To Ross Douthat, white immigration is the only good immigration

A New York Times columnist praises the whites-only rhetoric of Stephen Miller

Published January 29, 2018 1:41PM (EST)

 (AP/Paul Sancya)
(AP/Paul Sancya)

President Donald Trump's immigration policy is, increasingly, in the hands of his policy adviser, Stephen Miller. To most, Miller's history and views should disqualify him from handling the sensitive topic. Even top Republicans have said that they had little faith in Miller's bona fides.

But, to New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, Miller — the man who has displayed xenophobic and sexist traits since he was a high school student — is bringing to light something Americans should be debating: Do we really want immigrants?

Douthat suggested Sunday that Miller should be a point person on any immigration deal, saying that Miller can appeal to the "conservative" base that successfully blocked bipartisan immigration reform in 2013. And Douthat seemed to be in Miller's camp, writing that Miller has some good points in not wanting immigrants:

The foreign-born share of the U.S. population is near a record high, and increased diversity and the distrust it sows have clearly put stresses on our politics. There are questions about how fast the recent wave of low-skilled immigrants is assimilating, evidence that constant new immigration makes it harder for earlier arrivals to advance. . .

Douthat's displeasure at immigration boils down to the fact that he may have to speak to someone who doesn't speak English, even though his complaints don't match the rhetoric of the guy at the end of the bar:

The present view of many liberals seems to be that restrictionists can eventually be steamrolled — that the same ethnic transformations that have made white anxiety acute will eventually bury white-identity politics with sheer multiethnic numbers.

The Stephen Miller wing of negotiations — that starts with the White House and goes down to the Freedom Caucus, with a long detour through the pages of Breitbart — is the dominant one. And that wing doesn't want to "bury white-identity politics," despite the fact that "America" has successfully absorbed other cultures for generations.

Remember that, at one time, the problem was that there were too many Irish immigrants coming into the country. At another time, it was Germans. And remember that those cultures gave Douthat the culture and the food that's now interwoven in Americana — because even apple pie isn't all that American.

But the fundamental problem is that in the United States, you can't eliminate cultures that aren't white. The U.S. wasn't founded on an ethnic identity. Native to the country are the Native Americans. There's a Mexican contingent that lived in the Southwest before it was part of American territory. Puerto Ricans, Samoans, Chamorro, Filipino and Haitians are all American citizens, by birth, because American territory is vast and doesn't simply cover just White Settlement, Texas.

But Douthat's claim overlooks one major error that completely blows up his entire argument. You can't assume that America is built on a white identity — neither then nor now — without realizing that the country was built on the backs of black slavery and of land that once belonged to Native Americans. And Westward expansion was powered thanks to a Chinese-built transcontinental railroad.

Unfortunately for Douthat, white America hasn't done as much as he may think it has.

By Jeremy Binckes

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Immigration Media New York Times Ross Douthat