should be a conscious, pro-active decision based on **our** preference of country of origin, skill level, material wealth, etc. Let the debate begin on this topic.

However, we can't implement a policy like #2 until we have some control over who is in the country. It's not racist or xenophobic to think that this is important. **Importantly, legal immigration is likely to be much more widely supported and in far greater numbers when there is a perception that the process is fair and under our control.**

The "open borders" stuff is really silly for many of the reasons outlined by other comments - I think the huge infrastructure costs of low-paid unskilled laborers would be the main point, but managing cultural assimilation is also important.

Great post, Barkley:


Man, that's brilliant. Who would have ever dreamed that one up???

Here's a tip on how to do even better, next time: don't forget to mention the Nazis!

I believe Tino Sanandaji is real and a student at Univ of Chicago.
At least according to this:

That's just what the mexicans want you to think.


Last posting on this for now as I am going email incommunicado to attend
conference at GMU.

It is simply historically objective. The most important group pushing the
1924 quota system was the KKK. They advocated preserving a WASP America
against Catholics, Jews, Asians, and, well, pretty much anybody not a WASP
or their closest Protestant cousins, such as Protestant Germans and Nordics.
Our friend adrian loves those quotas and has previously made his love of
WASPs very clear, including ranting about the terrible habits of Irish
Catholics (and, heck, we all know what an economic disaster Ireland is
these days!).

However, I will grant that I am unaware of adrian supporting lynching or
cross-burning or the wearing of white sheets in public. Satisfied?

“It is simply historically objective. The most important group pushing the
1924 quota system was the KKK. They advocated preserving a WASP America against Catholics, Jews, Asians, and, well, pretty much anybody not a WASP or their closest Protestant cousins, such as Protestant Germans and Nordics.†

Posted by: Barkley Rosser at Jun 10, 2007 1:12:33 AM

“Those who favor unrestricted immigration care nothing for the people. They are simply desirous of flooding the country with unskilled as well as skilled labor of other lands for the purpose of breaking down American standards. You must not forget that if low wages, long hours of employment and unbearable working conditions are signs of prosperity China and India would be the greatest commercial and industrial countries in the world. They have no strikes in China. It is the Utopia of the ‘open Shop.' America, however, where men are free to voice their desires for greater and still greater advancement in economic conditions, is the greatest country on earth. Its people live better than anywhere else, and the trade unions are responsible for maintaining those standards. Those who believe in unrestricted immigration want this country Chinaized. But I firmly believe there are too many right-thinking people in our country to permit such an evil.†

Samuel Gompers, Jewish labor leader (AFL), 1921 in support of the 1924 bill

Jewish labor leaders=KKK?

A major problem with mass immigration is that eventually there will be nowhere left for white people to go. Most of the rest of the world have been trained, in their own societies via colonial history studies, and from the west by our guilt-ridden, self-flagellating elites, to hate white people.

One sees this in America and Europe, minority ghettos, whether Muslim or black or hispanic, are hostile to any white people who enter their 'territory'. The rest of the world has enormous barriers to migration, one cannot get even a tourist visa to many African countries, and yet all assume they have a right, a priori, to live in a white country.

This hypocrite tells the west that it must accept large numbers of East Asian immigrants via extended family reunification, and yet East Asian countries are themselves notoriously ethnocentric and racist: Japan doesn't even recognize the concept of an immigrant, its foreign minister extols the virtues of Japan's 'one race'.

Middle and working class white people have been forced to abandon the American coastline due to mass immigration, where will they go when the invaders spread inland? Canada? Europe? Because we damn well KNOW that no non-white country would ever let them in.

In some African countries the birth rate is 8 per mother. They get on rafts and just head to Europe. What if a large enough number of them, say a couple million, together just set sail for Europe? Would we pull the trigger? I know I would.

Stop calling yourself a libertarian. You never were one.

"The most important group pushing the 1924 quota system was the KKK."

I didn't figure Barkley Rosser for a KKK apologist. Are you sure you want to rehabilitate the Klan's image, Barkley?

"They advocated preserving a WASP America against Catholics, Jews, Asians, and, well, pretty much anybody not a WASP or their closest Protestant cousins, such as Protestant Germans and Nordics."

I infer that you think there's something wrong with that. But there can't be, at least not in principle.

One can argue against self-preservation only from a particularist perspective of enmity toward the "self" that is being preserved.

I'm confident that Mr. Rosser believes in preserving himself by securing his bank account, investment portfolio, home, car, etc. against its use by prospective interlopers. This is a belief that is identical in principle to the Klan's belief that this country should be secured for the benefit of "WASPs". The only difference is the identity of the “self† that is preserving its resources.

Biology teaches us that it is fundamental that living things must either discriminate in favor of themseleves or cease to be living things. When Mr. Rosser contends that it is illegitimate for "WASPs" to discriminate in favor of themselves, he is contending that it is illegitimate for them to live.

To summarize, Mr. Rosser believes it is right for him to preserve himself and wrong for (certain) others to preserve themselves. This is not principle but particularism. The mystery is why he expects others to accept this double standard.

Thanks, Albatross. Some people only see extremes and paint in broad strokes.

I'm sorry, Albatross, but you have missed the point entirely. Rosser is attempting to apply a double standard. There is no objective sense in which pursuit of self-interest through advocacy of restrictionism by the Klan or anyone else is "wrong".

I would like to help Barkley out, since it's impossible for one man alone to talk sense in any controversy.

-It is obvious that if the KKK supported immigration restriction, and the KKK was racist, than anyone who supports immigration restriction is racist.

-It is self-evident-and can thus stand without argument-that if the KKK supports a certain kind of immigration restrictions for certain reasons, than all who support restrictions must support the same type of restrictions for the same reasons, and that if the KKK's reasons were ilegitimate, all reasons are as well.

-Obviously all violations of the law are identical in social cost and in severity-therefore breaking into this county illegally is easily comperable with breaking the speed limit, and therefore the enforcement of our borders should be identical in rigor as the enforcement of speed limits, and anybody who disagrees is a racist.

It is self-evident that the long-term effect of Third-Wold immigration will be identical to the long-term effect of Irish immigration, namely, a breakdown of democratic vigor in the big cities into one-party patronage machine politics. Such a breakdown is great and Very Necessary. Furthermore, since Ireland is still less prosperous overall than the United States, the net effect of Irish immigration must have been beneficial to the U.S. economy, the only criteria of this being that the source of the immigration must be less of a basket case than Mexico. Of course all Mexican immigration was great for America as well, which is proven by the fact that natives are fleeing the main settlements of these immigrants Only a racist would disagree.

Finally, it follows that since some people fall for idiotic arguments, all arguments should be as insipid as possible. Keep up the good work Barkley!

"Why should the ascription of an open borders position prove so common? "

It is common because:

a) The arguments used to justify large-scale immigration are often of a variety that really come down to: "Americans have no right to keep people from crossing borders". When that flavor of argument is used, it indicates a usually morally founded belief in open borders.

b) Many of the important pro-immigration voices in the public square have pledged that they favor open borders. (See for instance the famous WSJ "open borders" editorial.

c) It is a political slogan, and is hence thrown about too much. That's most likely why you got hit.

With its superb weather and dominance of the hugely lucrative global entertainment industry, LA should be the finest city in America by now, Seattle with sunshine.

This is BS. Was L.A. one of America's nicest cities 30 years ago, before the waves of Mexican immigration? No. It was polluted (far more even than now), gridlocked, and notoriously unfriendly. It was that way because the whole transportation system was, and is, based on highways. And possibly because LA's main industry is not entertainment, it's defense...

Also, note that if Seattle had sunshine, there wouldn't be a Starbucks...


OK lets say 4 million Africans just set sail for Norway. They find a load of boats and just set off. What does Norway do? What can it do? Norway faces a simple choice: Blow them out of the water, or be destroyed as a country and civilization.

Notice that this is a real, literal invasion, this rabble ain't goin anywhere, the only difference being they just kind of show up, and don't have any weapons. But the ultimate effect is the exact same as it would be via military invasion - Norway ceases to exist.

If these Africans are successful then more would certainly follow, and soon all Europe would become an extension of Africa... simply because the Africans, and the rest of the Third World, realized they didn't actually have to build an army to take over the west - they just had to show up.

This is the current scenario western countries face, only sped up exponentially. For that reason, if I were a Norwegian facing such a gloomy prospect, I would machine gun and bomb them as they landed on the beaches, such as any country would respond to a mass invasion. The alternative is the end of your country and people, such as happened to the American Indians.

With transportation technology increasing at the rate it is, this scenario might not be far off in the distance.


I don't share Adrian's views, and I'm sure others who are being painted with the same brush don't either. I do see cultural as well as financial hazards with open borders, but none of my concerns are race-based. Nor would I ever introduce the incendiary phrase 'pulling the trigger' into the dialogue.

Ooh, ooh, let's not be like adrian. Let's let anything happen, including being assaulted, including being routed from our homes, including being overrun, but lordy lordy lordy don't lump us in with the likes of adrian. And so does a nation, a people, a way of life, a whole world commit suicide.

Would the value of a large home in California be increased by the availability of low cost domestic and grounds maintenance labor? Would that in some way account for an increase in what people would be willing to pay for a large home?

"Is anyone on here willing to say with a straight face that adrian, who is representative of a significant (though not all) number of anti-immigration folks, differs substantially in his views from a 1920's Klansman?"

Is anyone willing -- strike that. Is anyone *able* to explain why, if that is true, there is anything wrong with it?

I'll spare you the suspense. The answer is "no".

No one can explain why it is wrong to exercise property rights, for the simple reason that it's not.

Oh yeah, and if you actually read the PPIC press release that TGGP links to it suggests that the increase in Cali out migration is due to 1) recessionary economy in the 90's (and if you're gonna try to link that up to immigration, you're an economic illiterate) and 2) large influx of well to do, well educated people from other states driving up rents and property values. Immigration from Mexico ain't it. So it's not that the racist-anti-immigration side uses statistics and reason and us pro-immigration folks use emotion or whatever. It's just that the anti-immigration folks lie and make stuff up.

Keep making stuff up.

Notsneaky and the other open-borders types - what does Norway do?

Depending on the poll, 60-80% of current Americans think immigration into the country is out of control, and want more policing, restrictions, and lower numbers. Since there's no urgent reason for anyone to override such an overwhelming (and consistently-expressed) preference, it ought to be respected and submitted-to.

I'm up to date with a lot of the other arguments about immigration policies. But the one I just summarized above is the one that seals it for me. Can anyone explain why such a strongly-expressed preference needs to be defied?

Hitler was (mostly) a vegetarian! Thus all vegetarians are fascists, and no legitimate case can ever be made for vegetarianism.

Hitler was a non-smoker! Thus all non-smokers are fascists, and no legitimate case can ever be made against smoking.

How can anyone take seriously the arguments of people who employ these kinds of strategies? Oh, wait: people employ these strategies in lieu of making arguments ...

The main question when it comes to immigration is not economic, social or even cultural, these are tributories of the main problem, no, the main question is existential.

Tyler, and anyone else who is not an open borders advocate,

If you do not believe in open borders, then I assume you admit that America can only admit a fixed level of immigrants. We can argue wildly about the number, but if you accept a limit, then how is allowing people who cut in line be the ones to stay in America moral, just, or fair? If someone got on a full airplane without a ticket, and the airline let them buy the ticket and told you they were sold out, that is moral? If you accept a limit on immigration, that situation will take place at the margin because illegals will take up many of the spots, and legal immigrants will be left out.

TGGP, when it comes to immigration, people like Noah prefer anecdotal evidence to all other forms of evidence. Their arguments are so bad, they are left with nothing but anecdotal nonsense and smears.

OK, Dareano, whatever. I didn't see you presenting any evidence of any kind. But you want evidence that native-born Americans like immigrants? See this, this, and this.

What do you want from me?

LOST PEOPLE ON NET at ALL economic/education levels

Yes, but the point is that there is no reason to think immigration has anything to do with it.

Yes, but high rent (and high taxes?) might have something to do with that.

Note that such high rents and taxes are mostly due to the aftermath of Prop 13: the effects of immigration are not clearcut.

Interesting comment from shecky: "Consider this: Manhattan has open borders. Anyone in the world can move there. Many great opportunities and fortunes to be made there. Yet it hasn't turned into hell just yet. For many, cost of living is a deterrent, as is crime, density, pollution, noise, etc. And it still attracts millions, with little indication that it's attractiveness will fade. Isn't it funny how things work out that way?"

Apparently shecky doesn't know that much about Manhattan demographic trends. For example, the peak population on the island peaked in about 1910 (interestingly, at the peak of the 'classical' European immigration period). According to the 1910 census, there were 2.7 million people living in Manhattan; roughly triple what it was just 30 years earlier. This was also at the height of the Gradually, the population on the island began falling, bottoming out at around 1.4 million in 1980, the lowest population in nearly a century. The numbers have picked up a little since then, with the population as of 2000 listed at 1,537,195 - so shecky's claim that 'it still attracts millions, with little indication that it's (sic) attractiveness will fade' is misinformed at best. Of course comparing the 'open borders' of Manhattan, where the only restriction on migration is the migrant's ability to cross the Hudson or East Rivers, with the legal barriers that are theoretically in place between the US and other nations, is ludicrous.

So shecky's pro-immigration position is illustrated by a point that is almost entirely inappropriate and meaningless.

Isn't it funny how things work out that way?

My my, clearly I am an evil moron.

To Tino:

OK, I apologize. Being a student in the US from Sweden absolves you of being
either someone sitting in Sweden pointificating on US immigration policy or being
a Swedish immigrant to the US who is saying "now that I got here, slam the door shut!"
Continue pontificating.

To "ben tillman"

So, is that really your name or did you adopt it? If you adopted it, I am not
surprised that you are a WASPs uber alles without apologies. The historical
Ben Tillman, a longtime senator from South Carolina who once bounced a baby
Strom Thurmond on his knee, was greatly admired by the KKK and was nicknamed
"Pitchfork." A statue of him stands on the grounds of the South Carolina state
capitol, along with a Confederate battle flag. Pitchfork's most famous quotation,
which he proudly repeated many times? "We will not submit to his gratifying his
lusts on our wives and daughters without lynching him."

Nicholas Stix:

Valid point regarding Gompers and organized labor, which has always supported
any restriction on immigration that is proposed for obvious reasons. I would note
that many here who welcome the AFL-CIO's support in weakening immigration would
oppose that organization on most other grounds.

However, the point is that the KKK was the most important and influential body
pushing the 1924 national immigration quotas. The AF of L was very weak in the
early 1920s, both organizationally and politically. In the early 1920s the KKK
was its historic peak, with 4-5 million members nationally, about 15% of the
potential population. In 1925 35,000 marched in Washington in their white sheets.
They were enormously powerful and shutting off immigration of non-northwestern
European Protestants was the leading issue. Their national HQ then was in Indiana,
not the Deep South.

BTW, while these quotas were popular, they were indeed responsible for Jews not
being able to flee from Hitler to the US in any significant numbers. They did
indirectly contribute to many deaths during the Holocaust.

And to all those going on about Hiter and vegetarianism, etc. the issue is not
personal peccadillos but the core beliefs of a movement. Supporting national
immigration quotas was a core belief of the KKK at its height in the early
1920s, just as slaughtering all the Jews was a core belief of Hitler's, even
if "nice nazis" in Scheisskopf did not quite realize this when they were voting
for his party in 1932 and only wanted to reduce Jewish influence in German society.
The ideas being expressed by all too many on this list are not just fully in
agreement with these core beliefs of the 1920s KKK, but for some of you it goes
well beyond that (no names). If the white sheet fits, wear it (and proudly,
without apology, as Pitchfork would say).


Fair enough, there are people in the world who favor immigration restrictions for racist reasons, and it would be nice if they would say so. But it would also be nice if you didn't tar everyone who argues against the current status quo, or against nearly-unlimited immigration from everywhere, with that brush. That's a good tactic for winning arguments, but a poor one for finding the truth.

I don't know that massive immigration is a bad thing--it looks almost certain that it's good in terms of GDP, but that it probably has a very different impact on people depending on where they are in the income/intelligence/education/experience distribution. There are clearly cultural impacts that don't easily fit into an economic model, and those have the potential to be both good and bad. It's possible to import a separate, resentful underclass that will then be at the center of social and political unrest for decades to come. It's also possible to import a huge group of people who contribute enormously to our country. We may even do both at the same time.

But we ought to be able to debate this without resort to accusations of racism. This is an important issue for the future of our country, and the current way we're handling it is deeply flawed. Lots of ways we might "fix" that look to have big negative consequences--incentives for millions more immigrants to come here illegally, guest-worker programs that amount to indentured servitude, terrible shocks to the US, Mexican, and other economies as a result of mass deportations and strict enforcement of immigration law, etc. Tossing around accusations of ill will and evil motives is basically throwing sand in the gears of a set of public-decision mechanisms that barely works in the best of times.

Mr. Cowen,

In prior posts (June 2006), you appear to have argued that land use controls constitute a sufficient restraint on immigration that other controls are not needed. In my opinion, this thesis would be viewed as advocacy of Open Borders by both restrictionists and immigration supporters. In other words, arguing that land use controls are a sufficient barrier to entry, that other impediments are not needed, would be seen as support for unrestricted entry.

A useful note is that the current immigration is breaking down traditional (legal) controls on land use. The media regularly reports housing violations by illegals and the reticence of the authorities to respond to these offences against the law. Attempts at enforcement are met with cries of “racism†.

Of course, land use/zoning are not the only set of laws falling in the way of immigration (legal and illegal). It appears that hospitals have stopped enforcing statutory rape laws with respect to Hispanics because it wouldn’t be “culturally sensitive†. See Saturday’s Letters: A North Carolina Reader Exposes A Hospital’s PC Agenda


Excuse me, but were you consciously lying when you put up your post, or did you just read carelessly?
Just looked at the paper you cited. KKK is discussed at length. It appears on pp. 70, 73, 82-83 (which
are entirely devoted to it), 92, and 119.

Actually reading it pretty much fully confirms my argument. So, in the 1890s there was a movement
among some patrician WASPs, especially in Boston for "Americanism," with explicit Ango-Saxons as
supreme group as ideology. This was accompanied by moves to restrict membership in private clubs
to Protestants, which had not been the case previously. The 1890s also saw the AF of L moving to
support immigration restrictions. However, there was no political push from this at all, no bills
in Congress and essentially no popular support beyond these groups, although the patricians also
were linked to the spread of eugenics arguments among some intellectuals that would become important

Business (as now) generally supported free immigration, but breaks in its solidarity began with an
1912 IWW strike in Lawrence, MA strike, seen to be mostly by immigrant workers. However, there were no
actual moves in the political sphere until after WW I, after the KKK was revived in 1915. A major
factor pushing things was the Red Scare of 1919, which moved many businees types, and also the American
Legion, to support keeping out foreign radicals.

However, the very first actual organized group to support immigration restrictions mentioned in the
paper is the KKK (p. 70, all others are mentioned later, including some black groups, although they
were not against Asian immigration). The paper makes it very clear that they were enormously influential,
probably the most important group of all politically, just as I have argued.

The only other group that came close to being as influential was the more upper class Immigration Restriction
League, which was also completely racist in its motives. Its leaders who testified before Congress, included
Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard. During the decade before 1924 both published famous racist tracts that
focused on "Alpine" vs "Mediterranean" types and quoted eugenicists and data on immigrants having higher
rates of incarceration in prisons and insane asylums. Grant's book bore the title _The Passing of the Great
Race_, 1916, while Stoddard's later one was _The Rising Tide of Color against White World-Supremacy_.

The debates in Congress tended to avoid specifically referring to Jews or Catholics, but tended to use
language about "Southern and Eastern Europeans" or "immigrants of a lower type."

Regarding the KKK, this paper says that it was a "significant social force in the early twenties" (p. 83)

Here is a more extended passage from p. 83:

"Although many condemned the Klan in its heyday and after its post-1924 decline, it carried a
reasonably respectable public image in the early twenties. The Knights of a city or town represented
a fair cross-section of its economic make-up: only the unskilled and the elites were underrepresented.
This provides something of an index of the acceptibility of open anti-Semitism and anti-Catholic
sentiment, and indicates that such sentiment wasn't confined to the less educated classes."

The KKK gets mentioned on six pages in this paper, fully occupying two of them. The Immigration
Restriction League is mentioned on three pages. The AFL gets about a third of a page. Black groups
are briefly mentioned twice, and the American Legion briefly mentioned once. In short, the KKK is
clearly identified in this paper as the strongest and most influential and most powerful group behind
this legislation.

BTW, its 35,000 man march in 1925 was the largest march in Washington by a political group until
the 1963 March on Washington at which Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous "I have a dream" speech.
There was no disruption of this march by the authorities in any way, who were clearly both sympathetic
to it, if a bit afraid of it. This contrasts with the 1930s appearance by 20,000 Bonus Army demonstraters
who were thrown off the Mall by the US Army under Douglas MacArthur.

So, I have already said that I am not for "open borders" (same position as Tyler). I do not have the
neat or perfect plan as to exactly how things should be managed or what should be done, although I am
not terrified by large amounts of immigration, nor am I up in arms about the law-breaking of many of them.
The current situation is messed up, but an effort to change it was not derailed by anybody pushing open
borders. It was principally derailed by people listening to talk radio and hysterical screaming of the
sort that we have seen in postings here. The arguments exactly correspond to those made in the 1920s
by the Immingration Restriction League and the KKK, minus specific anti-Semitism, although we get some
anti-Catholicism mixed in with all the anti-Hispanic ranting.

I think that if someone wants to have a reasonable discussion of this, the people carrying pitchforks
should be put in their place.

BTW, the Nazis had their own "KKK," the slogan "Kinder, Kuche, und Kirche," roughly children, cooking
(or hearth), and church. Love those Nazi family values! (And the serious plunge in KKK membership in
the US came in WW II because of their open links with the Nazis.)


But with economies of scale, and the immigrants taking the low wage jobs that need to be
done, the per capita income of the "natives" could easily increase.

Oh, and that 1% would be granted through an orderly, lawful process of our choosing.

Not 12 million "neighbors" flouting our laws and being granted amnesty no matter how nice a soundbite it may make nor how loud and insistent the bleatings of "racist! racist!" we'd have to endure from the mushy mindless set.

(I sense that PC jargon is starting to have a backlash in this country, by the way.)

Barkley Rosser,

Of course, I read the paper. Let’s check the facts here. The discussion of the Klan starts in the middle of page 84 and ends in the middle of page 85. I would call that one page on the Klan†¦ In a 142 page paper.

The Klan is mentioned elsewhere in the paper to be sure. Some examples

Page 5

“Probably the most striking feature of the support for restriction is the diversity of its sources: patrician New Englanders, labor unionists, Republicans, Democrats, black leaders, Klansmen, industrialists and eugenists all seemed to expect some benefit from limiting the influx of newcomers.†

Page 72

“Anti-Catholicism, a significant force in earlier bouts of nativism, was a significant factor in American life in the twenties as well; the Ku Klux Klan, for example, focused extensively (and in some areas primarily) on the political influence of Catholics, claiming that these agents of Rome" were arming for battle. Similarly, anti-Semitism was common both in populist and elitist forms: Henry Ford's Dearborn Independent published crude articles elaborating on Jewish control of practically every aspect of American life, and colleges throughout the U.S. instituted methods of limiting the enrollment of Jewish students.†

Page 82

“Patricians, Patriots and Klansmen: Organizations in Support of Restriction†

Page 83

“Lax and Pencak, Creating the American Legion; Baker, American Legion, pp. 26-30,51-58. The Legion also lent explicit support for Japanese exclusion (see NYT, Mar 12, 1924), although its stand on the racial issue in general was not emphatic, and Goldberg notes that some of its chapters had joined the opposition to the Ku Klux Klan because these chapters “definition of 100 percent Americanism did not exclude African Americans, Catholics, or Jews" Goldberg, Discontented America, p. 132.†

Page 121

“But as later interpretations have made clear, few of the major issues of the decade allow themselves to be interpreted in easy polarities: the Ku Klux Klan drew much of its support from the urban middle class, support for immigration restriction could be found among widely different groups in the society, etc.†

Page 127

“What was new in the 1920s, however, was that all these strands of nativism seemed to surface simultaneously and from several quarters. Popular groups like the Ku Klux Klan condemned the new immigrants for their religious heresy, patriotic organizations declared that they were disloyal and subversive, representatives of labor wished to restrict their entry to keep wages high, eugenists claimed that they would destroy America's racial heritage, and all were united in saying that American culture and American institutions were at risk if the tide of immigration could not be stemmed. The diminished opposition (and in some cases direct support) of industry contributed to the political power that these various strains of antiimmigrant sentiment achieved.†

However, as these quotes demonstrate, immigration restriction was a popular and wide-ranging cause of the period.

You state

“However, there was no political push from this at all, no bills in Congress†

See page 4

“One of these patricians, the Congressman Henry Cabot Lodge, in 1891 put forth a bill to impose a literacy test on all immigrants†

See page 29

“A bill containing the provision passed for the first time in the 54th Congress (1895-1897) but was vetoed by President Cleveland. The House overrode the veto but the Senate took no action.†

You state

“However, the very first actual organized group to support immigration restrictions mentioned in the paper is the KKK†

See page 26

“To accomplish this, in 1894 they organized the Immigration Restriction League, which rapidly became active in immigration policy, and remained so until the passing of the quota laws.†

You state

“The Immigration Restriction League is mentioned on three pages†

The IRL is mentioned on pages 26, 28, 29, 75, 82, 83, and 133.

You state

“BTW, the Nazis had their own "KKK," the slogan "Kinder, Kuche, und Kirche," roughly children, cooking (or hearth), and church.†

Actually the phrase dates back to Kaiser Wilhelm II. See “Life is (more than just) a Cabaret: the 'New Woman' in Weimar Germany† ( Of course, the Nazis were not enthusiastic about the Kirche part of the phrase.

You state

“And the serious plunge in KKK membership in the US came in WW II because of their open links with the Nazis†

Alas, you should check your facts. According to membership fell from 6 million in 1924 to 30,000 in 1930. In fact, the fall of the Klan followed the conviction of D. C. Stephenson ( for murder in 1925.

So, Peter, I have double checked the paper again. So, yes the IRL was
involved in these earlier efforts, but the paper makes it clear that
they did not really have serious success until 1917 and that the really
strong mass support came in the early 1920s when the KKK was at its peak.
The IRL was the patrician-intellectual end, while the KKK was the muscle
at the voting booths and in the streets. It was not the IRL that got the
largest political march in Washington ever until 1963.


The parallel is interesting, and it's worth thinking about. I think many of the concerns are probably similar--we're probably wired by evolution to be willing to fear and hate people outside our group, for whatever definition of us/them we adopt. Feeling outnumbered or scared by a few spectacular events like bombings is a good way to get that us/them machinery working. There is potential for almost limitless nastiness to come from that.

That said, the fact that the concerns are repeated from the past doesn't mean they're baseless--in particular, importing a huge population of fundamentalist Muslims looks like a pretty bad idea, whether or not the same was true for importing Eastern European Jews (which was surely one of the best cases imagineable for the US, in terms of massive immigration). And the fact that huge masses of unruly Irishmen eventually settled down and became pretty-much generic Americans doesn't tell us for sure whether that will also happen for Mexicans, since we're dealing with different groups and different surrounding circumstances.

We're in a different situation than we were 100+ years ago. Massive immigration into a largely rural country with an open frontier may just work out differently than massive immigration into a largely urban/suburban country with high land prices most places and nothing at all like a frontier. Welfare programs, minimum wage laws, etc., may change the effect of massive immigration.

Of course the welfare state ensures that the worst type of lazy free-loading migrants are selected. Our elites are idiots.

A bigger problem in Europe I guess, especially France, a country that attracts some 200,000 a year, and yet famously creates no jobs for them, they go straight on welfare. But the French elite are really, REALLY stupid, Ted Kennedy would be considered a right-winger among those f**kheads.

"But if white Americans just don't like to live among the foreign-born, as Steve Sailer and others of his ilk suggest, then why are those rich young white people moving to California?"

If they are rich enough, they can avoid some of the social impact of unchecked immigration, like keeping their kids out of the public schools, using high cost private medical facilities, etc.

And young people are kind of dumb when it comes to life planning.

I don't know, Russell. I have slowly come to Tyler's POV on this. If what you said was all there is to it, that'd be great. You are right that the cross-cultural national identity of America has to do with its liberalism. I think it's wonderful.

But we can't speak for everyone. If we go beyond the easy economics models, there are behaviors that will manifest themselves as they always do. Simply accepting that people are rational actors, you should know demagogues will arise. Socially divisive movements will arise. It may just break the camel's back.

We need to find some kind of harmonious equilibrium between open borders and restricted immigration until we can change the education system so people understand that open borders work best.

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