The Corner

Immigration Then & Now

Jonah:  The two you’ve mentioned are the two BIG differences:

(1) Then–immigration from afar.  Now–Immigration from next door.

(2) Then–no welfare state.  Now—USA=FreeLunchistan.

The history of immigration into the USA can be briefly encapsulated thus:  1776-1846–very little.  1846-1924–First Great Wave.  1924-1965–very little.  1965 on–Second Great Wave.  Only in that post-1965 wave has the welfare state been a factor.

Some of the lesser differences (legal/illegal, work-seeking/family-unification) are important, but those two are the biggies.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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