The Uniqueness Of Our Immigration Crisis
Assimilation is happening. But it’s to a vastly different culture than we once might’ve expected people to assimilate to.
In theory, it shouldn’t be difficult to underscore the severity of our country’s immigration crisis. From NBC News:
there have already been 874,449 illegal border crossings. These numbers do not include those who slipped into the country undetected, meaning they don’t capture the totality of the illegal immigration problem. I think we can all agree it’s a problem that will always exist, but the data clearly shows it’s as bad as it’s ever been. It’s likely to get worse and while erstwhile analysts like Peter Zeihan predict a demographic-driven slowdown of illegal immigration later in the decade, plenty of damage will have likely to have been done by then, with even more damage yet to be done in the years and decades to come.
The number of undocumented immigrant crossings at the southwest border for fiscal year 2022 topped 2.76 million, breaking the previous annual record by more than 1 million, according to Customs and Border Protection data.
For the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2022, CBP stopped migrants more than 2,766,582 times, compared to 1.72 million times for fiscal 2021, the previous yearly high. The 2022 numbers were driven in part by sharp increases in the number of Venezuelans, Cubans and Nicaraguans making the trek north, according to CBP.
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So Americans are worried about this big problem, right? The data is sketchy there. A recent Gallup poll reveals Americans are as dissatisfied with immigration as they have been in over 10 years, with only 28% of respondents replying with satisfaction at the state of affairs. In fact, all three groups polled - Republicans, Independents, and Democrats - showed a sharp increase in their dissatisfaction, likely driven in part by the situation at the southern border. I suppose even the decadent can’t ignore reality for too long?
However, this hardly means Americans are united on the issue. As with most things, there exists a sharp partisan divide on how strongly each group feels about the issue. Most Democrats are still satisfied with immigration and don’t rank it among their top concerns. In fact, according to a recent Statista study, only 8% of respondents cited immigration as the most important issue facing the country today, with twice as many citing the economy as the biggest concern. No surprise there, but the point is, immigration is, overall, not something which preoccupies the minds of most Americans on a normal basis.
Compare this to France. As recently as June 2022, two months after their presidential election, 22% of respondents cited immigration as the most concerning issue for the country. I’m certain there exists a partisan divide on the matter in France, but it still says something that a higher proportion of the population sees it as a problem than in the United States.
Why is that? Is the situation really not that bad in the U.S. and much worse in France? How can a human mass equivalent to the size of Chicago enter our country and yet it not be a big problem?
Political commentator Scott Greer talked in depth last month about why immigration is both such a partisan issue and why it doesn’t galvanize the public despite hundreds of thousands attempting to cross the border illegally every month. I highly recommend you read the entry and then subscribe to his excellent Substack, but I wanted to highlight some key observations he made:
Since President Biden took office, over five million illegal aliens have entered the country. Republicans campaigned on the border crisis in the 2022 midterms, hoping that the breakdown of order would propel them to electoral victories. The response? Democrats increased their Senate majority by one seat and Republicans only won a thin majority in the House. If the midterms were a referendum on immigration, the public sent a clear message: it doesn’t care, even in the most affected states such as Arizona.
Compare this to Europe. The migrant crisis of 2015 led to mass protests and a dramatic rise in support for anti-immigration parties, from Brexit to Viktor Orban’s embrace of nationalism. That was in response to just over a million migrants coming to the continent, around a fifth of what the United States has experienced in the past two years.
Why don’t ordinary Americans care about immigration as much as Europeans?
It could be that Americans don’t experience immigration as directly as Europeans. We’re such a big country that many Americans don’t notice when millions of illegals pour into the country. They shield themselves from the consequences by living in the suburbs. Europeans haven’t decided on white flight (yet), so they’re more likely to notice the dramatic changes.
It’s difficult to get people, Americans and non-Americans alike, to understand the significance of the size of our country. The mind harbors a bias towards proportionality, so we think the dynamics that affect other countries must fit onto our own as well, and vice versa. The same way leftists think the U.S. should have the same kind of generous social welfare and universal health care system as Denmark and Japan, rightists think immigration impacts the U.S. the same way it impacts countries like France or the United Kingdom.
This is clearly not the case. The U.S. alone is the size of continental Europe and contains a large amount of habitable land. Thus, it’s easier to get away from it all. Greer mentions Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, a country you can fit inside Kansas, while having over three times the population (9.6 million vs. 2.9 million). You can see quite easily why mass immigration would quickly overwhelm European countries while eliciting no more than a collective shrug out of the U.S. If you told most Americans the equivalent of Chicago’s population entered the country last fiscal year, the response from many would be a call to have them establish a brand-new city somewhere in the uninhabited part of the country. We’ve got room, don’t we?
Related to that last point, Greer notes migrants, both legal and illegal, are taking up residence not just in our major metropolitan areas, but in minor metros and small towns, also, changing both demographics and quality of life in these areas. According to the Regime, America is a xenophobic place overwhelmingly hostile to foreigners, especially if they’re not White. Yet, even the staunchest Democrat has to admit: if this is really true, Americans aren’t exactly fighting back, either.
Probably because our worst fears concerning immigration have already happened, just not at the hands of immigrants:
The real difference is what white Americans see as the Great Replacement. In Europe, the Great Replacement means immigrants replacing the natives in their own cities. In America, something like that has already happened–but it wasn’t done by immigrants. Integration was America’s Great Replacement. It transformed neighborhoods, schools, and cities in just a few years and caused whites to flee their homes. Americans already experienced that loss of what once was theirs.
Even with our growing diversity, America’s racial dynamic remains black and white. White Americans approach immigration through this lens. Low-skilled immigrants usually don’t replace white workers, they take jobs from blacks. Whites aren’t economically threatened if fruit pickers and fast food workers are now Guatemalan. Whites, in fact, seem to prefer Hispanic labor to black labor. Whenever you hear someone talk about Mexicans doing a much better job than lazy Americans, they may claim those poor workers are good-for-nothing whites. But, whether they know it or not, they’re actually referring to blacks.
If Americans, specifically Whites, have been replaced, it hasn’t been by immigrants. If immigrants are taking anyone’s jobs, it hasn’t been from Whites. Not entirely. There’s also no question that immigrants come to America and, as a collective, are a productive group. These aren’t the migrants of Europe who, at best, annex entire neighborhoods for themselves and turn them into mini-nation-states or, at worst, do little else beyond wreak havoc and terrorize their communities. While it’s possible - I’d say likely - that we’ll come to be like Europe a generation from now and have millions of migrants without anything to do besides raise hell, that’s currently not the case. The U.S. has been a very nice place, relatively speaking, for both legal and illegal immigrants and our problems, though exacerbated by mass migration, aren’t caused by it. There’s something to the belief immigration is, at least for now, a net positive for the U.S., better explaining than anything else why Americans don’t view it as a serious problem to the extent those in Europe do.
Greer elaborates further, saying that compared to Europe, migrants in the U.S. are a relatively peaceful group who attempt to keep a low profile. He observes that cities like Los Angeles actually became safer starting in the 1990s, when the proportion of the Black population began declining while the proportion of the Hispanic/Latino population skyrocketed. Even the infamous city of Compton, still nobody’s idea of a livable community, isn’t as dangerous as it used to be. Like LA, Compton saw both the size and proportion of its Black population decline while it’s Hispanic/Latino population sharply increase over the last 30 years.
Meanwhile, countries like Sweden went from being one of the safest in the world, like most Nordic and Scandinavian countries, to one of the most dangerous in Europe. If you don’t take Greer’s word, take the World Population Review’s word: according to their data, Sweden’s crime rate is now on-par with that of the U.S. No disrespect to the Swedes, but having listened to them speak ill of the U.S. for years, especially in the wake of Donald Trump’s election in 2016, a part of me can’t help but think: good riddance. Sweden has virtue-signaled its friendliness towards migrants for at least a decade now, but if they’re so much better, why are they down here with us ugly Americans?
Anyway, in the U.S., crime is associated far less with migrants and primarily with Blacks or with guns. Even leftist Americans can’t deny that crime is an especially acute problem within the Black community, though they outsource the cause to the broader society or “White supremacy.” By the same token, the U.S. has the highest rates of gun violence in the developed world, even as it’s true that guns don’t shoot themselves and the trigger has to be pulled by someone possessing malicious intent. The point is, regardless of why you feel crime is as high as it is in the U.S., it’s a problem caused less by migrants and more by those who are already here and have already been here for a long time.
For now and for the foreseeable future, crime and social instability is likely to continue being driven not by migrants, but by high-crime demographics, like Blacks. We’re probably not going to see “no-go zones” zones occupied by migrant groups like we do in London, Paris, and elsewhere in Europe, but we already have something akin to no-go zones in our inner cities and they’ve been there for generations. Like Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa, the dry tinder for serious uprisings are all there. These are all violent countries periodically wracked by tremendous social unrest, but not because of immigration.
Again, this will very likely change in 20 years. By then, America the superpower will be a distant memory, de-globalization will have run its course, and our country won’t be as cheap and livable as it’s been during our lifetimes. Many Americans will likely be out of work, with many migrants and their offspring being on the short end of that stick, as the income/wealth gap is certain to have widened by that point. Then, we could start to see our country become more like Europe, complete with racial no-go zones, though I contend America’s size will manage to soften some of the impact. Moreover, given we’re likely just a few years away from a major economic or geopolitical crisis which will likely kill off the American superpower, sentiments against immigration, at least of the illegal variety, are likely to further increase, just as they did during the Great Recession of the late-2000s. It’s worth noting: in his 2009 book The Next 100 Years, geopolitical analyst George Friedman predicted immigrants would be in demand by 2030 due to the aging out of the workforce, but beginning in 2040, that demand would wane.
That’s 20 years from now. There’s a lot of history to cover between now and then. What I find to be the biggest problem concerning immigration specific to the U.S. today is what’s it’s done to our culture and society. Immigration can be good, but just like everything else in this country, we hit the point of diminishing returns long ago.
In a separate entry, Scott Greer explains the problem:
Hispanics overwhelmingly favor big government over limited government. Hispanics and Asians overwhelmingly oppose abortion bans. Both groups support gay marriage. Both groups favor gun control. Both groups favor speech restrictions.
The bigger issue is [Joel] Berry’s assumption that assimilation as the answer. Assimilation is more likely to turn these new arrivals into liberals. Asian voters are a good example. Polling data shows that Asians who are not born here and are less proficient in English are more likely to vote Republican than American-born Asians fluent in English. The New York Times recently claimed that first-generation Asian immigrants are more open to Republican appeals because they “may not be as attuned to the history of racial inequity.” There is a point there, obnoxious liberal phrasing aside.
Assimilation to the New America is very different from what Berry imagines it to be. It doesn’t require one to learn about the heroes of America’s past (besides Martin Luther King), our Constitution, or what made us great. It just requires you to listen to rap, enjoy pro sports, speak a little bit of English, and pursue the almighty dollar. Eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is more integral to modern American identity than knowing who Andrew Jackson is. America no longer has a rooted culture exclusive to the people here. What’s left is a mass culture that’s both shallow and extremely accessible. It doesn’t take much effort to enjoy the Super Bowl.
Many conservatives still believe Anglo-Protestant values are critical for assimilation, but not for the New America. You still need a strong work ethic to get ahead here, but that’s the only remnant from the past system. The only values you need to learn is that racism is very bad, white people are responsible for all of America’s wrongs, blacks are the true founding fathers, and equality is the highest ideal. This is an appealing message to non-white immigrants. It allows them to posture as the true Americans against the unworthy natives.
Greer sums it up by saying:
The more assimilated immigrants become, the more likely they embrace leftism and identity politics.
As recently as a generation ago, the concern was that, at some point, foreign-born Americans would comprise such a large proportion of the population, they’d become unassimilable. The late, great Samuel Huntington made this very argument in his excellent and final book Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity. He predicted a future in which America would become a truly multicultural society, speaking different languages, which may sound nice to most liberals, but would inevitable lead to fracturing and, eventually, disintegration. In case you haven’t noticed, Huntington’s thinking influences mine.
However, both myself and Greer agree people like Huntington were wrong when it came to the question of assimilation. Immigrants and their native-born offspring are assimilating, the problem is what they’re assimilating into. And what they’re assimilating into isn’t traditional Anglo-Protestant culture, but to a still yet to be firmly defined cosmopolitan, urban, and explicitly anti-American culture. If any specific culture reigns supreme in the U.S. anymore, it’s Black American culture. The only reason why rock remains the most popular music genre in the country is due to the majority older population. Otherwise, among younger Americans, rap music is the clear favorite. In all other aspects of our culture, including sports, Black culture is either dominant or gaining traction. How this came to be, despite Blacks consistently being 12-13% of the population, is a whole different topic of discussion. For now, it’s enough to say this is what’s happening now and constitutes the new “normal.”
Not convinced? Greer also hosts a podcast where, in it’s most recent episode, talks about a panel debate hosted by Vice among mostly Asian Americans that became a strong topic of discussion on social media. For the sake of my own mental health, I didn’t watch the debate (which you can view here, if you did), but Greer, who did, observes one of the panelists, an Asian female, speaks in African-American Vernacular English. Greer notes that these panelists may not represent the general public, but this is immaterial, since history is written by the vocal minority. Like it or not, whether they represent you or not, these are the people who are shaping our culture and then our politics.
Assimilation is happening. But it’s to a vastly different culture than we once might’ve expected people to assimilate to. Everyone speaks English, but the values being assimilated to aren’t American values. Again, it remains to be seen what name history ultimately ascribes to this new civic religion, with “Wokeness” as the best option at the moment. All that can be said is that it’s a departure from even the traditional liberal civic religion. Ethnic and racial identity trumps national identity and the ultimate goal is to annihilate “Whiteness,” which is also another way of saying Americanism. What comes after isn’t clear, but I suppose they think they’ll figure it all out after they win. What most certainly isn’t happening is a society balkanizing in the way scholars like Huntington once feared.
Of course, that could change too. A few entries ago, I talked about how even assimilation is becoming increasingly rejected by America’s racial and ethnic minorities. Why learn English if you can just live in an “ethno-burb,” where everyone speaks the language of their ancestral homeland and continue living largely as they did there? Ethno-burbs aren’t new and neither are ethnic enclaves. But choosing to indulge in them while refusing to further assimilate over time is ethnonationalism and could, at minimum, lead to what we see in Europe, where entire swatches of cities and metro areas are dominated by a single ethnicity or race. At worst, you have a fracturing, increased ethnic/racial conflict, and maybe even a threat of civil war like you see in France, due to their high crime rate, much of it the result of areas dominated by migrants and those of foreign origin.
Again, those are just possibilities. While we may be spared such an outcome, what should be clear to us is there’s plenty of fuel for a fire. A recipe for serious social instability already exists and grows by the day. We are not going to arrest these trends overnight. I’m still working through my head ideas about how an opportunity to do so will present itself in around 20 years, but as you readers might have figured out by now, I may be hopeful about the far future, I’m pessimistic about the present and near future. There’s just too much time between now and then to get too wrapped up in what could be, good or bad, a generation from now. Imagine living in 1925 and thinking about what events would’ve transpired by 1945.
The most important part of this story is what’s happening today. Mass migration is here to stay, illegal immigration isn’t a crisis in the minds of most Americans, and it’ll reinforce the existing social order. Last entry, I made the observation the professional-managerial class (PMC), also known as the “laptop class,” and cheap, mostly migrant, labor constitute one team, one fight. The PMC generates much of the demand for cheap labor, who in turn make it possible for the PMC to live premium lifestyles at affordable prices. As such, the two groups constitute a coalition that becomes more powerful with each election cycle. No matter how one may feel about immigration on a personal level, nobody, at least not in the PMC, dares to make any changes to the status quo of mass migration and de facto open borders, since the perception and official narrative is that immigration only benefits this country.
But even when you get away from the cheap labor aspect of it, immigration has to happen because it further secures the Regime. It has, for decades, banked on the arrival of newcomers as a means to creating a permanent political majority and those efforts are now paying off handsomely. If the Left has won the culture war (they most certainly have), the next step is to establish single-party rule under the Democrats, even if only in a de facto sense. As a second-generation American, being an immigration restrictionist isn’t the easiest position to take, but there’s no question the Left has used immigration as a means to unraveling the nation, to the extent it ever existed, to establish a new order.
It’s a terrifying order. It indulges in grievance, racial animosity (almost entirely at Whites), polices speech and thought, encourages in the indulging of all sorts of degeneracy and perversion in the name of equality and sexual freedom. And this is really just the tip of the iceberg. It’s all leading to the distintegration of our country and making us increasingly susceptible to authoritarianism and totalitarianism, something I don’t think most Americans, regardless of persuasion, tell themselves they want. I don’t think I’ve ever been this upfront about what I think of today’s state of affairs, but as much as I warn my readers not to go down the hyper-paranoid, far-right rabbit hole where burning the cities becomes our only options, I’m not going to deny the reality of the situation. We still live in a nice country, but this is increasingly becoming so in spite of, not because of.
I guess this is all a long-form way of saying things are going to get much, much worse before even a chance for things to get better comes along. It’s easy for Americans to take the status quo for granted because things aren’t as bad as they could be. But I’d expect that to change drastically in just a few years. Superpower collapse and de-globalization are tangible events and hence, shouldn’t make talking about America’s precipitous decline controversial. If anyone’s not convinced that we’re in serious trouble, give it a few years. Even proponents of the existing order will have no choice but to concede things aren’t well.
Unfortunately, that’ll only make the options for either side all the more drastic. Someone must win in the end and whoever does, will run the show for a very long time. Hang tough.
Max Remington is a defense, military, and foreign policy writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AgentLoyalist.
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White Americans (particularly Democrats) are self-loathing and self-destructive. They have internalized the hatred Democrats direct against white people so those whites now think they deserve to be punished. Open borders is a form of moral self-flagellation that helps lessen the pain of their narcissistic self-hatred. Internalized self-loathing never ends well because people who hate themselves do stupid and self-destructive things. One example is the internalized homophobia of mid-century America that led to the drug addled excesses of the 1970s and the AIDS crisis that killed so many gay men. We are seeing something similar now among children who hate themselves so much they sexually mutilate themselves with "gender affirming" surgery. On a larger scale, American universities believed their own self-loathing CRT nonsense and committed academic suicide. Germany after World War II was also consumed with self-hatred that culminated in its own social self-immolation fueled by mass immigration. Wherever you see inexplicable self-destruction you will find self-hatred, often disguised as freedom or altruism. It is the most destructive of all forms of madness.
Great piece. It does raise a question which I have posed many a time on Twitter: is there actually such a thing as an “American” culture, an American collective soul? Are Americans a “people”? I know many Americans bristle at the question, but if you compare American identity to a colonial group which established itself in the same era, the Afrikaners, the later have a much stronger sense of identity. As a second generation immigrant myself living in Canada, having spend a significant amount of time living in the US as well, I see happening south of the border something similar to what has happened here. Canada is now a post-national country, largely without a real culture. America is on the same road.