The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken - a review of the book Losing Control: How a Left-Right Coalition Blocked Immigration Reform and Provoked the Backlash That Elected Trump, by Jerry Kammer, 2020:

In this sober, informative, and insightful book, veteran journalist and self-proclaimed “liberal restrictionist” Jerry Kammer shows how an unholy, unlikely alliance – or strange bedfellows – of selfish, vested interests has for decades blocked immigration reform in America’s long-term national interest.

By reform I mean not the faux “reform” touted nowadays by those who have no intention of enforcing our immigration laws against those who broke them and who have co-opted and twisted the word “reform” to mean lax enforcement and what amounts to open borders or no borders at all.

As a long-time environmentalist and environmental scientist, I have witnessed and participated in the evolution (and devolution) of the modern environmental movement since its birth in the 1960s and its national coming out at the first Earth Day in 1970, half a century ago. At that first Earth Day, inspired by Sen. Gaylord Nelson, the environmental movement recognized that overpopulation – too many people consuming too many resources and emitting too many pollutants – was one of the core issues confronting humanity and the environment.

This bipartisan recognition was codified even in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), signed into law on January 1, 1970. At the same time, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups jointly endorsed a resolution that committed them to “bring about the stabilization of the population first of the United States and then of the world.”

In 1970, birth rates, though already in steep decline, were still driving U.S. population growth. However, rapidly rising immigration rates quickly overtook births as the main factor pushing never-ending, environmentally-harmful growth in population.

In a chapter entitled “Civil War at the Sierra Club,” Kammer describes the internecine warfare over population and immigration in the late 1990s and early 2000s within that once-venerable organization. On one side were an old guard embodying that original Earth Day spirit who pushed for the Club to return to its earlier advocacy of halting U.S. population growth (and the curbs on immigration this necessarily entailed) and on the other side were an ascendant faction of social justice warriors and a multi-millionaire donor who made by far the largest single donation in Club history on the condition that it silence itself on immigration's effects on U.S. population growth and the environment.

Sierra Club leadership and its bamboozled membership opted to sell out the American environment, subjecting it to ever-increasing population pressures with no end in sight. Today, two decades later, the Sierra Club is a staunch defender of unfettered immigration, even as it engages in ritualized public self-flagellation over the alleged “racism” of its iconic founder, the Scottish immigrant John Muir, who died more than a century ago.

As a liberal immigration restrictionist, Kammer also cares deeply about the adverse effects of mass immigration on American workers of all races and ethnic groups. And he reveals the insidious manner by which powerful special interests on both the left and the right collaborated to produce political paralysis on immigration, to the detriment of rank-and-file Americans and to their rising frustration, which Candidate Trump exploited adroitly to his advantage in the 2016 election cycle.

This book is a must-read for anyone who wonders how we arrived at the sad state we are in today. Written just before the recent far-left lurch of the Democratic Party, Kammer writes in the epilogue that: "A conundrum of Joe Biden's 2020 run for the presidency is that he needs to appeal to two powerful constituencies with conflicting views on immigration. There are the working class whites...who want immigration enforcement...[and] the growing ranks of Latino voters...who press for expansive immigration policies."

"Lunch box Joe" has made his choice (or his handlers have made it for him), and it ain't for the working class whites he was once proud to claim to represent. "Growing ranks" are far more seductive to a hack politician than rust belt hard hats and blue collars.


Is the Religion of Mass Immigration Hurting America? - Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jerry Kammer investigates the connection between uncontrolled immigration, the fraying of the American social fabric, and the rise of Donald Trump, by Emily Benedek, Tablet, August 13, 2020.