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Ep. 35 – Reihan Salam Interview: Is America Really a Melting Pot Anymore?

Reihan Salam, the executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow, thoughtfully examines the state of immigration in America in his new book, Melting Pot or Civil War?: A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders.  He uses thoroughly researched data to support his claims, and offers realistic policy solutions.  We also delve into the “forgotten” immigrant class – those who actually follow the law and came to the US legally, and how conservatives should respond to ridiculous liberal claims of Republicans being of anti-immigration, xenophobes, and even racists.


  • 4:40 Salam explains how we often approach immigration the wrong way, and tells us what is really at the heart of the immigration issue.
  • 7:25 What do we need to fix about our immigration policy today? Discover how unusual America’s emphasis on family reunification is, and sometimes it unintentionally keeps more skilled workers out of the country.
  • 11:20 Learn how the Clinton administration in 1999 allowed non-humanitarian immigrants to enter the country even if they couldn’t support themselves and their children, and let them rely instead on “safety net” government benefit programs
  • 18:10 We fixate on superstar immigrants who are already highly skilled, Salam says, but we overlook the less-skilled but legal immigrants already in America. These people and their children need our help to form relationships, assimilate into society, and become successful Americans.
  • 19:30 Assimilation is deeper than knowing English, Salam says, and though the “melting pot” view of America has fallen out of fashion, it is “supremely important.”


  • Reihan Salam is the executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute Policy Fellow. He is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and National Affairs.
  • As an editor, he has commissioned articles from libertarian conservatives, cosmopolitan libertarians, centrist neoliberals, national developmentalists, and egalitarian nationalists who hold clashing opinions on taxes, the size of federal expenditures, the virtues of balanced budgets, the regulation of abortion, immigration policy, the regulation of narcotics, gun rights, policing and criminal justice, the wisdom of industrial policy, and much else.
  • Though born in New York, NY, at Bellevue Hospital, he spent his formative years in Brooklyn, first in Borough Park and then in the shadowy borderland between Kensington and Ditmas Park. At present, he lives with his wife in Park Slope, a short subway ride from where he grew up.

BOOK OVERVIEW – Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders

  • Will the America of the future be peaceful and united, or it will be wracked by intense ethnic and class conflicts that will undermine our most cherished ideals? Reihan Salam, one of today’s brightest young conservatives, argues that the answer hinges on how we as a society choose to manage immigration.
  • Opponents of open borders are often painted as heartless bigots, hardened to the suffering of the teeming masses yearning to breathe free. But as the son of immigrants himself, Salam warns that in fact an overly sentimental view of immigration has blinded us to the downsides of a broken system.
  • Rejecting both militant multiculturalism and white identity politics, Salam argues that a sane and sober policy that favors skilled immigrants is the best way to combat rising inequality, balance diversity with assimilation, and create a new nationalism that puts the interests of Americans—native-born and foreign-born, of all creeds and colors—first. He paints an optimistic picture of the truly united society America can and must become.



J. D. Vance says:

“Tackling a complex and emotional subject with thoughtfulness and clarity, Salam answers the question of how we can have an immigration policy that is beneficial, humane, and fair to everyone from ninth generation Americans to new immigrants.”


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