Friday, February 19, 2016

Rear-window party

Shorter David Brooks, "A Little Reality on Immigration", New York Times, February 19 2016:
I'd like to express my dismay about the way Republican conservative orthodoxy seems to have taken on such a violently anti-immigrant stance which would have seemed extremely strange to conservatives throughout our country's history, from Reagan to George W. Bush. I will convey this by explaining carefully why immigration is a good thing and invoking the name of Donald Trump seven times without mentioning the names of any other Republican candidates.
The account of how immigration is a good thing looks like some unusually assiduous research on the part of our author and his assistants, until you look at it just a little closely:
The number of illegal immigrants flowing into this country is dropping, not rising. The flow of total immigrants peaked in 2005 and has been dropping since. The share of immigrants coming from Latin America is falling sharply. Since 2008, more immigrants have come from Asia than Latin America, and the disparity is growing.

There are more Mexicans leaving the United States than coming in. According to the Pew Research Center, there was a net outflow of 140,000 from 2009 to 2014. If Trump builds his wall, he’ll lock more Mexican immigrants in than he’ll keep out.
Look at all those links! But it turns out they're all to the same website (an excellent one!), the one he mentions for his last fact there, and the links are all wrong: the first is to a chart about unauthorized immigration (which peaked in 2007, not 2005), the second to a page with a chart not about annual immigration but total population, in which Asians will not overtake Latinos until 2055 under current projections, and another one with the information that should have been with the first link. The third link is to the correct page, but it's also the page he should have linked second. (On second look, I guess it's a simple, though peculiar, editorial error: the first link should have been in the first sentence, the second link where the first one is, and the third where the second is.)

It's all true, along with the other facts (two more Pew links, a nice Voxsplainer on the economic benefits for working people and a very decent Cato report on the totally non-criminal character of immigrant communities in the US) and it's a good thing to spread it around: relatively open immigration has always been a great thing for the country (if not for the First Nations), and still is.

I'm not quite sure what Brooks is trying to accomplish here. No Republican candidate, including Trump, is saying openly that immigrants are bad for America, far from it: they love immigrants, they tell us continually, they object only to those who don't follow the rules, the "illegals", those who cross the border without permission or overstay their visas and build lives here without ever getting a green card, and who could benefit from an "amnesty" while good immigrants languish, waiting for their paperwork to get done,

(That's bogus, by the way, and I am going to say straight out, as Clinton and Sanders will not, that an amnesty for those 11 million undocumented migrants, like that of the 1986 Reagan reform, is a good idea, and much the best way to remedy the current situation.)

It's the Republican voters, obviously, who are terrified of immigrants in general, and who think they hear Trump saying what they want to hear when he fulminates about "rapists" and fantasizes about his impermeable wall. Trump is, of course, angling for their support. But in focusing on Trump as if he were the entire party—
Donald Trump’s G.O.P. is a rear-window party pining for a white America that is never coming back
—Brooks seems to be trying to hide the fact that Cruz and Rubio in particular, each violently accusing the other of being too soft on those crooks, are trawling for them too.

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.


Feud Turgidson said...

'Now young Brookshopper, try to snatch the pebble FRUM my hand'.'

As the stench of carrion and sulphur arises from every formerly 'deemed establishment' "conservative" publication, particularly the ones where Brooks cut his starboard bones before he danced all in white shoes into his NYT column and PBS Newshour gigs; as NRO is trashed in anticipation of wheneven Michael Mann might finally succeeds in gaining summary judgment on his defamation lawsuit; as former imperial triremes like Townhall and the Weekly Standard have found themselves banished from Dead Tree World to the Internet, there to be out-nutgunned by the likes of Breitbart so badly that even the hacktackular Hugh Hewitt is moving on and Bill Kristol is so OTT he can't get even get a reservation to get noticed; our Mister Brooks has been confronted with a dilemma: keep the shoes and lose the horse, or walk away from the tails and spats to ... do what? NO ONE ON THE RIGHT WANTS HIM! Brooks has entered Frumland.

Who are the "thought leaders" on the right? Well, one of the reasons Trump has done so well, so far, is that vacuum. Limbaugh's reach has shrunk and does more daily, and now the 'most reasonable conservative voices' are about the size of a scouting party out of the Alamo under siege. Drudge is a "thought leader"; Alex Jones has Drudge's imprimatur to be closer daily to that version of mainstream; Allahpundit, and Cap'n Ed, and Ace from Ace of Spades HQ, all of THOSE are now "thought leaders" on the right.

This is an older dog in doggy foster care using the platform of a doggy adoption agency to do his own adoption outreach.

Ten Bears said...

You're all illegal immigrants, go back where you came from. You're kind isn't welcome here.

mlbxxxxxx said...

Immigration hawks act like our immigration laws were handed down by Moses. We could, given a sensible Congress (HA!), change those laws tomorrow and, presto change-o, they would no longer be "illegal immigrants."

"Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

sdhays said...

"...which would have seemed extremely strange to conservatives throughout our country's history, from Reagan to George W. Bush."

This was my favorite part. "Throughout our country's history" covers about 28 years, or about 11% of our country's history, give or take based on when you start counting "our country's history". Apparently, history began in 1980...

Not to mention that immigration reform crashed and burned under George W. Bush, so Republicans espousing violently anti-immigrant stances were far from "extremely strange" when you go back "that far" into our country's history.

Yastreblyansky said...

Thanks all.


He didn't really say that, it's just my parody exaggeration, but he did imply it, with "This is a very different America than the one people who grew up in the 1960s were used to. It’s a historical transformation that is bound to raise very legitimate concerns." American history began in the 1960s when he was born, you see, and began to change when he got out of the suburbs and went to college in Chicago. No concept, of course, that the proportion of foreign-born Americans was consistently higher from 1860 to 1920 than it is now or that there have been anti-immigrant movements from the beginning, some of them a lot fiercer than Trump and Cruz and Rubio. I gave his idiocy on this subject a longer treatment a couple of years ago.

The last word should go to Ten Bears. Anybody whose ancestors got here less than a thousand years ago has no right to complain about anybody else.

Tom Hilton said...

But in focusing on Trump as if he were the entire party...Brooks seems to be trying to hide the fact that Cruz and Rubio in particular, each violently accusing the other of being too soft on those crooks, are trawling for them too.

Yup, that's exactly what he's doing. In other words, even when Brooks isn't wrong (see his column on Obama) he's still trying to skew perception in his favor.

BTW, I agree with you about amnesty. The way I put it is, there's nobody more American than someone who wants to be American.