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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster by Peter Brimelow

Thought-provoking - made me question some long-held views

Peter Brimelow has written a thought-provoking work that exposes the quirks and idiosyncracies of America's immigration policies by providing lots and lots of details, facts and charts while, for the most part, keeping the text lively and interesting. Not a mean feat.

Brimelow is a writer for Forbes Magazine and, apparently, he enjoys digging into controversial topics. I've also reviewed another of his books concerning Teacher's Unions.

He goes after the potentially explosive topic of immigration in two ways. First, he looks at the ways the current laws were supposed to have worked by delving in to the original debates of 1965. Secondly, he goes after America's cherished beliefs about immigration and asks rather simple questions that usually dismantle those beliefs as easily as a breeze destroys a house of cards. He tiptoes on the edge of sounding racist (he often questions whether it is in the best interest of the USA to dramatically alter its ethnic and cultural base without so much as having had one serious debate on the matter in the Congress).

He begins with looking at the promises of Ted Kennedy in speeches made in Senate Committee in 1965 concerning the then-proposed (now current system). Kennedy promised that immigration would not increase if his proposed changes were enacted (it has quadrupled) and that the ethnic mix of the country would not change (it has - hispanics up from 3% to 13%. Asians up from 1% to 3%. Whites as a percentage of population have dropped from 85% to 70%.) Brimelow's most compelling argument, in my mind, is that, at the very least, the USA needs to have an open, frank discussion concerning immigration and at decide if the system we have accidentally created is the one we really want.

The big problem with the current system, according to Brimelow, is that it focuses on family re-unification rather than filling needs that our country has. Rather than going through long details about the system, I'd rather just recommend the book.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on July 14, 2004.

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