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Crowded Land of Liberty

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The longstanding, passionate debate about whether, and how much, to allow immigration to the U.S. continues today, focusing on recent presidential and congressional proposals to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. This short volume tips its polemic hand in its subtitle with the assumption that America has an "immigration crisis," but presents a fiercely argued political and social case for radically changing federal law and limiting the number of new immigrants. Acknowledging the positive social impact of earlier waves of immigration, Eldredge presents numerous reasons why a more open immigration policy is no longer feasible. Citing a number of reasons e.g., new immigrants inflict a "crushing burden on our already disenfranchised underclass" and "future population growth" brings with it "twin scourges of overcrowding and environmental damage" Eldredge, a Reagan campaign official, banker and author of Ending the War on Drugs, argues that changes in 1965 drastically increased immigration (1.8 million in 1991) to what is now a breaking point. Along with this, he believes that new immigrants are less willing to assimilate and that the essential nonenforcement of the U.S. ban on dual citizenship creates a dangerous precedent of dual loyalties in the case of war. His solutions include a decade of "near zero immigration," the implementation of a Canadian-style program that would allow only immigrants whose age and skills would benefit the U.S. economy and making borders nonporous. While he understands the explosive political implications of his theory "I reject any suggestion that I am racist, bigoted, or anti-immigrant" his arguments might be taken more seriously if he had included footnotes to his many references, as well as harder economic and sociological statistics. (Nov.) Forecast: This will appeal primarily to a small core of conservative readers. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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