Beyond Our Control

by John Derbyshire

I shall never understand the way liberals think about immigration. Here’s Michael Barone in his Saturday column:

The 2000 census was taken on April 1, 2000, less than a month after the peak of the tech boom. Unemployment was low, immigration was high, and entry point houses and apartments were crammed with large families.

The 2010 census was taken after two years of recession, when immigration had slackened off. We simply don’t know whether this was just a temporary response to the business cycle or the beginning of a permanent decline in migration.

Past mass migrations, which most experts expected to continue indefinitely, in fact ended abruptly. Net Puerto Rican migration to New York City stopped in 1961, and the huge movement of Southern blacks to Northern cities ended in 1965. Those who extrapolate current trends far into the future end up being wrong sooner or later.

Look at the mindset there. Immigration is an uncontrollable force, like the weather. It goes up; it goes down; who knows why? Will current trends continue? Who knows? Maybe. No telling. Just gotta wait and see.

You would never know from reading this stuff that immigration is just a policy, like farm price supports or funding for aircraft carriers. Congress can change the policy at any time by passing laws. Does Michael Barone not understand this?

(Still less would you know that Americans in general are more immigration-restrictionist than the average for developed countries.)