Vital Signs

Is Immigration Our Fate?

Political correctness has it that immigration is a perennial phenomenon in Western countries.  This is preposterous.  Immigration as we know it today is an extremely recent phenomenon.

The United States has always been a nation of immigrants, they say.  This is just plain ridiculous.  A small group of people leaving their country to found their old city anew on an almost uninhabited hill has nothing to do with immigration.  Strictly speaking, they are emigrants, while immigration presupposes a previously organized society in which immigrants settle.  Nobody would call the ancient Greeks founding Marseille immigrants, nor does one call the pioneers settling the Far West, nor the English populating Australia, immigrants.

In the course of European history, there have constantly been individuals who have left their home countries and become citizens of new ones.  What country in old Europe can claim to have a population made up entirely of aborigines?  But such immigration has nothing to do with what the West is facing today.

The sheer size of the phenomenon is an unprecedented fact.  In the 17th century, Huguenots fled to Germany or Holland, and after 1917 many Russians chose to live elsewhere in Europe, notably in France.  But their numbers cannot compare with the multitudes now crossing the borders of the West and still less with those waiting to do so.  The...

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