even in 2006 when I was only just starting to follow the issue of illegal immigration, I had an image of the difference between an illegal immigrant and legal immigrant. The image I saw when hearing the word “illegal immigrant” is a peasant with minimal intelligence and someone only capable of manual labor that has high levels of interpersonal violence, substance abuse, illegitimacy and criminality. These were the people who were refusing to learn English. The image I got when I heard the word “legal immigrant” is that of someone who plays by the rules and although may be from another country, is as American as apple pie and a model minority. By model minority I mean things like high rates of intermarriage with other groups, law abidingness, a quick move up the economic ladder and fluency in English.
Now when I started reading vdare around 2011 or 2012, the notion I started hearing was that looking through the lens of illegal and legal was a cargo-cultish way of looking at things. Sailer and Brimelow convinced me somewhat of it, but I was never fully on board with the view that the problem was both legal and illegal immigration. I think it has to do with the whole future-time orientation or lack thereof. Someone who comes to the country illegally doesn’t think ahead about all these annoying provisions that they have to go through to come here legally – why not just cross the border and ask questions later?
Its the equivalent of an unlocked Maserati with a key in the ignition sitting on the street. Some people might just want to drive away and have that be that but other people would worry about getting caught (or for the really smart people, wondering if it is a “bait car”). For the most part, people in the first category tend to be of lower IQ and those in the second category tend to have higher IQ.
I might add though that the performance variance between legal and illegal immigrants is even more evident when you exclude “refugees” and “sponsored relatives” from the equation, as well as people legalized under the 1986 IRCA law, there descendants and all the anchor babies and there descendants. That alone probably eliminates half of all “legal immigrants”.
P.S. when I was a teenager, I thought the problem with illegal immigration was precisely because of annoying provisions – why not just have people send out an email to INS a week before coming and therefore they would be counted as a legal immigrant instead of an illegal. That more than anything else is what cargo-cult thinking is.