Jerry Kammer's blog

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Andrew Sullivan Discusses Social and Political Upheaval in the U.S.

By Jerry Kammer, May 16, 2017

We who work at the Center for Immigration Studies attempt to make the case for reasonable immigration limits. Some of us, motivated by concerns for the labor market prospects of Americans and permanent residents, consider ourselves to be liberal restrictionists. Others, concerned with maintaining social cohesion and the rule of law, identify as conservatives. (There is, of course, some overlap.) Read more...

Too Good to Check?

By Jerry Kammer, May 1, 2017

"The press can't simply report flatfooted a smearing accusation against someone's loyalty," said Murray Marder, who did some of the sharpest reporting on [Sen. Joseph] McCarthy in the Washington Post. "The press should ask the accuser, 'What do you mean? What justification do you have?' That's real work, and it's called journalism."
The Age of Anxiety, by Haynes Johnson

Too Good to Check?
Part 1: Three N.Y. reporters give a pass to the SPLC's ridiculous smear

By Jerry Kammer, April 28, 2017
Part 1: Three N.Y. reporters give a pass to the SPLC's ridiculous smear

Jonathan Blitzer of the New Yorker, Nicholas Kulish of the New York Times, and Joel Rose of National Public Radio are accomplished, sophisticated journalists who graduated from Ivy League universities. Nevertheless, the purpose of this post is not to praise them, but to express bewilderment and dismay that in the past 10 weeks all three have reported a damaging allegation without probing its justification. They treated the allegation as legitimate news from a bona fide expert, not as a partisan attack from an organization that has long monetized such tactics by coupling them with appeals for financial support. Read more...

While the White House Trolls the Press, the SPLC Pulls a Stunt of Its Own

By Jerry Kammer, March 27, 2017

Introductory Note: Last Monday, this blog drew on a "Fresh Air" podcast to report on the New Yorker playing a supportive role as the Southern Poverty Law Center revives the sinister tradition of the Hollywood black list. Now another podcast leads us to another example of the ideological axis between the hate-mongering mob from Montgomery, Ala,. and the normally respectable New Yorker, the editorial voice of the Manhattan liberal consensus.

For the second time in a month, a writer for the New Yorker has demonstrated the astonishing ability of the "hate group" vigilantes of the SPLC to snooker the cosmopolitan cognoscenti up there in the Big Apple. Read more...

SPLC Revives the Blacklist Tradition, and the Press Again Plays a Supportive Role

By Jerry Kammer, March 20, 2017

Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, spoke for all of us here at CIS in his just-published column for the Washington Post. Krikorian wrote in response to the Southern Poverty Law Center's attempt to smear organizations that dissent from its extreme open-borders multiculturalism as "hate groups." The SPLC, which uses the hate group blacklist as one of its fund-raising scams, recently blacklisted CIS.

It was a typically cynical move by the intolerance experts from Alabama, who might as well acknowledge that the true meaning behind their initials is Smears Pathological but Lucrative and Cunning. They prod the press to come running eagerly to take dictation. And they induce credulous donors to reach reflexively for their checkbooks. We have documented that here. Read more...

Fox Provides a Case Study of the Polarized State of the Nation's Immigration Debate

By Jerry Kammer, March 3, 2017

Early in the morning I often work out while watching MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, which provides a daily look at what the Washington political class is thinking about. But today, after it became obvious that the program was obsessively fixated on the Jeff Sessions story, I switched to "Fox and Friends". There, hosts Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade promptly illustrated their network's own fixation — on illegal immigration.

The result, aided by some complementary research, was a case study on the fraught and polarized state of the nation's immigration debate. Read more...

An Appeal for Wise Leadership at ICE & CBP

By Jerry Kammer, February 27, 2017

One of the reasons I came to work for the Center for Immigration Studies was that I wanted to make the case for humane but firm enforcement of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). That legislation presented to the American people a compromise between two values that had come into conflict. IRCA provided the compassion of legalization for illegal immigrants with a pledge that the federal government would check future illegal immigration by cutting off the jobs magnet with penalties for employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers. Read more...

Open Letter to the New Yorker's Jonathan Blitzer, Pt. 2

By Jerry Kammer, February 22, 2017

Dear Mr. Blitzer,

This continues my response to the New Yorker piece in which you cite the Southern Poverty Law Center's attack on the Center for Immigration Studies. Having written yesterday to criticize your recitation of the claim that we are a "hate group," I write today about your assertion that we are also "nativist." Read more...

Open Letter to the New Yorker's Jonathan Blitzer, Pt. 1

By Jerry Kammer, February 21, 2017

Dear Mr. Blitzer,

I am writing in response to the New Yorker essay of February 17, in which you reported that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the Center for Immigration Studies as "hate groups." You offered no elaboration, no explanation. You provided no opportunity for response. I write now in defense of the Center for Immigration Studies, where I am a research fellow. I will let FAIR speak for itself.

The hate group smear is a cheap attempt at character assassination. Your reckless recitation of it in a prestigious magazine is journalistically unethical. Before you drew your readers' attention to the smear, it had been ignored in the world of reputable journalism. Reporters and editors must have recognized that printing it would make them complicit in the SPLC's dirty work. You may be proud that you assisted the SPLC's effort to denigrate CIS. I think the SPLC, who excesses are so blindly accepted by so many liberals, has induced you to debase the New Yorker. Read more...

Budweiser Brews Fake News to Ice Immigration Concerns

By Jerry Kammer, February 6, 2017

The Washington Post is making me do it.

I wasn't going to write about the Budweiser ad that presents the story of company co-founder Adolphus Busch as the inspirational saga of an immigrant who overcame nativist bigotry to fulfill his dream of brewing a great beer. Read more...

On Kirk Douglas's 100th Birthday, Remembering His 1990 Visit to the Mexican Border

By Jerry Kammer, December 10, 2016

This is a tribute to Kirk Douglas. It has only a tangential connection to immigration. I'll explain that at the end.

The world knows Douglas for his big-screen rolls as Spartacus, Vincent Van Gogh, and cowboy Jack Burns in "Lonely Are the Brave". He was born 100 years ago Friday, as Issur Danielovitch. Read more...

Author Who Asked 'What's Wrong with Kansas?' Shows What's Wrong with Democrats

By Jerry Kammer, December 6, 2016

For those of us who tended to identify with the Democratic Party before being driven away by its capitulation to the post-national, multi-cultural, Martha's Vineyard left, Thomas Frank's latest book, Listen Liberal, is a passionate and even entertaining jeremiad about the party's failure. Published early this year, it is even more relevant after last month's jaw-dropping election. Read more...

How Sen. Sessions Helped Close an Absurd Loophole in Border Enforcement

By Jerry Kammer, November 21, 2016

I don't know anything about the accuracy of claims that in the 1980s Jeff Sessions, then a U.S. attorney in Alabama, "demonstrated gross racial insensitivity". But I can report on the time in 2005 when Sessions' rapid response to a newspaper story demonstrated that he was one of a handful of U.S. senators who were determined to correct flaws in the federal government's enforcement of immigration laws.

The story, which appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune, described an absurd situation that was playing out in the Rio Grande Valley. Here is the top of the story, which was published under the headline "Loophole to America: Migrants exploiting border law for non-Mexicans". It had a McAllen, Texas, dateline. It also had my byline: Read more...

Open Letter to the NY Times on Its Epic Failure in the Presidential Election

By Jerry Kammer, November 17, 2016

Dear New York Times:

I am writing in response to the epic failure of your coverage of the presidential election. I should make it clear at the outset that I am no Trump apologist. I voted, reluctantly, for Hillary Clinton. I write as a former immigration reporter whose respect for the Times has long been diminished by the ideological bias that pervades much of your immigration coverage and commentary. Read more...

Mexico's Castaneda: Take a Hard Line Against Trump

By Jerry Kammer, November 14, 2016

Former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda, a likely candidate for the Mexican presidency in 2018, is calling on his country's government to take a hard line against potential large-scale deportations of Mexicans in the administration of U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump.

"I think Mexico should draw its line," Castaneda writes in a column for El Financiero that is also published on his website. In blunt language he outlines a plan for Mexico to paralyze deportations by declaring that it will accept deportees only if the United States presents documents to prove that they are Mexicans. Read more...

In the Election Aftermath, Media Observations on the Need for a Civil Discussion of Immigration

By Jerry Kammer, November 10, 2016

I opposed Donald Trump's presidential candidacy, but welcomed his success in making immigration policy a centerpiece of the campaign despite efforts by leaders of both major parties to avoid it. It is good to see that this discussion has been an important theme in the aftermath of an election that may be remembered as the most stunning in American history. Here are some of the comments I have come across. Immigration is not explicitly mentioned in all of them, but I think it is part of the subtext. Read more...

IRCA's 30th Anniversary: What Lawmakers Were Saying When They Finally Reached Agreement

By Jerry Kammer, October 17, 2016

On October 15, 1986, the New York Times announced that negotiators for the House and Senate had agreed on "a landmark immigration bill that would prohibit the hiring of illegal aliens and offer legal status to several million illegal aliens already in the United States." Read more...

Tweedledum and Tweedledee Assure Diane Rehm that Illegal Immigration Is Not a Problem for American Workers

By Jerry Kammer, October 13, 2016

The Diane Rehm Show, a public-affairs program carried by many public radio stations around the country, has a deserved reputation for sophistication and fair-mindedness in presenting competing points of view. But Wednesday's program, where Rehm and her guests discussed the roots of political alienation in the American working class, badly missed that mark.

Instead of an informed and lively discussion of an issue that is reverberating across the electoral landscape, the program gave a forum to an immigration-policy version of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. They were conservative economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum and liberal columnist David Leonhardt of the New York Times. Read more...

IRCA's 30th Anniversary: Looking Back at October 10, 1986

By Jerry Kammer, October 10, 2016

Thirty years ago, on October 9, 1986, the House of Representatives passed a major immigration reform bill, putting it on course to be signed a month later by President Reagan. Today this blog begins an occasional series to take a look back at the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and the political circumstances from which it emerged. Here is the top of the Washington Post's report on October 10, 1986: Read more...

The New Yorker Begins to Open Its Eyes to the Reasons for Trump's Durable Popularity

By Jerry Kammer, October 10, 2016

The New Yorker magazine has long shown the way for post-national cosmopolitans whose citizen-of-the world sense of moral superiority inclines them to disdain or simply ignore working-class Americans.

But in recent months, bewilderment at the popularity of Donald Trump has moved the magazine's editors to encourage a sort of anthropological journalism that has come up with some valuable insights into the durable support in much of the United States for the New York billionaire businessman. Read more...

What Sen. Kennedy Didn't Say About Immigration Says a Lot About Liberals' Abandonment of the Working Class

By Jerry Kammer, October 7, 2016

Many Americans of both liberal and conservative persuasion view the enduring popularity of Donald Trump with bewildered dismay. Yesterday we pointed to two poignant statements that offer a partial explanation for this phenomenon. They described working-class despair rooted in a sense of abandonment by the rest of American society. Read more...

How "Death of a Salesman" and Chris Matthews Explain Donald Trump's Enduring Support

By Jerry Kammer, October 5, 2016

In one of many wrenching scenes of "Death of a Salesman", the wife of Willy Loman pours out her own anguish as she demands respect for Willy's basic human dignity:

I don't say he's a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person.

The Times Prints All the News that Fits the Julia Preston Stereotype

By Jerry Kammer, October 3, 2016

Walter Lippmann, the late political journalist and philosopher, observed that we humans try to understand our complex social world by forming "systems of stereotypes". I thought of Lippmann over the weekend as I pondered two recent Julia Preston stories in the New York Times that encapsulate the stereotypical view of immigration that prevails in her work as national immigration reporter. Read more...

A Look at 'Hillbilly Elegy', news the Times Finds Unfit to Print, and the Backlash Against Stifling Lefty Orthodoxy

By Jerry Kammer, September 27, 2016

The remarkable new book Hillbilly Elegy is receiving rave reviews for its depiction of a large segment of the white working class. Liberal columnist Leonard Pitts, comparing the book to Ralph Ellison's classic about black America titled Invisible Man, called it "a compelling and compassionate portrait of a people politicians seldom address and media seldom reflect." Read more...

A Look at the Washington Post's 'Taco Truck' Snark Fest

By Jerry Kammer, September 8, 2016

Last week's media response to the warning that unchecked immigration would bring the United States "a taco truck [on every] corner" was sadly predictable. Reporters piled the mockery onto Marco Gutierrez, who issued the warning on MSNBC. Gutierrez is the founder of Latinos for Trump and himself an immigrant from Mexico. The subtext of the media pile-on was plain: "See how ridiculous this opposition to illegal immigration is? See how laughable? See how morally superior we are for ridiculing this Trump stooge?" Read more...

The Elites Are Outraged at the "Taco Trucks" Warning

By Jerry Kammer, September 2, 2016

The New York-to-Washington cognoscenti corridor of media elites is abuzz over the warning from Marcos Gutierrez, the founder of Latinos for Trump, that unless the United States gets serious about stopping illegal immigration, "you're going to have taco trucks [on] every corner."

The reactions run the spectrum from mockery to amusement to outrage. Read more...

Mexican Columnists Vent Their Anger at Trump Visit

By Jerry Kammer, September 1, 2016

If there is anyone in Mexico today who is less popular than Donald Trump, it may be the man who invited Trump to Mexico City yesterday. That is clear throughout the Mexican press, including the opinion page of today's El Universal, a Mexico City daily and the country's largest newspaper. Here are samples from four of the newspaper's columnists, who were clearly eager to vent their frustration and anger. Read more...

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...