Joe Sobran: Buchanan on Immigration

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by Joseph Sobran –

Note: This advanced copy of the column, “Washington Watch” by Joe Sobran will appear in the August 31st edition of THE WANDERER National Catholic Weekly, 201 Ohio Street, St. Paul, MN 55107 It is posted on with permission from the author.

Rarely has a book rocked me as Pat Buchanan’s latest one has. State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, just published by Thomas Dunne Books, shattered my skepticism about the problem of immigration, which I’ve tended to think could be handled by gradual absorption and assimilation, as in the past.

Buchanan argues powerfully that the current wave is radically different from previous ones. In America both the volume of newcomers and, all too often, their attitudes resist the adaptation to our traditions we used to be able to assume.

As Enoch Powell warned a generation ago, when Britain began to feel the impact of limitless immigration, the thing has the character of an invasion; the aliens, he noted, were arriving not as mere individuals, but as whole villages, transforming British culture, and not for the better. Now the same thing is happening here – but on a much larger scale.

Moreover, the Mexican government is deliberately fostering invasion across the Southern border and encouraging the “Reconquista” of the Southwestern states. President Bush has ignored this conscious and aggressive policy, for which Buchanan contends he deserves nothing less than impeachment. (Meanwhile, though this is a separate story, a parallel hostile Muslim invasion of Europe is creating “Eurabia.”)

In addition to crime, often in the form of violent gangs, the invaders come with diseases, some unknown to us, some of which we thought had been almost wiped out – tuberculosis, for instance. Buchanan notes that the immigrants, mostly illegal of course, have put such a strain on California’s medical system that 48 hospitals in the Los Angeles area have been forced to close down. It’s illegal to turn even illegals away if they urgently need medical care.

Which points up a fundamental problem. We are now paying, more dearly than even the pessimists dreamed, for the welfare state. Milton Friedman long ago put it simply: You can’t have open immigration and a welfare state. No system can afford infinite eligibility for finite benefits. Why didn’t we foresee this axiomatic truth? Did it take a Nobel Prize-winning economist to point out what is self-evident? Not that very many people were listening. Liberal opinion generally thinks it’s mean-spirited to do the math.

Buchanan’s book relentlessly cites statistics to curl a reader’s hair. One in every 12 illegals has a criminal record, and in Los Angeles, for example, 95 per cent of all homicide warrants target illegals. Some libertarians reply insistently that the current immigration is a net plus for this country, but even on purely economic terms – setting side such considerations as morality, culture, and national character — Buchanan makes that hard to believe. I can only wonder at anyone who can find a silver lining in this storm cloud.

On the contrary, I wonder if Buchanan isn’t guilty of optimism in thinking the U.S. Government, which has done so much to create and aggravate the problem, can still be capable of solving it. Some of his recommendations, such as a 2,000-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, may retard the invasion, but on his own showing it these measures already seem too late. And that’s supposing this government could muster the will to enact them.

For me, reading this book is like listening to a doctor as he gives you a brilliant diagnosis of your terminal illness. Only a few weeks ago, Bill Bonner’s Empire of Debt convinced me that this country is headed for economic disaster in the next few years. And of course Al Gore is certain that global warming is about to devastate the planet. If all three of these prophets are right, the twenty-first century isn’t going to be a whole lot of fun.

Like Powell, Buchanan has been widely abused for being right ahead of his time. Has any other American commentator, over the years, been proven so right about so many things?

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Enough bad news! How about some cheery epigrams? Regime Change Begins at Home – a new selection of my Confessions of a Reactionary Utopian – will brighten your odd moments. We’ll send you a free copy if you subscribe to Sobran’s for one year (at $44.95) or two ($85). Call 1-800-513-5053 to order by credit card or check, or send payment to P.O. Box 1383, Vienna, VA 22183. You can order these and other items at (still one of the most popular websites on the Internet!).

Joe Sobran is a syndicated columnist, author, and the editor of the monthly newsletter, SOBRAN’S.

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