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True—or New?

“My opinion with respect to immigration is that, except of useful mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions, there is no need of encouragement . . . ”

—George Washington

“It’s not you, it’s me” has become a popular phrase with which to terminate a romantic relationship.  It is considered a more polite and, above all, more sensitive way of saying good riddance to an unwanted suitor than rehearsing whatever grievances actually prompted the breakup.  But the phrase carries an air of insincerity that prevents it from really lessening the blow.  Urban Dictionary, which is to pop-culture trash as the Oxford English Dictionary is to the English language, translates it as follows: “I no longer find you attractive, but I can't say that because then I'll feel guilty.”

Mark Krikorian begins The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal with a sentiment that sounds suspiciously similar.  “What’s different about immigration today as opposed to a century ago,” he writes, “is not the characteristics of the newcomers but the characteristics of our society.”  A paragraph later, Krikorian explains, “We’ve all heard the laments: ‘My grandpa from Sicily learned English, and my grandma...

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