There is one indisputable fact about Monday's shootings at Virginia Tech: if Seung-Hui Cho had not been allowed to immigrate to the U.S. in 1992, he would not have been able to murder 32 innocent people here in 2007.
There are, of course, plenty of native-born American criminals. But, unnoticed by the Mainstream Media, mass murders by immigrants have quietly but unmistakably become a real Trend. A quick count shows eleven cases in the last sixteen years, for a total of 72 deaths. (For example, see here and here). Maybe it's because some of these immigrant killers come from chronically violent parts of the Third World. Maybe, as our Brenda Walker has suggested, it's because of the very real but rarely-discussed psychological stress of transcultural migration. We don't know. And nobody in the American elite is asking.
Indeed, to a remarkable extent, the MSM has succeeded in evading completely any connection between the Virginia Tech massacre the inflammatory word "immigrant". Hours after the killings, a Google search on Korean AND gunman AND immigrant revealed no mentions at all. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were just 214—as opposed to 1,460 for Korean AND gunman. And many of the top stories that did mention the I-word were really the formulaic hand-wringing about alleged immigrant fears of a non-existent "backlash" that is now mandatory after every new immigrant atrocity.
Instead, not for the first time, this mass murder by an immigrant has been spun into an attack on gun ownership by Americans. On Wednesday afternoon, a Google search on "Virginia Tech" and "gun control" revealed an incredible 45,000 stories. In contrast, "virginia tech" + "immigration control" revealed just 230 stories, most of them random word junk from the bottom of the Google barrel, not one of them a serious MSM discussion of the topic.
The details of Virginia's gun-purchase laws are now debated across the world. But there is no debate on how and why the Cho family got into the U.S.—or even on such piquant details as what national purpose was served by acquiring yet another English major, as Cho was. (Apart, of course. from providing fodder for Virginia Tech bureaucrats' self-congratulatory "diversity" boondoggles—for which their charges have now paid a terrible price.)
America's gun owners are well-organized (they have to be). They can defend themselves. But it is worth noting that every Swiss male is required by law to keep an automatic weapon in his home, yet gun crime is so low that the government does not even keep statistics. This, of course, is because Switzerland is full of Swiss. Similarly, Finland's welfare state works because Finland is full of Finns. The immigration moral: maybe the U.S. should be importing (if anybody) Swiss, Finns and other people who would assimilate more easily—and not just in the superficial sense of displacing native-born American students from leading American colleges.
How easily are Koreans assimilating? They invariably feature in the Mainstream Media as a "model minority"—valedictorians and musical prodigies. [VDARE.COM note: Asian-American gunman Wayne Lo, (see Today's Letter was a violinist.] It's our job at VDARE.COM to ask questions about this sort of happy talk.
There were virtually no Koreans in the U.S. until the legal immigration floodgate was opened by the Great Society immigration reform of 1965. Today, there are some 864,000 Korean immigrants here. They have approximately 200,000 American-born children. Altogether, Koreans now make up some 0.4% of the U.S. population. (Asian Americans in total now account for 4.2 percent of the U.S. population, again entirely as a result of the 1965 Act).
Because of the nepotistic nature of current U.S. immigration law, with its notoriously broad interpretation of "family reunification", a continuing inflow of Koreans is guaranteed. Thus there were 24,386 Korean immigrants in 2006 —up from 14,116 in 1997. In 2006, South Korea was the 11th immigrant source country for the U.S.
Needless to say, turnabout (or "reciprocity" as it is known to trade economists) is not fair play. When, in researching Alien Nation, I asked the South Korean Embassy whether it was possible for an American citizen to immigrate to Korea, I was told flatly: "Korea does not accept immigrants".
So are Koreans a model minority? It's a hard claim to assess in full. Reason: the federal government's continuing and culpable failure to collect good data on the results of the massive social engineering experiment it is inflicting on America through its immigration policy.
However, as often happens with immigration myths, some of the facts that are available are about Koreans suggest that the truth is more complex.
Example: economic success. The poverty rate for Korean immigrants (13.2% in 2005), while below the immigrant average (17.1%), was nearly 50% above that of non-Hispanic native-born American whites (8.6%). Koreans are also more dependent on federal government financial support. Nearly 14% of Korean households receive Medicaid benefits compared to 10.4% of non-Hispanic American whites. Supplemental Security Income—a cash benefit primarily targeted toward the elderly poor—goes to 4.3% of Korean households versus 1.9% of non-Hispanic white households. [Census figures for Korean-Americans can be found here.]
It's possible that this is deceptive. Possibly Korean immigrants have simply figured out scams like how to import their elderly parents and dump them on the American taxpayer. This is notoriously one reason for the high welfare participation rates of Chinese immigrants. But if so, it doesn't bode well for their civic morality.
Everybody thinks that Koreans are law-abiding. This is probably because they are not associated with the flagrant street crime that Americans have come to dread.
But we don't really know for sure how law-abiding the Koreans are. Data on criminality by race and national origin is notoriously tricky and difficult to obtain. Neither the FBI nor the Department of Justice breaks out Koreans separately.
One hint: According to the New Century Foundation's 1999 study, The Color of Crime,
"Blacks commit violent crimes at four to eight times the white rate. Hispanics commit violent crimes at approximately three times the white rate, and Asians at one half to three quarters the white rate."[PDF]
But "Asians" to the Census Bureau means anyone from the Mediterranean to the Pacific. And the overall "Asian" average could conceal specialized, sophisticated crimes.
To match anecdotes with anecdotes: A quick trip to the FBI website shows Koreans implicated in a major prostitution ring, home invasion, and gang warfare. (Ominously, the two latter criminals, David Nam and Daniel Min Suh, are both U.S.-born but apparently have links to Korean organized crime).
Obviously, there are immigrant groups that have more glaring flaws than the Koreans. But the bottom line is that we may not know as much about the Koreans as we think. Even our Steve Sailer, who (unusually for him) takes at face value the notion that Koreans are law-abiding, is dismayed by the violence of South Korean films and of their formidable riots.
Seung-Hui Cho may be an aberration. But, as always with America's post-1965 immigration disaster, we come back to the question: why take the risk?
Peter Brimelow is editor of VDARE.COM and author of the much-denounced Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster, (Random House - 1995) and The Worm in the Apple (HarperCollins - 2003)