posts 1 - 15 of 23
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] OR 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.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

Many people are forced to immigrate because of the dangerous situation at home. Many sources point out that no one wants to leave their home, but they left because their home was more dangerous than where they are going. But some descendants of past or present generations of immigrants express opposition of immigration, which is shocking because people only immigrate for new opportunities or to get away from the dangers at home. There are many reasons why they are against the idea to immigration. For example, the United States had a long history of immigrants and racism. Those immigrants have to face the factor of being discriminated against and battle racism alongside trying to adapt to their new living environment. President Trump had once stated that immigrants were just cheap slaves and that it was not fair for US citizens to have their job taken away from them. Many people had thought the same for over many years in US history and took their anger out on immigrants. Another reason is that as immigrants, they are not citizens of that country, they can be seen as “aliens” and illegal. In the article "5 Things To Know About Obama's Enforcement Of Immigration Laws", illegal immigrants were prone to deportation at any time if spotted near the border. This creates fear and anxiety for the immigrants because they don’t know if they will be the next ones to deport. As seen from the film, families can be separated, this can create a negative aftermath. Fear and anxiety can drive a lot of negative thoughts and actions. Therefore some descendants of past or present generations of immigrants express opposition to immigration.

Martha $tewart
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 19

No One Leaves Home Unless Home is the Mouth of a Shark

America is composed primarily of immigrants, whether they are first generation or have family who came here a long time ago. Many of these people now despise the idea of letting more people into our country. For the more recent arrivals, this could be because their family worked very hard to get to America and create the life they now have, and they don’t want any new immigrants crossing illegaly to make a bad name for them. They could have also adopted the ideas that some anti-immigration people who were born here might say, such as that immigrants are stealing jobs. Perhaps this is because they want to not stand out or they copy the ideas of those in power because they look up to them as ideal US citizens. In the Washington Post, Scott Greenberger said that, “Trump was careful to add that minority workers have been among those “hit hardest” by unfettered immigration.” It is statements like this from important leaders that influence the actions of those just arriving to the country. With racists spouting ideas such as “Immigrants are like viruses”, immigrants might want to assimilate as much as possible in order to further themselves from the idea of being an alien or a disease (John Bargh, Washington Post). Immigrants come to America because it is a symbol of freedom and justice, but once they realize that the advertised American Dream is highly selective, they have to fight to win their place in a country with people that oppose their existence in it.

In my opinion, fear has everything to do with this problem, and deportation is a big part of it. According to NPR’s 5 Things to Know about Obama’s Enforcement of Immigration Laws, deportations have been increasing with every new president that enters the White House, it is not a new problem. People in and out of the US have access to this news either through media or word of mouth, they know the risks of coming here. Once inside, people who have immigrated have to face the fact that they made it among thousands of others who didn’t, and their spot could be temporary. The US government does not have a good track record of keeping those trying to enter the country safe: “1,000 plus children that were separated before the policy officialy started, it very hard to track them down because of shoty record keeping”(NBC Interview on Separated: Inside an American Tragedy). There is little reason for new immigrants to trust their security or the government. This could cause a lot of fear and desperation to maintain their position, creating the conservative approach towards immigration. The Washington Post reports that a study done at Yale shows 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”. The trauma that ensues during the process of coming to America creates an environment in which immigrants feel pressured or frightened into opposing immigration for others.

East Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 16

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

The sense of being safe is what motivates people who are already in the United States to oppose immigration because according to the document "On Fear and Its Effect on Political Views," minority groups have been referred to as "germs" or "bacteria" and that they want to destroy the country from the inside. Donald Trump's comments on immigrants also give motivation to his supporters to oppose immigration he once stated that they are "disgusting", which makes some of his followers think the same thing. In the Video "Frontline: Separated: Children at the Border" when they were interviewing the head of ICE at the time he said that he too had a family and that even his heart dropped when that girl was calling for her mom, but he still was firm that they had to enforce the laws at the border probably because he didn't want more "danger" to get in the United States, which is crazy because not every immigrant is a bad person they are just looking for a new life and in most cases safety. Another reason why people oppose immigration is because of the stereotype that they are "aliens" and according to "5 Things To Know About Obama's Enforcement Of Immigration Laws", illegal immigrants were prone to deportation at any time if spotted near the border, which makes them look like unwanted even more. I don't think that fear and anxiety play a role in Americans wanting immigrants to not be here but that Americans always want to be on top of the charts and they might see immigrants as a threat to them and ruin their comfort of life and plus racism has always been a problem in the United States too so that also plays a role in why they oppose immigration.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

Immigration has long been a contentious issue in the United States, with some descendants of past or present generations of immigrants expressing opposition to it. There are several reasons for this phenomenon, including concerns about economic competition, cultural preservation, and national security.

We can see this in John Bargh's Washington Post article. The economic competition that arises from immigration is a large concern. As new immigrants enter the country, they often take jobs that are in high demand, such as those in the construction, agriculture, and service industries. This can lead to competition for jobs among native-born workers, resulting in some of them feeling that their job prospects are being diminished.

Another reason for opposition to immigration among descendants of past or present generations of immigrants is the desire to preserve their culture. From Jorge Ramos's "Real America", some immigrants may feel that their culture is being threatened by the influx of newcomers who bring with them different customs and traditions. This can lead to feelings of resentment and the desire to protect one's culture from being diluted by outsiders.

National security is also a concern among descendants of past or present generations of immigrants. To sort of summarize what Scott Horsley was saying in the NPR article, the ongoing threat of terrorism and the increase in illegal immigration, many people feel that the influx of newcomers poses a risk to the safety of the country. This can lead to feelings of fear and mistrust of immigrants, and a desire to limit the number of people entering the country.

Descendants of past or present generations of immigrants may express opposition to immigration for a variety of reasons, including economic competition, cultural preservation, and national security. Immigrants and their descendants may also fear that their culture is being harmed or distorted from their previous views either from living in said country or being brought up by parents who are deeply devoted to their heritage. They could also feel anxiety about those views being altered for good, or about their security in this country after the crackdown on immigration, especially at the southern border.

Posts: 20

Why Have So Many Americans Sought to Close the Door to Immigrants?

Over 97% of Americans are not Natives; they are all the descendants of, or immigrants in their own right. So why are so many Americans opposed to immigration when it's the reason they are here in the first place? The reason most will give, as we saw in Frontline: Separated: Children at the Border, is a matter of national security. Something so important that people will overlook and/or justify separating children from their families, listening to their cries of distress, and lose them. It takes a different level of cold-heartedness to justify that in my opinion, because it's not "not being humanitarian enough"- it's lacking basic empathy. Especially from government officials who have the power to make changes, and even more so from politicians who use it to drive fear for elections. John Bargh's Washington Post article, "At Yale, we conducted an experiment to turn conservatives into liberals. The results saw a lot about our political divisions.", mentions how figures like Trump emphasize the dangers of certain issues and fearmonger. Presenting information to your demographics, and then convincing them not to trust other sources of information is beyond harmful. It creates a breeding ground of misinformation, which leads to fear, which leads to hatred. Key factors of immigration like the rates of immigration, where people are coming from, and the odds of deportation can be found through news articles such as NPR's "5 Things to Know About Obama's Enforcement of Immigration Laws", but what are the chances of it actually being found. Doing independent research is vital, yet the way our media is programmed throws us down rabbit holes that always lead straight into echo chambers. It's difficult to get out of a bubble that continuously reinforces itself.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 19

Many Americans are opposed to immigration despite the fact that most Americans are not native to the country and are either descendants of immigrants or immigrants themselves. The main reason given for this opposition is national security, which is evident in the film “Frontline: Separated: Children at the Border.” Fear is the driving factor that brings people to such extremities on immigration. Media and politicians monger this fear by describing the “dangers” and “criminality” of immigrants, when these are often just innocent people seeking a place of safety.

Politicians in the United States frequently use fear-mongering tactics to justify restrictive immigration policies, which raises important philosophical questions about the nature of security, empathy, and human rights. These tactics can shape public perception to see immigrants and refugees as a threat to national security and necessitate harsh policies to protect the country. This narrative can obscure the fact that the majority of immigrants and refugees are law-abiding individuals seeking a better life and fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries. Both during the Trump and Obama Administrations, immigrants and refugees were often portrayed as criminals and dangerous individuals, despite evidence to the contrary. This narrative was used to justify policies such as the "zero tolerance" policy and the "Remain in Mexico" policy, which were aimed at restricting immigration and increasing border security.

In the article "On Fear and its Effect on Political Views", it states that "“Immigrants are like viruses” is a powerful metaphor, because in comparing immigrants entering a country to germs entering a human body, it speaks directly to our powerful innate motivation to avoid contamination and disease." This statement highlights how the use of fear-mongering tactics can tap into people's innate fears and anxieties, making it an effective tool for politicians to mobilize public opinion and gain support for restrictive immigration policies.

It's important to note that the use of fear-mongering as a political strategy is not limited to the US, and is a common tactic used by political leaders worldwide to justify restrictive immigration policies. It can be used to mobilize public opinion and gain support for policies that would otherwise be unpopular, but it also can have harmful consequences for immigrants and refugees, as well as for the society as a whole. Therefore, it's essential to take a more nuanced and critical approach to the question of security and human rights. We must recognize that security and human rights are not mutually exclusive and that they should be balanced against each other. We should strive to create a society that prioritizes both security and empathy towards those in need, rather than sacrificing one for the other. This requires a deep understanding of the complexities of the issue and a willingness to question our own assumptions and biases about security and the treatment of immigrants and refugees, while also recognizing that security is a subjective and socially constructed concept, shaped by different societies and political, social and historical context.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 19

“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?

People in the United States who oppose immigration are motivated by fear and greed. “Fear” because they are afraid that “illegal immigrants” will ruin their country, and “greed” because they don't want those same “illegal immigrants” to steal their jobs. In Bargh’s article, he references how Donald Trump would call immigrants disgusting, viruses, criminals, etc., which all carry very negative connotations. Trump instills fear into the people to make them turn against immigrants, and it worked. Fear is one of the strongest human emotion, and once someone let fear controls them, they are more prone to manipulation. In addition to greed, fear also plays a role in why Americans are blaming immigrants for stealing their jobs. They are afraid that once there is a new influx of easily exploited people into America, they would lose their job. And instead of blaming those capitalists, they turn around and point their fingers at the victims.

We have seen this happen again and again in history, and it traces all the way back to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. When America was in need of railroad workers, they loved the Chinese, but once everything was done and over with, the U.S. turned them away and refuse to acknowledge them as citizens (Greenberger). Mexican immigrants and other Central American immigrants have done so much for the people behind the scenes. They work in factories, work on farms, integrate themselves into American society, just to be tracked down and deported in the end, and even worse, labelled as a “illegal alien” after everything they’ve done. America greedily accepts the profits made from immigrants, but refuses to acknowledge them as true citizens.

This also plays into the idea of “Us vs. Them”. Some Americans are aware of what’s going on at the border, but their lack of compassion for these immigrants stems from the fact that they don’t see these people and children as “the same”, or even human for that matter. Paranoia and propaganda have clouded their judgement so much that they would rather lock people’s children up in crowded detention centers than let them reunite with their parents. In the interview video with Jacob Soboroff, Katie Miller, who served as the communications director for the Vice President of the United States Mike Pence, stated that she felt nothing when she saw their circumstances + people should assimilate if they are in America, “this is not Little Havana”. It’s shocking, and a little bit disorientating, how someone can say this and feel like nothing is wrong. The United States prides itself on being “the land of the free”, but people aren’t allowed to freely express themselves and their culture. I think that once politicians stop their fear tactic of “immigrants are criminals”, “immigrants are dangerous”, and “immigrants are going to ruin America”, people (specifically Republicans) would be more inclined to support a much better humanitarian immigration system.

Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 16

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

Some descendants of past or present generations of immigrants seem to express opposition to immigration because they see immigrants as competition for jobs and other opportunities. They also see other countries that have large amounts of people coming to the US as inferior and below them, so they think that these immigrants are criminals and will bring more crime and danger to America. A lot of people coming to the US are fleeing from danger and they want to be able to live in peace. From the video we watched in class, most of the people who were interviewed that had fled their country were being threatened and they were forced to leave, and they came to America so they didn't have to live in constant fear. When immigrants get to America, they are faced with discrimination and hate, but the country that they left was so bad, that they would rather live surrounded by hate that live surrounded in fear and anxiety. In Obama's Enforcement of Immigration Laws, it say that the rate of immigrants deported has increased with each president, but that does not stop the amount people trying to escape the danger and fear that they live in. Immigrants coming to America are very desperate to escape the country that they lived in, and go through great risks to get to a better place.

Boston, Massachussetts, US
Posts: 11


These quotes reflect the varying attitudes towards immigrants and immigration throughout American history. Theodore Roosevelt emphasizes the importance of assimilation and loyalty to the American people, while Franklin D. Roosevelt acknowledges the country's history as being built by immigrants and revolutionaries. Ronald Reagan suggests a solution of allowing immigrants to come to the country legally with work permits and paying taxes, while also acknowledging the need for a safety valve for the unemployment in their home countries. The last quote, from an unidentified speaker, rejects the idea of assimilation and asserts a sense of identity and belonging in both the United States and Mexico.

The readings you provided also give insight into the historical and contemporary issues surrounding immigration in the United States. The article by Scott S. Greenberger provides a historical perspective on the Chinese Exclusion Act and its impact on immigration. The article by Scott Horsley and the short interview with Jacob Soboroff give insight into the enforcement of immigration laws under the Obama and Trump Administration respectively, while the video by Jorge Ramos highlights the current situation of migrants at the border. The article by John Bargh relates to how political divisions in the country can affect attitudes towards immigration and how these attitudes can be changed. Finally, the Frontline documentary Separated: Children at the Border gives a detailed account of the family separation policy implemented by the Trump Administration. Together, these sources provide a comprehensive understanding of the complex issues surrounding immigration in the United States.

It is possible that the attitudes and actions towards immigrants and immigration in the United States, as highlighted in the quotes and readings provided, may cause fear and anxiety for immigrants and their families. The emphasis on assimilation and loyalty to the American people, as well as the enforcement of strict immigration laws and policies, may create a sense of insecurity and uncertainty for those who may not fit the traditional mold of what it means to be an American. Additionally, the portrayal of immigrants as a burden or threat to national security in some political rhetoric may also contribute to fear and anxiety within immigrant communities. The various sources provided also highlight the human cost and tragedy of the current immigration policies on individuals, families and children.

Posts: 17

The Washington Post article by John Bargh was fascinating and eye-opening. In my pondering the article I came to the answer to the first question, which is fear and greed. For example, when people find it hard to get a job it leaves them fearful leading to people grasping for answers. The politicians provide a “solution” or someone to blame and furth invoke fear into the people allowing them to have a strong grasp on their followers. In the case of immigration oftentimes right-wight Republicans claim that immigrants are here to take American jobs causing Americans to resent it without taking into account that they themselves are descendants of immigrants.

After you have been in America or any new country for even a generation, you start to lose your connection to the path your parents took to get here and the culture at home. I see it in myself where one of my parents immigrated here, I find it hard to understand what it took to get here as well as the culture back home. When that happens you lose your personal connection to the issue of immigration and it becomes harder to put yourself in the shoes of the people who travel all this way to get here. As you get caught up in your stresses in American life you become susceptible to American “fear’s” which Politicians take advantage of.

I like what Ronald Reagan said about it when debating Bush which was making a mutual agreement and coming to a place of compromise. Instead of seeing immigrants as something that is “criminal” we should first try to understand them as humans.

Steely Gibbs
Posts: 22

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

The topic of immigrants being opposed to immigration is an interesting one. Considering the number of shared experiences or traumas they may have faced on their way to America, you'd figure that there would be at least some sort of sympathy. Unfortunately, that's about as far as the idea goes. Figuring that the two groups would feel for one another and they would push for immigration. I feel as if immigrants oppose immigration because they want to not give up what they may now have. Maybe it stems from some sort want to gatekeep America. One specific instance I saw of this was from the MSNBC video interviewing Jacob Soboroff, there was a part that talked about how Katie Miller (ex-DHS spokesperson) didn't feel compassionate by seeing families be separated. She claims not to be a white nationalist, but has an immense sense of pride for her country, going to the length of saying that if you go to America, you should assimilate. Later, she goes on to question the need of having portions of cities be marked as "Little Havana" for people that come from there. This seems as close to the "If you're in America, speak American" trope that someone is willing to say when being interviewed. The pride that surges from Miller is a perfect example for past or present generations of immigrants opposing immigration. The way they see it, their spot is already secured. It's extremely self-centered and is practically gatekeeping. People don't want to give up things for people that are just now trying to get there, which is why some immigrants oppose immigration.

Fear and anxiety plague generations of immigrants. Fear and anxiety put people into positions that they would never want to be in. From the Yale article, John Bargh introduces the idea that keeping one's loved ones safe is humanity's strongest motivation. He follows this by talking about how it is extremely capable of influencing the actions of anyone, no matter the circumstances. Fearmongering is a strong motivator, which is why it's used by Republican politicians, it not only helps them gain votes, but also bolstered anti-immigration attitudes. The metaphor, as retold by Bargh "Immigrants are like viruses" directly connects to the general public's idea about contamination. People who fear getting sick with viruses are in turn fearful of immigrants. By using this metaphor, it splits up the two groups of immigrants, those here and those not here. Fearmongering is only going to worsen the situation. Now, the fear and anxiety is on the path to being quelled. Once it is taken care of, some immigrants may not be as opposed to immigration.

Posts: 20

Xenophobia, or more specifically fear of people who look different than you, is the reason that some descendants of immigrants oppose immigration. Racism is the root issue of (almost) all opposition to immigration which had been a big focus in the country since before its creation. People who don’t look like the “superior Anglo-Saxon race” were immediately deemed inferior and less than, causing a hatred that is intertwined with American government, culture, and ideologies. Not to mention he movement towards ethnic cleansing by White Americans is also a big push against immigration and people from what they call “uncivilized” or “undeveloped” countries filled with “savages” and “rapist.” Their goal is to keep American as white as possible without letting people unlike them or of a different skin color/ethnic background come into the country.

The article “‘Cheap Slaves’: Trump, immigration, and the ugly history of the Chinese Exclusion Act” explains America’s long history about anti-immigrant legislation. The Chinese Exclusion Act is a perfect example of how race is tied with immigration. The Act wasn’t passed because the US didn’t have enough resources to go around, it was because the White Americans living in or near the Western coast felt that their jobs were being threatened by the Chinese who earned unlivable wages for doing life-threatening work. The Americans would be kicked out for demanding better conditions and higher pay, but there were immigrants lined up for that dangerous, and low wage jobs. The same situation is still going on today, but what many fail to admit is that immigrant and undocumented labor is what keeps many big companies functioning because since they take advantage of the immigrants situation and treat them very poorly. The Chinese Exclusion Act, apart from being the only law that explicitly states a race, lasted for 61 years where people were denied from coming to this country because of their ethnic background.

The weirdest and funniest part of the entire situation is that we’re all immigrants. Unless you are indigenous to a certain region, your descendants came from somewhere else. They made the journey and moved to a different country or part of the world at some point in their lives and many people seem to forget that. Like Genesis, the little girl in the Jorge Ramos video, her family (along with all the others presented in the Frontline documentary) wanted a better life for themselves and their families. They were being persecuted and threatened by gangs or in very bad and/or dangerous situation where even the Darién Gap and the deadly journey is better than staying the “mouth of the shark.” Death threats, murder, and the horrible living conditions and journeys made just to arrive at the border and be sent back; it’s heartbreaking. They risked everything just to be denied entry. And even so the American government, especially those who lean to the more conservative side or have at least go against immigration reforms, resent the immigrants and the politicians who want to sympathize their condition and try to look at the situation in a humane way, but you simply can’t. They forget that they aren’t native to this country and expel those who are coming for the same reason their families did; safety and opportunity.

It’s unreasonable, and frankly embarrassing, the way the situation has been dealt with. I understand that it’s a complicated issue with many ups and downs, but that doesn’t excuse the treatment and neglect those immigrants have faced and continue to face today. Fear of the people who are different has always been a key part in American politics, legislation, and public opinion. The fear that “aliens” would pose a danger to them or at the least bother them in some way has also helped push immigrants away. The idea that immigrants are violent, rapist, dangerous, drugs/alcohol advices is a common theme and is used by many people to justify the injustices they faced.

Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 21

Why have so many Americans sought to close the door to immigrants?

Despite the fact that the American narrative or myth is that this country is a refuge for immigrants and a place built by immigrants, American politicians have for much of our history sought to close the door to immigrants. Often, political attacks on immigrants seem to increase when there are economic problems in the country that politicians cannot solve and instead they turn to political tactics -- including feuling divisions to distract from the problems -- in an attempt to retain political power despite their own failure to fix underlying economic problems in the country. Economic issues, which tend to be cyclical, have been a common source of increased tension in the US over time. As shown in “‘Cheap slaves’: Trump, immigration and the ugly history of the Chinese Exclusion Act,” fears related to the number of available jobs and resources served as an ignition for the passing of racially motivated laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act. Most of these bans, including those more recently passed by Trump, do not in fact help resolve whatever the current economic crisis is, but they do help bolster the popularity of the politicians involved in the eyes of certain voters by making it look like they are doing something. A similar trend could even be seen in the chart showing deportation numbers during Obama’s two terms from Horsley’s article “5 Things to Know about Obama’s Enforcement of Immigration Laws.” The numbers of deportations were higher in his first term, when he knew that he would be facing reelection, and began to decrease during his second term, when he no longer needed to worry about winning over certain groups of voters or alienating others.

One of the articles that I found most interesting was “On Fear and its Effect on Political Views.” Its description of how people tend to become more conservative when they feel threatened, whether it is true that there is actual danger or not, was definitely in line with perspective swings that I have seen in the world around me today. It appears that the Republican party knows that it does better politically -- meaning it wins more elections -- when its political base is afraid. In the Katie Miller clip from the Soboroff interview, these sorts of fear tactics were clearly heard. It sounded very similar to the rhetoric in other speeches by Trump, Pence, and similarly aligned politicians in that it seemed absent of clear facts, and aimed to make the listener more afraid of immigrants crossing at the southern border. In the longer video that we watched in class, similar rationale for their actions towards those crossing the border seemed to be used by the head of ICE, and the rancher whose land lay on the border. They both voice concerns about vague “threats” posed by the immigrants, concerns which seem utterly meaningless when compared with reasons which the immigrants interviewed described for having to flee their homes in the first place.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

A Long Look at Immigration

1. Sitting here in 2023, the United States is comprised primarily of immigrants. Whether or not they're first generation immigrants, is most likely not true, but they have been deeply embedded into our country since the great boom of immigration in the early 1900's. Since immigrants have been serving as the backbone to our economy, the upper class has treated them like garbage and neglected the effort they play in making the United States one of the top exporter's of consumer goods. Whether it be the Alien and Sedition acts or the Immigration Act of 1924 that were enacted because "Immigrants were taking jobs from native workers" the anti-immigrant sentiment that was shared by the US is still upheld today for various reason, whether they be valid or not. A valid point that anti-immigrant supporters have, in relation to the Mexican border and government regulation of immigrants, is that the drugs being smuggled through by the Cartel (like fentanyl), are very negatively affecting the American population. Something they say that is completely false is that "illegal immigrants arrive in order to commit crimes", according to the Washington post and studies run by the ACLU show that immigrants are less likely to engage in criminal activity than citizens. The two ideas that I just spoke on seem to contradict each other in a very complicated way that I can't explain and I feel like speaks to how cumbersome it is to regulate the Mexican-American Border. Overall, opposition to immigration is due to the fact that many Americans live in fear of what they cannot understand and from what I can gather, immigration is one of the complex issues our country faces.

2. There are a variety of reasons why some people in the United States may be fearful of immigrants. One reason is that some people may view immigrants as a threat to their job security or economic well-being. Additionally, there may be a perception that immigrants are more likely to commit crimes or be involved in gang activity. Fear and anxiety can also be fueled by political rhetoric and media coverage that may portray immigrants in a negative light. Furthermore, some people may have a general fear of the unknown, and immigrants represent a group that is perceived as different and unfamiliar. It's important to note that these fears may not be based in reality and that immigrants, like all groups, are a diverse and heterogeneous population. Looking specifically at the study conducted by Yale, it was found that humans tend to be fearful of something when they are not exposed to it. Take a flu-shot for example, typically conservatives are less inclined to get the shot, but at the same time are afraid to be associated with that virus. Now, if the Flu was an immigrant, it is almost the exact same case, conservatives do not wish to be around immigrants because they view these 'aliens' as a threat to the state of America.

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