It is disheartening that The Nation publishes articles that fail to dig below the surface on an issue that is as crucial to the nation's future as mass immigration.
The United States is probably currently environmentally unsustainable, with its population of around 308 million. The Pew Research Center projects we will grow to 438 million by 2050, 82 percent of that growth due to mass immigration (2008). Waxman-Markey would reduce greenhouse emissions 80 percent by that date. Does anyone really expect that to happen in the face of 40 percent growth? It's not a case of shifting deck chairs on the Titanic, because immigrants' ghg emissions grow an average of fourfold after arrival here (Center for Immigration Studies, 2008).
Then there's the issue of mass immigration taking jobs from the most deprived American workers (as well as a lot of computer programmers and the like). César Chávez understood that an oversupply of cheap labor would undermine his workers' wages, which is why he denounced illegal immigrants to the INS. Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times's most compassionate columnist, also understood this when he looked into it.
The thing he probably was not aware of was the impact of chain migration, or he would not have advocated amnesty for those already here.
Then there is the impact on US education in immigration hot spots. A friend of mine, a hard scientist of high national repute, then at UC Santa Barbara, had a daughter in the third grade at the local public school, which was 80 percent immigrant. He was appalled to learn one day that his daughter was in the thirty-fifth percentile in math, so he rushed in for a teacher conference. "Not to worry," he was told. "Your daughter is the star of the class."
The Nation's editors need to quit being soft-headed about this issue. They also need to realize that, like support for amnesty, opposition is bipartisan. I cast my first presidential vote for George McGovern, and my latest for President Obama. I stumped in New Hampshire for Kerry in '04. The only time I voted against a Democrat for president was John Anderson in 1980. There are plenty more like me. Even a plurality of Americans of Hispanic extraction think there is too much immigration, according to a very recent Zogby poll.
Those who want to help the world's underprivileged should work on ways of helping make their home countries more livable and more economically viable. We can't bring them all here, and we owe our own underprivileged the opportunities to get ahead. But America's poorest, most of whose parents made better wages packing meat ($25/hr [inflation-adjusted] then, as opposed to $8/hr today), assembling cars, building homes, etc., for obvious psychological reasons can't hope to compete for today's s--- wages with Third World natives for whom these wages represent wealth.