Home > Uncategorized > The conservative narrative about immigrants is divorced from reality – posted 4/17/2022

The conservative narrative about immigrants is divorced from reality – posted 4/17/2022

One of the most despicable aspects of the Trump presidency was the hate that administration directed against immigrants. Children in cages and family separation come immediately to mind. Immigrants seeking asylum or refuge in the U.S. were demonized and were seen as part of a supposedly uncontrolled invasion.

In the fifteen months since Trump’s presidency ended, the immigration crisis has continued to receive much coverage by the media with Republicans claiming President Biden is responsible for a massive surge in illegal immigration.

Conservatives also became comfortable arguing the Great Replacement theory saying that Biden and Democrats were opening borders to nonwhite immigrants who would steal the jobs of white Americans. FOX personality Tucker Carlson repeatedly has made this argument as has Congressman Matt Gaetz.

The Great Replacement theory, another conspiracy theory, has white supremacist and neo-nazi roots. The theory has different iterations but the gist is that liberal elites are trying to change the population demographics in the U.S. to favor people from the Third World over white Americans. Jews are often seen as manipulating in the background.

When the Anti-Defamation League criticized Carlson and said the Great Replacement theory was dangerous, racist and xenophobic, Carlson responded “Well (expletive) them”. He said the Anti-Defamation League was “racist”.

I would suggest that Tucker Carlson is trying to normalize white supremacy and create a narrative that is contrary to the facts. The Great Replacement theory has about as much truth as QAnon. Carlson is playing a dangerous game, feeding the public disinformation.

Since 2021, immigration into the United States has plunged. This was a result of restrictive American immigration policies and a decline in international travel because of COVID-19. Although it got little publicity, a new report from the Census Bureau found that net international migration into the U.S. increased by about 247,000 people in 2021. This was the lowest annual level since 2010, hardly an invasion.

The number of immigrants who came into the country in 2021 is half the number of people who came into the country between 2019-2020. It is way below numbers from 2015-2016 when 1,049,000 came into the U.S.

Media coverage of immigration has fed on misleading data and images. James Risen, a reporter for the Intercept, has shown that conservatives focused on the number of apprehensions along the southwestern border in 2021 rather than the number of people who migrated to the U.S. and were allowed to stay. The focus on apprehensions did not consider how many times the same person made repeated efforts to cross the border. That significantly inflated the numbers.

Many of the people who repeatedly tried to cross the border were victimized by Title 42, a public health statute the government has used to carry out expulsions from the U.S.. Under Title 42, people seeking asylum got no chance to make their asylum case. They are summarily expelled with public health used as an excuse to shut down legal migration.

Trump and now Biden are making it impossible for those with legitimate claims for asylum to have due process. They are forced to remain in Mexico under often dangerous conditions. Under Biden, the non-profit Human Rights First has documented nearly 10,000 cases in which people blocked from seeking asylum by Title 42 in the U.S. have been kidnapped, tortured, raped and violently attacked in Mexico.

It is embarrassing and shameful to see any Democrats supporting Title 42 expulsions. Such expulsions are scientifically baseless and the policy is known to be a “Stephen Miller special”. Title 42 does not prevent the spread of COVID-19. Going along with this Stephen Miller-Trump creation is pandering to white supremacy.

At the same time immigration to the U.S. has reduced, we are having a major labor shortage in America. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of the end of February 2022, there were 11.3 million open jobs. There are two million fewer working-age immigrants living in the U.S. than there would have been if pre-2020 immigration trends had continued. One million are college-educated. We need workers to fill these positions and it hurts the economy that they are not here.

Low immigration has worsened the labor shortage. Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, not exactly a left-wing outfit, has called for a doubling of legal immigration. Instead of spurning immigrants, many more should be welcomed.

The idea that nonwhite immigrant workers are taking jobs from white Americans is not supported by the facts. Many immigrants have worked in dead-end low-paying manual-intensive jobs like fruit-picking and work in the meat and poultry industries. Some are in the service sector, working in fast food joints. These are jobs many white workers typically shun. Immigrants are not replacing white workers, more often than not white workers do not want these jobs because of dangerous conditions or low pay.

The conservative narrative about immigrants is a thread deeply embedded in American history. Earlier waves of immigrants to the U.S. have faced wariness and xenophobia. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924 and now Trump’s nativism are consistent in their animus toward immigrants. The historian Erika Lee writes:

“Americans have labeled immigrants threatening because they were poor, practiced a different faith, were nonwhite. They have argued that immigrants were too numerous, were not assimilating, were taking jobs away from deserving Americans, were bringing crime and disease into the country, held dangerous political ideals, were un-American or even hated America.”

There is a body of experience showing where white supremacy and xenophobia end. After getting dehumanized, immigrants get killed. The conservative narrative about immigrants is another Big Lie. It is racist scapegoating. Xenophobia, not immigration is the real danger to America.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. jlewandohotmailcom
    April 17, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    Great one!

    • April 17, 2022 at 6:49 pm

      thanks Jean! Happy Easter/Passover!

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