NYU Professor: New York’s Migrant Problem Goes Far Beyond Mayor’s Rhetoric
While New York City Mayor Eric Adams complains about migrants from the southern border disembarking in his town, a New York University (NYU) professor says mass immigration is undermining America’s individualist ethos and weakening this country’s body politic.
Lawrence Mead, expounding on his book, “Burdens of Freedom: Cultural Difference and American Power,” recommends halting all illegal immigration and reducing legal immigration by half.
“The main problem with immigration isn’t the things we most often discuss, about crime, welfare, cost to government and so on,” says the professor of politics and policy. “The really big issue is cultural difference,” emphasizing the imperative of assimilating immigrants into the mainstream culture that made the United States a country that makes it such a desirable place to live for so many around the world.
Mead asserts that countries from which a majority of immigrants come are “where life is about survival, not about achievement,” and that the sheer volume of immigration we are experiencing impedes the already formidable challenge of cultural assimilation.
“Also,” he notes, “in the mid-20th century immigration virtually halted for several decades, and that allowed and promoted assimilation.” With today’s record influx of legal and especially illegal migration, “They’re coming in and it’s not stopping. Under current policies the border is essentially open. Anybody can stay in America.”
In addition to regulating migrant admissions, Mead champions assimilation efforts “to move immigrants from their passive, reactive stance of life to the more ambitious view of an individualist society.”
He emphasizes, “I’m in favor of a multicultural society, but we must also remain an individualist society, because from those features most of American prosperity and political freedom derive, and we have to keep that culture.”
Mayor Adams’ analysis of the predicament doesn’t run as deep as the NYU professor’s, but even Hizzoner now at least seems to recognize that ongoing flows of illegal aliens into Gotham and other Northern cities are not sustainable. Mead’s work shines a light on the extent of the challenge.