Monday, March 11, 2019

Baseless Charge

You will read many stupid and/or dishonest things today but none more so than this:

Frum is being condemned across Twitter for taking on a topic few people will, in an article entitled "How Much Immigration is Too Much?" in the print edition and "If Liberals Won't Enforce Borders, Fascists Will" online.

Imagine whether Donald Trump would ever say

across the developed world, very high levels of immigration have coincided with widening class divisions, the discrediting of political and economic elites, and the rise of extremist politics.

Discrediting of political and economic elites and the rise of extremist politics, exemplified by the rise of Turkey's Erdogan, Egypt'sel-Sisi, Hungary's Orban, and the USA's Trump, has coincided with a high level of immigration, or what Americans believe is a very high level of immigration.  Class divisions, not unlike what the the American left refers to as "income disparities," also have increased. That is not a good thing.

Frum explains

Neither the fiscal costs nor the economic benefits of immigration are large enough to force a decision one way or the other. Accept the most negative estimate of immigration’s dollar costs, and the United States could still afford a lot of immigration. Believe the most positive reckoning of the dollar benefits that mass immigration provides, and they are not so large that the United States would be crazy to refuse them.

For good or ill, immigration’s most important effects are social and cultural, not economic. What are these effects, then? Some are good, some are bad, and some depend on the eye of the beholder.

Since Donald Trump became a candidate, the number of times he has said- in whatever words- "for good or ill" or that some effects "are good, some are bad, and some depend on the eye of the beholder" ranges from zero to, well, zero.

It is not surprising, then, that Frum is right about the impact of immigration.  So, too, is he when noting immigrants "are lowering America's average skill level." He notes also that they "are making America safer" and "are making America less self-destructive."  These are things Donald Trump has said, and will say, approximately never.

If you're wise enough to read this blog, unlike President Trump and the Twitterer quoted above, you might have noticed that visa overstays are a critical problem. Frum boldly takes aim at the GOP's rallying cry of "secure the border," arguing

The phrase border security seriously distorts our understanding of illegal immigration. By some tallies, more than half of the most recent immigrants in the country illegally arrived legally—typically as a student or tourist—then overstayed their visa. They obeyed the law when they entered. They broke it by failing to leave. They get away with this because the U.S. concentrates its immigration enforcement on the frontier—while slighting the workplace. President Trump seethes against illegal border crossings. Yet at least five of his golf resorts employed undocumented laborers for the first two years of his presidency. At one of his resorts, fully half the winter-season employees worked illegally.

We never have heard candidate or President Trump argue

Even more urgently, employers who take advantage of immigration status—to cheat workers of their pay, or harass or abuse them sexually, or force them to work in unsafe conditions—should be prime targets for criminal prosecution. As states raise their minimum wages, the temptation to hire people of precarious immigration status will intensify. It is the workplace that most needs additional enforcement resources.

As one of those employers himself, Donald Trump is not anxious to target such unscrupulous employers for criminal prosecution, and is at best barely interested in additional resources for workplace enforcement. Accused of saying the same things as the President about race, Frum mentions Mexicans only once, in which "illegal immigration to the United States by Mexicans is now declining."

Without details- because "Americans are entitled to consider carefully whom they will number among themselves"- Frump believes the USA would benefit by "reducing immigration" and "selecting immigrants more carefully."  Nonetheless- or perhaps therefore- he recognizes "the Trump-era debate about a wall misses the point."  Trump "thinks about immigration in terms of symbols, " especially the "slabs of concrete arrayed like incisors in a line running from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean."

Trump was elected President most of all because of his promise to build a wall financed by Mexico. If Frum believes the same things about immigration and race as that guy, there must be a second "Donald Trump" running around somewhere.

Next up: Frum/E.Warren/T. Roosevelt 

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