Baobab Press

Volume 3, Number 16

Eugenics and Immigration Policies in
A Changing America


Like the world in general and like Europe especially, America is changing colour. And a growing anti-immigrant movement in the United States is making frequent headlines.

Although there has been no anti-immigration violence comparable to that which has taken place in Europe, many American "nativists" nonetheless concede a racial and cultural interest in halting the inflow of migrants from the developing world, insisting that, as the non-Anglo-Saxon population of the nation swells, the U.S. will lose it's Euro-centric identity.

"What is happening is the gradual disappearance of the country and the civilisation that most Americans recognise as America," wrote one advocate of immigration restrictions in the July 6 edition of the Washington Times. "Anyone who visits a convenience store nowadays hears languages he can't even identify, much less understand, and there are sections of many cities ... that have ceased to be American in any sense."

Another column appearing six days later contended, "What is being decided today is the character and destiny of our Republic, what America will look like, in the century to come."

And the head of an anti-immigration organisation in Virginia, in a July 11 letter the same paper, compared today's immigration trends to "national suicide," warning that legislation protecting immigrants' rights will make the nation's population a reflection of the world's people. "That's exactly where current immigration policy is taking us, but when you consider that most of the world is the Third World, there surely is cause to pause," added the writer.

And growing numbers of Americans are beginning to agree. On July 14, USA Today reported that a national opinion poll found that 55 percent of U.S. residents believe that "the racial and ethnic diversity of immigrants threatens U.S. culture." The pollsters also found that, while about 70 percent of survey respondents felt that Irish and Polish immigrants would "generally benefit the country," fewer than 20 percent said the same about either Haitian refugees or Iranians.

The trend worries human rights leaders. Frank Sharry, head of the pro-immigrant National Immigration Forum in Washington, attributes the growing bias against nonwhite migrants to a barrage of racist propaganda. "There's this image being created of a white minority encircled by Hispanics, Africans and Asians coming to take something we have, rather than contributing to make us all better," he told the USA Today reporter. And Arthur Helton of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights worries that the image of the Statue of Liberty is being "replaced by an image of the bombed World Trade Centre and the association of immigrants with smuggling, drugs, and terrorism."

The debate, however, is far more complex than the racially-tinged arguments of the immigration-control lobby, and has inter- national implications.

For fully half a century, U.S. military and strategic planners have expressed concerns similar to those heard in the present immigration debate, but on a worldwide scale. Year after year, projections are made which show a rapid and presumably-irreversible decline in the proportion of the world's people who are of European descent.

Whether one views these potential changes as an internal issue or a global one, basic facts remain the same. Demographics underlies all facets of politics and power. If the United States -- or any one of several European nations facing similar immigration controversies --were to find, 15 or 20 years from now, that the majority of its citizens were no longer of European background, there can be no doubt that the interests of this new majority would be reflected in electoral politics, government policies, and even in matters of foreign policy.

On a global scale, of course, the impact is similar, but more complex. While the population of these western nations starts to shrink (a result primarily of low birthrates), there will be a simultaneous expansion of population in Latin American, most of Asia, the Arab world and Africa (where fertility is still high).

This has lead to assumptions by many U.S. leaders that the global balance of power will eventually shift away from today's superpowers, resulting in a new situation in which the U.S. and its allies are no longer able to dictate global economic and political policies.

Not all western leaders, however, oppose immigration. Some of those who anticipate the fall of the west as a consequence of the world's shifting demographic weight have sided with the pro-immigration groups, contending that any increase in the U.S. population adds to the country's political and military vitality. Advocates of this point of view generally hold that "assimilation" is crucial, and recommend mov- ing newcomers into the cultural mainstream to prevent the dramatic political changes that might otherwise occur if the country were to be "Latinised" by an influx of foreigners.

Others, like those currently pushing for strict immigration controls, contend that the U.S. will cease to project the same values -- both domestically and abroad -- once citizens of European origin are reduced to a minority status.

Columnist and author Ben Wattenberg, a leading writer on the "demographic peril" theory, has defended immigration on the grounds that it offers an opportunity to boost America's population, and even called for a post-Cold War immigration policy that would "offer immigration visas to a million educated Russians." In that September 4, 1991 syndicated column, Wattenberg even hinted that the potency of the west might be preserved if Russia itself could be integrated into Europe. He observed, "A Europe with Russia in it might become the focus of global power. A Europe without Russia will not. An America with a strong link to the new Russia would continue to be No. 1," wrote Wattenberg. "That is the object of the game."

And even the moderate Washington Post endorsed a lenient immigration policy for the same self-serving reason. Noting that "the fertility rate in this country -- that is, the average number of children in a completed family -- is between 1.8 and 1.9," the Post advised that the U.S. population will decline in the near future if not for substantial immigration. "There will be practical conse- quences," added the April 7, 1990 Post editorial. "Without newcomers, there will be far fewer taxpayers and workers to support the Social Security system in the next century."

In other words, Wattenberg and the editorial staff of the Post seem to believe that racist arguments about immigration should be countered for racist reasons.

Still, not all population hardliners accept immigration as a solution to the "crisis" of falling American birthrates. A widely-quoted series of studies commissioned by the Department of Defence five years ago observed that between the years 1985 and 2010, the Hispanic population of the United States is likely to increase from seven percent to at least 11 percent as a result of immigration. Similar growth rates were projected for other minority groups.

A summary of the military research, published in 1989 by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, explained: "As the population continues to shrink, competition to fill vacancies undoubtedly will intensify between the military, colleges, and civilian employers." Thus, said the report, a fundamental problem for the future U.S. military will be the question of "whether it can entice the required quantity (of enlistees) with the required qualities to join." It seems present U.S. military leadership is not ready to turn the nation's armed forces over to a future generation of decision-makers not inclined to share their Euro-centric view of the world.

This trend toward selective recruitment, which implies escalating military costs during precarious economic times -- combined with the relatively rapid growth of the working-age (and draft-age) populations in most developing countries -- may actually hasten the downward momentum of the U.S. as a world power. Says the CSIS summary: "These developments and others will set discernible bounds on how the United States interprets and responds to situations around the world over the next two decades and beyond."

And a December 1992 essay by Rear Admiral L. R. Vassey of the CSIS Pacific Forum, reprinted in the Times, issued a similar warning. "There is danger the U.S. capacity for global leadership could self-destruct. The consequences for American economic and security interests would be profound," the commentary began. The writer warned of a "weak, inward-turning America, unable to handle its own domestic problems" and equally unable to counter "international doubts about U.S. global leadership."

While not directly addressing immigration, the admiral did foresee, as a consequence of America's declining strength and loss of prestige, a number of potential regional hotspots where trouble would be waiting. Regarding the Middle East, for example, he predicted a "dramatic shift in the regional balance of power, and in global political alignments and stability ... if control of oil falls into hostile hands."

Regardless of the outcome of the public debate over U.S. immigration policy, it is virtually certain there will be an anti-im- migrant backlash at the government level. Already President Bill Clinton has requested from Congress nearly $200 million extra this year alone to bolster the forces who guard the U.S.-Mexico border -- an action which earned him a pat on the back from anti- immigrant columnist Georgie Ann Geyer who hardly writes about anything else these days.

But, despite Clinton's inexplicable change of heart (he repeatedly called anti-immigrant policies "racist" during the campaign), it is not likely that the flow of migrants will be substantially slowed over the long term. And it is also not likely that a democratic nation that is increasingly dominated by non-white citizens will continue forever the aggressive and largely-racist foreign policy of the present.

In an optimist's view, the United States may be better off because of migration from the "third world," but the peoples of the south will also gain. As the country becomes less and less a reflection of European "values," it will also find itself less and less able to pursue policies of expansionism, calculated impoverishment, and random bloodshed in the south.


Imperialism: The Ideology of People Control

The ability of one nation to dominate others around the world is a product of two factors -- the acquiescence of the citizens in foreign operations based on hegemony, and the physical ability of the country to successfully make such a global conquest.

As Harry G. Summers of the U.S. Army War College wrote in the Washington Times of July 29, "Combat power is the product of the physical capabilities of a nation -- the size and strength of its armed forces, the numbers of troops, guns, ships and planes -- plus the much more important, intangible ingredient: the moral will to fight and persevere."

In other words, a large influx of mi- grants may supply the United States with more potential combat troops and a larger number of workers and taxpayers to contribute to the purchase of bombs and warplanes and spy satellites. But if these migrants come from the so-called "third world" -- and come in large enough numbers to substantially alter political alignments within the U.S. - - American leaders are going to find aggressiveness toward the south unpopular and politically risky.

But without immigration, say other American security planners, the population will become so small that the U.S. will no longer have the strength to dominate the globe, even if it wants to do so.

One "solution" offered by virtually every American administration since World War II has been the control of population in developing nations. In fact, a secret Defence Department planning document, leaked in May of last year to the New York Times, described any country having a measure of "modern defence, industrial and technical capacity and a sizable population base" as a potential threat to the U.S.

But as the U.S. continues its present downward trend, both demographically and economically, it may eventually be forced to choose between massive foreign policy spending and domestic programmes designed to address human needs at home.

Regardless of immigration trends and policies in the U.S., there may yet be a "new world order" in the next two or three decades. But it probably will not resemble in any way the world George Bush envisioned when he coined the term.


Deja Vu...

Anti-immigrant sentiment reached an all-time high in the United States in the early years of the 20th century. Leading the onslaught against the presence of non-native inhabitants were members of the elite "eugenics" movement, which advocated selective population control, both through planned human breeding and the exclusion of immigrants of non-Anglo-Saxon heritage.

One leading proponent of eugenics theory was Dr. Charles Benedict Davenport. Like his Mentor, Thomas Malthus, Davenport detested the poor, and feared that any actions taken to alleviate human suffering among the labouring classes would only encourage them to multiply.

Davenport argued in a 1911 book, Heredity in Relation to Eugenics, that modern medicine, with its improved capacity for saving lives, "is responsible for the loss of appreciation of the power of heredity." He wrote that the "new world" had been founded by persons with both good and bad genetic traits, and that "after the new traits became established and constituted the basis for the new society, those persons who had the old traits stood a good chance of being killed off and many a defective line was ended by their death."

At least until medical science came to the rescue, that is.

Davenport demounced the "present practices" of providing life-saving treatment to the needy as a social policy "dictated by emotion untempered by reason," and wrote that "emotion untempered by reason is social suicide. If we are to build up in America a society worthy of the species man," he continued, "then we must take such steps as will prevent the increase or even the perpetuation of animalistic strains."

Davenport's proposals for purifying the race were numerous. He even included the death penalty among his recommended eugenic measures. "We are horrified by the 223 capital offenses in England less than a century ago, but though capital punishment is a crude method of grappling with the difficulty it is infinitely superior to that of training the feeble-minded and criminalistic and then letting them loose upon society and permitting them to perpetuate in their offspring these animal traits," he wrote in the 1911 treatise.

Sterilisation of the "unfit" -- the unemployed and racially undesirable -- was another of Davenport's favourite remedies. In the September-October 1932 issue of the Eugenical News, for example, he openly defended Nazi Germany's campaign of racial "purification."

But immigration and fertility were uppermost in Davenport's mind when it came to the U.S. He warned his 1911 book, written at a time when Italians, Poles, Greeks, Russians and Jews were the targets of anti-immigrant phobia, that "the population of the United States will, on account of the great influx of blood from South-eastern Europe, rapidly become darker in pigmentation, smaller in stature, more mercurial, more attached to music and art, [and] more given to crimes of larceny, kidnapping, assault, murder, rape and sex-immorality" and that "the ratio of insanity in the population will rapidly increase."

Five years after his book was published, Davenport delivered a lecture at a prominent sanitarium in the mid-western United States in which he elevated eugenics to the status of a religion. Said Davenport, eugenics must become "a religion that may determine your behavior." Announcing that "every religion, it appears, should have a creed," Davenport proceeded to dictate to the audience just precisely what this "creed for the religion of eugenics" should be:


"I believe in striving to raise the human race and more particularly our nation and community to the highest place of social organisation....

"I believe that no merely palliative measures of treatment can ever take the place of good stock with innate excellence of physical and mental traits...

"I believe that, having made our choice in marriage carefully, we, the married pair, should seek to have 4 to 6 children in order that our carefully selected germ plasms shall be reproduced in adequate degree and that this preferred stock shall not be swamped by that less carefully selected...

"I believe in such a selection of immigrants as shall not tend to adulterate our national germ plasm with socially unfit traits.

"I believe in such sanitary measures as shall protect, as far as possible, from accidental and unselective morality, the offspring of carefully selected matings....

"I believe in doing it for the race."


(From The Legacy of Malthus: The Social Costs of the New Scientific Racism by Allen Chase, Univ. of Illinois, 1980, pp. 154-163, 634.)



New Washington Think Tank Started

It has been approximately a generation since most politically-conscious Americans lost count of the hundreds of "think tanks" that have sprung up across the U.S. to pro- mote a consensus for foreign operations. Such institutions are housed in most major universities, and fill countless private offices in New York, Washington, and most other major cities. All of them are part of what might be called the military-foreign activities-development aid-industrial complex. They consist of defense and other government contractors, ex-spies, economic internationalists, corporate boosters and investors, and, sometimes, just plain nuts.

They are often funded by private foundations set up by large corporations who gained their wealth through government deals of various sorts. They endow the "international studies" centres in universities across the land, who, in turn, educate a new generation of foreign policy professionals. The university centres gain added support from their own direct govern- ment contracts, and often supply the "experts" and "consultants" who are appointed to government boards to recommend increased financial allocations for more of the same foreign influence activities.

This "politico-economic loop," the old left used to say with a great deal of justification, constituted an undemocratic "ruling class," having almost complete control over complex foreign affairs decisions that are made in secret or with very little of public involvement, and holding sway over the selection of those political candidates from whom the electors must eventually choose.

For those who have stopped counting -- and even for those who never counted at all - - there is now one more foreign policy "think tank" in Washington. And this one promises to be especially influential -- or at least particularly visible.

The Forum for International Policy was launched in Washington on June 23, and consists of many of George Bush's former aides. Its president, Brent Scowcroft, was Bush's National Security Advisor. The group is chaired by Lawrence Eagleburger, formerly of Bush's Department of State.

Also on board are Robert M. Gates, Bush's old CIA chief; Robert Strauss, Embassador to the Soviet Union; and a host of lesser-known insiders. These include Bush's former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Arnold Kanter, who also is also affiliated with the International Institute of Strategic Studies and is a former director of the national security strategies program at the Rand Corporation.

Rand is sometimes called the granddaddy of the "private" policy groups, founded at the start of the Cold War to contribute to the national intelligence effort, coordinate military research and planning, and evaluate the political implications of such things as population growth in the developing world and obstacles to resource access.

Another Rand person serving with the new Forum is Condoleezza Rice, the obligatory "black face" on Bush's national security staff -- a graduate of the international studies program of Denver University, former aide to the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a director at Hewlett Packard.

Dr. Richard N. Haass, likewise an alumnus of Bush's National Security Council leadership staff and a former aide at the Departments of State and Defense, is also among the Forum's scholars. Haass was Bush's principle advisor for Persian Gulf policy, and, like Kanter, is affiliated with the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The Forum also includes Stephen J. Hadley, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy from 1989 to 1993, and Walter Kansteiner, the National Security Council's former Director of African Affairs, who led the move to lift sanctions against South Africa and participated in policymaking in Angola and Somalia.

Other members of the Forum team include Virginia A. Lampley, a former Air Force intelligence expert, who served on the NSC from 1989 until early this year; Daniel Levin, a Deputy Legal Advisor at NSC during the last two years of the Bush ad- ministration; and Joan McEntee, a Commerce Department specialist in the field of military technology under Bush and currently a partner in a law firm headed by Howard Baker -- Reagan's old White House chief of staff -- who is also on the Forum's board of directors.

Other directors include former Bush-era Trade Representative Carla Hills; Michel Charles Oksenberg, a former NSC China specialist; and Lloyd Cutler, once a senior consultant for Reagan's Commission on Strategic Forces.

At a press conference inaugurating the new centre, Scowcroft stated that the institute would be dedicated to helping develop overseas policies that will ensure "America's self-interest and domestic well-being" and promote "American political, economic and military leadership" around the world.

"The Forum is committed to advocating that leadership role for America," he said. "There is no alternative."






The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that as many as one in five American women now in their thirties may never have children. This is three times the number given in previous estimates. Earlier Census Bureau statistics had indicated that only about 10 percent of all such women would remain childless. The number of American women expected never to give birth during their lives has not been this high at any time since the great depression of the 1930s. (USA TODAY, July 14, 1993).


During the first six months of his new administration, President Bill Clinton has succeeded in alienating just about everybody. He earned the scorn of black voters when, after promising to end former President Bush's exclusion policy toward Haitian refugees, he did an about-face upon entering the White House, and now supports the same Republican programme which he described as "racist" during the campaign. His sudden withdrawal of an African-American woman nominee for a top domestic post in response to rightwing opposition further soured his relations with a key electoral group that put him in office. The bloodbath in Somalia. along with the April and June bombings in Iraq, have earned the wrath of peace activists and other opponents of U.S. overseas aggression. And after implicitly rejecting population control during the Democratic Party debates, he appointed former Senator Timothy Wirth global affairs boss at the State Department, ensuring that contraceptive injections and sterilisations for women who don't particularly want them will remain the fundamental objective of U.S. foreign aid programmes for the next four years. The harshest criticism of Clinton's first six months in office comes from the left. The Progressive editorialised against any expectations that Clinton might be guided by ethics or compassion, stating that he has been a pragmatic politician since the day of his birth. And a report in the latest edition of In These Times summarises his efforts thus far under a headline, "Putting People Last."


Sustainable Development" has served the rallying cry of the loan bosses at the World Bank and IMF, as well as the western donor consortium, over the past several years. But the term offended several Arab leaders, who objected at the regional population conference in Amman, Jordan in past April. The phrase seems to imply that the west looks forward to perpetual involvement in "sustaining" the internal development of other regions, explained one delegate. But the slogan was given an even more ominous meaning at a panel discussion sponsored by the Population Reference Bureau in June. One panelist urged the audience to avoid abrasive phrases like "carrying capacity" when talking about population control, because it suggests to many people an attitude of preserving the planet for the rich minority. But she offered no disagreement when an observant spectator countered: Doesn't "sustainable development" really mean the same thing?


Family Planning International Assistance, an offshoot of the U.S. branch of Planned Parenthood which was set up in the early 1970s especially as a conduit for USAID funds, recently sent out a mass mailing that takes a bizarre approach to fundraising. In a letter that begins, "Dear Compassionate American," the group pleads with readers to help "lift the life-to-death curse on being a woman in developing countries." It illustrates its mission by telling the story of Rani, a 31-year old farm worker in India. "The very night Rani brought her daughter home from the hospital, her husband and the men of the family went out -- leaving Rani, her mother-in-law and the newborn alone in the family's mud hut. And the men knew what would be done in their absence." The letter continues, "Rani and her mother-in-law mashed some poisonous oleander seeds and mixed them with a few drops of cooking oil ... and forced it down her baby girl's throat." Then, it goes on, "Rani took her one-day-old baby girl into a nearby field and buried her in a shallow, unmarked grave next to a stream." The story concludes: "For many mothers like Rani, killing their daughters is better than condemning them to life as a woman in the developing world...." The same sentiment is echoed in a bold headline across the top of the page: "to be born female comes perilously close to being born less than human." Readers are not asked to help curb poverty or sexism, nor presented a more realistic view of the developing world. Rather they are told that a mere five dollars will provide women with "family planning" services for a whole year.


The origin of all U.S. foreign aid packages will have to be identified as coming from the U.S., if Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, the new chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, has his way. Ironically, the sponsorship of many controversial programmes --particularly in the field of population control and economic policy "reform" -- has been intentionally concealed from recipients during the past 10 years. It seems these projects would backfire if people caught on to the fact that outsiders have been the instigators. This is particularly true of mass media campaigns in Africa and elsewhere intended to erode indigenous resistance to birth control. Extraordinary sums of money have been spent to recruit and pay local people to disseminate the pro-contraceptive ideology to dispel suspicions of a western "plot" to reduce the numbers of Africans, Arabs, Asians or Latin Americans. The falsely-attributed messages are also believed to be more compelling because they appear to originate with people who, unlike foreign aid specialists, are trusted by the intended audiences. Some complaints have been made recently to the effect that "positive" foreign aid programmes -- emergency food shipments, earthquake relief, and the like) might not be having the desired influence because they were not properly "advertising" their American sponsorship. Ackerman made no mention of unsolicited or unpopular "aid," such as population control or "incentives" for currency devaluation, in his remarks, which were published in the Earth Times of January 20.