See the lies that keep the borders open

Summary: As the debate about closing our borders heats up, advocates for massive immigration lay down a barrage of lies on the American people. They are unquestioned in the major news media, but easily debunked. This was posted in May. Perhaps it will get more attention now. This is a follow-up to yesterday’s See the hidden history of immigration into America (it ruins the narrative).

Immigration USA - dreamstime_50442381
ID 50442381 © Iqoncept | Dreamstime.


(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 Must our population grow to ensure prosperity? — Spoiler: no! See how Japan is positioned to be a star of the 21st Century: highly educated, shrinking population, ready for the massive job destruction from the next wave of automation.

(2) America has 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. It’s Econ 101.

America easily absorbed high rates of immigration during most of 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. 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 assumption in most arguments for massive immigration. 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).

Pointing to an educated immigrant who receives a Nobel Prize means we should allow in millions of poor uneducated migrants from failed states! Q.E.D.

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. Many 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. Are there are many people who oppose admitting the “best and brightest from around the world.” Is it ethical to strip poor nations of their best educated people (e.g., doctors)? We do not even compensate them for the educate they provided, and from which we benefit.

Another trick is to point to our successful assimilation of immigrants in the early 20th century. But American policy then was explicitly assimilationist – and often coercive. Now our institutions are based on multiculturalism. To assume that immigrants will still quickly and easily assimilate is daft.

Open borders advocates usually pretend that the number of immigrants is not a factor. But a society can assimilate only a limited number of immigrants. When the flood grows too large, it gets overwhelmed. That is probably happening today in western Europe, which has demonstrated a low ability to assimilate migrants.  After a thousand years Europe never fully assimilated its Jews.


“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, since they have the news media and academia as allies. This will be the story with all major public issues until we recover our traditional skepticism. 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. A Harvard Professor explains the populist revolt against immigration & globalization — By George Borjas, Professor of economics at Harvard.
  2. An anthropologist explains the disruptive politics of immigration — By Maximilian C. Forte, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University.
  3. Stratfor: Is the West Being Overrun by Migrants? — By the famous sociologist and historian Ian Morris.
  4. An anthropologist explains how immigration serves the needs of capitalism. — By Maximilian C. Forte, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University.
  5. Conversions to Islam will reshape the West.
  6. Immigration is the key political battle of our time.

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.


25 thoughts on “See the lies that keep the borders open”

  1. Another brilliant OP from the Esteemed, Mr Krummer.
    Those whom have managed to find their way to this astute
    website, ( one of the most important on the Internet) have
    the pleasure to read some of the most insightful and acute
    materials pertaining to human events.

    “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.”

    Why is it that governmental units are the only entities known to man
    which generally fail to achieve any scale of economy?

    My humble apology for going off topic.

    1. Hans, your “Why is it that governmental units are the only entities known to man which generally fail to achieve any scale of economy?” is on target especially with LK’s third point of infrastructure. One of the synergistic effects of increasing population, especially immigrants with families, is that it offers bureaucracies the opportunity to work together to play the crying child meme and deflect thought from an objective evaluation. The media has shown DACA, the crying children of the caravans, poor and homeless. All need our help right now, and it would be immoral to deny them our help.

      In most cases, U.S. infrastructure is handled by the bureaucracies.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        “Why is it that governmental units are the only entities known to man which generally fail to achieve any scale of economy?”

        The correct answer is that this is false. Typical conservative fakery. The US Post Office was an efficient organization for almost 200 years, until political interference destroyed it. Social security is one of our most efficient financial institutions. Ditto the Census, esp impressive because much of it is built from scratch every decade.

        “In most cases, U.S. infrastructure is handled by the bureaucracies.”

        In almost no cases is US infrastructure handled by bureaucracies. It is a patronage fiesta, so critical decisions about building, service levels, and closure are made by politicians. Often limited by their unwillness to raise taxes – or divert spending from things they like more.

        Such as in California, where the population has almost doubled since 1970 – with too little additional infrastructure. BART was world-class light rail when built in 1972. It is basically the same system today, 46 years later. With only small additions to the network, and few improvements to the tech.

    2. Larry, I both agree with you and don’t. I understand and agree with your comments such as part of this is a false conservative talking point for many of government functions on such things as Bart systems that work. Where I disagree is with infrastructure such as roads, prisons, and others.

      I would have written better if I had thought to be more specific. And I do agree that even these bureaucracies are dancing to the politicians, who themselves dance to the tune that others call.

      Perhaps I am wrong, but I see commissions and bureaucracies giving cover, so that the lies are more prevalent, the coordination of effort makes them more believable, and this adds to the difficulty to change. The vested interests are not just the politicians and who they answer to.

      In particular, if we don’t keep growth of population going, would you expect that these commissions, bureaucracies, or politicians to give up their fiesta? What I expect is a confederacy of cause to keep the fiesta going. This would mean a continued effort to claim the benefits of growth and immigration.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        (1) “see commissions and bureaucracies giving cover”

        You are conflating two very different animals. Commissions – such as those running much US infrastructure – but not controlling key decisions, such as funding construction – are the opposite of “bureaucracy.” They are either elected or appointed by politicians (not civil service) – and function in a highly political environment. Anyone who has served on a public board will explain the difference to you, probably with high intensity.

        These are as democratic (i.e., republican – representative democracy) institutions as they can be.

        (2) “so that the lies are more prevalent”

        The essence of modern America is our apathy and passivity – and our complaints when bad people take advantage of us. Get over it. It’s the Great Circle of Life, just like in the Disney films. Being prey is a choice.

        (3) “if we don’t keep growth of population going, would you expect that these commissions, bureaucracies, or politicians to give up their fiesta?”

        The two things – population growth and corruption — have no relationship. Many stagnant areas in history (i.e., most) are quite corrupt.

        (4) “What I expect is a confederacy of cause to keep the fiesta going.”

        What I expect is for Americans to continue to be weak, passive, and apathetic. And continue to whine loudly. But I hope for change, however unlikely it seems.

  2. Hi Larry,

    Nice call with the pointer to your excellent post on Japan. People are unaware that another experiment is being run at scale, and so far, the Japanese have turned “conventional” economic thinking on its head. The economist Bill Mitchell is a good resource for insights on the Japanese economy e.g., Japan is different, right? Wrong! Fiscal policy works. Japan is where economic theories go to die, LOL!



    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      The problem with Bil Mitchell is seen in that article. He gives a rebuttal to “Japan is Different.” But he does not quote any economists who say Japan is different.

      He quotes The Guardian article about Japans Q2 2017 GDP: “The overall result was much stronger than expected by the market …”, replying with :

      “I presume that will mean the UK Guardian will refrain henceforth from publishing articles from economists or their own journalists that suggest that fiscal policy is ineffective,”

      This is gross fakery. That economists’ estimates for a quarter’s GDP were far off is not surprising. Without access to the full data, economists can only guess at current GDP growth. Mitchell implies — falsely — that this means that economists said that fiscal policy doesn’t work. Which is bizarrely false.

      I don’t understand the appeal of fringe economists, but both Left and Right love them. Which is why neither Left or Right should be let near the controls. They’ll steer us into the dumpster at warp speed.

  3. The late Sam Francis: “You cannot separate a culture from the genetic endowments of its founding people, nor can you expect to transfer it to another people.”

    And you cannot site an individual to counter the above as the part does not prove the whole, nor the whole the part, nor the particular the universal, etc..

    Back in 90s The Wall street Journal printed a letter-to-editor of mine which stated that if we imported say 300 million Hindus, we would resemble Bombay more than Boston.
    Ed note: Samuel T. Thomas, from Wikipedia.

    “He was a columnist and editor for the conservative Washington Times until he was fired after making racist remarks at the 1995 conference of the group American Renaissance. Francis would later become a “dominant force” on the Council of Conservative Citizens, an anti-black, anti-immigrant group that espoused racism.”

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “The late Sam Francis: …”

      He’s not an authority on anything. Nor is there any evidence that his beliefs are correct.

      “we imported say 300 million Hindus, we would resemble Bombay more than Boston.”

      True, by arithmetic. But that’s absurdly exaggerated scenario has little relevance to the current discussion about immigrants – which is about small flows that over time add up to large numbers. That is, how quickly and completely will the current generation of migrants assimilate to the West.

  4. Off direct topic, but reader may find interesting, as I hope you do as the editor.

    This weekend was a holiday here and my family and my wife’s family went away together, my brother in law is a leftie, but not radical. He was discussing immigration to Australia and asked be as a British (and Australian) citizen why Australia can’t deal with immigration, but Europe is doing so well.

    The left leaning paper he reads is always running articles about how well immigrants are settling into Europe and everyone is delighted at the situation, while the same paper hammers Australia for not integrating immigrants. Not wanting to ruin the weekend, but having read an article in The Australian, which was a reprinted of an Economist article, I gave him the article to read, only saying someone is serious lying here. The article lamented the fact immigration was going badly in Europe and leading to the rise of the far right, while immigration was going, so well in Australia. That the media keeps telling us we are the issue and the other continent, is better at integration, is another method of presenting the wishes of the 1%.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor

      A guy,

      That’s on-topic – and a great story. How people react to realization that they have been fed propaganda is an important subject. Do they learn, and become skeptical? Or are just shocked, then back to their usual info diet?

      It’s a more relevant version of Plato’s story about people living in the save, seeing only shadows on the wall.

  5. Good post.

    Years ago, I broke with libertarians over immigration (I was an ’88 Ron Paul voter and kept voting libertarian for a few more elections).

    A strong democracy requires a strong middle class. A strong middle class requires limited immigration, among other things.

    Assimilation is the key. I grew up in an era of the melting pot. My high school soccer team had players from over 25 countries between the JV and varsity squads. My AP Chem class had 2 native born and the other one besides me was the child of recent immigrants. Yet all were very “American” and fully melted into SoCal culture.

    Until I read Robert Putnam, I had no idea as to the consequences of too much diversity.

    We need another long pause, to restart the melting pot. The country is doomed without a long pause of assimilation.

  6. I think that the reality is the need for a long pause, we are not integrating. I was talking to an Indian student about his desire to get Permanent Residency (PR) in the regional area where I live and then go to Melbourne. he told me he and three cousins were all working and living together here to get PR , they wanted to buy a house in Altona in Melbourne, where there is a large Northern Indian community, that is even the Indian community is not integrating within itself, they are dividing North and South Indian. Meat eater vs Vegetarians, and very different culturally.

    Thanks for the feedback, Editor. My brother in law is slowly waking up to the media lies, but he clings to open borders as it would be an ecological disaster if there was no animal migration, it beggars belief sometimes.

    I am a teacher and open to diversity, my first wife was a dark Spanish girl, I hate racism, but I must admit the last few years, I have found 80% of the International Students I teach don’t even seem to like us, it is just we pay fees, so you should pass us and we’ll get PR and move to an area where we dominate. Indians Altona, Chinese Boxhill.

    I am feeling worried for my sons and daughter, I am in that Prison Yard at times and the bragging about how we will own your country and you are lazy that is why you make nothing is beginning to hurt.

  7. I recently read an interesting blog post by Zok Pavlovic, an Eastern European geographer discussing immigration and assimilation:

    I used to live in Belgium many years ago and I remember the people in the Flemish village where I lived talk about the “foreigners”, referring to the next village ten kilometres down the road (still in Flemish-speaking territory but their accent and vocabulary were slightly different).

    The butcher in the village, which was near Brussels, came from a village in West Flanders, where my father grew up. Whenever my mother weht to his shop, she never got what was on display in the meat counter. He would always insist on going in the back to get a better quality piece of meat or leaner, freshly made sausage or cold cuts, which he sold to her at a discount from what the villagers paid.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      Liberals love labels. If they affix a label to something and they consider the debate finished – and declare victory. The drift to the Right in many nations results, in part, from this being the fast track to irrelevance. Labels without responding to what the other says means that they have no rebuttal, and prefer to close their eyes.

      That you consider that story about village parochialism relevant is hilarious. As engineers say, scale matters. A 10x change is a qualitative change – not just a quantitative change. If you don’t believe that, OK. There’s not much more to say to you.

  8. I lived in Barcelona, Spain for a few years, my then wife was Catalan, A Spaniard from the Catalan region, there are huge difference between the regions of Spain, that were once seven Kingdoms. I was offered a very good job, Director of Studies in a prestigious private school, so after must argument we moved to Alicante some 300 km, from Barcelona, just for one term to try the job. From my ex wife’s accent they could tell she was Catalan and made life difficult for her, despite being a highly qualified nurse and there being a shortage she could not get work, when English and German nurses were being employed with poor Spanish, but admittedly to deal with the tourists and year round foreign retired. My ex wife being married to an Englishman at that time, spoke excellent English, native Spanish and Catalan, plus good German. We moved back to Barcelona needless to say.

    This is the way it is in traditional societies, still is in Cornwall, my youngest brother moved there for a while and he was treated like an outsider despite having a Cornish girlfriend he could not get work.

    The point is when there is a bombing, war or international incident all these petty differences are forgotten we are/were one nation, with one purpose, one army and people, when the London bombing happened while I was teaching in London, my mainly immigrant class were happy and glad some English died, therefore they obvious did not consider themselves British and were not at all assimilated.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor

      Just a Guy,

      That’s a powerful example. America’s success at assimilation in the past has made us arrogant about our culture (of course others will abandon their own and adopt ours) and complacent (no need for effort to drive assimilation). It’s a deadly combo.

      Ignorant, also. Conditions change. What might have happened when America was young might not work a hundreds-plus years later – in a radically different nation.

  9. My pleasure Editor.

    I often wonder about the Indian and Asian immigration to Australia, the local Aussie are generally poorly educated, over weight and not that motivated, the middle classes still emphasis education, diet, sports and the protestant work ethic; while the rich have elite schools.

    The students live in poorer areas, to start with, take crappy casual jobs, drive Uber and study on top, their neighbours, are fat, thick, often lazy and racist, why would they want our culture, if this is all they see. They see the job opportunities and hope they can maintain their own culture in cultural enclave, but with more career and life opportunities than at home.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor

      Just a Guy,

      That’s an important point, seldom mentioned. Those areas with large flows from East Asia have a very different situation from the rest of us. They often don’t assimilate well (see Chinese in Africa), and often great out-perform the locals. See the Chinese in Malaysia and other areas. Their situation is often like the Jews in Europe, but in larger numbers.

      Something to watch.

  10. Editor,

    I think the experience for the locals is very different between classes as well, a rich upper middle class group sees cheaper harder working gardeners and cleaners, more competition with reduced prices in the restaurant sector, with cheap Uber to take them home. the working class see a drop in pay for gardening and cleaning jobs, falling employment conditions in waiting work, cooking jobs and taxi driving, as family run Chinese and Indian restaurant work for themselves, with less regard to hourly rates of pay.

    Diversity is experienced very differently between the social classes, one gets cheaper and more interesting food and services, the other gets falling wages and reduce employment opportunities.

    There is resentment growing in Malaysia with the Malays and in Africa with the Africans, I have had Sri Lankan students say there are no to few jobs in their largest port now Chinese owned, as the Chinese only employ their own.

  11. “The correct answer is that this is false. Typical conservative fakery. The US Post Office was an efficient organization for almost 200 years, until political interference destroyed it. Social security is one of our most efficient financial institutions.”

    Mr Kummer, perhaps one day you could posit why Social Insecurity is so efficient. If you are right, (correct) I will cell up with Ted Kaczynski or move into his cabin.

    As for the USPO, it operates as an organ of CONgress and thus a fair comparison is not a high probability.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      (1) “perhaps one day you could posit why Social Insecurity is so efficient.”

      I’m uninterested in “why”. The admin cost of the social security system, which combines insurance and retirement benefits, is 0.7% of expenditures – far less than any large private system in the US.

      (2) “it operates as an organ of CONgress and thus a fair comparison is not a high probability.”

      All Federal agencies are, like the USPO, an “organ of Congress”. The question was efficiencies of scale, and the post office was for most of its history highly efficient. Note that this is true of most post offices in developed nations. For that reason, in many they also provide cheap, basic financial services.

      (3) “If you are right, (correct) I will cell up with Ted Kaczynski or move into his cabin.”

      More useful would be to cut back on far-right agitprop, in favor of more reliable information sources.

  12. Thank you for your reply, Mr Kummer. I do not share your views or in this case opinions.

    I do not see this topic raised by you; which would raise a very lively debate.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “I do not share your views or in this case opinions.”

      They are not opinions. I gave you facts. But facts aren’t for everyone. Many people prefer tribal truths. That’s a problem with no obvious solution.

      Your comment points to the key differences in the debating style of Left and Right. The Left replies with name-calling, then makes up stuff, attributes it to you – and gives rebuttals to it. The Right replies with myths and lies (eg, faux economics, faux history).

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