How Elitists View the Migration Crisis

From Brexit, to the Yellow Vests, to the election of Donald Trump, working people in Western democracies have been sending a clear message to the economic, social, and political elites in their countries. And the elites still don’t get it.

That elite tin ear is clearly on display in the latest edition of the once-great opinion journal, The New Republic. In the magazine’s lead article, Lauren Markham bemoans the impact of current U.S. immigration policies that are metering the influx of Central American migrants hoping to take advantage of our broken asylum policies. “Trump Is Outsourcing the Migrant Crisis to Mexico,” states the headline, while the sub-header asserts, “His new asylum policy exploits America’s southern neighbor and threatens to create a humanitarian nightmare at the border.”

Never mind that for decades Mexico has been outsourcing its poor, unemployed, and underemployed to the United States. But two wrongs do not make a right, and no nation should be expected to absorb endless flows of migration just because they happen to have a failed state as a neighbor. Unless, of course, in the view of elitists like Markham, you happen to be the United States, or some Western European nation.

So long as untold numbers of migrants pour into the United States and, subsequently, into neighborhoods where Ms. Markham doesn’t live and where her kids don’t go to school, there’s no problem.

Sure, the United States has greater capability to provide for the needs of migrants than does Mexico, but the impact on Americans is disproportional. Residents of Queens, for example – a borough where Ms. Markham likely never sets foot, except to get to the airport – already send their kids to schools where one in three of their classmates does not speak English.

It’s not just that the elites are concerned about the impact of mass migration on Mexico, but tone-deaf to its impact on working-class Americans. Any and all complaints from working-class Americans are met with assertions that the people doing the complaining simply aren’t smart enough to understand the countless think tank reports that “prove” that they are actually better off as a result of mass immigration. And since a bunch of tenured social scientists have “proven” that we’re all better off because of mass immigration (because their degrees give them greater insight into your life than you have), then the only other explanation for the complaints must be xenophobia, racism, or some other profound moral character flaw.

This sort of condescension is not unique to elitists in United States. It is routinely displayed by elites throughout the West, when people object to excessive levels of immigration, onerous regulations imposed by non-accountable international bodies, or taxation policies that burden working people, but not the folks who live in the tonier arrondissements of Paris.

Elites who worry about the impact of mass migration on the citizens of Mexico, but who could care less about their neighbors who live on the other side of the East River, fail to grasp one key point: the anger and frustration of the working people is directed at them, not the migrants looking for a better life. Most of the people who demand that our borders be controlled and that our immigration laws be enforced do not dislike immigrants. They do, however, detest the condescending, out-of-touch elites (movie stars, media pundits, academics, tech billionaires, politicians) who continue to insult their intelligence and impugn their characters.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    I worked the border for 33 years we use to have laws and regulations until the congress and progressive presidents like Clinton and Obama came along. We have 335 embassies and consulates around the world offering 35 visas to come in legally. All we ask is fill out the form, provide a medical and police clearance form, come in and talk to the clerk from your country in your language and choose a visa…WE bring in one million people a year, we’ve gone from 190 million in the 60s over 328 million today while over 75,000 plants moved out of the US….Enough already, if we don’t get the wall and a National ID card to work, etc. vote out the crud in Congress.

  2. avatar

    Best Article for some time. Should be mandatory reading for Congress. I gave my Congressmen several e-mails on this subject.
    I advised for them to pass a bill stating:
    You may sponsor as many illegals as you wish, providing:
    You pay for their Housing, Food, Medical care and take responsibility for any crimes they commit. And no welfare or government assistance will ever be allowed.

    I doubt there would be very many sponsorships.

  3. avatar
    Rickey Lampard on

    Love the US, thankfully GOD put me here… Defend it with my life, build wall or place troops , !!!! Go Trump !!!!! Career politician and senile judges need to be retired … !!!! Out with affirmative action …. “ALL” have rights …. indelible rights !!!!!

  4. avatar

    Nothing has done more to diminish the quality of life for the United States middle class through higher housing (land) costs, greater competition for jobs, lower wages, higher taxes to pay for greater poverty, mortgage fraud, medicare fraud, tax fraud, other crime, higher taxes to pay for indigent healthcare (hospital closings), higher taxes for cost of public schools, price of college, degradation of the military, depletion of resources, burden on the taxpayer and overall congestion than the INCREASE of and change in the nature (more poor, more criminals, e pluribus multum) of the POPULATION since 1965, driven almost entirely by late 20th century and more recent entry of migrants (immigrants, illegals, h1b visa holders, visa overstays, refugees, etc) their families and descendants.

    • avatar

      Wrong. Although illegal immigration is one of the major crisis of what’s ruining our country. The 19th amendment is even more insidious. And has caused as much But probably more damage than illegal immigration. Whereas illegal immigration problems can be laid at the feet of those immigrants, the 19th amendment has no one to blame but ourselves.

      • avatar
        joseph l mummerth on

        giving women the right to vote ? I would say that affirmative action , was the biggest mistake ! equal rights are fine , but affirmative action is`nt equal rights !

  5. avatar

    California has the largest number of immigrants, both in total number and percentage. Not by coincidence, since the illegals they love so much have very low levels of education, they have the highest number of all states, 9.7% of their population, who never finished the ninth grade. They have the lowest percentage of high school graduates, 82.5%. They will insist that all those immigrants have enriched the state, but they have the highest “true” poverty rate, cost of living vs. wages, in the country. Also at the top of many lists for highest taxes. A huge percentage are on some kind of welfare both state and federal. Texas by the way, also with a huge number of illegals, is next on the list of states in both education categories. Draw your own logical conclusions, which will immediately be denied by the airheads who can’t argue the facts so they call names.

  6. avatar

    Very true! I recently watched some clips of the comedian Bill Maher’s show on the internet (I would never subscribe to HBO because I will not give them my money) where he sneers at and condescendingly mocks “The Wall” and the idiot bigoted “Trumpers” who support it.

    But Bill Maher chooses to use his wealth to live in a mansion in Beverly Hills (What a surprise!), probably surrounded by a wall himself as is common in Beverly Hills, in order to insulate himself from the worst consequences of the open borders policies he supports. But Americans who support border security who don’t have the wealth of Bill Maher in order to protect themselves from the negative consequences of open borders are mocked, trashed and ridiculed by Bill Maher.

    Just more typical hypocrisy from out of touch American elites.

  7. avatar

    Well, thanks to President Trump [note: soon to be EX president in 2021!] epic CAVE IN on The Wall, the human tsunami will continue unabated. Funny though; I haven’t seen any walls around “gated communities” being torn down!