Special Treatment for Immigrants Who Never Knew Slavery or Segregation
March 29, 2002
The aim of the civil rights movement of the 1960s was to provide opportunities for blacks -- those who had been the victims of segregation and whose ancestors had been held down by slavery. But in later decades, immigrants somehow got mixed into the equation -- and started receiving preferences and set-asides that were never intended for them.
That is the thesis of a new book by Hugh Davis Graham, called "Set Aside," published by the Oxford Press.
Here are some of the points he makes.
- Immigration poses a mortal threat to existing civil-rights policy, because so many of today's immigrants qualify for preferential treatment they don't deserve in contracting, employment and college admissions.
- Of the 35 million immigrants arriving in the U.S. between 1965 and 2000, some 26 million of them -- or 74 percent -- "could claim affirmative action preferences on the basis of historic discrimination that they never experienced."
- Blacks are no longer the chief beneficiaries of affirmative action.
- In 1995, for instance, they owned only three of the top 25 firms receiving federal set-aside contracts.
Immigration effectively turned the rules of affirmative action into a muddle.
Indonesians qualify for set-asides, along with people from Nepal and Pakistan -- but not those from Afghanistan or Turkey.
Source: John J. Miller, "Bookshelf: Out of One Set of Preferences, Many... and Many New Debates," Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2002.
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