But being Mark Krikorian was about to get more challenging.
Last year, as momentum was building for a new comprehensive immigration law, Alfonso Aguilar kept thinking about the defeat in 2007. NumbersUSA had flooded legislative offices with faxes, and CIS had churned out reports attacking the proposal. Aguilar, who had served as chief of the U.S. Citizenship Office in the Bush administration, joined with other Republican reform advocates to develop a strategy designed to target CIS, FAIR and NumbersUSA.
“We went after them to unmask them,” Aguilar says. “At the end, this is what this is all about: It’s about population. To me, it’s an argument of radical environmentalists.”
Krikorian, who had battled liberals earlier in the decade, found himself at war with conservatives. “What Alfonso’s doing is the right hook after the left hook failed to knock us out,” Krikorian says in an interview.
At his office one afternoon, Krikorian muses that he couldn’t be a population control zealot and have three children. On the coffee table in front of him is a Chia Pet Statue of Liberty. On the shelves in the lobby, he displays dozens of Statue of Liberty collectibles: Mr. Potato Head as the Statue of Liberty, Barbie, Mickey Mouse, a hula dancer, a skeleton. On the cover of his 2008 book, “The New Case Against Immigration,” Lady Liberty extends her hand in a gesture that screams, “Stay out.” Krikorian writes that the United States has a government-administered population policy — “just like Communist China and the Soviet Union . . . in our case it’s mass immigration.”
“Mass immigration is social engineering,” he says in an interview. “It is Congress second-guessing American moms and dads, saying they’re not having enough children.”
Krikorian posits that a state of competition for jobs exists between “black Americans” and Latinos. One afternoon, he tells the story of a downtown Washington restaurant he and his staff frequented. When a Latino manager replaced an African American manager, the staff abruptly shifted from almost entirely African American to almost entirely Latino. If employers couldn’t count on cheap immigrant labor, they might have more incentives to support policies that would help blacks, he argues.
Krikorian regularly bludgeons almost every aspect of the immigration proposal by the Senate’s “Gang of Eight,” which would create a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally. He co-wrote a widely cited cover story for National Review with the headline “Rubio’s Folly,” a reference to Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who has become the face of the immigration proposal. In the piece, Krikorian argues that the proposal would permit a huge immigration increase, a contention disputed by the bill’s authors.