....in one succinct essay from David Leonhardt of the New York Times. That is, in case you didn't see it.
Please see the whole OPed piece HERE to obtain links to all the sites he included in his article.
I have to ask: Is this one of the reasons that the Democrats are being targeted as being too far left? Is it because we always were too far to the right already that no one knows where the devil the Center is?
This says it ALL, and it exposes the Ugly Truth about too many of us.
"The history of American opposition to immigration is to a large extent a history of racism, which was often promoted by powerful or influential people.
Calvin Coolidge wrote in 1921 that "Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend." Henry Cabot Lodge warned, in an 1896 speech on the Senate floor, that immigrants could devastate the "mental and moral qualities which make what we call our race" — and Theodore Roosevelt praised Lodge for "an A-1 speech." Roosevelt also told a friend he was worried about the "multiplication" of "Finnegans, Hooligans, Antonios, Mandelbaums and Rabinskis."
A New York Times editorial in the 1920s warned of "swarms of aliens," while a Washington Post editorial referred to Italians as "degenerate spawn of the Asiatic hordes." Cold Spring Harbor, the prestigious laboratory, gave scientific credence to racist nativism. The same book editor who published Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald also oversaw a string of xenophobic books.
These details come from "The Guarded Gate," the latest book by the journalist-turned-historian Daniel Okrent. In it, Okrent tells the story of American leaders and elites who promulgated racist falsehoods to justify immigration restrictions. They succeeded. In 1924, Coolidge signed a law with quotas that remained in force until the 1960s.
President Trump is their nativist heir. His hateful remarks, his lies and his violation of immigrants' basic human rights all fit the pattern. His behavior is a throwback to an uglier era.
And yet not every part of the immigration debate is so clear. I wanted to mention Okrent's book — a fascinating, well-told story — as a way of grappling with what I find to be a difficult part of the issue.
Immigration restrictions are not inherently racist. Nor is border security. All countries have borders and restrictions. They have to, because they have to make decisions about who can enter their country and who can be a citizen. Nations can't function without such basic laws.
But the fact remains that the pro-restriction side in American politics has historically revolved around racism and still does today. That's important to acknowledge for anyone who wants to make a case — a non-racist case — for less immigration.
As regular readers know, I have become somewhat hawkish on immigration. I think our immigration policy should take into account the sharp rise in inequality over the last few decades. One way to do so would be to reduce, or at least hold constant, the level of immigration by people who would compete for lower- and middle-wage jobs while increasing immigration among people who would compete for higher-wage jobs.
History also makes this point. It's not just a coincidence that the period of strongest income gains for middle-class and poor families — starting in the 1940s — followed, and overlapped with, a period of falling immigration. "Immigration restriction, by making unskilled labor more scarce, tended to shore up wage rates," the great labor historian Irving Bernstein wrote.
The economists Peter Lindert and Jeffrey Williamson have noted that the foreign-born share of the labor force fell to 5 percent in 1970, from 21 percent in 1915. Countries with "slower labor force growth" in the middle of 20th century, they note, "experienced deeper income inequality reductions."
Since the 1970s, of course, immigration has surged, as has income inequality. Many other factors play a role in rising inequality: corporate consolidation, slowing educational attainment, the decline of unions, falling tax rates on the rich and more. Some of these are substantially more important than immigration. But immigration belongs on the list.
All of which raises a question: Will any political leader figure out how to make a principled case for less immigration, rather than simply a racist one? So far, the answer is no. Trump is an unrepentant lifelong racist. Other Republican politicians are largely cowed by him. And Democrats have become uncomfortable talking about any immigration policy other than liberalization.
That's a shame.
Related: Okrent wrote a recent Op-Ed about immigration, and Linda Gordon reviewed his book in The Times.
Reihan Salam has been the most prominent conservative advocate for economics-based immigration restrictions, while Dean Baker has made a left-leaning case for restriction. (Bernie Sanders once made this case too.)
"Undocumented workers who are already here," Baker wrote, "should be allowed to normalize their status and become citizens." But, he continued, "I would not like to see large numbers of middle skilled professionals come into the country … As far as less-skilled immigration, I would want it sharply limited, except for family re-unification."