Cogent Response for Brimelow’s “Unchecked Immigration”

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“Unchecked Immigration” is Peter Brimelow’s vehement and passionate argument about curtailing the amount of immigrants coming into the United States. Brimelow feels strongly that the 1965 Immigration Act caused the rate of immigrants to skyrocket since that point. Also, his projection is that the population will reach an unprecedented amount by the year 2050: If present trends continue, the U.S. population will reach 390 million by 2050. More than 130 million will be post-1970 immigrants and their descendants (Brimelow, 1995, p. 268). In addition, he believes that America is suffering under the staggering amounts of immigrants coming into the nation. He purports that native born Americans are moving to areas of the country that do not have a large immigrant population. His estimate is that for every native born American leaving an area; each one is being replaced by an immigrant. Brimelow argues this is causing the nation to burst apart at the seams ethnically because whites and blacks are moving to separate parts of the country. Also, he has his doubts on whether America can survive this migration pattern: The country is coming apart ethnically under the impact of the enormous influx. This must ultimately raise what might be called the National Question: Is America still that interlacing of ethnicity and culture that we call a nation—and can the American nation-state, the political expression of that nation, survive (Brimelow, 1995, p. 269)? Furthermore, Brimelow believes the sequestering off of the different ethnicities will undermine multiculturalism, dissolve shared values, and will cause more class stratification. In other words all that Americans have worked towards to become one nation will be lost. Immigration wasn’t the cause of this, but it will contribute to these negative factors: All the unraveling that the editor’s instance—multiculturalism, dissolution of shared values, increased stratification is exacerbated, at the very least, by immigration. This is not to say that immigration necessarily caused these policies, a point immigration enthusiasts invariably miss (Brimelow, 1995, p. 269). Brimelow equates this sectioning off of the nation with the breaking apart of the Old Roman Empire. He suggests we should seal off the borders and deport the illegal immigrants that are here. Then, the nation should stop immigration for a five to ten year time span. During this time frame Americans would be asked what they want in terms of immigration in order to give the population a chance to balance out. Finally, immigration could be resumed at medium levels, and admittance into the country should be based off of skills and the ability to speak English. Brimelow makes several valid points about immigration and the need for reform. Illegal immigration has become completely out of hand, and is draining the United States of jobs and government resources. People who come to the United States illegally are hurting the system and are virtually stealing from us as a country: We have been worried about the deleterious effects of uncontrolled immigration for a long time, yet we’ve been fearful of speaking plainly about it lest we be viewed as bigots. We have seen the social costs of immigration (overcrowding and depressed wages, to name two). At least one poll found that some two-thirds of Hispanics—the category usually evoked by the phrase “immigration problem”—believe we’re admitting too many immigrants (Raspberry, 1995, p. 265). It stands to reason that even if an ethnic group that has been deemed an “immigration problem” believes we are allowing in too many immigrants, then we truly must be. Americans need to stop being afraid to speak their minds on the situation. If Americans do not speak up about the problem with immigration and especially illegal immigration we will be steam rolled by the issue. However, California has taken steps to make reforms to keep tax dollars from rolling to illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants in California only receive aid with immunizations, emergency health care, and food. The federal government has been of little help, but California took matters into their own hands: It’s easy enough to see what drove the Californians. The presence of the illegals in California (and in dozens of other cities) is the result of the federal government to keep them out. This same government, through the federal courts, has ruled that the state has the duty to provide services (including health, education, and welfare) for people whose very presence here is a violation of the law. But the states get little help from Washington in paying for these services, and the feds, though recently better at enforcing the borders, seem unable to deport the illegals they arrest here (Raspberry, 1995, p. 266). The census bureau’s figures support that something must be done now to change immigration policies. The facts do not lie. If we continue to ignore the immigration situation and the problem it poses, the nation will become overpopulated within decades: A new Census Bureau report predicts that there will be 383 million Americans in the year 2050. That’s 128 million more than there are now, and 83 million more than the bureau was predicting just four years ago, when it appeared that the U.S. population would peak and stabilize at around 300 million (Kinsley, 1992, p. 257). Furthermore, Americans who have been here for generations will encounter a tighter and more competitive job market. It’s hard enough that Americans have to compete with one another for jobs, but too many immigrants are clamoring for decent jobs. Microsoft is one of the most popular employers in the United States. Yet, immigrants are taking positions with Microsoft leaving other Americans out in the cold: As spearhead of the fastest growing U.S. industry, software, Microsoft offers some of the most coveted jobs in the U.S. economy. But for vital functions, it still must turn to immigrants for 5% of its domestic work force, despite the difficult and expensive legal procedures to import an alien (The Right People, p. 271). Brimelow’s argument to stem the flow of immigrants is based upon facts and figures that the United States cannot ignore. Americans are paying the price for an overabundance of immigrants by having fewer jobs available and having to use tax dollars to fund illegal immigrants. The time for the federal and state governments to get a handle on immigration is now. Bibliography Michael Kinsley, Gatecrashers, The Debate 257 (1992). Peter Brimelow, Unchecked Immigration, The Debate 269 (1995). William Raspberry, Immigration Straight Talk, The Debate 265 (1995). Unknown Author, The Right People, The Debate 271.

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