Bloomberg OpEd: Immigration Advocates Have Lost the National Debate, for Now

ELIZABETH, NJ - FEBRUARY 23: People protest outside of the Elizabeth Detention Center during a rally attended by immigrant residents and activists on February 23, 2017 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Over 100 demonstrators chanted and held up signs outside of the center which is currently holding people awaiting deportation. The …
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Advocates for greater immigration have to quit their plans to further expand immigration and focus on defending their gains from the last 30 years, says Noah Smith, a globalist advocate at Bloomberg News.

“We pro-immigration people lost, thanks to external events, the rabid insane commitment of the anti-immigration forces, and the natural ending of the immigration wave,” as well as the coronavirus epidemic, Smith lamented via Twitter on April 27. “Now the battle over the future of America will shift to a new phase: consolidation and nation-building.”

Smith’s concession is far short of the president’s signature on reform legislation.

But it is a small sign of success for the many millions of white-collar and blue-collar Americans who elected Donald Trump to help prevent their salaries and wages from being diverted to Wall Street shareholders. The popular pushback came after the federal government welcomed a 20-year tsunami of legal and illegal immigrants — plus millions of visa workers, including H-1B — who destroyed many stable careers, spiked housing costs, disrupted education, and fractured American politics with diverse identity politics.

So far, Trump has used a series of incremental changes to largely block additional blue-collar illegal immigration. But Trump has not overcome the establishment’s near-universal support for cheap immigrant labor, and so he has not blocked the annual inflow of legal immigrants, the resident population of illegal immigrants, or the population of 1.5 million college graduate visa workers.

However, on April 22, Trump announced a pro-American shift in immigration policy to shrink legal immigration — but also to stage a national debate whereby Americans can unite to demand deep cuts in the population of visa workers. That is a huge and popular step forward in his promise to put Americans first, say administration officials.

Smith wants to blame the immigration setback on bad luck, not on the harm caused to most Americans by the globalization agenda. On April 23, he wrote on

President Donald Trump was elected on a promise to reduce the flow of foreigners moving into the U.S., and for the first three years of his presidency he strove mightily to do so …

But the anti-immigration forces only managed to chip away at the orthodoxy. Despite (or perhaps because of) Trump’s election, pro-immigration sentiment rose. Efforts to reform the country’s legal immigration system went nowhere. There was every reason to expect that the election of a new president would send immigration numbers back up.

Then came coronavirus. The necessity of restricting travelers during a pandemic, together with the crash in the labor market, stopped almost all inflows of foreigners into the U.S. Even Trump’s Democratic opponent in the 2020 election, former Vice President Joe Biden, has chided Trump for not doing more to block travelers from China. Now Trump is looking to make that stoppage official and he will suspend legal immigration for 60 days by executive order.

On April 27, Smith declared the temporary setback in a series of Twitter posts:

He argued that advocates of globalization and diversity will eventually win because their policies are correct and popular:

The point is not that pro-immigration forces lost intellectually or in the court of American public opinion. We didn’t. We won. That just wasn’t nearly enough to keep immigration going, because of Trump, and because America is not an attractive place to move now.

Someday, when our country regains its confidence, we will reopen to immigration, and these arguments will be dusted off and used. But not for a while (even if Biden wins).

Smith is a strong advocate for the 1960s claim that the United States has become a diverse “nation of immigrants” — and is not a nation of Americans, their children, and their evolved rules for civic society.

In prior tweets, Smith explained what he means by “diversity.” In September 2018, for example, Smith declared on Twitter that immigration is good because diversity will create a civic war between Americans and arriving cultures. “To make a diverse [nation] function, you can’t expect people to follow the [home nation’s evolved] rules” about how people are supposed to behave, Smith said, adding:

People from diverse backgrounds are constantly struggling to understand each other better, to take each other’s divergent family histories and cultural backgrounds into account, in order to get along at work, at school, in marriages, etc. That effort strengthens us.

Smith labels the transformation project as “The America experiment.”

Smith’s imposed civic war over diversity imposes a huge political, economic, and civic cost on ordinary Americans, and it prevents Americans from creating a stable society where ordinary people can use their culture to rule the elites.

Smith derides a stable society as merely “homogenization and conformity.”

Smith admits that his imposed “America experiment” gamble might backfire on America: “Building a free society from people of all races, religions, and national origins might in fact prove too hard a task,” he said.

But the diversity goal is worth the cost imposed on other Americans, he said: “If we succeed – if we CONTINUE to succeed – then I believe the payoff will be unique and unmatched. A country with institutions strong enough not to have to rely on homogeneity will be the strongest country imaginable. The America experiment must continue.”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.