The Corner

Culture

A Smear in the Washington Post

That aforementioned Washington Post review says that I look “back with nostalgia to the days when immigrants were overwhelmingly European.” This is false. I don’t know how the reviewer possibly could have mistaken my point about the history of immigration in this country, which is that the machinery of assimilation was much stronger in the early 20th century than it is today. That I spend so much time talking about efforts at assimilation back then, by the way, implies that I consider the high levels of immigration at that time a challenge, even though it was Europeans who were coming (and, indeed, I do). It is true that I point out that no one group of foreign speakers dominated in that last wave the way Spanish speakers do now. But that could be rectified by diversifying the current flow of immigration, which I also favor (as well as a policy of tilting toward immigrants who already speak English, as all sorts of people around the world do). I guess the reviewer also missed my argument that favoring restrictionist changes in the immigration status quo is, ridiculously, always ruled out of bounds, since this is exactly what he tries to do.

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