The New Case Against Immigration, Both Legal and Illegal

By Mark Krikorian on June 10, 2008

Order a copy of The New Case Against Immigration at


The New Case Against Immigration, Both Legal and Illegal
by Mark Krikorian
Sentinel (part of the Penguin Group), 2008
ISBN 1595230351

We've all heard the laments: "My grandpa from Sicily learned English, and my grandma from Minsk got by without welfare. So what's the problem with immigrants today?"

As Mark Krikorian argues in this provocative book, what's different today is not the immigrants, but us. Today's immigrants are very similar to those of a century ago, but they are coming to a very different America -- one where changes in the economy, society, and government create fundamentally different incentives for newcomers. In other words, the America that our grandparents came to no longer exists. And this simple fact must become the new starting point for the explosive debate about immigration policy.

Krikorian argues that although mass immigration once served our national interests, in today's America it weakens our common national identity, limits opportunities for upward mobility, threatens our security and sovereignty, strains resources for social programs, and disrupts middle-class norms of behavior.

So as the politicians argue about border fences and amnesty, they are missing the bigger picture: the harmful impact of large-scale settlement of all kinds of immigrants, whether legal or illegal, skilled or unskilled, temporary or permanent, European or Latin or Asian or African. Modern America has simply outgrown immigration, and we must end it before it cripples us.


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Read the Introduction to The New Case Against Immigration.

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Advance praise for The New Case Against Immigration:

"Mark Krikorian steps back from today’s debates and examines the big picture, questioning the place of immigration in a modern society. Agree or disagree with his proposals, this is an important book -- not just for conservatives, but for all Americans."
-- William J. Bennett, host of Bill Bennett's Morning in America

"Superbly researched and brilliantly argued, The New Case Against Immigration should settle the debate once and for all. Civilized, compassionate, and wise, this short book may save a great nation."
-- David Frum, resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute

"Mark Krikorian has been the go-to guy for those of us skeptical of the Bush-McCain approach to immigration. He combines deep knowledge, political savvy, calm and compassion with something that's rare in this field: common sense. In this ambitious book he takes the immigration debate a step further, placing it in an overarching framework that will be as controversial as it is powerful. If you want to find all the best anti-amnesty arguments in one place, The New Case Against Immigration is the place to look. It is to the immigration debate what Losing Ground was to the poverty debate. My copy is already dog-eared."
-- Mickey Kaus, author of The End of Equality

"When it comes to our immigration mess, no one has a deeper understanding of the facts than Mark Krikorian. Pay attention: America's future is at stake."
-- Michelle Malkin, syndicated columnist

"Mark Krikorian concisely marshals the arguments on one side of the immigration debate. I am sure that many will disagree with his inferences and conclusions -- but I am also sure that anyone wishing to seriously argue the other side will have to address the many questions and doubts presented here. In short, this is a must-read for anyone interested in the most volatile social policy issue of the new century."
-- George Borjas, Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"This is a radical book, clearly and forcefully written, with the potential to change the immigration debate forevermore. No matter where you stand on immigration policy, you better be ready to confront The New Case Against Immigration."
-- Heather MacDonald, John M. Olin Fellow, Manhattan Institute; coauthor of The Immigration Solution

"Mark Krikorian has waged an often lonely war to restore some sanity to immigration policy. His latest book will be caricatured by many as insensitive -- especially his calls to select legal immigrants carefully only on the basis of skills and merit. Yet The New Case Against Immigration is a classically liberal call for assimilation and integration in the best past traditions of a multiracial America. The onus is on his critics to show where his economic, cultural, and social arguments are flawed or inexact -- and that will be difficult indeed, given such a carefully researched and argued book."
-- Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; author of Mexifornia

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David Frum: "Mark Krikorian's The New Case Against Immigration will head any list of the outstanding public policy books of 2008. ... This is a book that will anchor the national conversation on immigration in the months ahead"

Roy Beck: "Perhaps the most powerful aspect of Krikorian's book is that it is far more than pointed analysis that provides those of us concerned about immigration something to cheer about. Rather, every opinion is backed by solid evidence and stated in the dispassionate style of a quality think tank. Krikorian does not trigger emotionalism with emotionalist language. His years of debating in the media have taught him well how to anticipate reactions and rejoinders to anything he says. So, his pages are filled with caveats and nuances that add credibility and moderation to his arguments."

John O'Sullivan, National Review: "All in all, Krikorian establishes his argument: Unless we curb present levels of mass immigration, Americans are likely to live in a more conflict-ridden, less cooperative, less advanced, more unequal, higher-taxed, and more government-heavy society. His well-researched and well-argued book would transform the national debate in a sane world."

Peter Skerry, Weekly Standard: "Krikorian has produced a well-researched, policy savvy book whose comprehensiveness and verve ought to embarrass Washington's major think tanks, which veer between narrowly technical and evasively high-minded approaches to the topic."

Feature story in the Boston Globe: "He was not what they expected. He exudes a rumpled charm, with thick eyeglasses and a mop of thinning gray hair. But Krikorian's authoritative voice is so reasoned, and his demeanor so amiable, that it makes immigrant advocates leery."

Scott McConnell, The American Conservative: "Krikorian's arguments are a blend of the new (those stressing the incompatibility of high immigration with modern postindustrial society) with those heard in the immigration-reform movement for a generation, presented with measured rhetoric and unimpeachable logic."

Al Knight, Denver Post: "When, not if, the issue resurfaces and the debate resumes, Krikorian's book will be the starting place for serious-minded Americans concerned for their country's future."

Phyllis Schlafly: "Many arguments, pro and con, about how to deal with illegal aliens have been passionately debated over the past couple of years, but there are still other arguments that need public exposure. Mark Krikorian presents a new argument in his forthcoming book called The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal."

Cal Thomas: "Krikorian is a grandson of Armenian immigrants and he says America is not the country it was when his grandfather arrived. If we don't change, he says, it won't be a country worth handing over to future generations."

Al Tella, Washington Times: "To date, the national debate on mass immigration has been largely ad hoc. Now comes a book that raises the discussion to a higher level by weaving the many separate threads of the issue into a cohesive whole."

Claude R. Marx, Washington Times: "Mark Krikorian is not as provocative as some advocates and analysts of the subject. Nevertheless, he is a fierce advocate for his views, which are solidly conservative and come down squarely on the side of restricting legal immigration and doing more to clamp down on the illegal kind."

Dimitri Vassilaros, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Immigrants to America have not changed much. But their new homeland sure has. That's why Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, says the golden door must be slammed shut to illegal and legal aliens."

Peter Wehner, Commentary: "On behalf of their respective causes, both Krikorian and Riley marshal an impressive number of facts and studies. Both write clearly and comprehensively, and both display polemical talent. But that is where the similarities end."

James R. Edwards, Jr., Human Events: "His new book, The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal, should at a minimum cause both sides to refresh their thinking about this vexing issue. With luck, and if politicians and cynical interests will open their minds for two seconds, this tour de force could break the logjam by infusing some realistic, hard-headed decisionmaking."

Paul Nachman, "Still, for the sake of our country's survival, Mark's book deserves the widest possible readership. So if you're part of a book club, consider leading a discussion, lasting one or several meetings, of The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal. And make sure your local library orders a copy!"

Kelly Lemieux, Rocky Mountain News: "Krikorian's investigation is obviously based on patriotism and genuine concern, not xenophobia or bias. His ideas about enhanced assimilation techniques to promote a love of America, especially the dire need for Spanish-speaking immigrants to learn English, make this a provocative and informed read."

Rebecca Bynum, New English Review: "Krikorian manages to shift the debate away from the immigrants and onto the changing nature of American society. This is where the focus should be, for American immigration policy is our responsibility not that of the immigrants."

Marcus Epstein, "The New Case Against Immigration is well worth reading for immigration reform patriots who would like to bulk up on their debating skills. If you have a bookish open borders friend or family member who you'd like to convert, it will make them think twice about their positions. Unlike books like State of Emergency, however, it won’t make them angry."

David Forsmark, Front Page Magazine: "The New Case Against Immigration is a carefully written and intellectually rigorous book capable of redefining the debate. At the very least, Krikorian's arguments deserve real answers from those on the other side."

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Q&A at National Review Online

Q&A at Front Page Magazine

Book TV on C-SPAN

Between the Covers," with John J. Miller, National Review Online

Bill Thompson's "Eye on Books"

Interview with Don Irvine, Chairman of Accuracy in Media

Conservative Roundtable, with Howard Philips

Interview on Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson