... c5NTI3YWQ=

May 01, 2006, 2:10 p.m.
April Diary

By John Derbyshire

You know the thing we tell our kids: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I have never heard this little jingle extended to a third fooling, and I can’t come up with any memorably admonitory way to describe the consequences. Perhaps we should give this some thought, because pretty soon the ruling elites in this country—the media, intellectual, and professorial classes, the big party machines and the business/labor/legal interests who fund them, and the liars, mountebanks, and rogues who infest the legislative branch of our national government—are going to fool the American public a third time, just the way they fooled us twice before.

Fool me once: 1965 “On October 3, 1965, in a ceremony at the foot of the Statue of Liberty, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law one of the most far-reaching legislative enactments in our nation’s history, the Immigration Reform Act of 1965.” Thus begins Larry Auster’s account of the relevant events in his landmark 1990 pamphlet The Path to National Suicide. (Still essential reading for anyone who wants to talk intelligently about immigration. You can download a free PDF of it from here.) Lyndon Johnson’s floor manager for the bill in the Senate was Edward Kennedy, who had these words to say to critics of the bill (a few Southern Democrats like the great Sam Ervin, and some scattered, ineffectual conservative groups):
What the bill will not do: First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same. . . . Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset. . . . Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and economically deprived nations of Africa and Asia. . . . In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think.

As Peter Brimelow pointed out (and documented in detail) in his book Alien Nation, every one, every blessed one, of Kennedy’s assurances has proven false. Fooled us once.

Fool me twice: 1986 The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 was advertised as the first real attempt to cope with illegal immigration, which had not been a major problem for the first 200 years or so of the republic’s existence. Known as IRCA (pronounced by immigration wonks to rhyme with “burkah”), the act tackled the issue of illegal immigrants already present by giving amnesty to those who’d been here two years or more, and the issue of future immigration by imposing penalties on employers who hired illegals. President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law on November 6, 1986.

Steve Britt, who was a veteran immigration officer at the time, describes here how enforcement of the act fell apart before Reagan’s signature on it was dry. The few feeble attempts to apply employer sanctions were quickly scotched by calls from business interests to their congressmen. The amnesty provisions were soon overrun by rampant fraud, people flying in with their families on tourist visas, then claiming to have been residents for years. Administrators of the amnesty program were anyway swamped by the unexpected numbers of applicants, and fell back on a “wave-through” approach, rubber-stamping counterfeit documents after a couple of seconds’ scrutiny. Seeing what was happening (there is nobody, nobody, in the U.S. who watches the consequences of U.S. immigration law as keenly as would-be immigrants in foreign lands), foreigners began immigrating illegally—by overstaying visas, or walking over the borders—to be in place for the next amnesty.

Employers who still didn’t get the message that Congress didn’t really mean for them to guard against hiring illegals (the fact that the fine for doing so was set at a seriously non-staggering 50 dollars ought to have given them a clue) were brought to heel by lawyers from the “discrimination” rackets. Let’s see, which should I be more fearful of: a $50 fine from one of the nation’s 950 immigration cops—20 per state—for hiring an illegal, or a $10,000,000 judgment against me for having the impertinence to “discriminate” against a job applicant by asking about his immigration status? Hmmm, gonna have to think about this one—for a femtosecond or two.

Fool me three times: 2006 Well, you see how it goes. Much sound and fury in Congress. Some firm-sounding pronouncements for the president, dressed up in much gassy verbiage about “human rights” and “family values” and “nation of immigrants.” Sonorous declarations from the congresscritters about how this time they really mean it, sanctions really will be enforced—No kidding! Honest injun!—only the deserving will be amnestied, etc. etc.

It’s going to happen. The stage is being set up for another performance of the immigration-reform opera buffa as I write, in fact: The old backdrops are being repainted, the props are being dusted off, the orchestra is tuning up, and the dimwitted old gent—read “American public”—who is going to be made a fool of by the clever young tenor and soprano—that’s the immigration lobbies and their enablers in the press and foreign chancelleries—is gluing on his false whiskers.

Gentle reader, don’t be fooled a third time. Consult the historic evidence. (Auster and Brimelow are good starting points. George Borjas wrote the bible on the economics of the issue. And our own Mark Krikorian’s Center for Immigration Studies has a terrific database of research articles on all aspects of immigration.) Then disagree, if you dare, with the following statement:

In the matter of immigration, every word, every single damn wretched word, from the mouths of the legislative and executive branches should, in the absence of overwhelming and irrefutable evidence to the contrary, be assumed to be a lie—including “and” and “the.”