ALIEN NATION by Peter Brimelow


Commen Sense About America's Immigration Disaster
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 A breezy, discursive, and somewhat potent attack on immigration--by an immigrant (from England). ``There is a sense in which current immigration policy is Adolf Hitler's posthumous revenge on America,'' declares Forbes senior editor Brimelow (The Wall Street Gurus, 1986). Assuming the role of tribune of the silent majority, he assails PC elite policies that are leading to ``unprecedented demographic mutation'' by new citizens who don't wish to assimilate. He's not against immigration in principle, but in practice; analyzing demographic data, he suggests that the post-1965 Great Wave of immigration is having a much greater impact than First Great Wave of the early 20th century because the Anglo-American birthrate is so much lower now. Brimelow's potted history is arguable, as when he states that, for the first time, nearly all new immigrants are ``racially distinct `visible minorities.' '' (Weren't Jews and Italians disparaged as different?) His suggestion that immigrants actually cost more than they help the economy is somewhat more persuasive, and he notes tellingly that the growth of the Hispanic population, given current affirmative-action policies, will especially impact black Americans. It's undeniable that the Immigration Act of 1965, which allowed ``family reunification,'' encouraged the immigration of numerous unskilled workers and has led to unforeseen effects- -including ethnically based organized crime and a decline in public health. But Brimelow, wielding a broad brush, lumps immigration with affirmative action and bilingualism as policies undermining the nation; he also argues that multiracial societies don't work. Both arguments require a more subtle mind than Brimelow displays here, although he does a good job of skewering those who romantically choose anecdote over analysis. His recommendations: The US should retake its porous borders, favor skilled immigrants over family reunification, deny all payments to illegal immigrants, and perhaps even impose a moratorium on immigration. Most timely, in light of current anti-immigrant sentiment in California and elsewhere--a document that will help shape the debate. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-679-43058-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1995


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