How to Avoid its Perils and Make it Work

Non-Fiction - Gov/Politics
466 Pages
Reviewed on 05/27/2013
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Author Biography

Bruce Thatcher is dedicated to sharing lessons from our past, to help us avoid making the same mistakes again and again.

On his web site and in his talks he clarifies what we should learn and adopt from the handling and mishandling of issues within national security, national solidarity, social progress, immigration and other crucial areas of stumbling by nations' leaders.

Early on he recognized that one reality confronts many government leaders in the world because it affects their national security … even existentially! Adamant Aggressors , released in 2011, is a collection of historical cases that demonstrate unassailable dos and don’ts for dealing with today’s international threats.

While researching that book, Thatcher came across cases of mishandled immigration that led to disastrous consequences. Because immigration impacts practically every government and business in the world today, it became a natural subject for the second HST book,

Thatcher grew up in the mid-west, and graduated from Iowa State College and the University of Chicago. He worked in marketing and management for 16 years, then founded and led a telecommunications consulting firm until his retirement.

While living in the Chicago area, he became involved in politics and was elected to a high school Board of Education, serving a term as its President. He has also taught university classes in the Kansas City area.

Thatcher and his wife, Carol, now live near New Braunfels, Texas.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite

These days it is nearly impossible to talk about a controversial issue such as immigration without the conversation turning contentious. That is exactly why Bruce Thatcher’s "Immigration: How to Avoid Its Perils and Make It Work" is so refreshing. Instead of manipulating the facts to fit his narrative, Thatcher approaches the problems of immigration from a historical perspective so that the reader can see the flaws that actually exist rather than perceived flaws presented by those with an agenda. By laying out successful and unsuccessful immigration policies around the globe, this historical approach allows readers to form their own conclusions.

This well-written case study is rich with information of how many nations were settled by immigrants. Thatcher uses facts rather than fear, case studies rather than chaos, to illustrate the actual problems with unchecked immigration and the benefits of having a coherent immigration policy. The most compelling part of this book is that the author makes a very pragmatic argument that, fortunately or unfortunately, places very little emphasis on emotion, because the truth is that creating a successful immigration policy requires us to distinguish between legal immigration and illegal immigration. Bruce Thatcher has shone an intelligent light on the issue of immigration that should be required reading for all policy-makers, pundits and potential immigrants. With so many facts and case studies of immigration policies in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and around the world, I dare any immigration proponent or opponent to absorb Thatcher’s book without taking a long hard look at their opinions and the reasons for them. If we all take a sober look at the facts, as Thatcher has done, we just might come up with an immigration policy that works.

Sudha Bhagwat


As an immigrant myself, I was extremely interested in this book, and my interest was well rewarded. This is a very informative work which deals with the immigration policies of several countries, many primarily built on immigration, with an outline of what the tenets of a good immigration policy should be. The specific case studies provide a balanced narrative on the "positives" of certain immigration practices and patterns, as well as some of the problems which also result; in terms of the immigration "debate," it is often the latter which gets lost in the romanticized lens through which the issue is viewed.

I was particularly interested in the author's observation that he does not consider Canada as a "success" story, which seems to go against the prevailing wisdom of American's progressive elite; in my experience, as an immigrant to Canada 50 years ago, I could not agree more with the author's contention. Who should be allowed to immigrate, of course, is a key question, but the other which gets lost is, "how should one immigrate and assimilate?" Canada represents one school of thought, the so-called "tossed salad," in which multiculturalism and "maintaining one's roots" are official government policy; historically, the U.S. has represented the "melting pot," one in which those who arrive eventually become un-hyphenated Americans. For someone like me, seeing the ethnic silos and atomized enclaves which have developed in Canada underscores the utter wisdom of the "melting pot" approach that the U.S. used to follow. Unfortunately, as the U.S. implicitly adopts the Canadian approach to a greater and greater extent, I see the sad consequences developing before my eyes. The author frames the debate with great skill.

Our current immigration policy (with all its pitfalls) is expertly charted by the author. “The current immigration policy accepts virtually anyone, it gives immense preference to family unification, and it accepts more refugees and asylum seekers than the rest of the world combined. But culturally,
it is fracturing American society, it is burdening the economy, and it exposes the American people to significant insecurity through lack of border control.” The need for a new, comprehensive, well-examined policy for the future is also very well articulated. Statistics are also used to seamlessly bolster the arguments, never to overwhelm them or cloud the issues in a stream of technical jargon.

Immigration, in all its forms, legal, illegal, economics-based, family-based, etc., is and will continue to be a very important public policy issue, especially in light of the rule of law, demographics, the needs of the U.S. economy, the special role the U.S. plays in the world and who we are as a nation. Whether a student, a public official or just someone interested in the topic, whether one's background traces back to the Mayflower, Ellis Island, the southern border or the infinite arrival points in between, this book is an instructive and thought-provoking addition to the body of literature devoted to immigration practice and policy.

Review by Sudha Bhagwat
Publisher, From Trudeau's Canada to Obama's America