The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Who now remembers the classic 1956 sci-fi movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers? In it, alien spores drop to earth in... yes, California (undoubtedly not too far from the Mexican border)... and develop into seed pods that can replicate and then take over any nearby sleeping human being. What a nightmarish film. It certainly scared... Read More
Or Why Donald Trump’s Great Wall Is Viagra for Him, But a Border Disaster
Borders are cruel. I know this because I’ve been studying the U.S.-Mexico border for more than 40 years. It features prominently in two of my books, written in different decades. It keeps pulling me back. Every time I cross that border, I say to myself that this is no big deal -- I’m used to... Read More
I remember him (barely) as a thin, bald, little old man with a white mustache and a cane. As I write this, I’m looking at a photo of him in 1947, holding the hand of little Tommy Engelhardt who had just turned three that very July day. They’re on a street somewhere in Brooklyn, New... Read More
Death by a Thousand Cuts
It turns out that walls can’t always be seen. Donald Trump may never build his “great, great wall,” but that doesn’t mean he isn’t working to wall Americans in. It’s a story that needs to be told. This past month, for instance, claims of ISIS’s near total defeat in Syria have continued to mount. As... Read More
He descended that Trump Tower escalator on June 16, 2015, to announce his presidential candidacy already bragging about the “great, great wall” he was going to build on the U.S.-Mexico border (“and nobody builds walls better than me... And I will have Mexico pay for that wall”). “When Mexico sends its people,” he insisted that... Read More
Bound at the Border, or How to Make Border Porn
On February 15th, Donald Trump declared a state of national emergency in order to fund his “great, great” border wall without having to go through Congress. There is, of course, no emergency, despite the rape fantasy that the president has regularly tried to pass off as public policy. In speech after speech, including his declaration... Read More
Call me crazy, if you want, but I think I see how to do it! We have two intractable issues, one intractable president, and an intractable world, but what if it weren’t so? What if those two intractable problems could be swept off the table by a single gesture from that same intractable man? As... Read More
Trump's Policies Hurt People Instead of Fixing the System
"Make America Cruel Again." That's how journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Shipler has reformulated Donald Trump's trademark slogan. Shipler's version is particularly apt when you think about the president's record over the last two years on refugee resettlement and other humanitarian-related immigration issues. President Trump's border-wall obsession and the political uproar over it have... Read More
Think of it as the real-world feedback loop from hell. In October 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and launched a “war on terror.” With the invasion of Iraq a year and a half later, that war would begin to spread across much of the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa. It would, in the... Read More
Creating a Global Lost Generation
Halfway through 2018, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski hurled a mother-to-mother dagger at Ivanka Trump. How, during the very weeks when the headlines were filled with grim news of child separations and suffering at the U.S.-Mexico border, she asked, could the first daughter and presidential adviser be so tone-deaf as to show herself hugging her two-year-old son?... Read More
He arrived on the political scene in 2015 already promoting a future “great, great wall,” even if it was originally no more than a “mnemonic device” invented by his handlers to remind him to bring up the issue of immigration on the campaign trail. Okay, so what? And so what if the original great, great... Read More
A Timeline of Border Fortification
The point was less to actually build “the wall” than to constantly announce the building of the wall. “We started building our wall. I’m so proud of it,” Donald Trump tweeted. “What a thing of beauty.” In fact, no wall, or certainly not the “big, fat, beautiful” one promised by Trump, is being built. True,... Read More
In the 1950s, I grew up in the heart of New York City and had a remarkable amount of contact with Native Americans. As you might expect, I never actually met one in those years. What I had in mind was all the time I spent at the local RKO and other movie theaters watching... Read More
Humans as “Animals,” Then and Now
When Donald Trump recently accused “illegal immigrants” of wanting to “pour into and infest our country,” there was an immediate outcry. After all, that verb, infest, had been used by the Nazis as a way of dehumanizing Jews and communists as rats, vermin, or insects that needed to be eradicated. Nobody, however, should have been... Read More
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Heartless America’s Latest Nightmare
By the time Donald J. Trump threw in the towel, who among us hadn’t seen or heard the chilling videos in which U.S. border officials shamelessly grabbed uncomprehending children and toddlers from their pleading mothers and fathers? Some were told they were being taken to bathe or shower by people with little sense of the... Read More
In the days before Donad Trump “caved” and issued an executive order (which he previously claimed he couldn’t do) at least theoretically ending the forced separation of parents and children at the border, the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said of the policy, “This is not who we are and it... Read More
The forcible separation of parents and children for “months or longer” under any circumstances, even for illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexican border, would have to rank high in the annals of cruelty and heartlessness. As Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced recently, the U.S. now has just such a “zero tolerance” policy at that border. No more... Read More
Trump’s Strategic Assault on Democracy, Word by Word
Consider us officially in an Orwellian world, though we only half realize it. While we were barely looking, significant parts of an American language long familiar to us quite literally, and in a remarkably coherent way, went down the equivalent of George Orwell’s infamous Memory Hole. This hit me in a personal way recently. I... Read More
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The U.S. Frontier as a Zone of Profit and Sacrifice
At first, I thought I had inadvertently entered an active war zone. I was on a lonely two-lane road in southern New Mexico heading for El Paso, Texas. Off to the side of the road, hardly concealed behind some desert shrubs, I suddenly noticed what seemed to be a tank. For a second, I thought... Read More
Recently, President Trump declared war on undocumented immigrants heading for the southern border -- you know, all those marauding “rapists” and their pals -- and, as seems appropriate in any “war,” he promptly ordered the mobilization of the National Guard. Troops from its ranks were to be dispatched border-wards permanently, or at least until his... Read More
Already Hell Enough for This Muslim-American
Understand this: I’m an American veteran. I’m also a Muslim-American in a country in which, in these years, that hasn’t exactly been the happiest category to fall into. Now, let me tell you a little story. Recently, I had an ominous dream. It was noon on a grey, cold January 20th, 2020, and Donald Trump... Read More
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Rejecting the President’s Manichaean Worldview
The immigration debate seems to have gone crazy. President Obama’s widely popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which offered some 750,000 young immigrants brought to the United States as children a temporary reprieve from deportation, is ending... except it isn’t... except it is... President Trump claims to support it but ordered its... Read More
Forget Emma Lazarus’s poetry and the Statue of Liberty; you really don’t want to be an immigrant in today’s America. As Dara Lind recently pointed out at Vox, being an immigrant or the child of one (even if you're a U.S. citizen) now means living in a “miasma of fear.” That’s the conclusion of two... Read More
The warnings were stunning. Just six weeks before Nikolas Cruz killed 14 students and three teachers at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, a woman acquainted with him told the FBI tip line “I know he’s going to explode” and expressed her fear that he might go to a school and begin “shooting the... Read More
On Immigration and Terrorism, the Trump Administration Misleads About Its Own Misleading Data
When you see an immigrant or a foreign visitor, especially from a Muslim country, should your first thought be that you might be looking at a possible terrorist? Clearly, that’s how the Trump administration wants Americans to react. It was the message in the president's first address to Congress a year ago last week when... Read More
More than three decades ago, my aunt Hilda wrote an account of her father’s voyage to and life in America for my daughter to read “someday.” She began it this way: “Your great grandfather, Moore Engelhardt, a boy of 16, arrived in New York from Europe in March 1888. It was during the famous blizzard... Read More
Should We Build a Wall to Keep Them Out?
In the past couple of weeks, thanks to the president’s racist comments about Haiti and African countries he can’t even name -- remember “Nambia”? -- as well as the stamp of approval he awarded future immigrants from Norway, we’ve seen a surprising amount of commentary about that fortunate country. Let me just say: those Norwegians... Read More
Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands. The U.S. got clobbered. Three category 4 or 5 Atlantic hurricanes of startling intensity, a record for any single season, whacked the country. Records were also set for rainfall and destruction. Two of those mega-storms, Irma and Maria, their power intensified by waters growing ever warmer thanks to... Read More
Greeting Climate-Change Victims With a Man-Made Dystopia
When I first talked to the three Honduran men in the train yard in the southern Mexican town of Tenosique, I had no idea that they were climate-change refugees. We were 20 miles from the border with Guatemala at a rail yard where Central American refugees often congregated to try to board La Bestia (“the... Read More
From his “big, fat, beautiful wall” to his travel bans, much of Donald Trump's push to isolate America, like so much else in his program, has hit a series of ugly speed bumps. Not only won’t the Mexicans “pay” to build that much-promised wall, but even Congress is unlikely to do so, as its price... Read More
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How Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Laid the Groundwork for Trump’s Immigration Policies
Ever since he rode a Trump Tower escalator into the presidential race in June 2015 and swore to build his “great wall” and stop Mexican “rapists” from entering the country, undocumented immigrants have been the focus of Donald Trump’s ire. Now that he’s in the Oval Office, the news has been grim. A drumbeat of... Read More
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The Dark History of the “Nation of Immigrants”
Liberal Americans like to think of Donald Trump as an aberration and believe that his idea of building a great wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent immigrants from entering the country goes against American values. After all, as Hillary Clinton says, “We are a nation of immigrants.” In certain ways, in terms of the... Read More
For the sake of this discussion -- of any discussion of Donald Trump, in fact -- what our language needs is an extreme vetting. Certain words and phrases arriving from dangerous linguistic zones and threatening to upend The Donald’s world really should be banned. And I’m not just talking about “Sharia law” or “Syrian refugee.”... Read More
Here’s an unavoidable fact: we are now in a Brexit world. We are seeing the first signs of a major fragmentation of this planet that, until recently, the cognoscenti were convinced was globalizing rapidly and headed for unifications of all sorts. If you want a single figure that catches the grim spirit of our moment,... Read More
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Trumpian Deportation Fantasies and American Realities
In 2006, when I first began researching deportations, George W. Bush was president and quietly building a deportation machine in the Department of Homeland Security. Outside of small activist circles, few Americans knew that deportations had been rising since 1996 due to legislation signed by President Bill Clinton. Nor could anyone then have imagined that... Read More
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was never birthed; it was always birthered. The man who, as his wife told a Vanity Fair reporter back in 1990, had a book of Hitler’s speeches in a cabinet by his bedside, has an unerring eye for how to wield anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments for his own benefit. Back in... Read More
Is there a category of human beings who, in election 2016, have been the focus of more negative attention, fear-mongering, or worse press than immigrants, especially undocumented ones coming from or through Mexico (those infamous “rapists”)? I doubt it. Thought of in another way, such immigrants seem to be the only “lobbying group” capable of... Read More
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How the Media Hide Undocumented Workers
In our post-modern (or post-post-modern?) age, we are supposedly transcending the material certainties of the past. The virtual world of the Internet is replacing the “real,” material world, as theory asks us to question the very notion of reality. Yet that virtual world turns out to rely heavily on some distinctly old systems and realities,... Read More
The figures are staggering. In what looks like a vast population transfer from a disintegrating Greater Middle East, nearly 200,000 refugees passed through Austria in September alone. About half a million desperate refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere have arrived in Greece since 2015 began (those, that is, who don’t die at sea), and... Read More
The View from 2050
Let me start with a confession. I’m old-fashioned and I have an old-fashioned profession. I’m a geo-paleontologist. That means I dig around in archives to exhume the extinct: all the empires and federations and territorial unions that have passed into history. I practically created the profession of geo-paleontology as a young scholar in 2020. (We... Read More
You're not in the United States. Oh sure, look around at the fog lifting over the New England countryside or the diamond deserts of Arizona, but this land isn't your land, not anymore. It’s a place controlled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and your constitutional rights do not apply on their territory. CBP... Read More
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"Stop Stepping on the Pictures"
Shena Gutierrez was already cuffed and in an inspection room in Nogales, Arizona, when the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent grabbed her purse, opened it, and dumped its contents onto the floor right in front of her. There couldn’t be a sharper image of the Bill of Rights rollback we are experiencing in the... Read More
Topic Classics
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution
Talk TV sensationalists and axe-grinding ideologues have fallen for a myth of immigrant lawlessness.
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
The unprecedented racial transformation of California and its political consequences.
An alliance of pro-immigrant Democrats and anti-immigration Republicans could finally fix our broken system