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Debate: All Immigration Should Be Drastically Reduced by Ira Glasser

Debate: All Immigration Should Be Drastically Reduced

by Ira Glasser


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Mr. Kinsley starts out by drawing attention to the text of the resolution: "Note that word 'all.' This debate is not just about securing America's borders against illegal aliens. It's about cutting the total number of immigrants, both illegal and legal." Mr. Buckley points out the Scylla and Charybdis on immigration: "The great shadow that looms menacingly over one side is rank nativism, to stumble into saying, 'That man who wants to get into the United States is black, brown, or yellow, and we have enough of them' On the other side,... there are the libertarians who say, 'Anybody who wants to do anything should be permitted to do so, and if one of the things people want to do is to come live in the United States, why not?' That is one of the great disabling rhetorical limbs that get in the way of clear thought." Mr. Botstein, rebutting, says, "Today's debate is an experience in deja vu. We've heard the same refrains before: too many bad, different, new immigrants, as opposed to few good, old-style immigrants." But Mr. Brimelow does add something new: the information-publicly available but not widely noticed until he started writing about it-that our current patterns of immigration are not a natural occurrence: they are the result of "the peculiar workings of the 1965 Act. We must never forget that this is a policy, a government policy... There has never been a transformation like this in the history of the world. We're not saying that it won't necessarily work, but we're saying that it's a risk and the American people should be asked whether they want to take that risk. We should have a pause in immigration precisely to allow that great debate to take place."

Episode FLS123, Recorded on June 6, 1995

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