Mark Krikorian, author of The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal, continues as the director of the Center for Immigration studies. He sums up the efforts of Americans involved in the issue for 2010 and prospects for 2011. www.cis.org
Give us an idea of what to expect in the coming year:
“I'm taking advantage of the quiet to send a few thoughts on the past year,” said Krikorian. “As a think tank, the Center for Immigration Studies' main goal over the past 25 years has been to help shape the thinking about immigration policy, especially among elites, and generally to make immigration reduction intellectually respectable. Our successes, therefore, can be indirect and sometimes hard to see, unlike those of the advocacy groups working on immigration, whose important work in Congress, the courts, and the state legislatures provides tangible evidence of their effectiveness. That can make fundraising more of a challenge for a group like ours, which is why I'm especially grateful for your decision to support our work over the past year.
“But sometimes you can see real effects of the kind of work we do. A good example is the concept of "attrition through enforcement" as a middle way between amnesty, on the one hand, and mass roundups, on the other. There was a vital need for such a concept, both intellectually and politically, and CIS, in the words of open-borders writer Tom Barry, "took the lead in developing this strategic framework" (actually, we invented it from scratch). It's been picked up eagerly over the past few years by lawmakers and others, in columns, on the campaign trail, and on the floor of the House and Senate, often by people who don't even know its origin. In addition, many jurisdictions have adopted its logic to successfully reduce their illegal populations.
“One of those jurisdictions is Arizona, which this past year actually wrote "attrition through enforcement" into law. Arizona's SB 1070 announces in Section 1 that "The legislature declares that the intent of this act is to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona." Whatever you think of the law (I approve of it but think it's been overblown by both its detractors and defenders), it's clear that CIS's "strategic framework" has helped mold the immigration debate in an important and constructive way.
“And, speaking of the Arizona law, I think it was a gift to the immigration-control effort. Its actual provisions, even if upheld by the courts, will have only modest effect. But its role in heightening the contradictions of the open-borders position, by forcing the administration to file suit against the state (in response to irrepressible demands from its anti-borders base), has been invaluable. I sometimes think Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano are working for our side – but even Washington politics can't be that convoluted.
“The other big immigration event of 2010 was the fight over the DREAM Act, and the outcome was likewise beneficial to the cause of immigration control. The legislation, highlighting what is genuinely the most sympathetic group of illegal aliens, was never pushed on its own, and instead used as a prop to make the case for a general amnesty. When it became clear no "comprehensive immigration reform" was in the cards, the pro-amnesty side, desperate for at least a thin sliver of success, made a concerted effort for the DREAM Act in the lame-duck session of Congress. Their failure (President Obama's "biggest disappointment") demoralized the open-borders people and sent a clear message to politicians on all sides of the issue: a Democratic Congress could roll over Republican opposition to pass gays in the military, an arms control treaty with Russia, and another stimulus – but not amnesty for illegal aliens!
“In 2010, the Center again exceeded previous years' productivity: we published 16 Backgrounders, 21 Memorandums, 500 blog postings, and produced several mini-documentaries on the Arizona border. All of this contributed to our being cited on immigration in the media more often than any other group besides the Pew Research Center (whose budget last year was larger than the Center's past 25 years' of spending combined).
“Our quality work and serene tone also helped us outlast the loathsome smear campaign by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which made itself into a laughing stock this year by designating mainstream groups opposed to same-sex marriage as "hate groups." Whatever your views on the marriage issue, the idea that the Family Research Council is equivalent to the Ku Klux Klan is so absurd that even previously friendly news outlets have stopped returning the SPLC's calls. The SPLC's self-parody on this issue pretty much ensures that its jihad against immigration skeptics will also fizzle out.
“In 2011 we may not see any immigration legislation reach the president's desk, but we will see lots of lively hearings in the House of Representatives and extensive debate concerning the administration's enforcement priorities. And CIS will be in the middle of it.”
Thank you Mr. Krikorian and the staff at the Center for Immigration Studies, which includes Dr. Steven Camarata.
If you have any questions, please direct them to:
Center for Immigration Studies
1522 K St. NW, Suite 820
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 466-8185 / fax, (202) 466-8076