Meet The NYT's 'Anti-Immigration Liberal' (Hint He Works At A Hate Group!)
There are always those people.
The people who revel in being the exception to the rule. The women who want everyone to know that they're "not like other girls" and in fact think male chauvinism is super great. The Republicans who hate Trump. Black people who don't believe racism exists. Former liberals who think "something" has just gone "too far."
If you're thirsting for a ton of positive attention, if you want to feel truly valued and special, it's certainly one way to go. If I were to suddenly become a Republican, accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior, declare feminism a societal evil, or oppose abortion, not only would I be endlessly showered with praise, but everything I said would be considered to be extra valid and extra validating to those praising me. I could be used as a weapon against those I used to agree with. People love that shit almost as much as they love unlikely animal friendships.
Yesterday, The New York Times ran an op-ed titled "I'm a Liberal Who Thinks Immigration Must Be Restricted," by one Jerry Kammer, a senior research fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies. It was not good.
In this op-ed, Kammer explains that he opposes immigration because of how immigrants drive wages down, which he appears to think is a brand new argument and not a large part of the justification for many of our more embarrassing anti-immigration laws, starting with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and moving forward. The act was a serious blight on the history of the labor movement, as it was supported by nearly every major union, with the notable exception of the Industrial Workers of the World.
He then pointed out that, once upon a time, other Democrats were also shitty on the issue of immigration, thereby justifying his own position today.
For many decades, liberals were outspoken in their alarm about illegal immigration.
In 1970, Senator Walter Mondale warned that "we have a massive poverty population coming into the country" from Mexico. In 1983 a New York Times editorial argued that while the country needed immigrants, "what it does not need is such an uncontrollable flood of illegal migrants that it tries public patience." In 1994, Barbara Jordan, the civil rights icon chosen by President Bill Clinton to direct the Federal Commission on Immigration Reform, told Congress, "As a nation of immigrants committed to the rule of law, this country must set limits on who can enter." In 2003, Hillary Clinton declared that she was "adamantly against illegal immigration."
But by the time Mrs. Clinton was running for president in 2016, she was courting the Latino vote, pledging not to deport unauthorized immigrants who did not have criminal records.
Yeah, see, that's the thing about being a progressive as opposed to a conservative. Your views change over time and you learn and grow and you try to get better. Or at least that's what we all hope to do.
He also danced around suggesting that part of the reason immigration is bad is because it causes, ahem, "anxiety" and "social division" and "societal fracturing."
In 2004, as the national immigration reporter for the San Diego-based Copley newspaper chain, I returned to Arizona to report on Proposition 200, a statewide ballot initiative to deny public services to unauthorized immigrants. Public anxiety had grown in tandem with the state's illegal immigrant population, which had jumped to 480,000 in 2005 from an estimated 88,000 in 1990.
In Phoenix I spoke with Donna Neill, a volunteer organizer in a working-class neighborhood and the driving force in the construction of a park that was used primarily by immigrant children. Nevertheless, she supported Proposition 200.
She pointed to crowded classrooms, apartments where two or three families crammed into a space meant for one and home additions in violation of housing codes that went unenforced. "We're losing the simple things that make a society a society, but no one wants to step forward because they're afraid of crossing some line and being called a racist," said Ms. Neill.
And what line would that be? Why are these people so anxious? What exactly are the "simple things that make a society a society"? It sure seems like a lot of things have been glossed over here in service of trying to make racist people look like they are not racist.
Which, actually, is not all that surprising given that the Center for Immigration Studies, where Kammer works, is a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group known for promoting the work of white supremacists. In fact, a study conducted by the SPLC found that the CIS had promoted white supremacist material 2,012 times — with much of it coming from VDARE, John Derbyshire and American Renaissance, the site owned by white supremacist Jared Taylor.
Now, Kammer can call himself a liberal, or, as he says, a "moderate Democrat," just like I can call myself a banana. He can even vote for Democrats if he likes, who am I to stop him? But — despite my distaste for gatekeeping — I'm going to say that working for an actual hate group pretty much disqualifies anyone from actually being a liberal in practice.
If he is truly so concerned about labor, if that is his first priority, there are many things he can do and and advocate for that don't involve attacking immigrants or working for a think tank that frequently links race and IQ.
Via the SPLC:
"There are real differences between groups, not just trivial ones that we have to notice more than we should. Race is different in all sorts of ways, and probably the most important way is in IQ. Decades of psychometric testing has indicated that at least in America you have Jews with the highest average IQ, usually followed by East Asians, and then you have non-Jewish whites, Hispanics and then blacks. These are real differences. They're not going to go away tomorrow, and for that reason we have to address them in our immigration discussions." — CIS contributing writer, Jason Richwine, during a panel about [CIS founder Mark] Krikorian's book, 2008
Oh. So if nothing else, all the CIS fellows could get Bret Stephens's job. A free pair of calipers comes with it!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse