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:
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.)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.
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—
—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.Donald Trump’s G.O.P. is a rear-window party pining for a white America that is never coming back
Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.