posts 1 - 15 of 27
Boston, US
Posts: 350


Scott S. Greenberger, “‘Cheap Slaves’: Trump, immigration, and the ugly history of the Chinese Exclusion Act,” Washington Post, August 3, 2017.

Scott Horsley, “5 Things to Know about Obama’s Enforcement of Immigration Laws,” National Public Radio (NPR), August 31, 2016.

John Bargh, “At Yale, we conducted an experiment to turn conservatives into liberals. The results say a lot about our political divisions,” Washington Post, November 22, 2017.

A short interview with Jacob Soboroff (NBC reporter) on his book Separated: Inside an American Tragedy, 2020 [5:55]

Jorge Ramos, Real America: Out of Sight and Out of Mind, 2020 [7:07] [scroll down in the doc for the video] IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE ACCESSING THIS, try this:


NOTE: We will have watched in class already Frontline: Separated: Children at the Border (2018) [54 minutes]

Here are several quotes to consider:

“In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.

But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

― President Theodore Roosevelt (served 1901-1909),

in a letter to the president of the American Defense Society, January 3, 1919.

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”

--President Franklin D. Roosevelt(served 1933-1945), at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Convention, Washington, DC, April 21, 1938

“Rather than making them, of talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems, make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit, and then, while they’re working and earning here, they pay taxes here. And when they want to go back they can go back, and cross. And open the border both ways, by understanding their problems. This is the only safety valve they have right now, with that unemployment, that probably keeps the lid from blowing off…And I think we could have a fine relationship.”

― President Ronald Reagan (served 1981-1989), while debating George H.W. Bush during the Republican primary, 1980.

“Yo no soy mexicano. Yo no soy gringo. Yo no soy chicano. No soy gringo en USA y mexicano en Mexico. Soy chicano en todas partes. No tengo que asimilarme a nada. Tengo mi propia historia.”

-- Carlos Fuentes, from Le Frontera de cristal, 1997.

“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”

-- Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (2011)

We've been talking about the outright hostility about admitting Asian folks into this country. And we could take that further and look at the immigration bans that were instituted almost immediately after Donald Trump took office in 2017, directed at not only immigrants but people more broadly traveling from a number of predominantly Muslim countries. Keep in mind, this was not only an issue under Donald Trump. As you’ll see from Scott Horsley’s article for NPR, Barack Obama was enforcing immigration laws and deporting folks as well.

But of course, the cri de coeur that we’ve heard most often in the United States in recent years is the sheer rhetoric about people coming from “south of the border.” Rhetoric and impassioned speeches led to border walls, child separations, deportations, incarcerations, asylum seekers stuck in Mexico or returned to dangerous homelands—in other words, nightmares beyond words.

So….what motivates people who are already in the United States (or for that matter, any other nation around the world that is confronting the desire of others to migrate—often for urgent, compelling, desperate reasons—to their country) to oppose immigration? Unless you are indigenous or forcibly brought to this country, theoretically you are all descended from immigrants who chose to come here.

So why do somedescendants of past or present generations of immigrants seem to express opposition to immigration? Using the readings (yes, be specific!) and the films (yes, cite them too!) you watched, try to answer this question…as well as this one: What do fear and anxiety have to do with it? And provide specific examples that support your view.

Posts: 20
I believe that the reason some descendants of immigrants express opposition to immigration is due to fear and misinformation that politicians and public figures spread. In the article published by the Washington Post, John Bargh’s experiment proved that conservatives’ greatest concern is physical safety. With people in power, especially the ones that they subscribe to, telling them that the greatest threat to the country is the border and immigrants then obviously these people are going to be very passionate about solving what they see as “a problem/threat/issue”. The article mentioned how former president Trump emphasized the “danger of immigrants” in order to gain supporters and funds. I am positive that everyone has heard his common phrase, and it was even in the video we watched in class, that immigrants are “criminals” or “drug dealers”. Similarly, immigrants seeking refuge in our country are coined as “viruses” “bacteria” “germs” “invasions” and “aliens”. Trump and other right-wing figures use these phrases and terminology to instill fear in their supporters causing them to see immigrants as a threat. Another thing that politicians often state is that immigrants coming into the country are taking jobs away from U.S. citizens because he knows that employment is a critical topic for both the right and left in politics. In the article posted by the Washington Post titled “Cheap Slaves,” the author states that this idea is what led to the Chinese exclusion act of 1882 that we learned about in class. One of the key supporters of the Exclusion Act was the Workingmen’s Party in California, who feared they would lose their jobs to Chinese immigrants that were willing to work for lower wages. Immigrants are painted in a negative light because American citizens see them as a threat, an ideology spread by fake news, but after watching the many documentaries in class it is very clear that immigrants are only seeking safety and sanctuary. They deserve to be here just as much as all of our ancestors, they should be able to escape violence and be welcomed into our country.
Posts: 13

no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark

I think that the opposition and pure hate for immigration in this country comes from 2 very simple things that go deeper than we really see: fear and hate. Since the 1800’s Asian immigrants have been seen as causing Americans to “compet[e] for jobs against brand-new arrivals.” However, this is something that former President Trump said in 2017. This type of thinking that immigrants are really out to get Americans and take everything good from them is an “argument” and as some would see it, some form of justification for their hatred. Another thing that the first article touched on was how normalized and honestly and encouraged the hate was. It was written into law but also just the type of language that was going around then and now. Although the second article didn’t necessarily state or imply why people in this country are opposed to immigration but rather highlight how important the numbers and statistics are for the people who want to push for more. One thing that would be important to a president like trump who had lots on animosity towards (that may be an understatement) immigrants would really want to emphasis that in the US, at the time the article was written, the year previous that from all of the people they had deported, 59% of the people had criminal records. Things like these just help to emphasize the rhetoric that Trump was pushing about how all immigrants were criminals and rapists and were out to steal the jobs of Americans. Something that I found very interesting in the third article was that “anti-immigration attitudes are also linked directly to the underlying basic drive for physical safety”. To me this was really intriguing because I had just always assumed that it was hate and political affiliation. But, in that thinking I wouldn't be completely wrong because as proved in the study that they had conducted more liberal thinking and specifically liberal leaders are better at relaying problems in more manageable ways. Lastly, something that I found quite alarming was how in the video the reporter asked about a supposed list of kids that were separated from their parents. And further in the video the writer said “The 5,400 children that were taken from their parents would tell you that there's nothing worse than being separated from your parents by the United states government”. The fact that this is something this country engages in is honestly disgusting and needs to be touched on more instead of being brushed under the rug. To wrap things up, to answer both of the main questions posed, people in this country are so opposed to immigration because of fear and anxiety around “the other”, which is just people coming to this country in search of a better life.
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 15

Why have so many Americans sought (and continue to seek) to close the door to immigrants?

American history, from its founding to the present-day, has been stained with the barbaric actions of both individuals and communities who have taken extraordinary measures to ensure that immigrants, asylum seekers, foreigners (seeking to gain entrance in the country in order to start a better life for themselves or for their families) encounter the most challenges possible, ironically going against the very founding of the nation, and showing the lengths that racism, prejudice, damaging rhetoric and xenophobia take in order to further their wielder’s own sinister motives.

Understanding why immigrants choose to become immigrants in the first place is a critical step in understanding the harsh reality and tremendous disparities they encounter. Some Americans may wish to close the door to immigrants for a variety of reasons. One reason is that some individuals believe that immigrants take jobs away from native-born Americans. Furthermore, some people may have cultural or sociological issues, such as the belief that immigrants do not integrate well into American society. Mistrust and anxiety may also play a role, as some individuals see immigrants as a threat to their way of life or have a general fear of strangers.

Some descendants of earlier or current generations of immigrants may be opposed to immigration because they believe new immigrants do not face the same obstacles and discrimination as their predecessors. They may also consider that the present wave of immigrants is not contributing to society as much as previous waves did. It’s obvious, to any sufficiently educated person, that this rhetoric is false.

The restriction-ist movement of the 1920s, in which many second and third-generation immigrants advocated for stricter immigration quotas, is an example of this type of opposition. This movement was fueled in part by the perception that new immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe were failing to integrate and posed a threat to American society. Once again, it seems plausible that any properly educated person would immediately recognize this rhetoric to be false. Thus, therein lies a problem that has to be faced before such rhetoric tears the nation apart from inside: education is key to identifying and eliminating misinformation and disinformation.

Another example of harmful rhetoric making its way into the legislature which harmfully effects immigrants is the current controversy over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), in which some immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and had grown up as Americans faced deportation. Many of these immigrants, known as Dreamers, have spoken out against the Trump administration's plans to cancel the program, claiming that they were reared in the United States and consider it to be their home.

Also, through reading the Yale article written by John Bargh, and the video by Jorge Ramos, one can gain a more detailed understanding of how politicians use such rhetoric and other societally harming methods of carrying out their rhetoric (discrimination, prejudice, xenophobia). In the Yale study, one is better educated on how easily the brain can be subconsciously rewired to moderate political perspective based on how threatened a person feels. Differing brain chemistry in liberals versus conservatives highlights and provides clarifying insight into the types of speech and the undertone of both side’s beliefs stem from: fear. Politicians such as Trump use this in order to manipulate the uneducated masses for votes, comparing immigrants to harmful viruses, whereas more liberal politicians don’t have an overdeveloped fear center, and as such see harmful scenarios as easy hurdles to overcome.

I think Warsan Shire’s words “No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark” best ring after gaining a deeper understanding of such an issue, especially after watching Ramo’s video, in which Genesis, a 9-year-old immigrant from Honduras, tells the viewer of the horrifying accounts of the incredibly terrifying realities she had to live through. After gaining an understanding of the background of the asylum seekers, refugees, war-torn and distraught immigrants seeking to better their livelihoods through entering this country, which they clearly see as a bastion of democracy and peace, it’s ironic and very sad, that the same country takes great lengths to deter their entrance into their country.

boston, massachusetts, US
Posts: 15

Many Americans view immigrants as villains- individuals who take up space, take jobs, cause crime, etc. I've personally heard statements such as "they don't belong here" and "why don't they just invade a different country?". Sentences like these irk me in such a specific way, as they hold so much ignorance to them. There is so much to unpack surrounding immigration, as to motives and what leads someone to know they don't have time to go through the lengthy legal processing. As said in our document provided for this post, many of us come from immigrants- and I wonder why they are entitled to the space that those migrating now are not. As many say, "no one is illegal on stolen land" and we are not entitled to this land more than anyone else.

As shown in the documentary we watched, those who oppose immigration are usually unable to provide reasons why. Usually, they say that all migrants are criminals, or that the ones who come in illegally have already broken our laws. The question is: if you were in a dire situation, and had no choice but to flee your home and leave everything behind immediately, wouldn't you want to be greeted with open arms? I think those who oppose immigration are simply too privileged to put themself in these immigrants' shoes. These individuals go on treacherous journies to the border, and they don't do that for fun.

I believe fear and anxiety are the root cause of this opposition, as well as bigotry. Throughout most of the lessons we have done, discrimination was caused by fear of "the other". In the article “At Yale, we conducted an experiment to turn conservatives into liberals. The results say a lot about our political divisions,” the author described a study done, and stated that "the more fear a 4-year-old showed in a laboratory situation, the more conservative his or her political attitudes were found to be 20 years later." It's a given that a huge piece of who we are comes from our families and main surroundings, and the fact that these childrens' fear patterns aligned with conservative ideals in their later years say so much.

Furthermore, we as a nation prove time and time again that we know close to nothing about actual immigration policies, and how they have changed under different presidencies. As said in the documentary from class, there were indeed more deportations under Obama than within the past 5-6 years or so. Considering that "Obama oversaw more deportations than George W. Bush did, just as Bush oversaw more than Bill Clinton did", it goes to show that the different policies that have been in place have affected immigrants deeply, in exceedingly different ways ("5 Things to Know About Obama's Enforcement of Immigration Laws"). Although Trump's methods are more unethical, the war against immigrants has been impeding for decades.

I find that the light immigrants are painted in is disgusting- considering the journies they make, it's obvious that they really have no other options. We ask ourselves "what's next?" and "how do we change this?" yet no change is being made. Our protests have been shown to be affective, but there is still much more work to do.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 17

In contemplating a response to this prompt, I found myself returning to the first quote cited in Washington Post journalist Scott S. Greenberger’s article, “Cheap Slave’: Trump, immigration and the ugly history of the Chinese Exclusion Act.” In reference to president Trump’s early stance on immigration and job creation in America, the former commander in chief claimed that the immigration laws in the country had “not been fair to our people, our citizens and our workers.” Many would be taken aback by a quote like this. I find myself perplexed. Well, who are our people? Who are our citizens? Which workforce is the president referring to? The melting pot of a country the United States is and has been since its founding makes it almost impossible to settle on a sound and agreed upon resolution to any of those questions. What is an American? That question will stand the test of time. It was asked long before we got here and will continue to be debated long after we’re gone. It is my contention that an American is, simply, an immigrant. Even the most conservative, white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, patriot will admit his family’s humble beginnings from across the pond. The same desires for freedom, liberty, and prosperity sought by the Pilgrims are the same principles that migrants from around the world are fighting for when they make the courageous decision to seek asylum and come to this country. Unfortunately, bias and prejudice prevents the majority of “Americans” today from understanding and acknowledging that the same story is repeating itself; only this time the brave souls crossing the border don’t quite exactly look like the harshest critics of immigration in this country. With American exceptionalism comes a uniquely American egotism and selfishness. The immigrant narrative is something that conservatives hope to mobilize and champion as a source of inspiration and pride for future generations. However, they refuse to empathize with the plights of their non-white counterparts; human beings well-deserving of an equal opportunity for success in America. And thus we see fear and anxiety manifesting in inhumane legislation for this reason. Competition is perhaps our greatest motivation for economic stimulation, yet is also our greatest enemy. Gold Rush America wasn’t prepared for the wave of immigration of skilled and unskilled laborers alike ready to achieve greater success than the average natural born citizen. And so, in the wake of the Civil War, the U.S. was thrown into rapid progression; a process legislators did not understand, thus they became afraid. They decided to adopt the Chinese Exclusion Act, yet immigrant populations persisted. Then came Jim Crow, soon followed by eugenics, and a second revival of the Klu Klux Klan that crippled American civil liberties right through the heartland. Nonetheless, Lady Liberty’s torch continued to burn for the next century, and a second industrialization brought forth the need for immigrant labor, culture, and harmony; culminating in the melting pot we live in today. The immigrant narrative is one of persistence and perseverance. There is still enough empathy and sympathy in this country to fight fear and anxiety as it seeks to destroy and corrupt.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

"No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark": Why have so many Americans sought (and continue to seek) to close the door to immigrants?

I feel as though the primary driving factor for what motivates people to oppose immigration is fear. This fear is spread in a variety of ways. Most evidently is through the propaganda spread by politicians. In the article “On Fear and its Effect on Political Views,” by former president Donald Trump labeling immigrants as “germs” and “bacteria,” he is conveying the message that their multiplicity can be detrimental to the American people. This, per Trump, may include any of the following: job insecurity, disease, violence, and many other ways. Regarding violence, Trump also appealed to the fear of terrorist attacks, such as 9/11, in order to further spark fear in accepting large numbers of immigrants into our borders. The effect of this arises an anti-immigration sentiment among American society in fear that their safety will be infringed upon by these immigrants. Another reason for why opposition to immigration might be so common in American society is their belief that they are not—and should not be—the parent-taker of the world, as referred to as in the documentary. Essentially, this means that they are not responsible to care for other suffering nations. America is a nation of itself. Regarding this ideal, many are aware that those who immigrate here—especially those from Central and South America—do so to avoid violence in their native lands. Apart from fear, it is just pure hatred that drives some of these sentiments. Partly due to the actions of former president Trump, there has been a recent rise in white-supremacy and racism which can evidently be seen in the anti-immigration beliefs held by some southerners. In my opinion, it is difficult to discern between when immigration reaches an unsustainable point—and that might play into the role of fear in this scenario. Immigrants commonly leave their native lands to escape the failing infrastructure of the nation in order to seek better opportunities. However, this is where the problem appears. Yes, it is great to be a refuge for persecuted people and a provider for opportunities, but at a certain point, large-scale immigration is bound to fracture our infrastructure—the very thing these immigrants are coming to escape.

Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 18

"No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark": Why have so many Americans sought (and continue to seek) to close the door to immigrants?

From what I have gathered from articles I have read, videos we have watched and even real life, opposition to immigration stems from fear which seems to come from mostly misinformation. The Washington Post connected the current immigration crisis to the Chinese Exclusion Act. The same scare tactics are being used now that were being used then, are being reused. They instill fear about cheap, docile laborers stealing American jobs. They spread propaganda claiming immigrants to be dangerous criminals with malicious intentions. Trump used this to build a following, uniting Americans to a common cause. The repercussions of this are awful. By creating job insecurity, he enrages people and gives them an outlet for everything wrong with their lives. Instead of blaming the state of their lives on themselves or the flawed American society, it's easier to blame a criminalized undocumented immigrant.

Another thing that is stress inducing (and I will admit this stresses me out a bit) is that there is no clear cut, ethical, easy solution. Every angle of the immigration issue is complex and nobody knows how to approach the problem. The video in class continued reiterating the same idea, on one side, you aren't humanitarian enough, and on the other, you have no heart. From an outsider viewpoint, it's hard to know the reality of what is going on, and I definitely have no ideas on what should be done, because something does have to be done. In the NPR article, they touch on the different things presidents have attempted to do to regulate the issue of immigration. Nothing has made a good positive impact thus far. Issues like these become big stressors in the country because there is uncertainty.

South Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 11

No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark

American history was founded and has been economically driven by immigrants but we still oppose immigration for a number of reasons. First off i believe that the mass opposition to immigration stems from the hatred and fear. This hatred was born from stereotypes as well as the fact immigrants compete for jobs, take up space, and can possibly cause crime. The truth is most that oppose immigration do not have solid facts to back up the reasons they oppose it, nor why their opposition is a better option or more productive than allowing a person/family to escape definite mortality. Fear and hatred have guided this misjudged opposition as citizens fear scarcity of jobs, lower wages, less resources, and increase in crime or corruption. The fact of the matter is this opposition to immigration comes down to discrimination of those not as privileged as them. A major driving factor to the vast fear leading to opposition of immigration is politics as politicians, who have a major impact amongst the opinions millions, have labled immigrants as “dirty, violent, criminals”. Politicians have exemplified terrorist attacks or difficulties within other countries as to spark fear into american citizens as they express immigrants will threaten their saftey. Many that immigrate here, specifically from Southern America or Asia, have been undesired due solely to hatred spread through politics. For example as Donald Trump was in office he painted immigrants passing through the southern border as overwhelming, holding a big campain to “build a wall”. Another example of this hatred is Asian discrimination due to the mass chinese immigration in the 1880’s and again with Covid-19 Epidemic. It has not just been Trump who has spread mass discriminatory stereotypes, President Bush for example stoked racial fears with 9/11’s occurance. These politicians are major influences upon public opinion and it seems that the fear and hatred they are able to stir up continues the countries opposition to immigration. Of course we may not refuge and be a provider for all, as at some point our countries infrastructure will fracture due to the immense increase in population and lack of jobs/space.

Boston, Massachussetts, US
Posts: 16


Immigration has been and will forever be an issue in the United States if we keep the system we have in place right now. Politicians have tried to fix the problem like Bush, Obama, and Trump but in the end failed to find a solution and in return suffered outrageous amounts of backlash. A quote from the video we watched in class that stuck out and was repeated many times was something along the lines of that whatever you do with immigration policies the left will always say you aren’t humanitarian enough and the right will always say you aren’t being strict enough. This is so true and the polarization of our county plays a huge part because the president who enforced these laws has to try and make the majority happy but no matter what he does there will always be a group just as large upset and wanting him to do the complete opposite. Immigration is probably the most difficult thing to control in a country especially when it has the reputation of being this “safe haven” or quite literally “land of the free”. In a perfect world there would be an impenetrable wall surrounding the entire border with twenty four seven military surveillance and there would be one big U.S. customs and border protection office where everyone who was planning on coming in had to go through. If said immigrant had the right documentation and all of his or her party members had the correct documentation and and valid reason of asylum/reason to be here then they will be let through. But if they are missing the correct documentation or one person in the party is missing documents they will all be sent back. Everyone can agree that it was inhumane and immoral to separate families. Trump did it as a scare tactic to steer people away from coming. It sort of worked, but in reality it just made the situation a lot worse and more people upset so he came to his senses and revered the bill. No family should ever be separated from one another so back to the perfect world scenario if someone in your family or party doesn’t have correct documentation then all of you will be sent back. It has to be very black and white and have no loopholes. But thats a perfect world and this is the United States. The issue is that there are just too many ways for people to enter illegally and no consistency letting people in legally. From the video where the man who owned the ranch on the border in Texas where literally there were groups of people everyday walking across his property onto U.S. territory. There were dead bodies on his property from people making this journey. That is ridiculous. And on the point of no consistency they all seem to have the same sob story of “there was gang violence in my country “x” family member was killed and they said if we didn’t pay them we would be killed”. And well, that tug right at the border protections heartstrings because it works every time. Who knows it might be true. Another major issue is that people now know of the U.S. as somewhere easy to get into and they don’t like living in Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, wherever they might live and then they come to the U.S. and get in illegally and start leeching off the middle class taxpayers money by applying to social welfare programs that the U.S. provides for people who need it not illegal immigrants. They get free housing, free food, disability checks, pensions, free health care you name it. Some people legitimately need a place to go and will apply for a job as soon as they get there and contribute to society but an outstanding majority become the Frank Gallaghers of the world and just leech the system because it beats living wherever they were from. That is why people are so against immigrants.
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

I think that people in the US tend to oppose immigration because of how the information surrounding immigrants is handled. In the Washington Post article, it begins with former President Trump saying that Americans would need to compete with immigrants for their jobs, which would cause fear. This would especially be targeted towards the working class people, and also gives off the impression that immigrants would steal their lives from them. This, combined with what we saw in the Frontline documentary, just further shows how former President Trump and the people who work for him use fear tactics to scare the ordinary citizens into voting for them to stop it from happening. The language that they use, such as calling the immigrants “aliens” and “criminals” and dismissing their real reasons for coming to this country on the account of “they are breaking the law by coming in illegally” and thus don’t deserve to stay, even if fleeing extreme violence and hardship. By using this type of language, it makes people less likely to feel sympathy towards immigrants, especially when the stories of immigrants aren’t as publicized as the President speaking negatively about them. In the Washington Post article, they reference what happened with the Chinese exclusion act and how Chinese immigrants were prevented from immigrating to the US because of the fear that they would take all of the jobs away from the Americans. This is similar to my previous point that there is already a rooted fear that immigrants will take away American jobs (and by extension, American life). This also reminds me of the riots in Charlottesville, where rioters were chanting “you will not replace us”.

Even though these people are descendants of immigrants, I think that they still express their oppositions to immigration because it helps them stay in power. The idea that they can unite under one common “enemy” allows for more support to gather. In the NPR article, even Trump praised Obama’s policies on immigration enforcement, despite not having many other beliefs in common.

Posts: 18

I think so many people of immigrant families are still against immigration despite their families' backgrounds because they are concerned about themselves and their own future in this nation. I believe that all these beliefs are from a selfish standpoint. Because for most immigrant families, they needed to struggle ot get to where they are now in American society. They don’t just want to give up all these opportunities to the new people, when there are so many more Americans already here and citizens of the United States, trying desperately to “strike gold” and become rich in the land of opportunity. A great example of this is from The Washington Post article discussing immigration relative to Chinese-Americans. As Kearney describes it, the Chinese were from the poor parts of Asia, and they just came to the United States with such a free labor economy and snatched up all their jobs. Stealing jobs has been an excuse that people have used over and over again when responding to another wave of immigrants. It’s a little bit more of a stretch, but the concept of not wanting immigrants to steal all the other good opportunities was found in the Frontline documentary we watched in class with the separation of children at the border. I think in US officials’ minds, adults seeking asylum in the United States would obviously need a job. To make sure they didn’t take all the jobs away, many of them were turned away, but keeping children was ok, because they were less likely to be employed.

Fear and anxiety play into this role because those opposing immigration, fear their own opportunities and their own safety. As John Bargh reports in his The Washington Post article, through a psychological study, Republicans tend to display a higher concern in their own safety. This phenomenon is mostly caused by higher exposure to physical threats and violence as a child. I interpret this as because Republicans have reflected on their potential familiar struggles and trauma as immigrants, and they feel their need to protect themselves from that, hence being so against immigration. This fear is also seen in Jacob Soboroff’s interview, when US officials would rather detain illegal immigrants then to release them during the height of the pandemic, because this would just be another thing they would need to deal with, and cause another threat to society, like a massive spread of the disease.

I think at the end of the day, the opposition to immigration reform tends to surround a selfish point of view, which is nothing new to the United States and its politics, and each official just wants the best only for themselves. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to a solution into changing a person as it is to pass immigration reform.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 19

"No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark"

I think that past immigrants express opposition to imigration due to fear and even some ignorance. These descendants fear what may happen if even more immigrants enter the United States. They have been convinced somehow that these people should not be able to enter the country, even though their ancestors did the same thing many years ago. It is quite hypocritical, but it happens. I guess theres no one else we can really blame other than those that are spreading propaganda and xenophobic ideas. The unfortunate thing is that a lot of the people supporting and enorsing these ideas, are people in charge and people with influence. We can see examples from a certain past president, with a huge following, promoting hateful and harmful ideas. This is where the ignorance and fear comes in. These descendants are so brainwashed and convinced that these people are not good, that they forget their own family history. When you have presidents and other poplitical figures reffering to "not only immigrants but political opponents and former Miss Universe contestants — as “disgusting.” (John Bargh Washington Post), then many of these people may take those ideas to heart. This has always been a recurring theme in America. The "founding" of the country was by quite literally done by immigrants, and the native people already living in the country were greatly harmed by these events. Its almost as if it has come full circle, as now many americans are living in fear, hoping they dont get replaced by new immigrants. Some may say that descendants of immigrants have become too comfortable in this country. There are countless examples of fear and ignorance towards the newest group of immigrants in this country, and its not like its now a new thing. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 banned Chinese laborers from entering the country for 2 decades for example. Its a really horrible recurring event, and there doesnt seem to be a stop any time soon. Its quite unfortunate that this mentality has become so widespread, that even the descendants of past immigrant forget their history.

Fear and anxiety have everything to do with this. The patriotic Americans simply fear that they may be replaced, or harmed, or controlled, or even demoted by immigrants. The descendants of past immigrants are not immune to this fear, and many fall under its influence. Theres definitely some anxiety, anticipating that something bad may happen if we continue to allow immigrants into the states. The fact that we have influental figures promoting these ideas that these are bad people is not helping one bit.

Freight Farm Enjoyer
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 19

"No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark"

I feel like a lot of the opposition to immigration in the United States comes from the word "illegal". It's much easier to pretend to be a morally good person when you say that the only immigration you oppose is "illegal" immigration, not violating any of the laws of our country. The documentary "Frontline: Separated: Children at the Border" depicts, at a certain point, a man living near the border between the United States and Mexico, who states that his opinion is "black and white", that anybody who comes to this country "illegally" should be prosecuted, as they have violated the legal code of this nation.

I believe this stems heavily from the fact that many people, especially in the United States, think of the word "illegal" as being synonymous with "immoral", and that anybody doing anything short of obeying each of the US's laws is inherently a bad person. They are also afraid, above all, of crime, and this seems to have almost always been a major point with which lawmakers attempt to justify any forced removal of people from the country. Of course, there's the obvious example of Donald Trump, who, throughout his presidential campaign, repeatedly asserted that people immigrating from Mexico were often violent criminals posing a danger to American society, but the Obama administration as well, according to the NPR article, stressed the point that "a growing proportion of those who are deported have criminal records: 59 percent last year, up from 31 percent in fiscal year 2008". Personally, I find this very disturbing because to me, this is saying that we believe anybody who breaks any laws, which will never be set-in-stone guides for ethicality, is not deserving of fundamental human rights.

Fear will always be one of the strongest weapons of those who wish to convince the general public of complete falsehoods. In order to demonize any individual group of people, all you need to do is promote the idea that they are somehow a danger to civil society, and people will turn against them with shocking aggression. This is the exact reason why people like Trump have managed to convince such a large portion of the United States that it's dangerous to accept immigrants from South of the border; as the Washington Post article made clear, American conservatism has a strong link with fear, beginning at a young age. Utilizing this fear, combined with the intense racism present in this country throughout the entirely of its existence, it's no wonder that people can be convinced mass deportations and increased border security are necessary.

The vast majority of people in this country are either immigrants or descended form immigrants. That being said, people do not think of themselves this way, for a number of reasons. Some people, as a result of bigotry, treat European immigrants as less "foreign" than those from other parts of the world, while others succumb to the us versus them mentality pushed by so much of the media. At the end of the day, there is no real justification for this kind of discrimination, but that doesn't mean it isn't extremely easy to both fabricate and popularize reasons why we should deny basic human rights to people attempting to immigrate.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

"No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark"

Some descendants of past or present generation of immigrants express opposition to immigration for reasons such as fear, misinformation and preconceived notions of “illegal immigrants' ', and lack of compassion. Fear from what happened on 9/11 ever happening again. It devastated the entire country and world, and as a result things like the “1996 passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act accelerated, the DHS received more funds to enforce immigration laws”(Scott Horsely- NPR). The notion that “illegal immigrants” are dangerous and can kill a large amount of “legal Americans”. That they also commit the most crimes or where criminals in their country, even though for most immigrants this isn’t true, they are running away from criminals who threaten their lives. Misinformation about the fact that immigrants are 'stealing’ the jobs meant for “actual” Americans, Trump pushed this idea a lot. The same notion that started the Chinese exclusion act. Immigrants working for little to no wages and in terrible conditions is not the reason for unemployment in America, and saying it is, is unfair and disgusting. In Jacob Sorboroff's book he interviews Katie Miller the press secretary of Mike Pence and she says, “DHS sent me to the border to see the separations for myself… to try to make me more compassionate… but it didn’t work. I believe that if you come to America you should assimilate. Why do we need to have ‘Little Havana’?”. Firstly, most immigrants who come to America do try to assimilate, so they or their children don’t get discriminated against or out of fear of getting sent back. She’s also very clearly not Native American which means that she descended from immigrants, because of the decisions of her great great grandparents, she has never had to flee from her home at the expense of her life, risking being separated from her child, so she’s unsympathetic and unremorseful. This is similar to the interview in (Frontline: Separated: Children at the Border) the woman working in the Trump administration, who was asked why they keep separating children even though it’s a horrible thing to do, and her response was “because we have to”. “Have to?”...When there were other options to dealing with the issue of illegal immigration! The acting director of ICE was asked about the tape of the little girl crying for her mom or dad or aunt and his response was “I’ve heard many children cry in my 34 years … When he listened to it again he said “It tugs at the heartstrings for sure… because I'm a parent…”, and still kept the same stance on the issue. Sometimes people just don’t care and are non-empathetic to the hardships that other people have to go through.

Fear and anxiety I believe sometimes causes people to lose their humanity. In the documentary we watched in class a few months ago, White nationalist have the fear of being replaced or overthrown as the majority in America. This is the same fear and anxiety that people who strongly oppose “illegal immigration” at the expense of the lives and mental wellbeing of children have. Unfortunately even descendants of past or present generations of immigrants have it too.

posts 1 - 15 of 27