Otis L. Graham, Jr.
Immigration policy is a subject most Americans would rather avoid; it has to do with keeping people out of the country, and in a nation of immigrants that is a thought painful to contemplate.
On any complex issue, one would expect Americans of liberal or radical inclination to take a variety of positions. Yet on the issue of illegal immigration, ever since World War II, there is a remarkable and historically unprecedented unanimity within the American left: immigration is a “social problem” that is not a welcome subject of discussion. If the issue is forced, the predictable stand is to favor porous if not open borders—a position, if not a reflex, with deep roots in our history, though largely unexamined since the days before World War I. We have, of course, not forgotten the old nativist movements that so embittered our politics. History appears to teach us that when it is asserted that immigration is a problem, groups learn to hate. R...
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