Importing Revolution tells the sad and tragic tale of how the Ford Foundation has funded practically every pro-immigration group in America for the last 30 years. It is hard to read this book without concluding that the Ford Foundation has misused and abused its original purpose, as well as its tax-exempt status, by advancing the political agenda of those interests which desire open borders. The cumulative case is overwhelming: the Ford Foundation has used a significant portion of its massive resources to fund a number of radical organizations whose agenda would be displeasing to ordinary Americans. That said, I was left with the wish that William Hawkins’ thesis were actually correct; i.e., that the Ford Foundation were quietly trying to import revolution and destabilize the United States. I wish it were true only in the sense that the situation would then be easy to correct. One major congressional investigation, a crusading district attorney or attorney general, a few people in jail, and the problem would be behind us. The irony is that the truth is even more threatening than Hawkins perceives: his villains are not deliberately subversive people but well-meaning and tragically mistaken liberals who honestly believe that what they are doing will strengthen the nation.
The Ford Foundation gives away approximately $300 million per year ($1.2 million a day for a 250-day working year). Since 1968, over $31 million has gone to a series of organizations seeking either to open American borders or greatly to expand immigration. These organizations seek multiple goals, including the establishment of “the right to immigrate” (to the United States, of course) as a basic human right. Other organizations are hard at work to expand the definition of “refugee” to include “economic refugees,” and to give full rights (including the right to vote in American elections) to illegal aliens. The list is long, and I believe most Americans would be extremely upset with almost every item of it. Organization by organization, grant by grant, the author builds his case. Clearly, there is no immigration-related cause too far to the left not to attract big dollars from the Ford Foundation. Speaking of these latter groups, the author says, “To them, immigrants are not viewed as ‘teeming masses’ waiting to be lifted to a higher level of existence. They are merely a tool for accomplishing exactly the opposite—destabilizing and eroding America’s current residents and their society—all in an effort to further their own self-consciously Marxist ends.” Like the prosecutors of the Salem witch trials, however, the author has discovered too many witches while overlooking the main forces behind immigration in the United States. However grievous the conduct by the Ford Foundation, one has to differentiate between a mistake and a conspiracy. A version of Gresham’s Law exists by which false accusations drive out true ones.
Ten years ago I coauthored a book (The Immigration Time Bomb: The Fragmenting of America) pointing to the incredible pressures building on our borders, to the need to set some rational limits to immigration, and to the dangers America faces if the melting pot fails in its work. I have been hotly engaged in debating this subject ever since. Truth be told, I have run into more opposition in the Christian churches and the Jewish synagogues than I have among whatever remains of the left in the United States. The philosophy which motivated the Ford Foundation is not dissimilar to that which motivates libertarians, some neoconservatives, and a large number of religious groups in the United States. It is so counterproductive to the long-range future of America that it often does seem like a conspiracy. Yet the problem, dear Brutus, lies not so much in the Ford Foundation as in our natural ambivalence about immigration. The real problem is how tightly Americans still cling to the myths surrounding the Statue of Liberty. Historically, immigration has been an important part of American history: we have taken in an amazing number of poor people whose children and grandchildren are, today, our leading citizens. But immigration is a policy that cannot be blindly continued.
The biggest challenge is how to change a policy which, though once successful, has outlived its usefulness. What once made sense when we were an empty continent with vast extents of empty land no longer does so in a country of 260 million people who have constructed a massive social welfare system that, for good reason, is increasingly subject to challenge. It seems to me that the time is long past for a national debate on the justification for future immigration in which we ask ourselves some hard questions, including:
—How many people do we want in the America of our grandchildren?
—Does the United States need more people for purposes of national defense?
—Does it have excess land in need of population?
—Do we require more people to grow food?
—Will more people improve the quality of our health care or the quality of our education?
—Do we need additional workers for our economy?
—Is the United States a too-homogeneous country requiring more infusions of “diversity”?
—Does it make sense for America to import a new generation of poor people each year?
—Is it in our national interest to create a second underclass before we have solved the problems of the existing one?
I submit that every problem I tried to solve during my 12 years as governor of Colorado was made worse by immigration. The American economy does not need more unskilled workers; it needs to find ways to employ our own unskilled. Our school systems were marginal enough before the influx of great numbers of people with new and expensive linguistic needs. Additional immigrants also make the problems of congestion, air pollution, water pollution, and the closing of open space worse, not better.
The Ford Foundation is only a small part of the problem. Its motive lies not so much in subversion as in the unchallenged national myth. The heavy immigration that we are now experiencing is not due so much to the efforts of the New Left as to the inarticulate middle which instinctively realizes that we are not strengthening our country by yearly waves of Third World immigration, but fails nevertheless to disenthrall itself from the myth.
William Hawkins does perform a valuable service by bringing together full evidence of the cumulative contribution of the Ford Foundation to the openborder cause; he is less inaccurate than simply incomplete. The Marxists are a cheering section for immigration, not the driving force. They would be as irrelevant to demography as they are to economics, but for the schizophrenia of the American public. I came away from his book deeply regretting missed opportunities for aiding our own poor. What an irony that, by its policies, the Ford Foundation should have intensified the problem of poverty in the United States, while at the same time contributing to the further Balkanization of America. The people at Ford are guilty, not of treason or subversion, but of public policy malpractice, pure and simple.
[Importing Revolution: Open Borders and the Radical Agenda, by William R. Hawkins (Monterey, Virginia: American Immigration Control Foundation and U.S. Business & Industrial Council Educational Foundation) 209 pp., $8.00]