Back in 1983, long before New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. established his ideology of all-in-for-inclusiveness, the Times published an editorial that stated this case for limiting immigration:
For reasons of vitality, humanity, and history, America wants and needs immigrants. What it does not need is such an uncontrollable flood of illegal migrants that it tries public patience and foments a backlash against all newcomers. That's the genuine danger.
Dan-el Padilla Peralta's recent memoir, which we have been examining this week, ends on a note of swagger and incitement so gratuitous that it seems intended to provoke such a backlash. As Marcela Valdes said in a book review for the Washington Post, the passage shows his "penchant for ad hominem score settling and his tone of belligerent entitlement."
Padilla ends his book with this astonishing denunciation of those who do not support illegal immigration: "And so to the haters, a final word: Demography is a bitch. Holla at me if you want me to break it down for you."
In 1984, one of the most prominent American journalists of the 20th century, Theodore White, could see Padilla coming. He warned about the immigration-driven demographic shift that was already underway: "If the U.S. 'tips' ethnically as our big cities 'tip,' it may be impossible to pass any law that makes immigration just and orderly."
Now White's pessimism is more justified than ever, as Republicans join Democrats in awe of the electoral implications of the Latino demographic wave. The temptation is to see who can do more to stuff immigration "reform" legislation with visa candy.
Democrats used to sound the alarm against illegal immigration. In 1970, for example, Democratic Sen. Walter Mondale of Minnesota worried that "we have a massive poverty population coming into the country every day from Mexico."
Now we have a massive poverty population coming from many more countries, including Padilla's native land, the Dominican Republic. Fifty-four percent of immigrant families headed by Dominican immigrants receive welfare benefits, a rate exceeded only by households headed by Mexican immigrants (57 percent) and Guatemalan immigrants (55 percent).
Democratic politicians like Bill and Hillary Clinton and Sen. Charles Schumer warn that it would be foolish of the United States not to embrace someone as well-educated and accomplished as Dan-el Padilla. But you won't hear them raise a peep about the implications of federal policies that have allowed millions of impoverished illegal immigrants to defy immigration laws.
Donald Trump's presidential candidacy is an expression of the backlash among Americans frustrated and worried by our immigration chaos. A 1981 New York Times editorial warned: "The more the system spins out of control, the more Americans lose patience with government — and perhaps with any immigration at all."
New York Times reporter Liz Robbins' C-SPAN interview of Padilla illustrates why many Americans have lost respect for the Times.