This is an remarkable editorial by economist George Borjas, given its appearance in the New York Times. He asks the right questions; most fundamentally, the question about the impact of immigration on actual Americans. That is a departure from the ruling class’s long-established habit of ignoring that side of the equation. As reflected in their rhetoric and actions, our policy-makers regard the host population as a nullity, and a nullity does not figure into consideration beyond the most perfunctory nod to “impact on the low skilled.” And none at all in matters of compassion. The host society has no identity, much less destiny or aspiration of its own, so its place in any discussion of demographic engineering is an afterthought.
Borjas’ responses to his own questions are framed in the language of immigration-reduction rather than moratorium and reversal, so on face-value it’s business as usual. But he is speaking from a platform that calls for his audience to read between the lines. And given the forum, he delivers the payload. When the right questions are asked, the right answers are only a matter of time.
But what about the 11-million-plus undocumented immigrants already here? A vast majority have led peaceful lives and established deep roots in our communities. Their sudden deportation would not represent the compassionate America that many of us envision.
And he offers an answer to that question in President Trump’s own words:
“We are going to be considerate and compassionate to everyone … But my greatest compassion will be for our own struggling citizens.”
The editorial builds up to a more direct form of address:
Many of my colleagues in the academic community — and many of the elite opinion-makers in the news media — recoil when they hear that immigration should serve the interests of Americans. Their reaction is to label such thinking as racist and xenophobic, and to marginalize anyone who agrees.
And then the check-mate question:
But those accusations of racism reflect their effort to avoid a serious discussion of the trade-offs. The coming debate would be far more honest and politically transparent if we demanded a simple answer from those who disagree with “America First” proposals: Who are you rooting for?
I raised some of the same points last year in my farewell to jeb bush (sic).