There you go again, on immigration. You restrictionists have enough interesting arguments to make, you don’t need to resort to bogus complaints. John C. Vinson did this in his February review of The Immigration Invasion, by stating that “the proliferation of Korean-owned liquor stores in South-Central Los Angeles has made many of the locals restless.”

The Korean immigrants didn’t create whatever concentration of alcoholic beverage licenses exists in South Central. The number both of beer-and-wine and hard-liquor establishments in the area declined by more than 10 percent between 1982 and 1992, essentially the period of major inroads by proprietors of Korean descent. To the degree that South Central is saturated with booze merchants, this was even more true when the owners were mostly black or, before that, white.

Of course, however many bars and liquor stores are in a certain area and whoever owns them, the ultimate explanation for the presence must be that customers demand it. You might explore that subject when you take a break from the immigration wars.

        —Tim Ferguson
Wall Street Journal
Los Angeles, CA

Mr. Vinson Replies:

Though Korean immigrants didn’t create the South Central booze commerce, they have at least played a role in maintaining it—a point, I believe, Mr. Ferguson would concede. It was not my purpose, however, to single out Koreans, as a group, for criticism. Rather, it was to puncture the hubris of certain Koreans who seem to think they are God’s gift to America. Such hubris, I hasten to add, is by no means limited to Koreans.

I was also aiming to puncture the strange self-abasement of certain Americans who tend to view immigrants as virtual saviors. To hear these people tell it, we native-born citizens are simply too decadent to maintain America without regular transfusions of foreign family values and work ethics. One wonders how we ever survived before the 1965 Immigration Act.

Let’s not oversell others or sell ourselves short. All that glitters from abroad isn’t gold. Sometimes the glitter is just a reflection off a wine bottle.