Tag Archives: Alien Nation

Immigrants against immigration: the case of Peter Brimelow

Peter Brimelow (here’s Wikipedia on him) is one of the most passionate anti-immigration advocates in the United States. He is the founder of VDARE (that has been described by many as a leading anti-immigration web journal) and helped set up other sites, such as Alternative Right, that take a negative view of many kinds of immigration (though Alternative Right is not as immigration-focused as VDARE). Brimelow was born and brought up in the UK. He migrated from the UK to Canada, and then, after that, to the United States through an employment-based visa. His wife Maggy was able to migrate to the US on a family visa, and their son, Alexander, acquired US citizenship on account of being born in the United States. Brimelow later acquired US citizenship by following the procedures for naturalization.

Brimelow’s fans and critics alike might be interested in knowing how he reconciles his own background as a two-time migrant with his anti-immigration views.

Although I am not aware of any place where Brimelow addresses this is great detail, he does make some passing remarks on his own situation in his book Alien Nation (you can see all our blog posts on the book here — those who know Brimelow mainly from his somewhat strongly worded donation appeals on VDARE might be pleasantly surprised at the relative moderation (in tone, not substance) of the book). A few choice quotes (the full text of the book is here):

On birthright citizenship:

The British used to have birthright citizenship, but in 1983 they restricted it — requiring for example that one parent be a legal resident — because of problems caused by immigration.

I am delighted that Alexander is an American. [Alexander is Peter Brimelow’s son, born after Peter Brimelow and his (then) wife Maggy migrated to the US but probably before the parents became citizens] However, I do feel slightly, well, guilty that his fellow Americans had so little choice in the matter.

But at least Maggy and I had applied for and been granted legal permission to live in the United States.

On family reunification (emphasis added, not in original):

Maggy and I benefited personally from the generous American policy on family reunification. She is a Canadian, and I was a resident alien in the United States when I married her. Then, because of our marriage, she herself was admitted as a resident alien.

But this was a legal right — hardly a moral right. It was a privilege granted by American policy. And the truth is that our lives would not have been destroyed if Maggy had not been permitted to immigrate. I would probably be writing a book on Canadian immigration policy right now.

On taking American jobs and lowering their wages through wage competition:

For example, I am arguably displacing an American-born worker as a senior editor at Forbes magazine. I naturally like to think that my employers would miss my unique contribution. However, I am fairly sure that they would survive.

A few more interesting passages can be found by searching for the phrase “as an immigrant” in the full text.

UPDATE: Here’s a self-reflective piece by Peter Brimelow.

Immigration, trade, and reciprocity

In a recent blog post titled What I like about “Alien Nation”, I highlighted some points where I agreed with Peter Brimelow’s book Alien Nation, which features on the anti-open borders reading list. In this blog post, I want to consider in more detail an interesting and valid point raised by Brimelow about reciprocity in immigration law. I’d mentioned this as one of my points of agreement with Brimelow, but now it’s time to voice some disagreement.

Here’s a small excerpt of his argument (about Page 251):

If immigration is such a moral imperative, why don’t the Mexicans/Chinese/Indians/Koreans/ Japanese (fill in any of the other recent top-ten suppliers of immigrants to the United States) allow it?

Don’t say: “These countries already have enough people.” The United States already has more than all of them except mainland China and India.

And don’t say: “They’re too poor.” As we have seen, the whole economic theory of immigration, as developed by immigration enthusiasts, is that immigration does not displace workers: it complements them. Well, it should work both ways.

In my previous blog post, I expressed agreement with Brimelow’s fundamental point that the moral case for open borders applies to all countries, not just the United States or the developed world.

Later in the book, as part of his list of proposals to deal with the perceived problems of immigration, Brimelow suggests (about Page 262):

No immigration should be permitted from countries that do not allow reciprocal emigration from the United States.

The way Brimelow frames the argument, it seems he is saying that allowing immigrants from a country is akin to doing that country a favor, and hence, such a favor should be done only if there is a reciprocal favor from the other country. Continue reading “Immigration, trade, and reciprocity” »

What I like about “Alien Nation”

I’ve just finished reading Peter Brimelow’s Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, originally published in 1995 and made freely available in 2007 (the book is available for free download here and has a Wikipedia page here). The book is part of the anti-open borders reading list on this website.

I was expecting that I would disagree extensively with the book, given its advocacy of immigration restriction, but I was surprised to see a number of points where I was in agreement with the author. Further, the book was more pleasant and less polemical to read than I’d expected, given the standard fare at VDARE, an immigration restrictionist website that Peter Brimelow founded.

Below, I list some of the many points of agreement: Continue reading “What I like about “Alien Nation”” »