Immigration And Society: Views From Research Paper
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Alien Nation is organized onto fifteen chapters, divided into three parts:
Part I: Truth: (2) the View from the Tenth Circle; (3) the Pincers; (4) How Did it Happen? (5) Why Did it Happen? (6) So What?
Part II: Consequences: (7) Immigration Has Consequences: Economics; (8) Immigration Has (More) Consequences: Economics II; (9) Immigration Has Consequences: Cultural, Social, Environmental...; (10) Immigration Has Consequences: Political Power; (11) Immigration Has Consequences: A Less Perfect Union; (12) Immigration Has Consequences: The War against the Nation-State; (13) Doing the Right Thing? The Morality of Immigration;
Part III: Shipwreck and Salvage: (14) What, Then, Is to Be Done? (15) Conclusion: The Bowels of Christ?
Brimelow commences his book by seeking the genesis of the immigration problem and finds that it is linked to the massacres conducted by totalitarian regimes. To better explain, the author of Alien Nation… believes that the rulers of the United States strived to remove themselves from the influence of totalitarian regimes, such as Adolf Hitler's Nazism, and in doing this, they opened the national boundaries to foreigners from all global regions and welcomed them with opened arms. Despite the morality of this gesture towards the immigrants, Brimelow believes that the rulers of those times did not assess the consequences and that the moment of issuing the 1956 Immigration Act represents the real genesis of the modern day immigration problem. "There is a sense in which current immigration policy is Adolf Hitler's posthumous revenge on America. The U.S. political elite emerged from the war passionately concerned to cleanse itself from all taints of racism or xenophobia. Eventually, it enacted the epochal Immigration Act […] of 1965. And this, quite accidentally, triggered a renewed mass immigration, so huge and so systematically different from anything that had gone before as to transform -- and ultimately destroy -- the one unquestioned victor of World War II: the American nation, as it had evolved by the middle of the twentieth century" (Brimelow, 1995).
Brimelow goes on by stating that the matter of immigration has grown throughout the past recent years due to the modifications obvious within the new immigrants. The author believes that the foreigners who now enter the United States are different from those who came during earlier periods, in the meaning that they are less educated and more likely to become engaged in illegal activities. From this standpoint then, Brimelow states that while immigration does not have to be entirely forbidden, it should be restricted and that whenever deciding upon allowing one foreigner, the authorities should ask themselves if and how can this foreigner benefit the country. If the answer is not easy to find, the person's entry to the U.S. should be restricted.
Unless the matter of immigration is resolved -- in Brimelow's understanding of general restrictions -- it is highly probable for the American society to suffer reductions in its life style, as well as lose its national identity. The author's understanding of restrictions to immigration sees that only the members of the white race and which possess high labor skills should be allowed into the country. Interestingly enough however, he does not consider the Jews to be part of this allowed class, feature which has attracted fierce criticism on grounds on anti-Semitism (National Vanguard Magazine, 1995).
Peter Brimelow bases his approach on the negative impacts the current policy allows immigration to generate upon the modern day American society. Some of his most compelling arguments are succinctly presented below:
The Jews in New York have become wealthier than the native born Americans and, if immigration continues, the same will be true for the Cubans in Miami and the Asians in California
The United States does not need immigration to economically develop; immigration is a luxury that can hurt
The immigrants following the 1965 act are less skilled and less educated than earlier immigrants and reveal reduced abilities to serve the needs of the American population and country
These low skilled immigrants reduce the American workforce average quality and stratify it, with them occupying the positions at the bottom
Immigration increases the costs to welfare, social services and education
Even if the immigrants do generate an economic surplus,...
Both the Next American Nation… as well as Alien Nation… impress the reader through their arguments. On the one hand, there is Lind who argues that immigration has been allowed by the white overclass in order to serve their personal and political interests. He states that the native born Americans need to take action and urge the country's rulers to impede the process of immigration, and simultaneously act on several fields, mostly economics and politics, to ensure the creation of a Fourth Republic, which will safeguard American well-being and national identity.
On the other hand, there is Brimelow, who argues that the contemporaneous immigration problem has its genesis in the 1965 Immigration Act, after which the quality and the value of the immigrants significantly decreased, to now generate a series of negative impacts upon the native born population. This author also argues that the allowance of foreigners should be restricted to only those individuals which have an ability to benefit the country. Both cases are constructed on solid arguments, but if one should have to choose the strongest case, this would probably be attributed to Brimelow's Alien Nation…the alien nation is in fact the threat to which the American population is subjected if we do not put an end to the immigration disaster. While Lind only militates for the creation of a new republic, which would change the way the United States deals with immigrants, the message sent by Alien Nation… is stronger and points to the fact that unless immediate measures are taken, the native born Americans will end up living in a society that no longer belongs to them, but to aliens (the aliens are understood as immigrants, rather than extraterrestrial beings).
Aside the appeal and the message sent by the titles of the two books, what makes Alien Nation… stronger is its reliance on statistical information. While Lind inserts himself and his historic views and opinions into the book, Brimelow is highly focused on facts and data to make his case. The following lines reveal some statistical information used by Brimelow in increasing the credibility of his book and the strength of its message and arguments:
On page 131, he writes that the years spent in school by the immigrants in 1970 are 0.35 lower than the years spent in school by the immigrants prior to 1965; by 1990, the figure had decreased by another 1.32 years; also at that time, 36.7% of the immigrants were high school dropouts, whereas the same indicator for native born Americans was of only 14.7%
On page 146, Brimelow shows how in the 1970, 6.7% of welfare went to immigrants; by 1990 however, the figure had increased to 13.1%; some specific immigrant groups go well above this average, such as the Dominicans, with a 27.9% rate of participation to welfare
On page 182 Brimelow reveals that 25% of all people imprisoned in 1993 were immigrants
3. Stronger Arguments
Both of the books discussed so far present a rather drastic view on immigration and translate it into a social, political, cultural, economic and environmental threat. Yet, Peter Brimelow's Alien Nation… is more noteworthy due to the strength of its arguments. Michael Lind could have increased the strength of his the Next American Nation… through three distinct actions. First of all, he could have focused less on the French model of politics and republic organization. The U.S. history does not accredit the formation of its modern state on the basis of the three previous republic identified by Lied, nor do historians foresee the emergence of a fourth republic. This approach has limited appeal to the American public and its historic view is less relevant and less applicable in the context of today's immigration problem. The most this organization of information can achieve is a new angle on understanding the emergence of the immigration challenge in the contemporaneous society.
Secondly, he could have used more factual information, supported by evidence from accredited statistical institutions. Lind inserted his own take on the issue of immigration, and, whereas there are those radical…
Sources Used in Documents:
Brimelow, P., 1995, Alien Nation: Common Sense about America's Immigration Disaster, Random House
Lind, M., 1995, the Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution, Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Reilly, J.J., the Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Forth American Republic, http://www.johnreilly.info/tna.htm last accessed on September 1, 2009
1995, Alien Nation: Common Sense about America's Immigration Disaster, National Vanguard Magazine, Edition of November-December, No. 115
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