The Corner

Immigration and the Tea Party

I spoke at Jonah’s alma mater last night — they didn’t seem eager to claim him, though I was treated very well and enjoyed the event. The panel included, in addition to me and two open-borders folks, Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots. She handled herself well, especially with her not being a wonk like the rest of us.

But her main focus was the rule of law, illegal-bad/legal-good — not surprising, since that’s sort of the default position on the right, but it’s not going to prove adequate in the long run. I’m speaking at the Tea Party Patriots convention in Richmond next week, and I’m going to make the point I made in my Broadside — large-scale immigration (legal or illegal, permanent or “temporary”) into a modern society necessarily translates into larger government, not just because it imports disproportionately statist voters but because it shapes society in ways that make statist solutions more plausible to non-immigrant voters — increasing the ranks of the uninsured and the poor, increasing income inequality, increasing diversity (which Putnam has shown results in the retreat of civil society), even increasing density (since more people in the same space almost by definition will result in more government).

We need to acknowledge, but then move past, illegal-bad/legal-good — because whatever your concern, the level of total immigration is the main issue.

Mark Krikorian — Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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