The Corner

Weasel Words

No, Derb, I don’t consider the “illegal” in “illegal immigration” a weasel word — you do. I admit to having altered my view on the Bush proposal and others like it because of the strength of the arguments about the enormity of the illegal-immigration problem.

But the thing is, you acted to me in debate four years ago as though your problem was with its illegality when, in truth, it’s the immigration you oppose. And that is disingenuous, pure and simple. As for Mark Krikorian, I  take him at his word that he has long opposed immigration in all its forms — but again, this does mean that, like you, his opposition to “illegal immigration” is far less about the first word in the phrase than it is about the second. And that, I am happy to say, is so far from where American popular opinion is on the matter that it does suggest you are residing on the intellectual margin rather than in the policy mainstream.

That’s no criticism in itself — principled stands often force us to occupy unpopular positions. Just a note about the American perspective on its own history as a nation of immigrants (there, I said it, Mark; I know you hate it; but it is, O descendant of Izmir).

As for the Great Pause you admire so much, Derb, I consider it unmitigatedly a Great Disaster. The Great Depression was deepened, lengthened and made much more severe by the use of tariffs. That is not a matter of controversy. Restrictive immigration laws were the first tariffs imposed by this country in the 1920s, and like all tariff policies, they had terrible unintended consequences for the American economy and for the world — in the form of millions who perished in gas chambers, some of whom might have been saved from them under a different immigration regime.

I have no idea who Ralph is, Derb, but I’ll say hello to him when I see him. Say hello to Jared. 


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