[This review appeared in the Conservative Review, July/August 1995, pp. 34-5.] 

Book Review

The Immigration Invasion

Wayne Lutton and John Tanton

Foreword by Senator Eugene McCarthy

The Social Contract Press, 1994


            This book was released with a first printing of 200,000 copies in June 1994, and bodes to become a centerpiece of the growing debate over the massive immigration that is occurring into the United States. A clothbound edition is available under the title The Costs of Immigration (ISBN 1-881780-05-8).

            Wayne C. Lutton, who has his Ph.D in history from Southern Illinois University, is the author of or contributor to ten books and monographs on the immigration question. John H. Tanton is a physician who combines eye surgery with editing and publishing The Social Contract, a quarterly journal. He has been active in the environmental movement, and was in 1975-77 the national president of Zero Population Growth.

            As the book's title makes clear, the authors see the influx now occurring from primarily the Third World into the United States as an "invasion." This is an apt military allusion: Since Kellogg-Briand, the world has had a distinct aversion to actual military conquest of one people by another; but the door has been left open to a process of demographic swamping which, although not as spectacular, has very much the same results. The authors focus exclusively on the United States, but the pressure of Third World population has been as significant in Europe as in the United States. It is no longer too much to say that the continued existence of Euro-American civilization, as we have known it, is in doubt. That fact alone makes this book, and the others now appearing in a burgeoning discussion of the issue, of major importance.

            The Immigration Invasion is written in simple, straight-forward prose for the average reader, and focuses on three areas: the problem (or, more specifically, the many tangible costs, financial and social, that the immigration causes), the history of how the United States got into its current predicament, and proposed solutions. What it does not do is to explore the very important "intangible" effects, such as on the continuing identity, culturally and nationally, of the United States and on such a value as personal freedom. Even though, therefore, it is not exhaustive in its treatment of the subject, it is a very good survey of both the history of the immigration and its immediate effects. It will be an eye-opener for (if all goes well) its many readers.

            After a major surge of immigration mainly from southern and eastern Europe between 1880 and 1920, immigration into the United States was relatively minor until the 1965 Immigration Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, marked a shift away from a preference for Europeans. The result, the authors say, was that "85 percent of the 11.8 million legal immigrants arriving in the U.S. between 1971 and 1990 were from the Third World, 44 percent from Latin America and the Caribbean, 36 percent from Asia--and from one country: 20 percent from Mexico." The reason for the vast increase in numbers, they tell us, lay in "the hidden loophole...that immigrants could bring in relatives." This created "chains of migration from the same regions."1

            This led eventually to President Carter's appointment of a "select commission" that concluded that immigration should be controlled. Ironically, the statute that resulted--the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act--accelerated rather than inhibited the flow. Amnesty was given to millions of illegal aliens, who were "put on the path to citizenship," after which they could bring in their relatives. "Employer sanctions" were written into the Act as the main way to prevent future illegal immigration, but this proved to be a sham when Congress didn't appropriate the money to enforce them, and employers were given no workable way to determine legal residency in light of the prevalence of forged documents and work records. Likewise, money has been withheld from adequately staffing the Border Patrol, with the result that some 300,000 illegal immigrants stay in this country annually. Another 300,000 aliens stay illegally after coming in on visas. This influx is met with virtual impotence by the federal government. Local governments come under such ideological and political pressure from their growing immigrant populations that they have taken to refusing to cooperate with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Mayor Koch informed illegal aliens in New York City that they could safely apply for public assistance, because the City's policy was not to report them. As though this weren't enough, the 1990 Immigration Act, signed into law by President Bush, increased legal immigration by almost 40 percent.

            The effects have been startling. "The United States has become the 'welfare magnet' to people around the world," Lutton and Tanton say. Many immigrants don't see the welfare system as simply a means to obtain help in case of need, but rather as an entitlement, so that "among Chinese seniors in California who came to the U.S. since 1980, 55 percent were on welfare." Many immigrants receive payments under the "negative income tax" (the so-called "Earned-Income Tax Credit" that has been part of the United States' tax system since the Nixon Administration). Other major federal programs in which they receive benefits include: Aid to Families with Dependent Children; Supplemental Security Income; Medicaid; school lunch and breakfast programs; Headstart; adult education grants; home energy assistance--to name a few. Swarms of people came across the border from Mexico after the 1994 California earthquake to obtain "disaster assistance" from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA even put out a flier saying that "it is not obligatory to be a legal resident of the United States," and explaining that "FEMA does not ask questions about your legal status...."2

            There is a vast increase in crime that is attributable to a significant fraction, though of course not all, of the immigrants. Approximately 25 percent of the inmates in federal penitentiaries are aliens. Street gangs have proliferated beyond anyone's wildest imagination; and organized crime syndicates from virtually all regions of the globe are now operating in the United States. These include the Triads from China, the Yakuza from Japan, at least a dozen gangs from Russia, and organized drug dealers from the Caribbean and South America. Nigerians, for example, are heavily into credit card fraud.

            In a world that has been exploding in population--growing from 3.6 billion people in 1970 to a projected 8.5 billion by 2024!--, it is hardly to be imagined that its impoverished peoples will not be desperate to migrate to the United States or Europe. That is easy to understand. What is not so easy to understand - at least, not without a detailed understanding of a great many facets of modern thought and history - is why the mainstream population in the United States (and Europe) is allowing the invasion. Lutton and Tanton suggest a number of remedies in their concluding section on "solutions." These will not be forthcoming, however, unless there is greatly increased public understanding and awareness--which is where this book comes in--and unless somehow Americans and Europeans find within themselves a will to exist. This latter will require more moral energy than "the West" has been able to muster for some time. It is hopeful that former Senator Eugene McCarthy has been actively concerned about the immigration issue and has added his Foreword to this book, since it shows that the issue is gaining the attention of more than just those of us who are "cultural conservatives" on a variety of issues.

                                                                                       Dwight D. Murphey


1. Lutton and Tanton, The Immigration Invasion, p. 107.

2. Ibid, pp. 9-11, 19.