Accuracy in Media

According to the 2007 census, the United States experienced net immigration of 1.25 million persons. Illegal or legal, Mark Krikorian fears the effects drastic immigration rates are having, both on legal citizens and the immigrants themselves.

“The implicit assumption is that very high levels of legal immigration would be okay,” said Krikorian. “That illegality is the problem. The answer to that is no.”

“High levels of immigration are incompatible with [the] goals and characteristics of modern society.”

At an American Enterprise Institute panel for his new book, The New Case Against Immigration, Krikorian—executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies—outlined the book and discussed the issues surrounding mass immigration into the U.S. every year.

While some scholars have made comparisons between immigration rates today with historic European immigration eras that helped shape the nation, Krikorian argues that the similarities are sparse.

“What we’re experiencing now is a similar immigration flow into a very different country,” said Krikorian. “In a word, mass immigration was a phase, like settlement of the frontier by pioneers; but a phase that shaped us, and that we have now outgrown.”

Immigrants face a much different America than before. It’s a case of “19th Century workers in 20th Century America,” said Krikorian. Markets are flooded with low-skilled labor, driving down wages and hurting the immigrants themselves, who come to America only to find they are unable to support their families, he argued.

The result is a dependence on government aid. Krikorian alleges that more than half of immigrant-based families receive some form of welfare.

Author Fred Siegel, one of the panelists at the book forum, echoed Krikorian’s sentiments.

“There’s a continuity with what Mark is saying,” said Siegel. “It’s not just that the welfare state we now have is problematic for immigration; mass immigration helped produce the welfare state in the first place.”

Siegel believes one of the primary differences between past and present immigration lies within the upbringing of children born into immigrant families. In particular, he blames a school system that no longer seeks to naturalize students.

“[School] is the primary mechanization for Americanization,” said Siegel.

With technology that allows global connectivity, immigrants can stay in touch with their homes, and no longer feel the need to truly make the U.S. their own country, he argues.

The conclusion of Krikorian’s argument is to severely limit immigration, yet welcome those few immigrants allowed to enter the country. This would mean more intense screening of foreigners pursuing entry into the U.S., and the ability to be more selective of immigrants allowed in.

“What we need is not zero immigration, but zero-based budgeting in immigration,” said Krikorian. “Start at zero and then determine which groups of people are so compelling to commit that we are willing to take on whatever problems immigration creates.”

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