Jerry Kammer's blog

Senior Research Fellow


Contact - Biography - Publications

Mexico Launches Campaign to Boost Its Image in the U.S.

By Jerry Kammer, August 9, 2016

Mexico's Foreign Secretary is embarking on a campaign to enlist lobbyists and allies in many spheres of American life in order to rehabilitate the nation's reputation in the United States, according to an article in Mexico's largest newspaper. Donald Trump has seriously damaged that image in his campaign for the presidency, El Universal reported on Sunday. Read more...

"On the Media" Shreds the NPR Ethics Handbook

By Jerry Kammer, August 5, 2016

In 2004, Daniel Okrent, the public editor of The New York Times, flatly acknowledged that The Times is a liberal paper. "If you think The Times plays it down the middle" on its coverage of social issues, "you've been reading the paper with your eyes close," he wrote.

Well, if you listen to your NPR station's broadcast of the "On the Media" program and you think its work on immigration reporting lives up to standards for fairness, accuracy, and impartiality that are spelled out in the NPR Ethics Handbook, then you've been listening with your ears closed. Read more...

"On the Media" Goes Off the Cliff

By Jerry Kammer, August 3, 2016

I can think of one positive thing to say about Donald Trump's presidential campaign, which otherwise is becoming a national embarrassment. Trump has forced the national media to consider the plight of working-class Americans who have suffered from mass immigration and free trade. Even David Brooks, writing that "people across America have been falling through the cracks," acknowledges that "Trump, to his credit, made them visible." Read more...

Remembering When Democrats Turned Their Backs on American Workers

By Jerry Kammer, August 2, 2016

"Democrats are the party of working people. But we haven't done a good enough job showing that we get what you're going through, and that we're going to do something about it."
– Hillary Clinton, accepting the Democratic Party's nomination for president, July 28

Hillary Clinton's claim that Democrats are "the party of working people" brings to mind the Senate hearing where Ted Kennedy made it clear that on immigration policy they had walked away from that historic trust. I was a reporter at that hearing, and I remember it well. Read more...

How about a Few Pinocchios for the Washington Post's Editorial Nonsense about Jobs?

By Jerry Kammer, July 28, 2016

I am no fan of Donald Trump. I think he would be a terrible president. So I have no complaint with most of the Washington Post editorial that declares Trump to be "uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament" and that his campaign is one "of snarl and sneer, not substance." I agree with all that, especially in regard to Trump's vicious categorization of Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals.

But the Post editorial board, which collectively claims authorship of the paper's editorials, goes off the rails in its declaration that immigrants "take jobs that no one else will." That is not just a comforting cliché for enthusiasts of wide-open immigration; it's also untrue. If the fact-checkers at the Post got on the case, I think they'd award the board a few Pinocchios. Read more...

A Call for "Responsible Nationalism" and Attention to Those Who are Falling Through the Cracks

By Jerry Kammer, July 13, 2016

The populist revolts in the United States and Great Britain against unchecked immigration and free trade are forcing a rethinking of the ideology of post-national cosmopolitans. David Brooks, while dismayed at Donald Trump’s candidacy, acknowledges that Trump has brought attention to the fact that “people across America have been falling through the cracks.” Read more...

Two Prominent Latinos Take Sharply Different Approaches to Trump

By Jerry Kammer, July 5, 2016

On Sunday, Univision newsman Jorge Ramos pressed his case against Donald Trump during interviews with two prominent Latinos.

First the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, pushed back against Ramos, making it clear that he wanted to have a dialogue with the presumptive Republican nominee. Then Lionel Sosa, the Texas-based marketing executive who helped Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush appeal to Latino voters, echoed Ramos's disgust with Trump. Both men spoke with Ramos for the "Al Punto" program. Read more...

The Sensibility That Ties Open Immigration with 'Marriage Equality'

By Jerry Kammer, June 30, 2016

Those of us who want to limit immigration tend to think of ourselves as pragmatists. We believe that immigration can be a force for good if it is held within prescribed limits. We believe that those who think immigration is a basic human right are espousing a utopian fantasy.

One interesting subset of open borders advocates comprises those who see the fight for unrestricted immigration as part of the fight for equality and freedom that in recent years has been successfully waged by advocates of same-sex marriage, who say they are seeking "marriage equality". Read more...

Sheila Jackson Lee's Self-Serving Speculation on Barbara Jordan and Immigration Policy

By Jerry Kammer, June 9, 2016

The Houston Chronicle on Monday published an article about Barbara Jordan, the native of Houston who became a civil rights leader, the first black woman elected to the Texas State Senate, and, in 1972, the first black person elected to Congress from Texas since Reconstruction. At the time of her death in 1996 she was the chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform.

As the Chronicle noted, the commission "proposed sharp cuts in immigration to protect American workers, a plan some immigration restriction groups still promote in Jordan's name." Read more...

Univision Hits a New Low in Its Report on South Carolina-Based "Americans Have Had Enough"

By Jerry Kammer, May 26, 2016

Univision makes no effort to conceal its conviction that illegal immigrants should be treated no differently from those who follow immigration law. Its news anchors routinely refer to opponents of illegal immigration as "anti-immigrant".

But on last Friday's evening news, the Spanish-language network reached a new low in its bias. Its offense came in its treatment of the South Carolina group called Americans Have Had Enough. Read more...

Univision Has a Go-To Guy for Outrage Against Deportation

By Jerry Kammer, May 20, 2016

Jorge Mario Cabrera is the spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. He is also Univision's go-to guy for denunciations of efforts to enforce immigration law.

Last night, Univision's newscast went to Cabrera again. This time he directed his fury at the arrest of 18-year-old Henry Sanchez of Guatemala by ICE agents. Sanchez came illegally to the United States about a year ago to be with his parents, who came — apparently illegally — more than 10 years ago. Those circumstances made Sanchez a high priority for arrest according to standards adopted by the Obama administration. Those standards made his parents a low priority. Read more...

F.H. Buckley: Canada Is a More Successful Melting Pot than the U.S.

By Jerry Kammer, May 17, 2016

Yesterday's post reported on the appearance last week of George Mason law professor F.H. Buckley on MSNBC's Morning Joe program. Today we have more thoughts from the professor, who holds both U.S. and Canadian citizenship and says Canada has a better system of legal immigration than the United States because Canada, he notes, prioritizes the selection of immigrants who have skills and educational achievement that will allow them to integrate into the country's cultural and economic life. The U.S. system for awarding green cards, meanwhile, is heavily weighted toward family unification, i.e., allowing migrants who are already here to bring over their relatives, without regard to skill. Read more...

U.S. Immigration Policy Imports Immobility and Boosts American Aristocracy, New Book Says

By Jerry Kammer, May 16, 2016

As we at CIS prepare for our annual week-long border trip, which this year takes us to the Canadian border with New York and Vermont, I have been reading up on our northern neighbor's approach to border management and immigration policy. So my ears perked up last week when a native of Canada who studies immigration policy was a guest on the Morning Joe program. Read more...

New Yorker Surprise: Understanding for Trump's Appeal Among the White Working Class

By Jerry Kammer, May 12, 2016

This blog has posted several laments about the sneering New Yorker disdain for those of us who oppose illegal immigration or want to reduce legal immigration. Six years ago, I noted the complaint by the magazine’s William Finnegan that: "Anti-immigrant groups, which have proliferated in recent years, are not racist by nature, but they certainly attract racists and give them a platform." I added this response to Finnegan: "So what's your point for those of us whose concerns are non-racist, and in many cases rooted in progressive values? Shut up or you’ll be smeared?" Read more...

One Inspirational Story Doesn't Blot Out Realities of Illegal Immigration

By Jerry Kammer, May 9, 2016

During Sunday's "Al Punto" program on Univision, host Jorge Ramos spoke with renowned brain surgeon Alfredo Quinones, a former illegal immigrant from Mexico. They spoke about plans to make a feature film about Quinones's remarkable story of entering the United States illegally in 1987, working in the fields near Fresno, and beginning a remarkable ascent that took him to Berkeley, Harvard Medical School, and on to the Johns Hopkins Hospital to become one of the country's most respected brain surgeons. It is, as Dr. Quinones told Ramos, "a Cinderella story". Read more...

David Brooks, Donald Trump, and a Letter from Mesa, Ariz.

By Jerry Kammer, April 29, 2016

David Brooks of the New York Times is dismayed at the rise of Donald Trump. But in Friday's column, Brooks once again acknowledges that Trump has brought attention to the fact that "people across America have been falling through the cracks." Writes Brooks, "Trump to his credit, made them visible." Read more...

A Brief Chronology of the Sierra Club's Retreat from the Immigration-Population Connection

By Jerry Kammer, April 21, 2016

As this blog noted yesterday, the Austin American-Statesman has reported that the Austin chapter of the Sierra Club won't participate in Saturday's local Earth Day festival because the festival's chief underwriter, developer Trammell Crow, supports organizations that advocate reduction of immigration. Today we provide an abbreviated chronology of the Sierra Club's decades-long retreat from the debate about immigration's role as the principal source of the rapid population growth of the United States. We begin in 1980, when the club was concerned about that connection and discussed it openly. A full account can be found in the Center for Immigration Studies report, "Strategic Negligence: How the Sierra Club's Distortions on Border and Immigration Policy are Undermining its Environmental Legacy". Read more...

Sierra Club Takes Another Step in Its Retreat from the Immigration-Population Connection

By Jerry Kammer, April 20, 2016

The Sierra Club has made news again in its decades-long retreat from what used to be one of its central concerns: the influence of immigration on the population growth of the United States.

This time the story comes from Texas, where the Austin American-Statesman newspaper reports that the Austin chapter of the Sierra Club says it won't participate in that city's Earth Day festival Saturday because its chief underwriter, developer Trammell Crow, supports organizations that advocate reduction of immigration. Read more...

Univision Combines Exploitation Film about Immigration with Exploitation Campaign of Trump

By Jerry Kammer, April 19, 2016

An exploitation film is one that seeks to cash in by presenting a sensational and shocking story that plays on deep-seated fears or portrays lurid extremes of human behavior. Some examples are "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Cannibal Holocaust", and just about any movie with Zombie in the title. Another doozie is "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!", which is described as the story of a trio of sadistic go-go dancers who "break free from the nightclub where they perform and race out to the desert to stir up a little mayhem." Read more...

NY Business Owner Explains Why He Will Vote for Trump: Immigration System Is Rigged to Reward Illegality

By Jerry Kammer, April 15, 2016

If you want to understand why business owner Matthew James Reindl says he will vote for Donald Trump in next week's New York presidential primary, it helps to revisit the testimony he presented 11 years ago at a congressional hearing.

"Many law-abiding businesses are being adversely affected, many forced to close, because of our government's refusal to punish unethical employers for their illegal hiring practices," Reindl of Great Neck, N.Y., told the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims in May of 2005. Read more...

Justice Sotomayor's Vocabulary of Immigration, Part 2

By Jerry Kammer, April 12, 2016

Yesterday's blog post about the vocabulary of the immigration debate took note of a discussion on last week's Latino USA program in which Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor suggested that the term illegal immigrant was excessively harsh because it associated those who violate immigration law with "drug addicts, thieves, and murderers". Read more...

Justice Sotomayor's Vocabulary of Immigration

By Jerry Kammer, April 11, 2016

In 2009, when Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote her first opinion as a member of the high court, she used the term "undocumented immigrant" to refer to persons who are in the United States illegally. It is believed to have been the first such usage in the history of the court, where the term "illegal immigrant" had previously been used.

In an interview for last week's NPR program Latino USA, Justice Sotomayor explained her decision. She told host Maria Hinojosa: Read more...

How the Democratic Debate Played in Central America: Some Perspectives on Non-Enforcement Pandering

By Jerry Kammer, March 14, 2016

Last week's Democratic debate was a remarkable example of how far Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are pushing their party to pander to the Hispanic vote. Their competition for the title of "most lax on border enforcement" was closely watched in many countries. Here is the lead of the story in the Honduran newspaper La Prensa: Read more...

Deportation Protesters Arrested after Blocking Chicago Street; Follow the Money

By Jerry Kammer, February 17, 2016

Protesting against the deportation of Central Americans who have been ruled ineligible for political asylum after illegally crossing the Mexican border, several people blocked Tuesday morning rush-hour traffic on a major Chicago street near an ICE office.

Eleven of the protesters were arrested, according to the Univision evening newscast. In addition, the Spanish-language news service EFE reported that most of those arrested were "indocumentados". Read more...

The Ideological Divide on Immigration: Prevention vs. Protection

By Jerry Kammer, February 7, 2016

I've been writing about border issues for 30 years. I don't think I've ever seen a clearer demonstration of the ideological chasm between Republicans and Democrats on border issues than Thursday's House immigration subcommittee hearing on the surge of Central Americans across the Southwest border.

For Republicans, the crisis is a failure of prevention and enforcement. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) made that clear in his opening statement as chairman of the full Judiciary Committee:

Record numbers of unaccompanied alien minors and adults traveling with minors are again surging across our southern border, overwhelming federal and state resources, creating a border security nightmare, and ensuring record profits for the criminal organizations that control the drug and human smuggling and trafficking business along the border. ... With every successful entry and reunification, it encourages thousands more to illegally enter and further degrades our border security.

Jeb Bush's Struggles and Poetic, Political Justice

By Jerry Kammer, January 19, 2016

On Sunday, the New York Times published a story about the struggles of Jeb Bush in a Republican campaign where voters are showing a preference for Donald Trump's "visceral pugnaciousness" or the outsider anger of Sen. Ted Cruz. Contrasting such militancy with Bush's genteel and well-mannered upbringing in a family of wealth and prominence, the story declares that, "the travails of Mr. Bush's presidential campaign can be seen as perhaps the last, wheezing gasp of the WASP power structure." Read more...

More on NPR in Charlotte, and a Reminder of Barbara Jordan

By Jerry Kammer, January 14, 2016

Yesterday we began our look at Sunday's NPR story about the ongoing immigration and economic booms in and around Charlotte, N.C. Reporter Rachel Martin noted that the booms are taking place as a study "ranked Charlotte dead last when it comes to economic mobility compared to other U.S. cities."

I'm wondering what's beneath the surface of the story, as Martin talked with the owner of a landscaping company who is obviously enjoying both booms. How much do his workers earn? How much do they rely on public services? Is this another case of immigration having the effect of privatizing profit and socializing loss? Read more...

NPR's Rachel Martin Begins to Look at the Connection Between Immigration and Income Inequality

By Jerry Kammer, January 13, 2016

On Sunday, Rachel Martin, host of NPR's "Weekend Edition", introduced one of the most important immigration stories facing the United States: the connection between immigration and income inequality. Martin said that because of the significance of the story in the presidential race, she intends to follow the story in the coming weeks. I'm writing this post in the hope that she will have the time to dig deeper into some of the issues that local people introduced in their conversations with her for Sunday's story. I'll have another post tomorrow in the same spirit.

Martin was reporting from Charlotte, N.C., the largest city in Mecklenburg County, where the Hispanic population grew from 6.5 percent in 2000 to 12.7 percent in 2014. Here is how she introduced the story: Read more...

The New York Times' Radical Transformation on Immigration

By Jerry Kammer, January 4, 2016

I don't know whose arrogance is worse for the country: Donald Trump's, which takes legitimate fears about uncontrolled immigration to illegitimate extremes, or the New York Times editorial board's, whose editorials conflate legitimate fear with hysterical nativism.

In an editorial last month, the Times warned that Trump is not merely "a solitary phenomenon, a singular celebrity narcissist who has somehow, all alone, brought his party and its politics to the brink of fascism." It warned that Trump was part of a broader phenomenon conjured by Republicans who are "attuned to the power of fear" as they seek to build a wall against illegal immigration. It said Republican governors had joined "an axis of ignorance, declaring their borders closed to refugees fleeing the Islamic State in Syria." Read more...

Where Have the Democrats Gone, Mr. Robinson? American Workers Turn Their Lonely Eyes to You

By Jerry Kammer, December 30, 2015

The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson seems to delight in the Republican Party's torment. In his latest column, Robinson was aghast that while GOP positions had once "dovetailed nicely with the views of business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce," now it has gone the other way with the populist revolt against proposals to give legal status to illegal immigrants and to increase immigration. Read more...