The lies about immigration that keep the borders open

Summary: Advocates for open borders rely on a series of fallacies. They are unquestioned in the major news media, but easily debunked.


(1) We need immigrants to keep the economy growing!

This is endlessly said, but has little basis in fact or logic. There are three easy rebuttals.

First, we are beginning a new industrial revolution. Another wave of automation will destroy millions — perhaps tens of millions — of jobs. A shrinking labor force will be a blessing, especially if we educate them well (which our present system does poorly). Bringing in large numbers of poorly educated people to become socially disruptive unemployed is quite daft.

The second reason is more fundamental. An increasing population boosts GDP. That’s arithmetic. That’s nice for the people that own America, who benefit directly from rising GDP. But the rest of us care nothing about national GDP. We care about per capita GDP. How much does GDP rise for the average person? The evidence shows that bringing in vast numbers of unskilled and poorly educated migrants does little for us. Why would anyone believe otherwise?

An even better measure of growth is that of real per capita personal income. America’s borders were opened to migrants in the 1970’s — with the promise to Americans of faster growth. Since then grow has slowed, decade after decade. See the interactive graphs at the Regional Economic Analysis Project (REAP). The bottom line

  • 1960-69: 3.5% — The golden years,
  • 1970-79: 2.3% — The terrible 1970s, in which the borders were opened (not so terrible, in hindsight).
  • 1980-98: 2.2% — The Reagan Revolution. Tax cut didn’t work,
  • 1990-99: 2.0% — The tech boom. It didn’t work, even before the bust!
  • 2000-09: 1.2% — The Bush Jr. years. Tax cuts didn’t work, again,
  • 2010-17: 1.6% — The expansion following the worst recession since the Great Depression. It is piss poor. God only knows what the results will be after the next recession.

Third, increasing population requires expensive additions to US infrastructure. Sewers, water supply, electricity, transportation, etc. But poor, uneducated, unskilled workers (ignoring the number of young and elderly migrants) cannot generate the tax revenue to pay for these upgrades. Hence the increasingly dire state of many US cities — even after the second longest expansion in US history (one that is still running strong).

Fourth, immigration offsets one of the great benefits of the modern era. Fewer people plus less-polluting technology could radically reduce the burden we place on America’s environment. With a stable or falling America, our nation could become a high-tech garden.

For more about this see what is happening in Japan (the extreme example): Must our population grow to ensure prosperity? — Spoiler: no!

(2) Americans always loved massive immigration

“{Excess workers form} a disposable industrial reserve army … a mass of human material always ready for exploitation.”
— Marx’s Das Capital, expanding upon Friedrich Engels’ insight. They got a few things right.

America easily absorbed high rates of immigration during most of the the 19th century, with economic growth fueled by expansion on the frontier (mostly conquests from Mexico and Native Americans) and the fantastic innovations of the late 19th century (faster innovation than we’ve seen since 1960; details here).

Growth slowed for many reasons after the “closing of the frontier” around 1890 (the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886). Real per capita GDP grew at roughly 2%/year from 1870 to 1890. But in the 17 years of 1907 – 1924, growth was only 1.2%/year.

The American people understood that our ruling elites used immigrants to depress wages. Sometimes by changing the balance of supply and demand for labor. Sometimes by using immigrants as strike-breakers. So pressure slowly grew to restrict immigration. We got the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, the Gentlemen’s Agreement in 1907 to limit immigration from Japan, the Immigration Act of 1917, the Emergency Quota Act in 1921, and the Immigration Restriction Act of 1924.

The Great Depression brought even sterner measures. Liberal icon FDR firmly closed the door to immigrants and forced the repatriation of Mexican workers.

With wages sheltered by low rates of immigration, a large middle class in America was rebuilt (the deflation and frequent depressions of the late 19th century had crushed America’s craftsman and small farmers). Unions grew and wages began the long rise.

The 1% worked to reverse these gains. By 1970 their efforts began to bear fruit. We forgot that the middle class existed behind the shelter of a wall around America, and we allowed our elites to slowly open the borders. The news media floods America with pro-immigrant propaganda (e.g., adopting the term “dreamers” for illegal immigrants).

Now the middle class melts away, like last year’s snow.

(3) All migrants are the same

This is the big lie. It is daft, but a major assumption of most arguments for massive immigration — or even open borders. Migrants are migrants, a boon to the host no matter if they come from a functioning society or a failed state. If they are educated or illiterate. If they bring valuable resources or flood a nation with unneeded unskilled labor. If they are willing to assimilate or determined not to do so. If we intend to foster integration (as America did during the early 20th century) or spurned assimilation (multiculturalism).

It is as if we went insane, believing that delicious food could be made by randomly throwing together whatever we found in the kitchen. Spices, meats, vegetables, dairy foods, and cleaning supplies.

(4)  Other rhetorical tricks and illogical arguments for open borders

Open borders advocates rely on rhetorical tricks. Mary are dishonest or illogical, or both.

You don’t want floods of migrants from failed states? They reply that America depends on its “ability to attract the best and the brightest from around the world.” {That’s lifted from a comment.} As if we cannot be selective in whom we admit – as are most other nations. As if there are many people who oppose admitting the “best and brightest from around the world.”

Another favorite trick is to point to our successful assimilation of immigrants. But American policy was explicitly assimilationist back then. Now our institutions are based on multiculturalism. To assume that immigrants will still quickly and easily assimilate is quite daft.

The open borders advocate usually ignore the number of immigrants as a factor. Most societies can assimilate some level of immigration (but not always: most of Europe never fully assimilate its Jews).  But when the the flood grows too large, its ability to assimilate is overwhelmed. That is probably happening today in western Europe.


“Do remember you are there to fuddle him. From the way some of you young fiends talk, anyone would suppose it was our job to teach!”
— Advice to a junior tempter from Uncle Screwtape. From C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters.

None of these assumptions can withstand two minutes scrutiny. But that is not a problem for America’s propagandists. And it will not be until we again become skeptical. That is a prerequisite for reform in America, as described in these posts.

For More Information

Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about Islamabout immigration, and especially these…

  1. Look at immigration policy to see our government respond to its masters.
  2. The numbers about immigration that fuel Trump’s campaign.
  3. A Harvard Professor explains the populist revolt against immigration & globalization — By George Borjas, Professor of economics at Harvard.
  4. An anthropologist explains the disruptive politics of immigration — By Maximilian C. Forte, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University.
  5. Stratfor: Is the West Being Overrun by Migrants? — By the famous sociologist and historian Ian Morris.
  6. An anthropologist explains how immigration serves the needs of capitalism. — By Maximilian C. Forte, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University.
  7. Conversions to Islam will reshape the West.

Two books about immigration, both well worth reading

Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West by Christopher Caldwell (2009). See this post about it: About Europe’s historic experiment with open borders.

The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam by Douglass Murray (2017). See these posts with excerpts from the book: Martin van Creveld’s reaction to Europe’s rape epidemic. Warning of the “Strange Death of Europe”, and Strange perspectives on the challenges facing Europe.

Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West
Available at Amazon.
Strange Death of Europe
Available at Amazon.


16 thoughts on “The lies about immigration that keep the borders open”

  1. At last we agree on something Larry. All for preserving cultural hegemony and having open borders has been shown to be a disaster for any country that advocates them. Reposted.

  2. “{Excess workers form} a disposable industrial reserve army … a mass of human material always ready for exploitation.”

    I am amazed that when you quote this to a leftist that advocates for open borders, they freak out. Every time.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor

      Der Maiden,

      True! But then Leftists freak when confronted with almost all facts about immigration. The rising crime rates in Europe, the long history of popular opposition to immigration in the US, the disasters in most multi-ethnic nations (those with large cultural distance between the groups, unlike Switzerland), etc. Denial.

      The same occurs when discussing the Rights faux economics and faux history with someone on the Right.

      They are both cousins under the skin. Both wearing big blinders.

  3. I always ask this of my lefty friends: Why should my daughter compete with her 3rd cousin from Mexico for a job or a scholarship? So you can save a nickel on a basket of strawberries? Needless to say I have never received a satisfactory answer.

    1. The California Policy Center has data that shows that the UC system is actively discriminating against white applicants in favor of Latinos. So it’s not that our children will compete on a level playing field. Remember the answer for the failures of affirmative action are always more affirmative action. The CalPERS affirmative action CFO who was just fired for lying on his resume will probably be replaced by a third-world shaman who wears barely more than a loin cloth.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor

        Here is the California Policy Center report PRCD points to: “Discrimination to Ensure Diversity.” The bottom line:

        “Asians were admitted to the UC system more-or-less based on their merit. Blacks were admitted based on proportional representation. Latinos, comprising 50% of college age students, but at most 35% of merit-based successful applicants, broke nearly even on that basis with 33% of the admissions. But where did that leave the Whites? Instead of being at least 41% of the successful applicants based on merit, only 24% of the UC system’s 2017 freshman class are White.”

  4. I have lived very close to the Mexican border in Arizona for 52 years. From 1998 to 2010 were truly a period of invasion from Mexico, with over half a million illegals arriving in our state every year. The medical costs alone to the State of Arizona each year were over billion dollars.

    How Americans (both on the right and especially on the left) who claimed to love this country could permit what was truly an invasion, and destruction of the America we knew after WWII is something that I will never be able to fathom. The left deprecates the 1950’s, a time when we had achieved almost total national unity: culture, language, moral, spiritual values. From my point of view, California is now a one-party state, and is well on the way to becoming “La Republica de Aztlán”. Are Arizona and Texas next?

  5. John W Slater Jr.

    Clearly immigration is the true third rail of American politics. Lumping all immigration into a single bucket that includes guest worker visas, border security and college enrollments leads inexorably to many bad policies.

    California and the U.S. southwest were once Mexican territory. I’ve always suspected that our Mexican “invasion” issue may in some way be connected to the historical reality that these territories have historic ties to Hispanic rule.

    While most of the President’s rhetoric about immigration relates to this historic invasion, the current reality is that immigration today is mostly focused on other nationalities, particularly Asian populations. Clearly open borders with Asia would quickly lead to the radical shift in the national population mix that you and most of your readers seem to fear.

    On the other hand, our technological prowess depends on the ability to attract the best and the brightest from around the world. The mass exodus of highly educated South Asians to California has bee critical to the success of the tech industry over the past two or three decades. To some extent the same may be happening with China, but that is less clearly beneficial in that many Chinese appear to come to the U.S. so they can repatriate U.S. technological prowess back to their homeland.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the U.S. government could make a rational cost benefit analysis and build immigration policy accordingly.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      (1) “California and the U.S. southwest were once Mexican territory. I’ve always suspected that our Mexican “invasion” issue may in some way be connected to the historical reality that these territories have historic ties to Hispanic rule.”

      No need to suspect or describe it in such vague terms. Many Hispanics are quite open about the Reconquista – see Wikipedia. Much of southwestern America can become poor and autocratic, dominated by rich elites and crime lords. It will just take time and our continued passivity. It will, as always, be a surprise to our wise ones.

      (2) “Asia would quickly lead to the radical shift in the national population mix that you and most of your readers seem to fear.”

      A radical shift has already occured. Take a look at the numbers. Only the secondary and tertiary effects have yet to been felt. Got to love your complacency about this massive social science experiment. But then, you have ideology!

      (3) “On the other hand, our technological prowess depends on the ability to attract the best and the brightest from around the world.”

      Quite absurd, on two levels. First, we are more than capable of generating sufficient talent in our own population. Unfortunately ideologues of Left and Right both work to wreck our schools. In much of the nation, from Left-dominated California to GOP-dominated deep South, they have succeeded.

      Second, there is almost almost nil opposition to admitting the “best and brightest from around the world.” Characterizing opposition to admitting people with little education (esp from failed states) as opposition to “immigration” is — as I said in this post — the “big lie” of the immigration debate.

      (4) “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the U.S. government could make a rational cost benefit analysis and build immigration policy accordingly.”

      This just in: policies that disagree with your preferences can be done by people doing “rational cost benefit analysis.” They just have different perspective. Probably because they look more carefully at you at who pays the costs and who gets the benefits. US immigration policy results from a strong consensus of Left and Right, both clear on what they are doing. It’s just the Americans in the middle who are combinations of confused and ignorant.

  6. If you quarry deep into the academic literature surrounding immigration you strike all manner of rich veins.

    Garett Jones of George Mason University wrote a book titled Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own. This book is related to the Deep Roots literature.

    Another useful book is Azar Gat’s Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of Political Ethnicity and Nationalism. He disagrees with academics who assert that Nationalism is a recent phenomenon, he convincingly argues it’s far older using ample historical sources.

    Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, a massive tome by David Hackett Fischer is all about the cultural histories of what he views as the four critical groups of settlers in Early America. It describes in magisterial detail all manner of folkways (from Onomastics to housing construction) relating to the Cavaliers, the Puritans, the Quakers, and and the Scots-Irish. All these people from the same islands and even hundreds of years later the sticky differences of history are observable.

    As a parting thought, folks always say in Washington D.C. People are Policy. If so, wouldn’t New People fundamentally mean New Policy? Hmmm I recall Brecht saying something similar.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      Thank you for the references, and the insights. I hadn’t thought of applying “people are policy” to immigration!

  7. The fact that a common sense issue like this is even debated is so nonsensical it blows my mind.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      Not at all. “Common sense” depends on your seat at the table. For our elites, open borders means cheap labor and a politically docile public (economically insecure natives, easily manipulatable migrants). What’s not to like? It’s working great for them!

  8. One often overlooked factor of immigration is how selection bias determines the type of people who choose to immigrate, for better or worse. Most immigrants would have to be either very ambitious or very desperate, just by virtue of the fact they uprooted their life and made the journey.

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