cover image Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders

Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders

Reihan Salam. Sentinel, $27 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7352-1627-3

National Review executive editor Reihan Salam is optimistic that a solution to the United States’ immigration crisis can be found, though it will require compromise and a rethinking of the role of immigrants in American society. The son of Bangladeshi immigrants, Salam (Grand New Party: How Conservatives Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream) speaks to the current immigration impasse from the perspective of a political conservative and a second-generation American. He draws attention to the extreme, false dichotomy between open borders and highly restrictive immigration that limits political debate on these issues. The real focus going forward, he writes, should be on how America treats its immigrants: the United States needs to work to ensure that immigrants assimilate into American society, treating them like free and equal citizens rather than “permanent strangers.” Currently, he argues, too little is done to lift immigrants out of poverty, which perpetuates a lack of upward mobility and solidifies racial and economic divides between citizens and immigrants. He offers ambitious solutions, such as “large-scale amnesty followed directly by resolute enforcement” of immigration laws, a rebalancing of admissions toward highly skilled immigrants, and the creation of a universal child benefit program to alleviate the economic demands on poor immigrant families. This well-researched analysis adds relevant possibilities to the immigration debate in the U.S. (Sept.)