Immigration Moratorium, Inc.
Please note: TRIM has been inactive as an organization since
the early 2000s. Email is still checked occasionally (although
months can pass), but we no longer respond to requests for
interviews or media appearances. The site will remain online
for historical reasons, and because we feel that the arguments
made here are still sound. If you wish to become involved
in immigration reform, we strongly recommend joining FAIR and NumbersUSA, both of
which have proven themselves to be highly effective advocates
for sensible immigration policies that serve the interests
of the American people. In addition, we recommend the Center for Immigration Studies as
a resource for scholarly research. All three organizations
deserve your support.
Welcome to our home page! TRIM is a volunteer-based,
non-partisan, grass-roots immigration reform organization,
incorporated since 1995, with members in New York, New Jersey and
Connecticut. TRIM supports the total elimination of all illegal
immigration into the United States, and a reduction in legal
immigration from the current level of nearly a million per year to
between 100,000 and 300,000 annually.
Why Reduce Immigration?
What Does TRIM Want?
What Does TRIM Do?
What Can You Do?
Why Reduce Immigration?
There is nothing wrong with most immigrants. They are mostly
ordinary, decent people who happen to have been born in other
countries, and on the whole they are no better or worse than
people born in America. The problem is not the people, but the
numbers. Even good people can cause serious problems if too many
are coming too fast!
Immigration has increased radically over the past few decades.
Legal immigration has leapt from 300,000 a year in the mid 60's to
over 1,000,000 a year in the 90's, and the increase in legal
immigration has spurred a corresponding increase in illegal
immigration. (Illegal immigrants tend to come from the same
countries as legal immigrants, work at the same kind of jobs, and
often live with or are employed by friends or relatives who are
here legally). All serious polls show that most Americans have
wanted less immigration, not more. But the American people have
had little say in the matter! The issue has been controlled in
Congress by pro-immigration special interests: big corporations
and agricultural interests, who want a steady supply of cheap
labor; ethnic politicians and activists, who see imported voters
as a way of increasing their own power and influence; and even
immigration lawyers, who simply want more clients.
The problems caused by too much immigration fall into several
We need to reduce immigration because our current immigration policy
is irrational. It benefits only the few, not the many, and it puts
the future at risk. Mass immigration might make sense if America had
a shortage of people. But we are already a nation of over a quarter
of a billion people, and there is nothing we want to accomplish as a
nation that requires a larger population. Immigration advocates
often imply that immigrants are smarter, more energetic, more vital,
or even more American than the native born. This is an insulting
myth. There is nothing wrong with immigrants, but neither are they
in any way superior to people born in America. (In particular it is
absolutely reprehensible to allow our immigration policy to be
influenced by the idea that poor people from other countries are
superior to American poor!). Some say that high immigration is an
American tradition. But we are not slaves to the past, and if a
tradition starts to hurt us we have every right to change it.
Finally, some argue that -- whatever the impact on Americans -- we
have a moral obligation to help the world's poor by allowing them to
come here. But even leaving aside the impropriety of a U.S.
government policy that places the well being of foreigners above
that of Americans, there is still the problem of numbers. The
world's poor number not in millions, but in billions, and
their number is growing by over 80 million a year. We could not
begin to scratch the surface of world poverty even with ten times as
much immigration! We may flatter ourselves that our immigration
policy is "compassionate," but in truth it does little to relieve
world poverty, while cruelly giving false hope to billions of people
who will never be able to come here under any circumstances. There
are much more effective ways for America to help the world's poor.
- Environmental. Immigration is currently the
source of most US population growth, and population growth is at
the root of all environmental problems. Americans typically have
small families, so our population should not be growing rapidly.
Yet the U.S. Census Bureau is projecting that our population is
going to grow from 283 million in 2000 to over 400 million by
2050 and over 570 million by 2100. (This is the Census Bureau's
middle projection; the high projection is 553 million by
2050 and 1.18 billion by 2100). About 90 percent of this
growth will be due to immigrants and their children. If
immigration had remained at the level of the mid 60's America
would be close to zero population growth today, and
protecting the environment would be a much easier task.
- Labor market. It is a shocking fact that despite
the recent economic "boom" America's working poor make less
money today (after adjusting for inflation) then they did in
1970. According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences
almost half of this decline in wages is a direct result of
competition between American workers and unskilled immigrant
workers. But it's not just the poor who suffer; employers have
been steadily replacing educated American technical workers with
foreigners on "temporary" H-1B visas, workers who are no more
skilled than the Americans they replace, but who work for less
and are easier to exploit. Big business is an avid supporter of
mass immigration; an example of this is the editorial page of
the Wall Street Journal, which since the mid 80's has repeatedly
proposed a five word amendment to the Constitution: "There shall
be open borders." This would effectively dissolve the nation,
and would devastate most Americans workers, since a truly free
labor market would equalize American wages with those of the
Third World, much of which lives on less than two dollars a day.
But on the plus side it would be great for corporate profits.
- Quality of life. The impact of immigration on a
community can vary greatly according to the number of
immigrants, their origins, and conditions in the community when
they arrive. But common sense will tell you that in most cases
it is simply disruptive to flood a community with newcomers who
do not speak the language or share the customs of the natives.
Immigration is often said to "revitalize" troubled
neighborhoods, yet even there what is usually really happening
is that the original inhabitants of those neighborhoods -- the
very people who were "troubled" to begin with -- are simply
being pushed aside and marginalized by immigrants who are more
aggressive economically. But most American communities are not
"troubled," and what is far more common than "revitalization" is
that normal, average American cities and towns suddenly find
themselves overwhelmed. Their schools suddenly have large
numbers of children who do not speak English and who require
expensive special education. Real estate values fall as
impoverished immigrant families crowd into housing and carve out
enclaves. There are new crime problems and new demands on social
services. Cities become more crowded and suburbs sprawl as
population rises. Ethnic tensions increase, as long term
residents complain about the changes and the newcomers respond
that any such complaints are racist. Some Americans may benefit
(for example employers seeking cheap labor), but for a far
greater number the impact is simply to make their lives more
complicated and difficult.
- National integrity. Diversity can be a dangerous
thing. One need only open a history book to find examples of
nations that have been ripped apart by conflicts fueled by
ethnic, cultural, religious, or linguistic diversity. Our
founding fathers understood this, and believed that "United we
stand, divided we fall." The motto of the United States is "E
Pluribus Unum," which means "Out of many, one," and in the past
great efforts were made to ensure that immigrants assimilated to
the dominant American culture. But today the very idea of
assimilation is under attack by multiculturalists, who glorify
diversity and believe that it is racist to expect immigrants to
give up their own languages and cultures and become Americans.
Spanish speaking immigrants in particular, because of their
numbers and the proximity of Latin America, threaten to
permanently divide America on the basis of language. In many
immigrant communities today a Hispanic immigrant can go for
months without ever needing to speak or understand
English. In some cities, like Miami, it has become
difficult for people who don't speak Spanish to find jobs. In
the American Southwest -- an area that will soon be dominated by
Spanish speakers -- small separatist groups have already formed,
and are actively seeking converts among the young. No one can
predict the future, so nothing may come of this, but history
does not repeat itself, and the fact that we successfully
absorbed one fairly brief wave of mass immigration at the
beginning of the last century is no guarantee that we will be
able to absorb an unending flow of newcomers in the changed
conditions of this new century. Our history as a nation is
shorter than many people realize, and immigration is a powerful
engine of change. It is arrogant pride to believe that the
United States is so different from the rest of the world that we
can consider ourselves forever safe from the kind of problems
that have plagued so many other nations.
If we allow immigration to continue at current levels the result
won't necessarily be disaster. As other countries have done,
America can probably muddle through with a divided, multilingual,
and growing population of half a billion, or even a billion
people. But is this the future we want for our children
and grandchildren? And if it is not, should the United States
government be forcing this future upon us? In 1995 the bipartisan
U.S. Commission on Immigration -- established by Congress, and
chaired by the late civil rights leader Barbara Jordan --
recommended a reduction in legal immigration, an end to "family
reunification" and the "diversity lottery," and other changes in
immigration policy that the commission considered to be in the
best interests of the American people. The recommendations of the
Jordan Commission were fiercely attacked and eventually defeated
by an unusual coalition of left-wing ethnic lobbies and right-wing
business lobbies, none of which had the best interests of the
American people at heart. Unless the American people fight back
our immigration policy will continue to be controlled by special
interests, and our country will suffer for it.
What Does TRIM Want?
Many people think that immigration into America has always been
high, and that the current situation is normal. But in fact
immigration has been low as often as it has been high. Low
immigration is as American as high immigration, and these periods
of low immigration have given America time to rest and assimilate
the newcomers. American immigration policy is determined by
Congress, so that is where change must come from. TRIM wants
- Reduce total immigration to between 100,000 and
300,000 a year. At these levels the number of people
entering the United States each year will roughly equal the
number who leave, and immigration will no longer be a major
factor in U.S. population growth. (This reduction is what
we mean by an immigration "moratorium." We do not advocate
stopping immigration entirely!)
- End illegal immigration. The United States has a
right to control its own borders. The rest of the world must
respect our immigration laws.
- Eliminate the "diversity lottery." Immigrants
should be chosen on the basis of what they have to contribute,
not random chance.
- Reserve "family reunification" for nuclear family
members. Immigrants should be allowed to bring in
their spouses and unmarried minor children only. The current
practice of "family reunification" results in chain migration,
where immigrants bring in relatives who bring in an endless
chain of further relatives. When we allow an immigrant to come
to this country we are granting an enormously valuable favor;
immigrants should not be allowed to turn around and demand more
favors for other members of their families.
What Does TRIM Do?
- Get people involved. This is our first
priority. An overwhelming percentage of Americans believe that
immigration is too high, but immigration is not issue number one
for most of these people. American politicians listen carefully
to the American people on certain hot button issues, such as
taxes, abortion, gun control, or Social Security, but for issues
like immigration, which are just as important in the long run
but less pressing on a day to day basis, our politicians very
often ignore the voice of the people and listen instead to
special interest groups. Unless the American people can organize
to make their voices heard on this issue the special interests
will win, and our children and grandchildren will lose.
- Provide speakers. TRIM has provided speakers for
numerous television and radio debates, as well as academic
panels and other local events. Please get in touch with us if
you are looking for articulate and well informed immigration
reform spokes people.
- Organize public activities. TRIM has organized
or been involved in a number of public demonstrations, which
have been covered by local and national media. We are
particularly interested in members who are willing to show their
commitment by participating in such demonstrations.
- Lobby Congress. TRIM has sent members to
Washington D.C. to lobby for immigration reform. We have sent
both individuals and groups as large as 24 people, who in
cooperation with activists from other parts of the country have
visited hundreds of Congressional offices to deliver our message
What Can You Do?
- Join an immigration reform
organization. This is the simplest and easiest
way to get involved. Not everyone has time to attend meetings or
write letters, but everyone has time to write out a check once a
year, and if you are not willing to participate at this level
then you really have no right to complain about what immigration
is doing to your country.
- Write or telephone Congress. Very few people
ever bother to contact their Congressmen, so considerable
attention is paid to those who do make the effort.
- You can reach any Congressional office by phone via the
Congressional Switchboard, at (202) 225-3121. Your call will
be taken by a member of the Congressman's staff. You must be
very brief and to the point: you think immigration is too
high, and you are for or against a particular bill or policy
which is currently under consideration.
- You can also write to a Congressman via e-mail, fax, or
regular mail. E-mail is easiest, but is often ignored. Faxes
are better; you can write your own, or you can send free
pre-written faxes from the NumbersUSA
web site. Best of all are letters delivered via regular mail
(especially if hand written or typed on an old-style
typewriter!). Letters can be longer and more detailed than
phone calls, but generally should be limited to one page.
The staffers who read these letters are very busy, and are
unlikely to read past the first page, unless you have a
striking personal story to tell which might be of direct
interest to the Congressman.
- Letters to Senators should be sent to: The Honorable
[Name of Senator], United States Senate, Washington, DC
20510. Letters to Representatives should be sent to: The
Honorable [Name of Representative], United States House of
Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.
- Write to newspapers and magazines. Most
newspapers and magazines receive far more letters than they can
print, so your letters need to be well written and concise, and
should make a clear and forceful point. Study letters that have
already been printed for tips as to length and style. Letters
that aren't printed can still make a difference; they
demonstrate that people are concerned, which makes it more
likely that somebody's letter will be printed, even if it's not
- Educate yourself. The better you understand the
history and impact of immigration, the more convincing you will
be when you speak or write about it. We recommend that you read
at least one of these three books:
- Alien Nation, by Peter Brimelow (Random House,
1995). Peter Brimelow is a Senior Editor at Forbes Magazine.
His June 22, 1992 cover article in The National Review was
instrumental in reopening the immigration debate, and his
book -- which expands on that article -- looks at the issue
from a traditional, conservative point of view.
- The Case Against Immigration, by Roy Beck (Norton,
1996). This book will come as a real shock to liberals who
think that only conservatives want to reduce immigration.
Roy Beck, an author, journalist, and director of the NumbersUSA web site, lays out the
liberal case against immigration, with special emphasis on
the negative impact of mass immigration on poor Americans
and on the environment.
- Heaven's Door, by George J. Borjas (Princeton
University Press, 1999). George Borjas is a Professor of
Public Policy at Harvard University, a Research Associate at
the National Bureau of Economic Research, and widely
acknowledged as one of the nation's leading authorities on
the economic impact of immigration. His book -- which is
occasionally rather technical, but can be profitably read by
non-specialists -- persuasively demonstrates how excessive
immigration has hurt America's poor.
- Recruit. Many people are reluctant to become
involved in immigration reform because they are afraid that they
will be called uncompassionate, or because they think nothing
they do will matter. You must help them understand that they can
make a difference. It isn't enough that most Americans want less
immigration; unless we chose to make our voices heard the well
financed and vocal pro-immigration special interests will win!
- Show respect. Immigrants are just ordinary human
beings who happen to come here from somewhere else, and it is
extremely important that you speak of them and treat them with
respect. One of the biggest problems the immigration reform
movement has is the stereotype that people who think immigration
should be reduced are motivated by hatred. If you are obnoxious,
bigoted, or excessively angry when you talk about immigration
you risk confirming that stereotype, and turning away people who
might otherwise be on your side. Remember, it is not the
immigrants who are at fault. The fault lies with our own
government, for maintaining an immigration policy which makes no
sense for most Americans.
There are many good immigration reform web sites. Listed below
are some of the most important.
The Federation for American
Immigration Reform, or FAIR, is the most important national
immigration reform organization. FAIR has been fighting hard for
lower immigration since 1979. With over 250,000 members, FAIR is
in many ways similar to other big-time Washington special interest
lobbies, the difference being that they are on our side! FAIR
staff members are quoted regularly in the national media, and have
developed close ties with key members of Congress. Although TRIM
is not formally affiliated with FAIR we have worked with them on a
number of occasions, and they have provided enormous help and
support to TRIM and other grass roots organizations. If you
feel that you are able to join only one immigration reform
organization then we strongly recommend that you become a member
NumbersUSA is maintained
by Roy Beck, author of The Case Against Immigration. It provides
educational resources and up-to-the-minute information on the
latest immigration legislation before Congress. In addition you
can use NumbersUSA to send faxes to Congress and influence
legislation. This service is free! The faxes are written by the
NumbersUSA people; all that is required of you is that you
register at the site and check occasionally for new faxes. The
faxes that you decide to send will be received with your name and
address, and you may receive replies from Members of Congress or
their staffs. Please register with NumbersUSA and start sending
free faxes to Congress!
The Center for Immigration Studies
is an excellent source of scholarly studies and information on
immigration. They also maintain the very useful CISNEWS
Forum is maintained by Norman Matloff, professor of computer
science at the University of California at Davis, and features
articles on a wide variety of immigration related topics. Dr.
Matloff has been especially active fighting efforts by the
high-tech industry to increase the number of "temporary" H-1B
workers. Read his Congressional
testimony on this issue.