2004 December 04 Saturday
Heather Mac Donald On Terrorism, Racism, Immigration Law Violators

Heather Mac Donald has written a review of the leftist documentary Brothers and Others about alleged racism toward Muslims post-9/11. Of course discriminating against someone on the basis of their religion is not racist. But "racist" has become the ultimate insult that the Left can hurl and so of course the term is frequently misused. Anyway, Heather sees an underlying theme in the complaints about the arrests of Muslim illegal aliens post-9/11: the critics of the arrests of illegals are opposed to all immigration law enforcement.

The Iranian Ali and the Pakistani store owner can qualify as targets of racist government power only if one posits that immigration enforcement is per se racist. And that is exactly what the film posits. James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, an advocacy group, tells the camera: “It is wrong to arrest people for visa violations; it violates the Constitution.”

The only thing remarkable about this statement is its clarity; the sentiment, however, animates most attacks on the government’s post-9/11 terrorism investigations. Behind much criticism of the domestic war on terror lies the unstated premise that the government has no right to enforce immigration laws, and that any effort to do so is discriminatory.

The discussion following the recent New York screening of Brothers and Others reiterated the notion that the Bush administration conducted a massive dragnet of Muslims after 9/11, based on racial animus. The dragnet idea is a cherished belief on the left that has nothing to do with the facts.

The facts are these: After 9/11, the Justice Department ordered that 762 illegal aliens, nearly all Muslim, be detained, while FBI agents ran down leads about their possible terror involvement. Those detentions amount to .01 percent of the Muslim population, taking the Council on American-Islamic Relations at its word that there are seven million Muslims in America. A hundredth of a percentage point of a population is hardly an indiscriminate sweep. What’s more, those 762 incarcerations were only a small fraction of the thousands of tips that poured into the FBI after 9/11.

Of course the Muslims who become terrorists do so far more as a result of their identification of themselves as Muslims and their interpretation of Islam than because of what racial or ethnic group they belong to. US government law enforcement efforts would not be aimed at them if they were all, say, Hindus or Buddhists.

Of course Muslims are overwhelmingly not white Europeans. So Leftists end up seeing them primarily as non-whites rather than primarily as Muslims. The irony of this situation is that while Leftists like to portray Rightists as implacable racists the Leftist reaction to Muslims is driven more by the racial and ethnic identities of the Muslims than by their religious beliefs. This brings to mind Steve Sailer's explanation for why Leftists are so quick to label people as racists:

And this is typical, in my experience: whites who proclaim their anti-white feelings don't really care much about blacks or other minorities, pro or con. What they care about is achieving social superiority over other whites by demonstrating their exquisite racial sensitivity and their aristocratic insouciance about any competitive threats posed by racial preferences.

So then Leftist opposition to immigration law enforcement becomes a way to pose as morally superior to whites who favor immigration law enforcement. Never mind the danger that such opposition poses for public safety, whether the danger comes in the form of terrorism or more pedestrian types of crime like rape, murder, or robbery. Clamoring to assume a higher position in a societal pecking order is a strong instinctive urge in most humans and Leftists are no exception.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 December 04 04:38 PM  Immigration Terrorism

John S Bolton said at December 5, 2004 12:22 AM:

That is quite contradictory to claim that it is unconstitutional to arrest immigration violators. It would mean that there could be a constitution of nothing, of a non-country, without sovereignty, yet be the fundamental laws of some country at the same time, and in the same respect. Likewise the constitution sets out a duty for officials to protect the states from invasion. If the government is not permitted to arrest and deport hostile aliens, it can't be a sovereign state, nor can it be a constitutional one. What the left gets out of using the ad hominem approach such as saying that those who oppose them must be motivated by racial hatred, is the avoidance of the embarassment of having no rational argument to offer as to why we should move towards their faux ideal of mass-murder as an end-in-itself, that is, towards socialism. Today, only ad hominem methods can be used by the left, they have abandoned attempts at rational argument for forty years or longer. Having given up hope of the class war, racial conflict is their last refuge. Every year the government turns up the engines of racial conflict; most obviously in the immigration policy that brings in those eligible for affirmative action at the expense of the majority.

John S Bolton said at December 5, 2004 12:51 AM:

What needs to be identified is why a particular approach, such as conspicous anti-caucasianism is used, when a multitude of others are available. If the purpose is to assert a social superiority, this can be done in all manner of ways, including arguably racist ones, such as going on about one's ancestors. An explanation which fits a thousand other status-seeking moves as well as it does the one to be explained, can hardly be accepted as a final explanation.

Engineer-Poet said at December 5, 2004 6:35 AM:

From the -ahem- department:

... the government turns up the engines of racial conflict; most obviously in the immigration policy that brings in those eligible for affirmative action at the expense of the majority.

I must have missed the list of European countries which are doing so badly that large fractions of their populations want to emigrate to the USA.

All that aside, I think that Zogby has made himself fair game for accusations of being soft on terrorists.  Until they actually stepped onto aircraft with their weapons, the only crimes of most of the 9/11 hijackers were visa violations.  If we can't deport people who are here illegally (which is the same as being unable to determine who is and is not allowed to come to the USA), we'd be unable to prevent a repeat.  He deserves to be pilloried for this.

noone said at December 5, 2004 7:45 AM:

Immigration has become the ultimate redistribution scheme.


I think the next major terrorist incident will lead to massive crack down as is beginning to happen in Europe.

Western politicians move in 4 phases.

1)Deny any problem
2)minimize the problem
3)blame the problem on someone else
4)hystericaly over-react.

The US is currently in phase 2.

Europe is in phase 3,currently making moves against radical preachers and making plans to vigourously assimilate and acculturate(and secularize) muslims,which will probably cause a backlash,leading to phase 4.

Randall Parker said at December 5, 2004 1:02 PM:


I think some countries in Europe are further along than the US in reacting to illegal immigration. The United States is further along reacting to the threat from terrorism. However, the US is hobbled by refusal of some of its politicians to do better visa holder tracking, border control, and enforcement of immigration laws.

Europe faces the bigger internal terrorist threat because of its large and growing population of Muslims and the fact the Muslims are dumber on average and therefore less successful and more resentful.


I entirely miss the point are making with your "ahem" and also with your reference to European countries. Perhaps I'm being dense. Can you explain?

Also, do you think there are not a lot of people in Europe who want to immigrate to the United States? Higher living standards. More space. Lower taxes. I once read a British commentator who said the reason some leftist commentators in Britain resent America is that they are compensating for the fact that they came to realize when they got older that when they were younger they should have tried harder to pursue a career that would get them into the United States with a permanent work permit.

Engineer-Poet said at December 5, 2004 2:52 PM:

I know people (Canadians, for the most part) who are eligible for immediate residency in the US on the basis of their profession, and who aren't all that interested.  Given the rampant anti-US bias in the European media, I would not be surprised if there is even less interest from the "non affirmative-action eligible" people there.

I agree that our current immigration policy is ridiculous, but dragging affirmative action into it is just silly and smacks of tinfoil-hat mentality.

Randall Parker said at December 5, 2004 3:22 PM:


The connection between immigration and affirmative action is simple and obvious: Hispanics are eligible for A.A. racial preferences. So the more Hispanics the more whites are discriminated against. This is happening. There is nothing "tinfoil-hat" about it.

John S Bolton said at December 6, 2004 11:17 PM:

It doesn't imply a conspiracy to say that the immigration policy increases every year the level of racial conflict through the mechanism of affirmative action. Those who are for the immigration which is thus manifestly injurious to the majority, in the affirmative action aspect at least, are not all of them ignorant of what they do. It is not necessary for them to coordinate their attitudes, or conspire in the strict sense; but an omerta has to be maintained as to what destination lies at the end of a policy which clearly increases the raw materials of racial conflict every year. It is a proof of how equivocated the term racism has long since become, that those who ask the officials to look at the consequences of their policies for intensifying systematically the racial conflicts which exist, are called the racists, while those who demand that the prime mechanisms for increasing such conflict be, every year, increased, get away with calling themselves the anti-racists and the keepers of social peace.

Proborders said at December 8, 2004 3:16 PM:

Engineer-Poet, about half of all immigrants who enter this country are Hispanic (perhaps it's more than half). In addition there are black immigrants (whom I think would qualify for affirmative action) and Asian immigrants (who may or may not receive affirmative action preferences). What does that mean? A majority of immigrants who enter the US are of groups that are in some way eligible for affirmative action!

I think many Europeans would consider migrating to the US if given the opportunity. The way the current immigration system operates many immigrants are family reunification immigrants. Because there are relatively few European immigrants in the United States, there are relatively few Europeans who can be family reunified here in the US via family reunification provisions in the current immigration system. Because the border with Mexico is for the most part wide open, Mexicans with some effort can readily cross over into the US of A. Once in the USA they may face little or no immigration enforcement in America's interior.

Europe has several times the population of Mexico, yet there are more Mexican immigrants in the US than European immigrants in the US. Immigration from Mexico should be reduced. Immigration from Europe should be increased.

Galyn Hopper said at December 16, 2005 4:46 PM:

I am a PI looking for a Sexual Offender wanted in felony court in McKinney Texas, (Collin County. This Offender is Sergio H. Garcia and when he found he was looking at 99years he ran. Back to Mexico? Who knows? It is sad that the Country is so bad that the people in Mexico wants to escape to the good old U.S.A. and I understand that but I wish it was only the good old people not the criminals that weights down the criminal justice system.

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