How to Beat Trump on Immigration

A generous vision of a multicultural world.

Comments: 197

  1. Thank you, Mr. Brooks for your calm and measured writing these last couple of years. As a committed pluralist (and a committee member of the American Solidarity Party, a pluralist party) I am grateful to see someone of your stature put forward smart, graceful opinions in this unstable time. Your column today reminded me of a fantastic book I read last year that deals with this subject. I would highly recommend to you "Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear by Matthew Kaemingk, it's the best book I know on the matter.

  2. “Social exploration...requires the ability to not merely tolerate difference, but to greet it with a generosity of spirit.” “...humbly aware that [your convictions] ...are not the only convictions.” “Being slow to take offense...quick to forget the transgressions of others and honest in acknowledging your group’s past wrongs.” Mr. Brooks, none of the above is possible in America in the form in which we recognize it. We have ignored the near-genocide of the Native Peoples, throwing it under the rug of the justification of Manifest Destiny. We have never come to serious, honest grips with slavery. After the Times published its magnificent “1619 Project,” conservatives howled that it was all just revisionist history. How, in our current political, social, cultural climate are we supposed to tackle the three great moral imperatives from which I quote above? Your visit to Europe was reminiscent of our own grand experiment here, somewhat successful, somewhat failed. We Americans largely lack the true Judeo-Christian ethos of charity. It’s a bridge much, much too far, I fear.

  3. @Red Sox, ‘04, ‘07, ‘13, ‘18 No doubt, there is some truth in what you say. Yet, after reading it, I feel more demotivated and discouraged. Your post is the progressive echo of Trump. Both focus on American carnage. I feel your way, of pointing out all the wrongs, and offering no path forward, is the wrong one and I reject it. We all know the problems and pointing them out merely highlights the obvious. The only viable way forward is embracing both truth AND hope.

  4. @Red Sox, ‘04, ‘07, ‘13, ‘18 Allow me to help you come to grips with slavery. There was a horrible civil war with white people and blacks essentially lining up opposite at close range with deadly rifles and just butchering each other for four years. This ended slavery. Jim Crow and racial strife are consequences of said war.

  5. What's sadly missing in this piece are the concepts of patience and perspective. In other words, time will tell how we respond to change that always seems to startle us when, in fact, it had been surrounding us since long before we realized it. Two steps forward, one step back. Thanks to relatively recent contributing factors such as instantaneous communication, social media and fake news, our judgments are spontaneous instead of considered. Think. Rinse. Repeat. Please.

  6. As I understand you, you are saying that people can explore scary things (someone from a different group) only when they can easily return to their comfort zones (their own group). I am a lifelong horsewoman who spent the last three years painfully trying to recover my love of riding horses after a severe psychological trauma resulting from a potentially life threatening experience with a horse. The path I took, which is proving to be successful, is little by little going out of my comfort zone, but returning without blaming myself when overwhelmed by anxiety. I never thought about how this relates to people from "scary" groups, but this makes sense. It takes a very long time, and it often seems like two steps forward and three steps back, but over time, confidence and feelings of security increase, until what seemed threatening last month now seems like an interesting challenge.

  7. This is a thoughtful column on a challenging issue. At times though, Brooks seems a bit too sanguine about the challenge ahead for the United States. The key challenge is this: how to provide conservative white Americans a sense of "security" in the midst of rapid demographic change? Simply providing better economic supports, while laudable and helpful, is not going to be sufficient. Nor is encouraging them to "think about things from a better philosophical standpoint", which seems to be Brooks' solution. At some point, explicitly speaking to people's fears about that demographic change, and promising to slow it down, is likely to be necessary. And that need not involve fearmongering or stereotyping or nasty rhetoric - it can be done calmly and carefully. There is also a class dynamic here that Brooks misses, and which Joan Williams nicely summarizes in "White Working Class" - an openness to change and the erosion of traditions is likely to be particularly unsettling to many in the working class, but less so to a professional elite. The latter is Brooks' perspective, and that might explain his (likely misplaced) optimism.

  8. @Meidner Our political leaders once championed the working man as the beating heart of America. Now they blame white men for all of the evils of racism, sexism, and homophobia. Neither point of view is entirely honest or complete, but the former encourages the confidence that fosters pluralism, while the latter satisfies the short term demands for cartoon villains of identity politics while sowing the seeds of division. I think that is Brooks' point. Our political leaders need to derive more of their rhetorical inspiration from FDR or JFK, and less from the Woman's Studies professors of their college years.

  9. Mr Brooks, you make a good point, those most secure in their cultural identity find it easier to be accomodating. Similarly, states with the highest divorce rates stood most firmly for "marriage is only between a man and a woman" as opposed to "between people who love each other". Two parents are generally thought to be better than one, so perhaps proximity to 2 approaches to solving the problems of being human [cultures] is better than being fixed in a monoculture. Just a thought

  10. Very insightful. The problem with this piece is that it considers both points of view. Most NYT readers are not interested in that. I applaud David Brooks for his intellectual honesty. A rare commodity in today's environment.

  11. This piece is thoughtful, intelligent and perhaps, most of all, a bit too optimistic. I hope that Democrats can beat Trump on the immigration policy, but It seems to me that the perspective on immigration held by a large segment of the population in the U.S. is that anything which dilutes the power of the white population is unacceptable. Creating "a mass multicultural democracy where people feel at home" will have little meaning to those who oppose immigration. To them, it's all about white power, and that divisive attitude has been promoted by Donald Trump over and over again. It may take many years to reverse the damage that Trump has done for a positive, fair immigration policy.

  12. "The pluralist doesn’t see society as a competition for scarce resources, but as a joint voyage of discovery in search of life’s biggest answers. Pluralism offers us the chance, and the civic duty, to be a daring social explorer, venturing across subcultures, sometimes having the exciting experience of being the only one of you in the room, harvesting the wisdom embedded in other people’s lifeways. A key pluralist trait is curiosity, the opposite of anxiety." Does this sound like a good description of the Progressive Party to anyone else?

  13. 1) Words matter. Please do not destroy them Mr B. pruTm is NOT a "global populist." "Demagogue" is the correct label. While populist sensibilities are evident in pruTm's rhetoric such rhetoric is, as most always with him, a fraudulent misrepresentation. 2) The solution to creating a pluralistic society is to dismantle the structures that have produced the current plutocracy, which is to say the regressive taxation schemes and other assorted reactionary regulatory hijnx on the march since Saint Ronnie.

  14. National borders mean less now than they ever have. The internet let’s us interact in hundreds of languages across every type of border. Global institutions including Apple, General Motors, Harvard University, Most major banks, UNICEF among others operate seemlessly across the globe. Supply chains operate across every continent with few products produced and consumed in a single country. Immigration is a nice political hot potato but in the real world it does not really matter.

  15. @Jack S So then Jack S, if what would effectively be open borders as pronounced by our Democratic candidates results in a billion poverty stricken legal and illegal immigrants, it would not really matter? I’d rather not be forced to choose between a victim of aberrant brain development, like President Caligula or someone addled by destructively impractical ideology.

  16. "If Trump opponents want to reach those voters", they must stop pretending there is no meaningful distinction between illegal and legal immigration, and between asylum as properly intended and asylum as opportunism and pretext. The most prominent Latino in American history, Cesar Chavez, opposed illegal immigration for the reasons many oppose it now. Elite progressives--Mr. Brooks included--imagine that Bad America somehow owes functionally open borders. Most Americans disagree, and will vote accordingly.

  17. The title of this column is pure Click Bait. The next presidential election is a year away and Brooks gives us some ideals to ponder but nothing substantial in regards to beating Trump on immigration. I'm left of center politically and have voted for Democrats or Independents my entire life , but in no way do my views on immigration jibe with any of the Dem candidates. I like immigrants and enjoy other cultures (I've lived abroad in Mexico, Italy, and Czech Republic, and speak two foreign languages); you could say I'm a Xenophile. However, I am for limited legal immigration (our current system is very generous). But I'm not for illegal immigration. Nor am I for government benefits going to illegal immigrants and their families. Nor am I for decriminalizing illegal border crossing. Nor am I for allowing in potential asylum seekers while they wait for court dates. Nor am I for demonizing those of us who want limited immigration as racists or bigots. Sadly the Dem candidates only seem to have immigration policies as reactions to Trump. And David Brooks, what's the plan again? To be more pluralistic? As I said, Click Bait.

  18. @Andio Totally agree. As someone who is way left-of-center on almost every issue excepting immigration, I believe that the Dems are not facing the reality of populist sentiment (and the recent political outcomes) both in the US and in Europe, and are keeping their heads buried in the sand. I am fervently hoping that they will come up with an immigration stance that is palatable to the average voter. Brook's opinion piece, of course, was pure click bait.

  19. @Andio And your people presumably came here before there was such a thing as 'legal' or 'illegal' immigration. They just walked off the boat and if they weren't diseased, they went to their immigrant communities. You most certainly do not represent liberal values.

  20. @Andio The US system is NOT "generous". You tell yourselves lies and then believe them.

  21. Kudos for writing this: "Only people who are securely rooted in their own particularity are confident enough to enjoy the encounter with difference. This is the paradox of pluralism: In order to get people to integrate with others you have to help them weave close communities with their own kind. Cosmopolitans never get this." I've lived in highly diverse areas all my life, and I've become lonely and miserable as a result, so I can confirm this from personal experience.

  22. Cumbia Baby, Cumbia I feel all warm and fuzzy. David Brooks has hit the sweet spot. I am a self actualizing man who has reached Kolberg's highest level of moral capacity. But now I'm coming off this high. I realize that we are being "played" by an incompetent individual who is only concerned about maintaining his power and enriching his pocketbook. Suddenly I'm ised-off, and feel a visceral need to go into attack mode. But David is right: "Those who take advantage of the 'Bind' didn't create the bind. We need to step away before we trigger an explosion. We need to trust that time will slowly diffuse the tensions. And we need to, in one way or another, provide for health relationships and a healthy environment.

  23. I'm a strong Democratic voter who enjoys some things in other cultures, whether here or where those cultures are rooted. But I can see that the rate of cultural change and immigration is driving every country to the right. I don't want to live in a right wing country. I'm willing to forgo immigration to ensure a figure like Trump does not arise again in my lifetime. Also, with the CO2 footprint of Americans being so high, every person that steps across the border moves us further away from dealing with climate change. I'm willing to give up immigration to combat climate change too.

  24. @Djt I think it's a wash. Folks in developing countries may consume less but what they do consume produces a lot of pollution and other enviro damage. Hopefully, in the US we are moving away from activities that have big carbon footprints.

  25. @Djt Some day -- not in our lifetimes -- it will dawn on people in a very real way that the climate problem is a symptom of overpopulation. Reducing the population is the only thing that will stop or mitigate climate change. The question is whether the means will be climate induced disasters or something else.

  26. @Mike Really? You think the carbon footprint per capita of Honduras is the same or higher than the USA? No way. When a poor farmer moves from El Salvador to the USA, he immediately doubles his carbon footprint. This isn't rocket science.

  27. Brooks' answer to U.S. anxiety about immigration is unrealistic. We need to agree on laws to control immigration and stick by them. A book I read written by a person who had immigrated to the U.S. proposed admitting people legally who had skills to offer. The humanitarian need is immense, but I do believe the lifeboat theory. We have to control the number coming in and who they are to preserve ourselves. Ironically, Western technology that has increased human populations at the expense of the environment is the source of the pressure millions of people abroad feel to find secure places to live. If we did not live in the style we do, we could accommodate more people, but they would be less desperate to come. On top of that is the total destruction enabled by modern warfare. All that said, things as they are now, the U.S. cannot let in as many people in need as it would appear we can precisely because of the damage our form of culture does to the natural world around us.

  28. @Ro Mason, not sure why it's pteferable to bring in more people who will displace Americans from even better jobs. Would you rather be changing sheets in a hotel?

  29. I understand what David is saying. What I cannot understand is why things are this way in big swaths of 21st century America. My grandparents were all from working class families, and my parents were the first members of their families to attend college. From the time I was a small child, we were taught to judge persons as individuals, not to stereotype. My Catholic parents originally accepted the Church’s teaching about homosexuality, but also believed that what others do privately is no one else’s business. As society changed and friends came out, they welcomed them and their partners. As I have written before, my nieces and nephews include people of color, and we are a mix of religions. Admittedly, we were native New Yorkers, but to say that seems to suggest that I believe that rural Americans, or those in the middle of the country, are incapable of coming to the conclusions reached by my older family members in the 1920’s or earlier. And that’s what I don’t understand. What is wrong with your faith if you can’t accept mine? Don’t you know that white Americans all came here originally from other places? Don’t you enjoy different kinds of food, music, sports, art, literature? As I said at the beginning— I just don’t get it.

  30. Why do I think that Stephen Miller is someone who has had a hard time feeling comfortable in his family history as Jewish refugees. I look at him as a very disturbed person who gets no comfort from his own place in the pantheon of American immigration. If he recognized his grandparents struggles with AntiSemitism, he may be more open about present day refugees and their plight. Most of all, why does he oppose ALL immigration while evidence shows our economy and and culture are richer and stronger with contributions by immigrants.

  31. A successful integration of peoples of different cultures is dependent upon a realization by those same peoples that humanity is one, that there is only one race (the human race), and that men and women are equal. It helps when there is a leader who can propagate these values. Right now, there is no such leader in government, in chuch, in industry or anywhere else.

  32. Many Progressives do not seem to understand what it is like to grow up in a working class area where people had made a decent living in factories until Free Trade laws let manufacturers move their plants abroad where the labor was cheap and environmental laws were not enforced. Many former factory workers were then able to get good paying jobs in construction until the Great Recession hit, and most construction stopped. When it finally started again, construction managers realized they could hire the undocumented for much lower wages. Many working class citizens have yet to find jobs that pay as well as their former factory or construction jobs. As a result, many have lost their families. Women did not want to be married to the fathers of their children whom they see as one more mouth to feed. Their children are growing up in poor, single parent homes, although from time to time their mothers might have a relationship with a different man, who might try to act as their father. Such households never seem to have enough money or time to relax and make friends with people in their area. Their areas may have so many “broken homes” in which people always feel stretched to the breaking point that it never turns into a community. Many feel isolated and in fear of their future. If Progressives would try to understand the situation of our own working class citizens as much as they do the plight of people who are here illegally, then we would be a less polarized country.

  33. @ann The below quotes are from a 10/31 NYT article titled "Lots of Job Hunting, but No Job, Despite Low Unemployment”: "Even in some of the hottest labor markets in the country — let alone lagging rural regions and former industrial powerhouses — workers, including skilled ones ... say they cannot find jobs that provide a middle-class income and don’t come with an expiration date.” "Most of these people do not show up in the stunningly low official unemployment rate, which was 3.6 percent in October. Working even one hour during the week when the Labor Department does its employment survey keeps you out of the jobless category.” "Many more show up in a broader measure, which includes people who are working part time but would prefer full-time employment, and those who want to work but have given up an active job search. That rate in September was 6.9 percent, some 11 million people. But there are also many others, ... , who work temporary jobs for months at a time and are not necessarily captured in either measure. And millions of contract workers — freelancers, consultants, Lyft drivers — lack benefits, regular schedules and job security. They have found a foothold, but it rests on loose rock. A recent survey by Gallup found that a majority of Americans do not consider themselves to be in a “good job.”’ Yet, Progressives think we should accept illegal immigrants who compete for our jobs, for affordable housing and whose children crowd our own children’s schools .

  34. @ann Absolutely willing to grant you the economic point. But solving that definitely begins with enforcing E-Verify and severely punishing those employers who hire undocumented immigrants at undercutting wages in the first place. Said employers are generally oligarchic enough to have a lot of influence, through campaign spending, on our representatives, so complete public funding of elections, with low three digit limits on individual contributions per campaign, and NO organizational contribution, be they corporate, union, religious, or five-oh-whatever, allowed. Just like with our "war on drugs", we need to cut off the demand to have an effect on the supply. Keeping the unscrupulous from hiring the undocumented is the place to start.

  35. @ann, Progressives are not solely focused on the plight of immigrants in this country. That's just conservative spin. You can try to solve problems like crowded schools or lack of good jobs by keeping certain people out-- people who might actually prove to be economically beneficial to your aging population-- or you could prioritize funding schools for everyone. Public schools are poorly funded because we *choose to spend money elsewhere, not because of immigrants, illegal or otherwise. Wages are low in large part because we decimated unions. Progressives weren't the ones passing Free Trade agreements or cutting funding for services or privatizing everything or throwing trillions of dollars away on wars.

  36. Part of rootedness is financial security, but today's federal minimum wage has half the purchasing power it used to have, and there are only three counties in the country where minimum wage -- even where higher than $7.25 -- is high enough to afford housing. David Brooks says when natives feel strong and rooted they will welcome immigrants, but he has called raising minimum wage a "horrible" idea. Conservatives do everything they can to uproot workers, which makes them fear immigration. Democrats will fix this by helping workers recover their financial security, their education and health, all critical for rootedness, which will in turn get rid of the conservative boogeyman, immigrants.

  37. One minor correction Mr Brooks . The recent rise in immigration is not a social experiment . It is the reality of the world we live in . And all the carping whining and threats from the so called populists isn't going to do anything the mitigate the situation . In fact as Trump's reign has proven It will exacerbate it

  38. White I agree with what you’ve written, it is not realistic. You’re forgetting one critical thing: it’s the states that have the greatest power make or break a pluralistic society because it’s the states that fund education and decide whether or not to expand Medicaid. And guess what? Red states that already have a high poverty level (like Alabama) are seeing an influx of immigrants. That’s why Trumpism was so appealing to so many already-impoverished, uneducated Alabamians who don’t know how to react to a changing world. You said to create a “thick pluralistic society, you first have to help people embed in a secure base. That includes economic and health care security, but it also involves cultural and spiritual security.” Maslow’s Hierarchy—agree. But, I’ve worked in high-poverty schools where American kids don’t have that base-level security, and putting strain on an already strained system is just a recipe for social unrest. We already have a history of racism here, and the poverty just fuels it. In Alabama, public education was barely scraping by long before Hispanic immigrants arrived. Now, our scores are getting even lower and of course there are those who like to play the blame game. Part of this endless cycle of low standards is because people continue to vote for Republicans. It’s difficult to create a healthy, pluralistic society when the game board looks this way. So my question is, how do red states beat Trump on immigration when this is the ugly reality?

  39. @Corrie while. Not white.

  40. Brooks claims "[It] is taboo here [to state] that immigration is always, at the most personal level, a cultural encounter." Any supporting evidence of that taboo, Brooks? I'm so tired of claims that people who feel compassion towards those less fortunate than themselves are "PC," naive, bleeding-hearts, or practicing reverse-discrimination. We live in an incredibly, almost unbelievably wealthy nation. If the people who love power and money more than they love other humans weren't deliberately stoking the fears and insecurities of their less powerful, less wealthy fellow citizens, the riches of the US could provide comfortably for everyone here and a bunch of people in other places (or, at minimum, US plutocrats could stop stealing money from other countries). And with a national cultural policy of increased compassion and decreased fear-mongering, maybe the churches would even stop shrinking.

  41. Although I agree with Mr. Brooks, successful integration of immigrants is possible only in prosperous, materially secure societies. Otherwise, it feeds the perception that immigrants are competing for already scarce resources, and breeds extreme resentment and an inevitable political backlash. This, for example, is precisely what happened in the formerly E. German states, Sachsen, for example, strengthening the right-wing parties, catapulting them into governance. Germany desperately needs skilled immigrants for its industry, but it just can't get over its Xenophobia in the East. Especially when immigrants are unskilled refugees fleeing persecution in their own countries e.g. African refugees who attempt life-threatening crossings of the Mediterranean to get to Italy. Climate change will turn this trickle into a torrent. How do you deal with the seemingly endless waves of these people who are culturally different and economically disadvantaged? At a practical level, this becomes the question.

  42. "Conservatives tend to emphasize the value of being rooted in place. Progressives tend to celebrate living across difference. Life is miserable, and a nation is broken, unless you do both." That could be true. But the conservative stance is particularly susceptible to primitive tribal impulses - that is what makes it potentially much more damaging. Particularly so when leaders cloaking themselves in the mantle of conservatism appeal to their followers' basest instincts, as they have in recent times.

  43. (1) No thanks to "thick pluralism:" There is no such thing as a "multi-cultural" society -- an identifiable nation or society exists by virtue of a shared culture, starting with language. There is an American culture and presumably new and recent immigrants want to assimilate, much as their predecessors did. As far as I can see (and interact with immigrants from all over) that's happening. (2) The US, despite a history of episodic nativism, is very consciously a nation of immigrants and has generally been more welcoming than most other places. (3) I don't think that has changed. Human nature being what it is, the most open society can only absorb immigrants at a certain pace. (4) The right approach to immigration will take all of that into account.

  44. Harvard political scientist, Robert Putnam, in a wide-ranging 2007 study (interviews with over 30,000 people) provided compelling evidence that the greater the level of diversity in a community, the lower the level of civic engagement and trust. Putnam, a political liberal, was reluctant to accept these conclusions, but did so with reluctance. Jasper

  45. It's all very well to talk about being "rooted in a place," but tell this to the hundreds of thousands, in come cases millions, of people driven from their nations or homes by war, famine, climate disasters, and pure and simple overpopulation which mean resources do not supply needs. This bigger and faster shifting and growing world population will very likely overwhelm national and continental boundaries despite all the walls, barriers, and laws that we try to erect in the way. This swirling global world cannot just be wished away. In the 70s "the population bomb" was an important focus of interest but now we seem to have forgotten the consequences of an exploding population.

  46. Brooks you muddled through and never got to "How to Beat Trump on Immigration. " Sociologically people in harmonious groups get a long much better than when you try and mix non-harmonious groups. This is Fact proven by Sociological Studies. I'm a left-leaning Blue Dog Democrat but think the Dems are going to the loose the election with an Open Borders Platform. My yard men are from Mexico. They do a great job and I like them. I have good friends from Kashmire. I have no doubt that I would like most of the illegal immigrants who are here and people who are banging at the Wall to come in. However, I AM NOT FOR OPEN BORDERS. Our government has hurt Americans with such programs like HB-1 Visa program by allowing companies to bring lower cost employees who take American's jobs. The world is heating up and now with more information flowing to countries around the world via the Internet EVERYONE wants to come to America to escape poverty and horrible regimes. How can America become home to the World? If it can...please explain how this is works with American's who are currently living here. Because, I don't know how this can work out. Already our major cities are overflowing, housing prices are out of reach for many and the homeless are ruining communities because they have no where to go.

  47. @Mikki If our major cities are overflowing, we need to increase housing density, especially near transit. We don't all need a single-family house with a white picket fence and a yard. More of us should be living in townhouses and multistory apartment buildings. Greater density will reduce commute times, reduce air pollution, and make it easier for teen-agers to access culture and all our cities have to offer before they are old enough to drive. Greater density will help preserve farm and forest land. And most important, it will increase the supply of housing and thereby reduce its cost.

  48. @Mikki If our major cities are overflowing, we need to increase housing density, especially near transit. We don't all need a single-family house with a white picket fence and a yard. More of us should be living in townhouses and multistory apartment buildings. Greater density will reduce commute times, reduce air pollution, and make it easier for teen-agers to access culture and all our cities have to offer before they are old enough to drive. Greater density will help preserve farm and forest land. And most important, it will increase the supply of housing and thereby reduce its cost.

  49. @Mikki If our major cities are overflowing, need to increase housing density, especially near transit. We don't all need a single-family house with a white picket fence and a yard. More of us should be living in townhouses and multistory apartment buildings. Greater density will reduce commute times, reduce air pollution, and make it easier for teen-agers to access culture and all our cities have to offer before they are old enough to drive. Greater density will help preserve farm and forest land. And most important, it will increase the supply of housing and thereby reduce its cost.

  50. Sorry, David, erudite but still clueless, populists use immigrants as a foil for an erosion of jobs money etc. that will take place regardless and, perhaps, in spite of that population taking its place among the working and tax paying public. The huge shift to a very powerful wealthy elite is much more of a problem and one that quite obviously the wealthy and powerful don't want addressed. I think they call what they do job creation. Sounds almost godlike or so they would like you to think.

  51. “Their wages are declining, their families and communities are fragmenting, their churches are shrinking, government services are being cut, their values and national identity feel unstable.” Why are their wages declining? Why are their government services being cut? Why do national values and identity feel unstable? Wages, government services and values have been sacrificed by David’s tribe on the altar of tax cuts for people who don’t need them. Meanwhile, he travels to France and tells us to be more open minded. David Brooks is the cause of all the problems he laments.

  52. @Shadlow Bancroft, on top of that they take advantage of the situation they've sown and blame everything on immigrants! Easy votes, why try to actually solve anything?

  53. I have no idea on how to beat Don Trump on immigration. This sure isn't it. Mr. Brooks, why don't you explain your idea to one of the Democratic Presidential candidates, and then have them present it in one of the Democratic primary debates, or better yet, in a debate with Pres. Trump? Your ideas would fall totally flat. They do not communicate. Don Trump knows how to communicate; that is why he is President. About the only reason. And yes, he does communicate and think at a pretty cartoonish level. Too many people in this country are dead set against immigration. And I don't really think that they have any good reasons for their opposition. There probably isn't any way to change their views. But your ideas on pluralism won't work. My idea probably won't work on a lot of people. But it is a better idea than this academic, elites' idea of pluralism. I am pretty sure that nearly every immigrant comes to the US because they like the way this country works. They want to be Americans. The love the opportunity--jobs, education, consumer goods, etc.. Hispanics, Chinese, Koreans, Somalians, everyone. They want to be here. They want to be Americans. Just like everyone who is already here. So why not emphasize that idea? That the immigrants are no threat to the US way of life. They aren't. They are all good Americans.

  54. This column reminds me of the Kennedy clan. They lived in a gated compound while extolling the virtues of integration. If you live in a bubble it is likely you will never be touched by the problems endemic in welcoming immigrants who are unable to make their way in modern America. As Ted Cruz stated, if it were lawyers coming over the border, the elites would stop it. But since it's potential democrat voters, see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.

  55. “economic problems” such as the cheapest fruits and vegetables on earth? Have fun cutting broccoli after you finish building the wall.

  56. @sob, there's no reason for immigrants to be primarily Democrats. Many are probably quite conservative, but Republicans see anti-immigration rhetoric as an easier way to get their own votes. Certainly easier than passing comprehensive immigration reform. How's that wall working out for you?

  57. Wait, now I'm confused. Conservatives are always complaining that we Progressives care too much about "identity politics." Isn't that what "bonding experience within your own tradition to create rootedness" means? If so, why do you Conservatives always deride us for that? And I'm also confused about why you think that when we Progressives "celebrate living across difference" that we discount anyone's sense of rootedness (be it our own, or other people's)? You present them as being mutually exclusive, when they're not at all! In fact, the whole point of "celebrating difference" is predicated on the notion that "difference" can only occur if the "different" things have "different" senses of their own rootedness. Pluralism can't exist without contrasting rootednesses. Progressives have never been anti rootedness. That's a fundamental misunderstanding made by Conservatives; or perhaps even a caricature trope that Conservatives purposely propagate to stigmatize us as being "against" them. In fact, Pluralists are (by definition) accepting of Conservatives as part of the panoply of differences that we celebrate. But conversely, Conservatives are less accepting of Progressives, because they emphasize dividing the world into "us" versus everyone else who's not like us. That's a pretty divisive way to look at the world. Now that I think about it, my confusion is warranted: not because I'm confused, but rather because Brooks and Conservatives are confused (and narrow-minded)!

  58. What a wonderful article! After being an ESL teacher to adults from many countries for more than 30 years, I heartily agree with your positive approach to immigration. We're all the same no matter our culture, origin, language, background or skin color. Fear of the unknown is a normal response, but treating immigrants with respect and kindness is like opening the door to a wealth of unexpected gifts. We're all part of humanity.

  59. The interesting thing about all this global mixing is that it only goes one way - from poor, badly-run, unsuccessful countries full of “people of color” to rich, well-run countries that were built by white people. Would it be ok with you, Mr. Brooks, if an influx of Poles was to turn Iran 40% Christian? Would it be ok for white Americans to flood illegally into Central America and demand the preferences due to a minority group?

  60. “The short answer is: immigration. “ The longer question still remains, how can a sensible immigration policy be designed, discussed or implemented when Putin &co. can, with a phone call to the White House, cause a surge of dangerous ISIS prisoners to “ immigrate” to Europe and beyond. Putin facilitated the prior wave of immigrants from Syria to Europe purposefully to destabilize it. How’s that working out so far? Brexit, Orban, need I go on? The same trick here makes immigration literally a trump card for Republicans and their feckless leader. Until the Putin cord is cut, immigration will lead the way down and downer, just like Putin pictured it.

  61. "In order to get people to integrate with others you have to help them weave close communities with their own kind. Cosmopolitans never get this." What's a "Cosmopolitan?" Some sort of cocktail? I live in a town outside of Boston that has a synagogue, a mosque, a Catholic church, and several protestant churches. We all get along. Why our wonderful heartland can't get along with anyone who isn't exactly like them is beyond me, but please don't blame 'cosmopolitans' for that.

  62. @CF "Why our wonderful heartland can't get along with anyone who isn't exactly like them is beyond me." Not a helpful comment and not supported by evidence. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the country; when I lived there, the very large immigrant populations seemed not just to get along but to contribute greatly to the city's dynamism. And.. I just googled "mosques in West Des Moines, Iowa." Arguably the heartland, yes? I guess you're right -- not one mosque there! Instead, there are two.

  63. Those who would like to see Trump need to expand their own tent. Best not to stereotype millions of voters as racist and misogynists lest they vote for Trump again. We need to find common ground and not call millions of voters deplorable again.

  64. I have never read such fantasy from any Times writer when it comes to immigration. We are not obligated to prove to the world that we are not racist when we decide who should be allowed to come to America and who we should deny entry. Our society is already the most diverse in the world and we should permit entry based on the needs of the country. Brain power will be the means by which America continues to lead the world, which will also ensure our economic power and military might necessary to preserve our freedom. What we don't need is a flood of 3rd world citizens who are a drain on our already over extended resources and religious groups who have demonstrated they have no tolerance to live in harmony other religious beliefs.

  65. The illustrations in this piece work against its message

  66. Out of many, one. This is our national anthem and the basis of the nation state. Diversity is not a strength if people dont subscribe to an underlying narrative and set of values. Of course the nation state is created with the comfort and power of the majority of the creators in mind. We have a strong rule of law to protect minorities but that only touches on the divisions within American citizens. Western European migration posed no threat to a land that is essentially an extension of European society. Immigrants should be welcome in a process where we cherry pick the best abd brightest according to national need. We dont need full scale family clan based migration from non-developed nations. Pay Americans a little more for unskilled labor or reinstitute temp. worker programs where immigrants return after doing low skill jobs. The Ds will lose everytime in the heartland if they dont start distinguishing between illegal and legal immigrants. We are not the safety valve for the worlds ills nor can this nation take in endless massess of cultually alien migrants and illegals without dissolving the underlying bonds barely holding our divided society together. A mass plan to change voter demographics through complete amnesty for illegals and open border policies seems like sore loaing to the heartland. The Ds must convince flyover over America once again of their loyalty to their ills and not seek to replace them with foreigners. American' are dreamers too.

  67. "How to Beat Trump on Immigration".....The Trump supporters believe what they want to believe; but the fact is Obama deported more illegal immigrants than any other President. When he left office illegal immigration into the U.S. was at a 40 year low, and there were no caravans of asylum seekers crossing Mexico because the Mexican government was helping secure our southern border. Now all you have to do is convince the Trump supporters that illegal immigration has actually gotten worse not better. It is true, but good luck getting them to believe it.

  68. Waves of migration? Come on, David, you are better than this. This country's "wave of migration" took place before concern about climate change, before the general talking point about people migrating, before politicians around the globe became concerned about being invaded by immigrants. Our "wave" took place for the most obvious of reasons: failure by a feckless government to enforce immigration laws over a 30+ year period. It was aided and abetted by having laws that tell the world that getting in is rewarded: school and medical care for your kids, citizenship for kids born here - birth paid for by the taxpayer too!!-- opportunities to make more money, often "off the books" etc.

  69. This is another fine essay by David Brooks -- incomplete, because what 700-word essay isn't? But it says important things that get ignored. If the party of Roosevelt and Truman had been attending to basics for the last 40 years, our present situation would not be so dire.

  70. "...includes economic and health care security..." Mr. Brooks, I dare say that economic and health care security is the first step to all the others. Where are gangs and crime most problematic (other than Wall Street)? In the impoverished parts of the cities, towns, and countries. Where are immigrants most feared and despised? In those same places. Where are opioids damaging the largest percentage of our citizens? Yep, in trump country; the regions devastated by the move-to-the-cheapest-labor-countries-capitalists (corporate Republicans) and the gigantic corporate farming industries—it's not really very healthy food, but look how cheap it is. We've learned more than a few times over the last 100+ years how to avoid labor crises. It was simple: pay workers a living wage. The myriad social ills you describe could easily be mitigated—no, not solved—by going against the grain of those in power who have comforted the comfortable and afflicted the afflicted; you guessed it, your Republicans. For an empathetic and intelligent human being, you seem determined to be dense. Bill Buckley's "conservatism" has been destroyed by the last 40 years of right-wing loonacy and shennanagins. Please, get over it and start working in the world that is, that most of us live in. That better world where the CEO's and Senators are honorable people who consider themselves Americans citizens first, is long dead. Please Mr. Brooks, put your intelligence and writing to solving real world problems.

  71. Hard to read Brooks stuff especially when he basically starts with a dubious premise/statistic, the 91% of folks that opponents of liberal immigration policies are racists. Baloney! Also, though I am very liberal on immigration, I can see why people don't support illegal immigration. However, I hope people agree that the punishment must fit the crime, and crossing the border years ago and contributing to society, should not mean being arrested and deported.

  72. The misbegotten Reagan Amnesty was passed in 1986. For a short time, the threatened enforcement of our immigration laws was sufficient to restrain illegal "immigration". But, over time, it became clear this country wasn't going to enforce our immigration laws or our employment laws. Illegal "immigration" steadily increased. Then, thanks to the continuing lunacy of Birthright Citizenship, a very large and growing Hispanic population developed, at first in key states, then in pockets all over this country. A slow burning anger began to build. It built all over this country. It elected Trump despite his many obvious faults. It will elect him again if the Democrats don't learn. I am confident they will not. I will say this very slowly: this country is pro immigrant, pro "diversity", but not in favor of illegal "immigration" and not in favor of stuff it down your throat and pay for it illegal diversity.

  73. @Kurfco, birthright citizenship was added to the Constitution because of slavery. It was not added to make it easy for immigrants to stay here because their children were born here. It was not lunacy when it was added. It was done to safeguard the rights of newly freed African American slaves whose ancestors were brought here against their will. Citizenship is not the problem. The problem is what is happening in the countries asylum seekers are leaving. Seeking asylum is not illegal. Overstaying a visa is. Hiring illegal immigrants is against the law but some businesses do it as a habit. That tells me that these businesses factor the fines in as the cost of doing business. Therefore our government has to do two things and do them properly. First of all they need to upgrade the databases they maintain so that the response to queries about a new hire's citizenship and SSN is correct 99.9% of the time. Second, they need to begin to levy heavier fines against the employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants on a regular basis. Along with that they must fine the agencies that supply these employers. Other countries do a better job than America. But other countries aren't as technologically deficient as ours is.

  74. @hen3ry You don't understand current employment law. By Federal law, all an employer is obligated to do is look at a Social Security card or other "work authorizing document" and get a completed I-9 form. Most employers keep copies of both in their files. Illegal workers submit forged Social Security cards as good looking as yours and commit perjury to complete their I-9. Employers are not required to "verify" a prospective employees identity. Some states -- all Red ones -- require the use of eVerify, but Federal law does not require this. It is a voluntary program. As for Birthright Citizenship, we are in agreement, sort of. It was definitely meant to clarify the status of kids born to freed slaves. It was never intended to confer citizenship on kids born to people with no legal right to be on US soil. The fact that we use it that way greatly complicates immigration law enforcement. The reason we have so many "asylum" seekers is because our policies are so ludicrous. Once the world learned that all that was required was saying "asylum" and "credible fear", all illegal "immigrants" were instantly transformed into "asylum seekers".

  75. David, folks who are afraid of another person because of his or her skin color are indeed racist. What other plausible conclusion can one draw? The economic anxiety trope has been disproved by numerous studies, including the seminal Pugh Charitable Trust report post the 2016 election. Trump voters were not worried about the economy. They were worried about brown and black people. Republicans have lost the urban vote, except for Joe the Plumber types. The party has lost the suburban vote. It is left with the rural white vote. And, god forbid, we leave the future of our great country to those folks!

  76. I happened to be reading the Book of Ruth this morning, as it happens in Hebrew with the wonderful Jewish Publication Society translation alongside. I was reminded. Ruth was a Moabite, one of ancient Israel’s traditional enemies. But as it happens, she became the daughter in law of the Israelite Naomi, and pledged in true friendship and loyalty to leave her own people and god and share the faith and life of Israel with Naomi. In other words, Ruth was an immigrant. Over time, she married and had a son, Obed; and he married and had a son, Jesse, and he married and had a son, David. That David. Yes the great grandmother of David—whom Jews consider the greatest of ancient kings, and Christians consider the type of the Messiah to come—was a direct descendant of Moabite immigrants, just a couple of generations back. The point? Religion is NOT a conservative counterpoint to liberal multiculturalism, as you seem to suggest. At least biblical faith—both Jewish and Christian—is a RADICAL experiment in hospitality to the stranger. God’s gracious love knows no boundaries. Any who erect them in the name of that love have turned aside from it. Christians who have forgotten hospitality have forgotten Christ. Christians who welcome the stranger welcome Christ, or rather are welcomed by him.

  77. Here is another difficulty inherent to Brooks' "generous vision": Cultural assimilation. Why do I have to press 1 for English? All previous waves of immigrants learnt English. So should the Spanish-speaking ones. I am in favor of foreign language instruction for schoolchildren. But, I am against spending scarce resources on Spanish and myriad other languages being taught as the medium of instruction. People the world over are embracing English. Why can't the immigrants? And if they cannot, why should WE taxpayers spend money on this? Note that this DOES take away funding from enrichment programs for the entire student body, support for students needing extra help, etc. In my last job the lunchroom was segregated by ethnicity. Indians ate together and spoke in their language. So did the Chinese. Why is this to be celebrated? When will the "multicultural" people stop getting a free pass on their mono-cultural opacity? There were affinity groups based on identities that are in fashion - race, ethnicity, sexual orientation. Why? Since 2012 (per my reckoning) our society started privileging all identities except plain vanilla everyday Americans. I do want to live in a multi-cultural society. But, I would much rather welcome immigrants who are capable of benefiting from all that America has to offer and who have a desire to become one of us, rather than ones who clutch their provincial identities and try to be more of what they left behind.

  78. @na "Indians ate together and spoke in their language. So did the Chinese. Why is this to be celebrated?" Maybe not celebrated, but certainly understood. They do that for the same reason you don't sit at their table...they are afraid. It's easier to live with people the same as you are. It's almost always the case that the first generation keeps their old ways and the second generation learns the new ways...including language. This is one reason public school is so important. They will assimilate. Meanwhile, I agree that it would be nice to stop assuming that all white EuroAmericans are automatically racist and allow that group to also celebrate its heritage....and then go out for some tacos!

  79. Hopefully, when the economic and social environment get horrible enough, people will focus on the failure of our current administration and vote for an effective one. (No Labels)

  80. Food for thought, as usual. Human evolution, and a brighter future ahead, was accomplished not by our 'sameness' but by our differences, and our rich diversity...provided we are open to see their values, however different culturally; or at least show tolerance for varied points of view, given that our experience is usually limited to our tribe plus occasional incursions in other's terrain. For some reason (actually, no reason can explain it), some still believe to be better, more advanced, 'superior' to 'the other' just because the color of our skin (for example), a most stupid attitude...and yet, causing inmense harm through the ages. We certainly need a new Renaissance where we can integrate our humanity and share the fruits of our ingenuity. Union makes strength, however opposite the current awful Trumpian times seem to suggest, by spreading a mantra of 'fear, hate and division. Let's trust we educate ourselves and recognize our subconscious biases, and some humility for the little we know...while trying to learn from our fellow human beings, and find freedom and justice in our encounters. It's result, peace in society, would pay enormous dividends...and perhaps even redeem our shortcomings.

  81. Very easy to cry racist at those who want to restrict immigration. Is it possible to not care about race but only economics? I am tired of being told to pay more to support underworking Americans. Or underpaid Americans. I certainly do not want to pay for immigrants.... not refugees, immigrants. Trump is right to consider Medicaid recipients a public charge. Families want to be reunited? The American citizen can go visit them. Or pay health costs for the immigrant. Why does someone who isn’t here somehow have rights? Instead of constantly bashing trump, try to understand why he’s here. Because working Americans are tired of identity politics and high taxes, and supporting immigrants.

  82. @Ny Surgeon Most immigrants, legal and illegal, work the hardest jobs in America. They are not "underworking Americans". Maybe you meant this a a separate issue to immigration, but that should not go uncorrected.

  83. @Pontifikate I was not referring to immigrants. I was referring to underworking AMERICANS as I wrote. I do not want to pay for the healthcare/welfare of non-refugee immigrants who seek a better life when I am already paying for non-working or underworking americans. The cries of family reunification nauseate me. If you want your family to move to the USA, support them. Or just visit them back home. Immigrants (NOT refugees) do not have any right to demand that we pay for their better life.

  84. Tired of _other people’s_ identity politics, you mean. Your identity as American (also known as a person randomly born in the US) gets invoked in every one of your sentences.

  85. I disagree that I do not understand modern conservatives. As a group they have turned far more intolerant and their view of peaceful harmony is to enthusiastically join their tribe. The solution is not to embrace them but to silence them politically.

  86. Speaking of intolerance....

  87. Immigration is a tough sell even in the best of times. These are not the best of times. Too many young people in America are dead because of smuggled drugs. Too many lives ruined and families have been torn apart. Too many mass graves south of the border to remind us of our coming fate. And, why should we welcome a culture with such a low murder "clearance rate?" If we all "look the other way" will that make us a better country? Or will that threaten America? Remember, the ultimate "sanctuary state" is the graveyard.

  88. Who are the cartel’s customers? Us. Whose fault is that?

  89. Being overrun by immigrants is Republican fearmongering, and its been going on for decades. They don't want to work with the Democrats to legislate immigration reform, because they've weaponized it to their political advantage. First, we're not being inundated with immigrants any more than years past. Second, those that are here are for the most part, very productive and a willingness to accept the low paying jobs. The Democrats immigration plan to beat the Republican propaganda is to challenge them to legislate reforms, be fair but reasonable. Assure that our borders are secure with the latest technology, not some pile of concrete that with an extension ladder you could climb over, or a shovel to dig under. Attack the Republicans with coomon sense initiatives and make them look stupid.

  90. @cherrylog754 Obama ran in 2008 promising to help dreamers. Why didn't Democrats with a House majority and 60 Senators do anything for the dreamers? Obama declared DACA in 2012 when he didn't think he'd be re-elected even though he knew it would poison any chance of bipartisan immigration reform. Democrats did nothing in 2009-2010 because they knew they would never be re-elected if they opened the borders as their big money donors wanted. And they are unwilling enforce the laws against illegal hiring, much less strengthen them. It is much more fun to blame Republicans and to assert that anyone opposed to illegal immigration is racist. Senator Obama did not support immigration reform because there was no advantage to him, personally, if Bush signed reform into law. He did less than nothing while president.

  91. I could not agree more that progressives are too quick to label the fear and anger that drive populist white grievance as racist. That's a cheap, easy, dismissive ploy that doesn't advance understanding at all. We need some less blunt instruments for dissecting the hatefulness that populists embrace so enthusiastically. But while I love the yin and yang of rootedness and cosmopolitanism that David argues for here, I think his piece lets populism, and the people who willingly fall into it (and it is willing), totally off the hook. I grew up in the blue collar suburbs of a rapidly-rusting and depopulating Buffalo NY. I daresay I'm one of the few from my neighborhoods who got out, got educated, and grew into broader horizons and tolerance of difference. None of my immediate family, and few of my friends, ever did. I have as fond memories of the "rootedness" - the intense localism and the white ethnic vibrancy of the places that I grew up - as anyone. But understandable culture fear and socio-economic anxiety aren't the only things that thrive there. I've been around a lot of kitchen tables where hatefulness and small-mindedness, and ignorant judgementalism were gleefully given play. Those things are acculturated and they are also chosen and embraced and waved as a flag. Donald Trump didn't invent them, he fed off them. And every Republican who has been around since Nixon bears way more responsibility for letting them thrive than judgmental liberal elites like myself do.

  92. @LG , hatefulness, Small-mindedness, and ignorant judgementalism are pretty common among NYT commenters, too, particularly when the subject involves Republican voters or Christians.

  93. Hasn't the party of rootedness descended into barbarism? The current message of the political right is that would-be immigrants are worthy only of contempt. Contrast the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan with Trump's favorite poem where he likens immigrants to venomous snakes. Brooks seems to excuse Trump's demagoguery on the grounds that current conditions make that demagoguery effective for Trump's purposes. There is nothing in Trump's approach to immigration that is at all constructive.

  94. This all sounds good at a personal and philosophical level, and I don’t disagree, but how does it translate to federal immigration policy. I can’t see any Democratic candidate discussing this at a focus group, no less a stump speech.

  95. There is no point to arguing the case for relaxing immigration laws to Trump supporters. Their minds are made up and their prejudices are intractable. These same people don't " believe " in the evidence of global climate change, or that during the lifetimes of their children, hundreds of millions of people will become climate refugees. These same people will deny that the U.S. has an obligation to mitigate environmental damage or open the doors to save lives put at risk by our contribution to the ecosystem collapse approaching.

  96. @michael , you’re right. I don’t believe we have the obligation to open our doors to hundreds of millions. Ultimately, a nations’ most important job is to put its own citizens’ interests ahead of all others.

  97. I agree with David that bridging rootedness with exploration of the "other" supports a strongly pluralistic culture. What I see however from the Trumper universe is a regression to tribalism and what I suspect is an inability to believe that they can withstand the experience of someone from a different tribe. My source is my own experience as a member of an underrepresented group. People avoid conflict because deep down they don't believe they can emerge from the experience unscathed. This is a distorted belief that unfortunately goes unchallenged.

  98. And thats why Asians are refusing to back an affirmative action law in Washington state

  99. The only way to respond to banal generalizations is to point to anecdotal evidence to the contrary-- as both have the same weight. So, if "only people who are securely rooted in their own particularity are confident enough to enjoy the encounter with difference," why is it that my fellow paesani (correct spelling) have moved en mass to conservative and fairly often openly racist positions since the Civil Rights movement swept the nation? Is it because in the 60s Italian Americans finally became white? We are talking about very solid middle class families and entire communities insular to the point of self segregation. And the attitude is not targeted at new immigrant groups. No sir. The number one target is still African Americans and Latinos. Explain this with your generalizations.

  100. Maybe a majority of citizens have this crazy belief that immigration should be regulated and measured; that we shouldn't simply "abolish ICE" and have an open border. Democrats will lose moderate votes if they don't recognize this.

  101. @Thomas Do you realize that 'abolish ICE' does not imply 'open borders'? I often wonder whether or not enough people realize the ICE is not the same as those on the border. Though I would suggest that calling on ICE (issues dealing with migrants within the country) to be reformed makes more sense and might be less confusing.

  102. @Craig Freedman "Do you realize that 'abolish ICE' does not imply 'open borders'?" What difference does it make whether he does or doesn't realize it? The people who watch Fox news think it does imply open borders. So all that counts right? The Democrats just don't have clue what they are up against. The truth is irrelevant if the majority don't believe it.

  103. @William, ‘abolish ICE’ means ‘stop internal enforcement of immigration laws’, which effectively equals open borders.

  104. David has resolved his own argument on how to be a pluralistic society with full acceptance of the immigrant and refugee. I quote: "Right now, we are asking millions of Americans to accept high immigration while they are already living with maximum insecurity. Their wages are declining....government services are being cut...," etc. So here is my question: How do people think it has gotten this way? Certainly, it was not the Obama administration which saved us from a repeat of the 1929 Crash. Certainly, it was not President Obama's 2010 ACA with a vision to build on it. Certainly, it was not his giving huge tax breaks to the upper 2% while leaving the middle class with the onus of paying the bulk of monies to the IRS. Let us get one thing straight. The liberals do not want a free for all at the border. We are simply asking for lawful, fair, and just - for both both sides - immigration reform. The progress and health of our nation depends on pluralism, the exchange of ideas and aspirations among our many cultures. Like close-family intermarriage, keeping our country White and Christian can only lead to adverse mutations of our democracy. I would wager that most of the readers of David's column are descendants of recent immigrants, if not themselves relatively new to Lady Liberty's welcome. Think about that.

  105. @Kathy Lollock The reality is that it was Obama policies that extended the recession, invoked divisiveness, disrupted healthcare to increase profits to big medicine cronies, shut down capital investment. The only reason that we did not sink into a depression is because the Fed created money and the fossil fuel industry invested and dropped the price of natural gas and other energy. The wacko Democrat and MSM that Republicans are racist, or that the 10% of the population that lives in is designed to rural areas is a major political force is designed to convince the ignorant coastal population they are victims.

  106. "The lesson is that to create thick pluralistic society, you first have to help people embed in a secure base. ....but it also involves cultural and spiritual security." Academic demography has very-long shown that immigrants are most comfortable being together, in their own neighborhoods and institutions. "A person who is firmly rooted can go out and enjoy the adventure of pluralism." Sorry, Mr. Brooks, but not necessarily. Academic studies in demography have also shown that this may not be the case in first generation immigrants who might never really acculturate into their new society and might remain embedded in the artificial closed society they joined around their former identities. Acculturation and participation often occur only in second generation. The rest of your construct is also somewhat shaky and iffy. The receiving society looks at step 1 with great fear and trepidation. It is hard to tell them, wait, all will be well, look at the second generation. At the bottom line though, models are just models. Life does not work that way and people don't always abide by the model. What your essay has to do with the intent of the essay beats me.

  107. @Joshua Schwartz He's not talking about the first generation immigrants, he's talking about the thick pluralistic society as a characteristic of people in the dominant culture. Many in the dominant culture recognize the struggles of the immigrants and enjoy learning about their culture, religion and particularly their food! The first generation immigrants that I know do have a difficult time adapting, who wouldn't, but they want to learn and be supportive of the second and third generation, which frequently adapts very well. They also provide an important link to their home culture and identity. A robust immigrant community can enrich a secure dominant culture.

  108. @Doug The people in the receiving culture or society act upon those immigrants. The aspects which I relate to relate to the immigrants. It is not enough to say that the dominant society has to do X. There are realities regarding immigrant society. The results of X I argue is not according to Mr. Brooks. I relate to those aspects based on the essay.

  109. The Middle Eastern economies are heavily dependent on expatriates. For example in Qatar, only 10% of the population are citizens, the rest are expats. There is no pathway for citizenship for expats. That is very clear and there is no controversy. The expats do the jobs that the locals are not willing or able to do. When their contract is over, they leave the country. Why is it so difficult to design a rational immigration system where American citizens do not feel economically threatened by immigrant workers?

  110. @AM Because the rationale is to make American workers feel threatened; so that they will work harder, longer and for less!

  111. @AM, This system may work well in Qatar because there is a system to enforce repatriation to home countries; however, we have the 14th Amendment to our Constitution which is used as a cudgel when immigrant workers have 4-5 children who we must support and so parents refuse to leave and immigrant advocates demand that they stay in the country. I received an email from Senator Sanders this evening, I usually get three or four a day, but now he has endorsed the most liberal immigration proposal and banning ICE that will definitely make Warren fume with envy. We are undone; too old to immigrate to Toronto; thanks AOC and Squad.

  112. @AM Simple. We have the lunacy of Birthright Citizenship. This is what enables illegal "immigrants", tourists, guest workers, etc. in the US to produce US citizens -- birth paid for by the taxpayer -- and use these citizens to tap the full largesse of the US taxpayer. In the Middle East, guest workers get paid what they will accept and if that isn't enough to support a family, that's the way it goes.

  113. Oh yes. The lessons I learned at the universities in Chicago. Pluralism, pragmatism, holism, (multiple) truth. These were the big takeaways, plus all the particulars. Now how to find pluralism in a practical way? There was an interesting op-ed in the paper this summer called "Preaching Faith in Democracy" about Citizen University and Civic Saturdays. Perhaps these kinds of gatherings are where we will find common curiosity and shared experience, instead of isolated anxiety.

  114. The dynamic tension between particularity and universality is well documented in the Christian tradition... and, I'm sure, in others as well. This was a beautiful piece, grounded in the Real. Thank you, Mr. Brooks.

  115. Every time I walk down the street or ride the subway or go to the gym, I hear five or six different languages (e.g., Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, French). After living in Toronto for many years, I no longer really notice. We manage to get along for the most part, partly because it's become normal and partly because of social supports, in particular a single payer public health system provided through taxes, as well as ESL classes for newcomers. Most immigrants to Canada (apart from refuges) have to pass criteria based on points awarded for education, work skills (particularly for fields in high demand) and knowledge of English or French. This means that, while, establishing oneself in a new country and culture is difficult for any immigrant, immigrants to Canada are generally better able to make the necessary transition. It's also worth noting that because of Canada's ageing population (and the same can be said of the United States) we would not have a sufficient workforce without steady levels of immigration.

  116. @James, Toronto, CANADA Well said. All that and a decent public education system that the US would be wise to emulate.

  117. @James, Toronto, CANADA , Trump supported shifting the US immigration system to a Canadian style skills-based/points system and the Democrats declared it dead in the water. In his first two years, Trump also supported all of the recommendations of President Clinton's own Bipartisan Commission on Immigration Reform, led by African-American, Democratic Congresswoman and civil rights icon Barbara Jordan (aka , the "Jordan Commission"). The Cotton-Perdue RAISE Act, introduced in the US Senate in 2017 or 2018, would enact all of Ms. Jordan's recommendations. But not a single Democrat was willing to cross the aisle to support it. Today's Democrats, like Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, even declared that some of Ms. Jordan's recommendations, such as chain migration reform, are "racist." Apparently without recognizing or appreciating Ms. Jordan's role in civil rights history. It is strange but it is today's Democrats who do not want the United States to become more like Canada, at least on the issue of immigration.

  118. I’m sorry, James, but rational discourse and logical arguments have no place in this fraught debate.

  119. Democrats have made the mistake of adopting the California vue on immigration as if California was one of the states they needed to win to take back the White House. If Mr Trump, yes the Trump who has lied more than 11.000 times since he was sworn in, Trump who has been cited in more criminal investigations than the last 6 presidents combined, the list goes on. If Trump is still competitive in the 2020 elections. It means there is something he is doing right. And I believe that immigration is why most people still support Trump. There were riots in South Africa against African immigrants. In Mexico, more and more Mexicans are opposed to Central America migrants settling in their country. My point is that , racism is not the only reason people opposed immigration. Most of these people did no grow up with access to the rest of the world that internet and now social media offer. If the economy is doing good they will trade that against any of Trump's transgressions if it means limiting immigration to the US. Any other candidates with Trump's transgressions would lose in a landslide. Democrats can offer a better solution. For example, a Democrat plan could encourage companies leaving China due to the trade war to relocate in South and Central America. This could be beneficial in two fronts. Limiting the flow of migrants by creating jobs, and reducing pollution caused by goods being shipped from long distance.

  120. No, David, you really don't get it. Except for nativist know-nothings like Trump, almost all Americans subscribe to the Theodore Roosevelt rule (assimilation = no discrimination and welcome). What Trump exploits is the fear of non-assimilated immigrants turning hometowns into foreign enclaves. All of my working class grandparents immigrated from Italy and became US citizens. All of my 18 aunts and uncles graduated from college here; so did all of their kids. My father and all 14 of my uncles served in the US military We spoke Italian and English at home, prepared Italian delicacies and celebrated Italian culture, history, and religion. We were and are Americans: as Roosevelt noted: "of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding-house." People in all parts of this land fear -- as do I -- people who immigrate here and do not become Americans -- who don't speak our language, who don't know our history or ideals, who don't embrace our constitution, our institutions, and our beliefs. They and I also fear people like Trump who act more like Osama bin Laden than real Americans.

  121. @Mack I would argue that, more than assimilation, it is integration that makes the American immigration experience. We don't demand that immigrants become the same as everyone else already here. We bring in the best of other cultures to strengthen what is already present. The United States doesn't have the ethnic constraints that European countries do in defining their identity. To be American isn't some ethnic trait, it's the acceptance of a common set of values.

  122. This a sociological analysis of behavior, and I think you are talking about legal immigrants. I think the friction is mostly occurring with regards to so-called illegal immigration, although that friction does not obey factual boundaries. So-called, because it is de facto legal to hire so-called illegal workers - as Trump demonstrated at his golf courses, at least up until being called out. The way to fix it to give require employers to hire legally, using e-verify or whatever is deemed efficient. With that constraint in place, employers will lobby for visas for seasonal workers and green cards for permanent workers - congress and the president can work out how many visas and green cards to issue to satisfy that demand. Those workers will then have legal protection and legal health care. (For temporary visas, the employers should be required to pay for the health care insurance of their workers). Let's use the law to protect workers, not force them to go outside the law to satisfy our voracious appetite for their labor.

  123. Or, liberals could realize that mass immigration is undermining our democracy. They could make common cause with their fellow citizens and support reductions in immigration. That seems to me like a better way forward. I’m willing to pay a little more to get my house re-roofed to do it, too.

  124. As at least one other commenter notes, it isn’t clear if Brooks and commenters are distinguishing legal from illegal immigration. It’s kind of important to do so. If we are only talking about legal immigration, then I’d like to see facts and data on how immigration “undermines” our nation in whatever way. If we are talking illegal immigration, all non-crazed Americans realize Democrats and Republicans are not so far apart on policy. Nobody wants illegal immigration. So that is resolved! Some gap in what to do with certain categories of illegal immigrants who were hired by American businesses (e.g Trump Enterprises) and have lived here for decades, raised children here, etc.

  125. Mr. Brooks, it is just history of isolation and intentional fear mongering. Despite the US being a country with a long immigrant history, it is concentrated in larger cities while the rest of the US is still largely isolated from other cultures. This is reflected in our voting patterns: the places exposed to immigrants over longer time tend to welcome them more. Cosmopolitans do get it, precisely because they understand different cultures and the need for familiar practices. Consider that Western Europe is much more open to immigration than Eastern Europe. The West has experienced large scale immigration for many decades. Immigration is new in the East and this fear is exploited the same way there as it is in the US.

  126. I'm liberal, but also practical and a retired engineer. We study calculus in engineering to find the sweet spot under the curve. There is a good number or a right group of numbers. Immigration can be great if we hit the sweet spot. If too many folks are allowed to come, we might just recreate the problems those immigrants are experiencing in their home countries. Too, many folks, not enough economic infrastructure.

  127. Good point; integration is more successful when people affected feel secure, economically and culturally. I was surprised by the statement, ascribed to Pew Research, that "Sweden could be between 20 and 30 percent Muslim by 2050." A 2017 report, also from Pew, projects 11.1 percent by 2050:

  128. The point is that we've always had a majority group that should be the focus of Governmental, business, and public support and promotion: US citizens. E pluribus unum, as it were.

  129. This exact same argument may be applied with equal weight to previous slaveowners being required to live peaceably in the same country as their freed ex-slaves. It's better to have all those slaves free of course, but let's be sensitive to the emotional needs of those slaveowners.

  130. The problem here is that migration is a symptom of an overpopulated planet. The basic resources of space, water, arable land and equitable climate are finite. People who have used up these resources are migrating to fresh supplies; but these are already being used to their limits. Until we get rid of about one and a half billion people the problems and stresses will remain. To bring this to a community level; no matter how culturally based you feel, if you are competing for work and conditions with large numbers of additional people you will be a little intolerant. If these competitors are physically or culturally different it only adds to the antipathy. Migration looks good in economics text-books but the global reality has shifted a long way since most of them were written. Excessive (possibly any) migration causes social, economic and environmental problems which Mr Brooks failed to acknowledge at even the most superficial level. Perhaps because he was too focussed on "gods truth". Being concerned about the adverse effects of migration does not make you a racist, only rational. Migration is one of the very few real issues in Trump's ravings. His problem is that he cannot envision any rational solutions; a lot of other political leaders have the same problem.

  131. NO! I am pro immigration and a pluralist. However, the West commits a mistake to allow fundamentalist believers of any organized religion to enter its domain. This is where Trump wins. And here is how Trump can be beaten on immigration: too many are coming with the intent of creating their own Sharia society, not willing to be part of a pluralist society. Anyone who does not drop their misogynist attitude and religious tribalism and is not fully committed to our democracies' freedoms, responsibilities, and pluralism should be denied immigration. They are fleeing their countries only to do what? Import their doomed intolerance to the West? For decades, this is where pluralism went too far. Those who insist on intolerance as a response to the welcoming hand of tolerant pluralist countries merit the doors shut. A.J. Deus Social Economics of Poverty and Religious Terrorism

  132. @A.J. Deus No, most people who are coming here are either fleeing violence and danger in their own countries, or seeking better opportunities here. They are not coming here to recreate the oppression in their own lands.

  133. @A.J. Deus I would be interested in hearing about your attitude toward fundamentalist Christians, our fellow citizens, who are attempting to shape government in their image and who contend that others are destined to burn in hell.

  134. @A.J. Deus Do you apply your abhorrence of fundamentalism to Jews, Mormans, and "Christian" sects? Or is it reserved solely for Muslims?

  135. I am an immigrant who embraced living in America as an adventure and as an opportunity to expand my world. Brooks' prescriptions for creating a more immigrant-friendly society fail to reckon with how immigration is being actually practiced: Mass immigration has affected the labor supply. I had to retire sooner than I wanted to and expected to because in my profession (IT) the workplaces are swamped with cheap-labor under-qualified Indian techies. This has affected availability of jobs for (naturalized) citizens, especially those over 50. In addition, it has exerted severe downward pressure on wages. Finally, most jobs have turned into contract jobs with no benefits, including the all-important healthcare. I imagine it is much worse in other lower-skill jobs. So, any discussion of immigration that does not address its effect on jobs is a non-starter for me. My loyalties are with American workers because WE do not have the option of moving to another country for work and WE should not have to!

  136. @na Programming is a profession with perishable skills. I know programmers older than 55 who are highly paid and respected. Those above 50 should not expect that they will be rewarded for their length of service. They need to be able to compete in the job market, which is a global one, whether or not the competition is resident in the USA.

  137. @na An interesting take on it - you came to the States as an immigrant and established a good career in IT until some other immigrant came along later and pushed you out of the market. Kind of ironic, no? I think you need a better target for your pain than immigrants. I, too, was in IT for decades and got pushed aside and eventually out, but I was a casualty of the corporation outsourcing to India (to start). Once the internet was up and running (fast enough), the MBA crew went on a campaign to move as much labor as they could overseas to greener and cheaper pastures. Soon there were huge teams of techies off shore (mostly, but not exclusively, India) to replace us locals. A couple of H!B's on site so coordinate. And so it went ... first the good contracting jobs, then the somewhat secondary IT people, and then the core staff, all except for a hand full of subject experts who knew where all the tech skeletons lived. That's what corporations do, head for the cheap labor. Always have, always will. It's cold and cruel and they don't give a fig about you or me. I pretty much always got laid off by somebody way younger than me, for what that's worth. The people who "took my job" for less money weren't immigrants, they didn't come to the States for the most part. Myself, I'm angry at the "bosses" for being so removed from the harm they inflict on people when they lay people off. I blame the MBA's and the business schools for not paying attention to morale. Not immigrants.

  138. Yeah, I guess they can not compete because the companies prefer to pay lower salaries than to have people with high experience

  139. As a person of color, I am sometimes aghast with Trump’s remarks on immigration. They range from reckless and uninformed to just bigoted. However, when it comes to his policies, he is right. The United States already has tens of millions living in poverty. Thus, we don’t need any poverty stricken immigrants from Haiti, West Africa, or the Bahamas. We need immigrants- regardless of color and background- who can work here as scientists, engineers, and doctors. Trump should tone down the racism, but his policies are well designed.

  140. @Lauren What well designed policy?Other than the impractical and outdated counter-measure of a Wall to stop immigrants, I don’t know what Trump has designed. Are we any closer to an immigration bill in his (he owns it now) three years in office? I do agree your concerns of mass migration coupled with heightened inequality and poverty are extremely valid indeed.

  141. if the reps were serious about this, the fix would be to greatly increase and enforce fines against employment of people who are not legally permitted to work so that the cost of doing so outweighs the benefits. but that would increase the cost of authorized labor and the power to uionize, so direct the animosity towards people who do exactly what you'd do in their shoes, and let cheap but powerless labor flow in so that our lettuce costs less and out houses bigger

  142. Why? Why do we need doctors, scientists, engineers from the other countries? Is it bad for immigrants to steal low-wage jobs, but it is OK for them to steal higher-wage jobs?

  143. And once again, the path to beating Trump and the foolishness of today's Republicans lies down the middle, not toward the far left. A country that has well-defined and well-enforced rules for immigration isn't racist; in fact, it's just being a rational sovereign nation. A country that opens its borders and declares itself a haven for all isn't on the forefront of progress; it's on the road to self-destruction. Some Trump supporters are indeed racist and small-minded. But it is very reasonable for U.S. citizens to expect U.S. politicians to put the interests of those citizens first. To defeat Trump, Democrats need to demonstrate that they recognize this by hewing to the middle on immigration: envision a welcoming nation that carefully specifies and controls inclusive in-migration policies that benefit everyone.

  144. @Cary Yes! And Democrats also need to address the problem of de facto open borders and M4A. Even if we could remake 1/5 of our economy (healthcare), there will still be limits on who has a claim to that benefit: citizens. You cannot have a libertarian immigration policy and a nationalized healthcare policy and expect healthcare to stay solvent or there to be enough clinicians to meet demand. Every group of human beings from the band level to the complex multicultural/ethnic democracy we have has to deal with scarcity of resources. Otherwise you kill the golden goose.

  145. @Johnson ....that’s only true if the immigrants are not contributing through taxes and withholding to the system. That’s exactly the issue we have right now and that will not change even if you would close down borders completely: paying a fair share is extremely unpopular and basically everyone is trying to cheat on taxes etc. In fact: Trump and most republicans are running their political game on the idea that less services and less taxes are the way to go and they live by it promoting laws that benefit the “owner’s class”. The disparities in this society are not caused by immigration - as populist like Mr.Trump are all to willing to whisper into your ear - but ruthless capitalism and the fact that we have now exactly those “ruling” who were successfully exploiting others to become the billionaires they are. That these people have no interest in improving anything for average Americans is self evident and shows every single day. Changing this requires more than closing the borders!

  146. @Cary What you refer to as the far left used to be the middle a few short decades ago. Many Americans have lost the idea of America, what we stood for, what were our values. People calling themselves 'conservatives' aren't the only ones wanting their country back.

  147. Mr. Brooks is a good man, but his essay about mass immigration sounds more like advice for the open-minded traveler than a serious discussion of the problem. I am well traveled by the way, and one of the greatest joys in my 50 years of living in Los Angeles is sharing my city with a vast cross-section of humanity. But the reality is that 1,000,000 desperately poor workers pouring into our country every year undercuts our ability to increase low-skilled wages and close the gap between the haves and have-nots. It puts enormous pressure on state and municipal services, including our most-strapped public schools. (It is estimated that 25% of all LAUSD students are either here illegally, or the children of illegal aliens). It makes any progressive plans you can imagine, from rebuilding unions to universal healthcare to free college even less feasible. Their sheer numbers are a bullet aimed at the heart of the middle class. And great for the 1%. Pablum about how they contribute to the fabric of American society (which they do), charges of "racism" or nostalgic lectures about Ellis Island are self-flattering deflections from these facts.

  148. @Livonian Thank you for itemizing some of the costs to U.S. taxpayers of bringing immigrants in.

  149. @Livonian Quite true, but I don't think Brooks is advocating open borders here. I think he's just amplifying that, for contributing societal members, where you came from... or your race, religion for that matter... is irrelevant in defining your cultural worth. How can any non-racist, non-bigot disagree w/ that premise? The U.S. has plenty of unskilled labor and is already more diverse than many nations, so immigration should be limited to those ready, willing and able to better themselves and offer something society needs (either now or the foreseeable future) - IMHO.

  150. Best comment ever, on the complexity of immigration.

  151. Why is the core assumption that Trump must be "beaten" on immigration? Why must we necessarily live in a multicultural world? On what basis is that automatically considered a positive? Have you critically examined the relevant data or studies on this subject? I'm not saying this view is wrong, I'm surprised by the immediate automatic acceptance of it.

  152. @Eugene - - Diversity is a Junior Deity to progreessives now, but it has never been proven to be the fast answer to anything. PLEASE note that ALL the elites preaching to us that we MUST have more immigrants live behind walls and armed guards. If everyone had the walls and constant protection that Nancy Pelosi or Mark Zuckerberg have around their estates, this wouldn't be such a complete farce. Readers should consult the moving video of a mother whose child had been meercilessly killed by an immigrant speaking to Ms. Pelosi on a CNN stage. Pelosi has never looked icier.

  153. @L osservatore There are often problems like this: a murder committed by one person of a group makes the entire group suspicious and somewhat guilty. We are quick to categorize people and judge them by their ethnic and social identities - which is the base of all racism and is fed by prejudices that we learn growing up...willingly or not. The point is to overcome this problem. I don’t know if you travel a lot abroad but coming back from any of the fairly homogenous countries in Europe is always amazing for me: there we have everything arranged nicely, people look pretty much the same and are wearing somewhat uniform appearing clothing and the moment you walk into the terminal here - colorful chaos everywhere. It is the greatest advantage this country has and not a threat - until populists like Trump playing to unfounded anxieties of his followers come along.

  154. @Eugene I am personally a descendant of immigrants. Some even came from from regions that were potential battlefields at the time (early 20th century). This personal story, which I think many Americans share, makes me naturally inclined to be welcoming. I am always struck when people who are clearly also the children of immigrants (e.g. Trump with his German roots) are hostile.

  155. The core assumption of those who want less immigration is that in every place there must be some group that is dominant. It's their country really, and so they should get first dibs on positions of employment, wealth, influence and everything else. Other people can be tolerated to a greater or lesser degree but it's never really their country. The whole idea of the nation-state is predicated on this. Even people who decry racism and xenophobia will often tacitly bow to this notion of primary ownership of the country, as if it was a natural order. This is the attitude that must be defeated.

  156. @Thollian This is a very good description of a part of human nature (and that of many other species). It cannot be defeated. We need to acknowledge it and work with it, not against it. "Imagine there are no countries. I wonder if you can. "

  157. @Thollian Of course a nation's leadership owes primary allegiance to citizens of its own state. Is that not so? If that's not so, then the IRS has a duty to disperse tax funds evenly to every citizen on Earth instead of "hording" it only to the US population.

  158. @Thollian The nation state may well be going the way of the feudal fief and the buggy whip. I have mixed feelings about that; I may miss me.

  159. The engineering profession has been diverse for decades. It is a common choice of profession for new citizens because of this incorporation of diversity. It works because the focus is upon the tasks at hand, the problems that have to be solved, and everyone realizes that talent is the key, and talent is not limited to any particular culture or skin color. On the other hand, where the job at hand requires little skill, and anyone can do it, diversity depends not upon talent, but upon lots of work to go around, so you getting a job does not mean I won’t. Diversity will be accepted only if there is a lot of opportunity. Likewise, diversity suffers if the opening for a job is there only if you fit arbitrary criteria like graduating from Harvard, belonging to a certain social clique, and so forth. Diversity will not increase unless some rare circumstance crumbles the clique, like revolution. Unfortunately extreme inequality such as we now see in the USA encourages the last scenario.

  160. Human migration is a symptom of change caused by climate change, A.I., food scarcity, and globalization. The most beneficial response will redefine and expand the meaning of “place” to, at first, include all of North America, and see through the differences to focus on the similarities we share. Indeed, the small farm communities of plain states were and are model examples of positive integration. But that was before fear was poured on our nation by a madman. We must replace this fear first before we can move forward as you write in your column. And, we also need new leadership who can project our national values into the way forward of solving the problems of the displacement created by A.I. , climate change, and food scarcity. These times are calling for such a leader but so far the call goes unanswered by people of principles and convictions. We need leadership that knows the difference between knowing the path forward and leading us down the path forward. We need leadership that understands how to walk a nation into its destiny.

  161. Mr Brooks does not mention the real reason to oppose high levels of legal immigration. The US population hit 200 million residents in November of 1967. It hit 300 million in October of 2006. It is now at 328 million. The GAO has stated that 70 pct of this increase is due to foreigners moving to the US and their offspring. This has the effect of the US losing millions of acres of natural land to housing, parking lots, office parks, and big box stores . All of which like to be on high well drained lands such as meadows. It is the reason that meadow birds have had a 40 pct decline since 1967 due to loss of their habitat. This is according to the Audubon Society. The USA should restrict legal immigration. It will help with lowering the increase of the cost of land and housing. And save natural areas. Why should we live in an overcrowded country so people can move here and have a higher standard of living ? Those who want to help foreign people should devise a way for the USA to advise them on a better legal system as well as education. That would be harder to do, but would help both our country and the other countries. Our quality of life depends on stabilizing our population near the current level.

  162. I imagine someone opening their front door in the morning to see their neighbor's family on the porch and, in the background, the neighbor's house engulfed in a widening fire. And this person concludes there's an emergency--on the porch, of course.

  163. "The U.S. will have no majority group in three decades. " Yes, we will: American citizens.

  164. Your "thick pluralistic society" with "cultural and spiritual security...offering people opportunities to embed in their local culture, to practice their particular faith, to live by local values", is GOP "States Rights", it's not enforcing civil rights laws in areas with a lot of Republican bigots. Pluralism creates a better environment for embracing legal immigration, but some Democrats advocate open borders for illegal immigration. A first generation American whose entire extended family are immigrants, I admire most of the Democrats and agree with Sanders and Warren on many issues. However, Warren's immigration platform renders her unelectable. The left-wing publication Mother Jones analyzed Warren's immigration platform and found it "de facto open borders", (their words) in, "Are Democrats Now the Party of Open Borders?" Mother Jones wrote: "No one will ever be deported-except, presumably, for serious felons...Expedited removal will be ended. The Border Patrol (can only) focus on...screening cargo, and preventing smuggling and trafficking…CBP will not be permitted to patrol the border looking for illegal crossings; if border officers happen to apprehend someone, they'll be released immediately." The rise of the European-right because of actual mass migration is nothing compared to what a mere threat of mass migration has done to America. Americans won't stand for giving those illegally crossing the border a parking citation. Trump will bury Democrats with it.

  165. Brooks disparages educated Clinton voters who say "it’s racist to want less immigration for ethnic and cultural reasons." But isn't "ethnic" a synonym for "racial," so how is opposing immigration for "ethnic" reasons NOT by definition racist? The crucial point, however, should be that Trump himself (despite all his denials) is a racist, and he is doing his best to incite racial paranoia among his supporters. For this reason, he has done absolutely NOTHING to solve the problems confronting Middle America; all of his immigration policies (especially the non-wall he is not building) are simply designed to heighten the paranoia. This serves his own political purposes, and Democrats will surely lose if they just oppose the wall and accuse Trump's base of racism, without offering a better way. Middle Americans would be much less susceptible to Trump's paranoia if he were actually doing something (like investing in infrastructure and public education) to rebuild the middle class and reinvigorate blighted areas across the country. That would be the path toward the secure communities that Brooks thinks would be the basis for a more accepting attitude to immigration. Yet Brooks downplays the economic and social issues in favor of vague homilies about spiritual values and "thick pluralism." His solution is long-term, probably requiring years to achieve. It is certainly NOT a practical strategy to "beat Trump on immigration," if we are talking about the 2020 election.

  166. The solution to illegal immigration is remarkably simple: fine and imprison (say $1M +1 year per offense) the head of any enterprise found to employ an undocumented worker. CEOs make enormous amounts of money because of their unique skills (we are told); they'll figure out how to monitor hires even if the worker was hired by their contractors' subcontractors. I recognize that at first, the economy will tank (mechanisms for permits will need to be established) but let's stop pretending that this is a problem to be solved at the border. Follow the money.

  167. Would it be ok with you if white westerners began to immigrate in large numbers to less developed, non-white countries? Does your generous dream of a multicultural world only go one way?

  168. I waded through the first four paragraphs and then bogged down, Dave. Something to do with the phrase, “different from us.” Apparently it needs to be explained to m’sieu Brooks how this actually works. So here goes, repeat after me... “We hold these Truths to be self-evident...” Now follow the bouncing ball...

  169. Clearly Mr. Brooks hasn't had the opportunity to harvest the wisdom embedded in the 8 Hispanics who rented the house next door with their 6 cars, 4 of which have to be parked on the grass and 2 of which seem always to be worked on to the rhythm of some south-of-the-border tunes. Someone needs to explain to the Trumpers that, since the white folks aren't having enough babies, the only way we'll have more jobs and a chance to chase the dream is if we increase the population via immigration.

  170. This gobbledygook is the key to beating Trump? Try translating it into something the average person can understand. Can you picture Biden or Warren saying any of this? Neither can I.

  171. Beautiful

  172. The Trumpist campaign against immigration is, bottom line, classic scapegoating, pure and simple. And it's made that much easier because the scapegoats happen to look different from "us" (whites), probably don't speak English, and come from other cultures.

  173. Sounds like a wonderful Utopia. Kind of like the Union, if the Southern States had just been allowed to Secede, without dragging everyone else down with them. Permanently. Now, we have the Trump Confederacy, and May never be “ Great “ again.

  174. @Phyliss Dalmatian Lincoln decided that it was worth the lives of 600,000 young men to keep the Southern states from leaving, all the while announcing the sacred principle that once in, you're in forever. Most people on the left thought that a noble position--until recently.

  175. This is a politically correct sermon, not a sociological analysis--which Brooks is quite capable of doing when he's on form.

  176. The final nail was driven into the coffin of any chance democrats had to win 2020 and stop reelection of Trump when the democrat candidates raised their hands for open borders and free healthcare for illegals. No way current democrats can undo that. Bloomberg's entry just confirmed it.

  177. Donald Trump is a strong advocate for legal immigration, so long as those aspiring to U.S. citizenship are white people of means.

  178. @nzierler This is simply untrue. Provide a citation to something Trump has said, rather than something you choose to believe he said.

  179. "The Soul selects her own society - Then - Shuts the Door..." - Emily Dickinson

  180. Did I miss something or is it did you imply that cosmopolitans ‘miss’ the point that they have to help provide for the stability of minorities? Noblesse Oblige I suppose.

  181. Sanders came out today and announced that he is in favor of ending workplace raids and immigration law enforcement. What signal does that send to the world? What signal does that send to employers, all you worker's rights Democrats?

  182. I liked Mr. Brooks' column. Balanced enough for my sensibilities.

  183. Over half a million people illegally ntered our country in the past year - that we KNOW of. The criminal behavior of some and the wage-depressing efforts of the rest of them is a big reason we will have Republican-outsider presidents for more years ahead. Many thanks to hot-headed anti-American progressives for their backward support for these leaders who will be The Adult In The Room for decades to come.

  184. Not all white people live in gated communities but the majority do. The Aging GOP live in a gated world, fear of the unknow is the common theme of the police department when they shoot minorities. Minorities in America are perceived as the servants and the GOP pass laws to put children in cages, lock people up for no good reason and protect their own interest all the time In a perfect world there would be no hunger, no hate, everyone would be educated and good things would happen to all. In the world that has been created in America, people dont want to be exposed and they will vote against their own interest in order to maintain their segregated life style. Walk out the door in the morning, here in NYC and see white people in fear of everything that isn't just like them. Very pathetic but there is only so much you can do with people who refuse to grow . Life is to short to worry about their fears.

  185. We already have too many people in this country now. We don't need masses of unskilled labor driving down the quality of life for Americans. The liberal elite however love the prospect of pushing down wages even further so they can fatten their bank accounts even more at our expense.

  186. David Brooks, how about a little less bland reassurance. If “Sweden could be between 20 and 30 percent Muslim by 2050,” what would that percent be in 2099? I guess Swedes should be blandly assured that their grandchildren, ruled by a Saudi religion that accepts no deviation from its strictures, will be just fine. American Muslims, a tiny minority, do not attempt to force their beliefs on us, “Kiss the hand you cannot bite.”

  187. Mass migration? Everybody is now everywhere? Only 3% of the world’s population live outside their country of birth.

  188. “Only people who are securely rooted in their own particularity are confident enough to enjoy the encounter with difference.” Ah, what? Who, I ask, is more rooted in their own particularity than a white nationalist?

  189. David Brooks wrote, "The lesson is that to create thick pluralistic society, you first have to help people embed in a secure base. That includes economic and health care security, ..." But the Republican party has been working for decades to increase inequality of income and wealth and make most people less secure, not only in economically, not only in terms of health care, but also by stoking groundless fear. Republicans installed a president who hate-mongered Mexicans, saying "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists." He hate-mongered Muslims. He hate-mongered disabled people. And he sent love to white supremist murderers. This kind of hate speech makes all Americans less secure, whether or we're Mexican or Muslim or disable or none of those. If there is a problem of security, blame it on Trump and the Republicans, for making it harder for most people to share in America's bounty, for trying to make health care unaffordable, and for fomenting hate.

  190. "Right now, we are asking millions of Americans to accept high immigration while they are already living with maximum insecurity. Their wages are declining, their families and communities are fragmenting, their churches are shrinking, government services are being cut, their values and national identity feel unstable." Yes, Brooks hits the nail on the head with these sentences. That's what people, particularly poor people are afraid of. And they have a right to be afraid. That immigration is driven by overpopulation in places like Guatemala. The population of Guatemala has quadrupled since 1960! That's why Guatemala City is such an oppressive slum that residents want to leave! And population growth in the third world will in fact swamp any efforts to releave the consequences by offering sanctuary in the US. Open borders will simply make Americans more poor, make it more impossible to provide health to the millions of Americans who don't have it. Learning to "love multiculturalism" as Brooks suggests is not the answer. As the sea levels rise, temperatures will also rise in the tropics making many places, Guatemala and large parts of Africa and India uninhabitable over the next century. Liberals call Trump racist. But they are even more racist for ignoring the plight of Africans whose population is projected to double AGAIN by 2050. OK maybe Sanders gets it---I hope so. But liberals who do not see the urgency in providing birth control to Africans are also racist.

  191. I continue to be astounded by David Brooks's point of view on what's happening in our politics and in our country.To hear him explain it everything makes sense and happens for precise reasons that he can explain. Brooks is not living in the same country as the rest of us, possibily because his job is to rationalize things. What we have seen in our politics and country is nothing less that a runaway freight train being stoked with abject hatred.The fuel was the color of our last presiudent's skin and his supposed birth in Kenya and his secret terrorists inclinations. In other words, we are sick and are being led by a perverse clown. How Brooks has missed this or somehow has chosen to ignore it is insanity. Immigration? My foot. The next thing that Brooks will suggest is that the Tea Party was offended by the national debt. C'mon folks!

  192. “In the course of this, millions of people perceive that they are losing their country, losing their place, losing their culture.“ When working and middle class people express this sentiment, they are called racist. When the rich, famous, or parents of potential legacies (of a university) express it through their actions it is somehow not racist. Even though they perceive that a spot at that coveted college is their place. This is Caitlin Flanagan’s point.

  193. Excellent article- this issue is critical White House in 2020. In fact, democratic party has become a stupid party with zero common sense.It is very easy to figure out how Trump runs his fake propaganda machine by exploiting race. Wish they could save tears for the people in our nation, rather than the undocumented. People are anxious about the future, job, food on the table and education. We live in a different world than the past. The rise of global economy has devastated our manufacturing based jobs. Naturally, People are fearful for the future. Rural America is exploded with unemployment and resultant opioid addiction. Democrats squandered a great opportunity to counter Trump’s fake propaganda. They failed to deliver consistent message supporting border control and legal immigration. Alas, the democratic leadership with zero strategy couldn’t grasp the critical issue. Just think what message that Portrayed to many. Many of Trump’s supporters were ex-democrats. Our political system failed them.They are frustrated and find no option but to believe fake propaganda by Trump. It is easy to win 2020 election turning America Nice Again. Democrats need a clear strategy and focus on the issues important for the people. Truths are on democrat aide, Democrats need to deliver consistent pragmatic message to win back many voters. Time is running out.

  194. I am alright with immigration, especially to fill labor needs, but the last 50 years of Islam-inspired terrorism in dozens of countries, including most recently southern Thailand, lead me to think that there are fundamental incompatibilities between Islam and the West, and that Islamophobia is rational.

  195. There's nothing wrong with deporting folks who broke our laws. The United States is too crowded and needs to assimilate the legal immigrants it already has. Let's go on a diet for a decade or two from mass migration. Folks in the developing world deserve a chance to better their own countries, after all.

  196. The “maximum insecurity” that fertilizes the soil in which nativism grows—could we talk about that? Do tax cuts for the rich help reduce that insecurity? No. Has Trump done anything in office besides the tax cut for his real estate pals? No. Did weakening Obamacare reduce that insecurity? No. David—please spare us further analysis that ignores the root causes.