No matter which prominent side wins in our immigration debates, the U.S. loses for a simple reason: The contest pits people who hate the point against people who miss the point.
On one side are the large-I Immigrationists, individuals who behave as if immigration is always good, always necessary, must never be questioned and must be the one constant in an otherwise ever-changing universe of policy; they’re usually identified as “leftists.” On the other are small-i immigrationists, people who believe immigration is generally good, generally necessary, should never be questioned in principle and must in some form be the one constant in an otherwise ever-changing universe of policy; they’re usually identified as “conservatives.”
The debate between the two sides often goes like this: Leftists welcome inundation with even uneducated, unskilled foreigners (as long as the aliens aren’t sent to their neighborhood; see Martha’s Vineyard et al.) with the argument “Our strength lies in our diversity!” Conservatives counter this by reassuring all and sundry “I’m all for immigration!” “But,” they add, “it should be done legally and be merit based, with possession of economically valuable skills a prerequisite for entry.”
The problem with this is that it’s the battling of a nonsensical argument with a one-dimensional argument. After all, there’s a name for entities defined merely by the job-related role they can perform: robots. There’s also a name for thus characterizing people: a Marxist mistake.
I’ll explain this by beginning with a story. Many years ago, during a dinner-table conversation, a quite wonderful man I know remarked that the dissolution of the black family was all caused by government welfare, by the funding of single motherhood. While such policy is destructive and surely exacerbates problems, is it really true that it’s entirely responsible? If it were true, how could it be that some Hasidic Jews accept the same government assistance but keep their families wholly intact?
You may now say, “Of course! They’re radically ‘religious.’” But that’s the point: Man is not just an economic creature. He also has intellectual, emotional, psychological, moral and spiritual dimensions.
The late Pope Benedict XVI mentioned this when critiquing Karl Marx, saying that the latter’s mistake was his viewing of man as a purely economic being; human behavior was explainable, and problems remediable, the thinking goes, solely via an economic approach (e.g., eliminating economic inequality will end human strife).
The point is this: Anytime we ourselves instinctively treat man as a purely economic being — as even that intelligent, conservative man I mentioned did — we are unwittingly repeating Marx’s mistake.
Yet this is common today even among conservatives. So do you see, now, how easily such errors can be mainstreamed and inform (read: deform) our thinking?
Now let’s return to immigration. Do the work skills and ethic newcomers bring with them define them? Are those qualities the most important things they bring to our shores? Since they’re not robots and won’t actually just be cogs in the economy, no. Rather, the most important things they bring are their beliefs.
To further illustrate the economic-being approach’s folly, let’s apply the standard not to (what should be) our national family, but our actual one. If you contemplated taking an outsider into your home, would you consider just economics? Would it only matter that he was going to contribute another $800 monthly to the family budget? Or would you first consider what beliefs and behaviors he’d bring into your home — how he, for instance, would influence your kids?
It’s likewise with the national family, of course. Absorb 10 million Muslim jihadists or 10 million Nazis over time, and it will have some political and social effect whether they’re low-skilled or high-skilled. For either way, their skill at “being American” will be fatally poor.
For a real-life example, consider radical, anti-American representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Herself a product of migration (she was granted asylum by Immigrationist Central), she was vaulted to power in her district largely by other immigrants from her native country, Somalia. Now, would you feel better about this if she and her voter enablers were “high-skilled”? Would you aver, “Oh, who cares that they’re undermining our political system? They can code!”?
Some may now say such immigrants would vote differently were they skilled and wealthy. History says otherwise. Consider that Hindus (i.e., Indians) are the highest-earning religious group in the U.S. next to Jews, out-earning native-born white Americans markedly. Yet unlike outlier and GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, they’re also notably left-wing.
Rivaling blacks’ numbers, 90 percent supported Barack Obama.
Hindus also voted for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden by wide margins.
In fact, upwards of 70 percent of Hindus are firmly in the Democrat Party’s camp.
None of this, however, means there’s no difference between low-skilled and high-skilled socialist immigrants.
The wealthy, high-skilled ones are far more likely to be politically active and influential and therefore will more aggressively alter our national landscape.
As the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote just before the 2020 election, “Even though Indian Americans comprise [sic] slightly more than 1 percent of the total U.S. population — and less than 1 percent of all registered voters...Indian Americans are unexpectedly in the spotlight thanks to their growing affluence and influence in political circles….”
Lest anyone think I’m picking on Hindus, know they’re just par for the course: 85 to 90 percent of our post-1967 immigrants have come from the Third World, and 70 to 90 percent of them have voted Democrat upon naturalization. What’s more, despite #WalkAway fantasies, this shows no actual signs of changing — certainly not enough to make the pro-invasion Democrat Party fall out of love with their voter-importation scheme (aka immigration).
In reality, this also reveals why the economic-being approach falls flat even in its calculation of economic benefit. How much will “high-skilled” immigrants improve our economy if, over time, their influence transforms it into a socialist one? They’ll be coding while wealth is eroding.
All immigration should be halted, given how balkanized we already are. Yet insofar as we do allow it, the aforementioned again underlines why beliefs must always come first when vetting newcomers. A nation does not live on bread alone, and what does it profit a land to gain the world but lose its soul?
In truth, it would be better if our immigrants were robots (which, incidentally, are poised to fill many jobs in coming years, a fact underlining why immigration isn’t necessary “because we need workers”). Robots, after all, really do just perform an economic role and don’t come with beliefs, intellect and free will (at least not yet). Immigrants do because they’re human beings.
So treat them as such, is the lesson here. This means evaluating them based on all their human dimensions and not just reckoning them as economic cogs, as objects. “They pick our grapes” or “They do our tech” may be a good argument for automation, but for immigration it’s Marxist to the core.
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.