Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fear & Loathing in Anti-Immigration Movement

Immigration restrictionists, pumped up by their long string of victories at all levels of government, are pushing their “attrition through enforcement” with increasing vengeance. Having seen the pro-immigration forces swept aside in the anti-immigration onslaught, restrictionist groups have sharpened their rhetoric and escalated their demands.
Moving beyond their security-first, enforcement-first agenda, restrictionists now insist that all government agencies join together in a mounting a pyschological warfare against immigrants. NumbersUSA, whose influence has soared since its key role in mobilizing grassroots anti-immigration activists against the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill last year, has spearheaded the “Attrition Though Enforcement” agenda that now unifies the restrictionist forces.
It’s also an agenda that the Senate’s new Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus (see June 24 blog post) has taken up as part of the Republican offensive, led by Sen. Elizabeth Dole and other southern senators, to broaden and intensify the going immigrant crackdown.
Illustrative of the new fear-mongering language used by even the most established restrictionists, Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, says: “To be effective at discouraging future illegal immigration, enforcement cannot be limited to tracking and deporting violent criminal illegal aliens. All illegal aliens, no matter how well-behaved they are, must fear detection and arrest if enforcement is to be a deterrent to illegal immigration.”
Restrictionists have no problem with big and bigger government when it comes to the immigration crackdown. They call for ever-larger increases in the Department of Homeland Security’s budget and demand that Congress appropriate enough funds to underwrite immigration enforcement by local police. “Dozens of law enforcement agencies are blocked from cracking down on illegal immigration because Congress in the past failed to appropriate enough money,” says Beck.
While the main restrictionist organizations have until recently focused almost exclusively on illegal immigrants, the anti-immigrant ideology that underlies their restrictionism is becoming increasingly evident. With the crackdown on illegal immigrants well underway, they are now urging Americans to reconsider their openness to legal immigrants as well.
Mark Krikorian, easily the most frequently quoted restrictionist in the media, has published a new book, The New Case Against Immigration, Both Legal and Illegal, in which he lays out his case that America should shut the door to all immigrants.
According to Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, “Obviously, different kinds of immigrants will have diff erent impacts; an illegal alien, for instance, undermines the rule of law but places less of a burden on government ser vices than an otherwise similar legal immigrant.
“Likewise, a skilled immigrant does not have trouble learning and speaking English, but he may be more susceptible than his low- skilled counterpart to a politics of ethnic grievance and be more able to pursue dual citizenship and a transnational lifestyle.”
Heaven forbid, a transnational lifestyle.
Photo: Detained immigrants in Val Verde County Jail.


Unknown said...

Hi Tom. Thanks for the useful analysis. I agree that Krikorian fuels the fear-inducing atmosphere. I'm trying to understand how CIS, the org he heads, can tout themselves as bi-partisan and pro-immigrant when they're clearly not. I wrote to Krikorian a few weeks ago asking him about this but received a vague answer.

Tom Barry said...

Hi Fernando, I haven't seen references to CIS saying that it is pro-immigrant. Most of the established restrictionist sites do say that they aren't anti-immigrant but rather anti-immigration or anti-illegal immigration. Krikorian is clearly conservative and a Republican, but just as clearly CIS' critiques aren't partisan, since equally critical of Republicans and Democrats who they regard as pro-amnesty, etc. His new book is very revealing in its nationalism, anti-multiculturalism.