posts 16 - 23 of 23
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 21

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

I'm not exactly sure what motivates people to oppose immigration, but I think a lot of their opposition is rooted in racism; racist stereotypes, and propaganda about the "ulterior motives" of immigrant to the US. At least in relatively recent years (the last century or so), there hasn't been a great public fear of white immigrants from European countries stealing jobs, rising crime rates, and creating the general "havoc" that many of these immigration opposers claim to be the root of their opposition. Somehow, none of those people stop to think about how most people immigrating out of their home country to the US or elsewhere, are fleeing some type of violence, military or personal, economic instability, or lack of freedom. My point is, as the title quote from Separated suggests, "no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark," these people aren't fleeing their homes so that they can go create the same problems that they're running from somewhere else. And regardless of the supposed "risk factors" of accepting immigrants, crime, violence, dips in the economy, overpopulation, is all inevitable, even without granting safety to refugees in the process.

I think people are often afraid of anything that happens suddenly, occurs quickly and in great numbers. Immigration is a prime example of this, there are always people immigrating around the world, but it only gets the public's attention when something big happens. Most people, at least, don't spend their everyday lives worrying about the risks of increased immigration daily. It's only a "problem" when it catches us off guard. Although this wasn't included as a part of the prompt, I think that if the government spent more time working on organizing legal immigration processes, making immigration accessible, and just truly taking the time to figure out an organized immigration system, people would realize that the real "issue" with immigration isn't with immigrants themselves but with the unorganized, chaotic, and frankly just dangerous immigration happening, because these immigrants aren't left with another option.

In Separated, Meybelin and her father were trying to escape death threats in their hometown, they (like many others) went through hell and back attempting to get into the US illegally, and still, were detained and separated from each other. Deporting Meybelin's father, and later her as well after she had already spent almost a month alone living inhumanely in an immigration detention center. It's appaliing how obviously the US government cares more about preserving a reputation than the safety of other human beings, to the extent that they would go out of their way to separate and hold these families apart after everything they've been through already.

As Ms. Freeman mentioned, aside from folks indigenous to North America, the entirety of this countries population is immigrants, or those descended from immigrants. This country was literally built from the ground up to be a safe haven for people who couldn't stay in their homes any longer. The protestants who came over from England on the Mayflower were seeking religious freedom from Roman Catholicism back home. So why aren't those values upheld today? We know why, due to this countries history of prejudice, and false promises, but for that reason it is absurd to maintain that immigration needs to be "stopped" because these people "don't belong here," when this wasn't even our country to begin with.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

I believe that U.S. citizens are typically motivated to resist immigration because they want to maintain a sense of security- as stated in the paper "On Fear and Its Effect on Political Views"- minorities have been referred to as "germs" or "bacteria" that seek to destroy America from the inside. Former President Donald Trump's remarks about immigrants have also fueled much opposition to immigration, espcially when he called them "disgusting."

In the video "Frontline: Separated: Children at the Border," the head of ICE said that he too had a family and that his heart dropped when the girl was calling for her mother, but still insisted that they had to enforce border laws because he didn't want more "danger" to enter the country. I find his idea absurd as not most immigrants are not bad people, they are people just like the rest of us seeking a new life, and have been disproportionately treated wrong.

According to "5 Things To Know About Obama's Enforcement Of Immigration Laws," illegal immigrants were subject to deportation at any time if caught near the border, furthering the notion that they are "aliens" that are undesired. I don't believe that Americans' opposition to immigration is primarily motivated by fear or anxiety, but rather by their desire to dominate the charts and their perception of immigrants as a threat to their way of life. Additionally, racism has long been a problem in the United States, which contributes to their opposition to immigration.

Boston, Massachusetts, 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?

People immigrate to the United States for many reasons whether it is due to war occurring in their country which constantly puts their life at risk, poor living conditions such as low-paying labor, and bad pollution. People also immigrate to the united states to have a better life for themselves and their families so they can start anew. That's what my mom did when she immigrated to the united states in search of a better life, and I wouldn't have been alive if not for that choice of hers. But because people such as Donald Trump making it harder to get into America to escape from war it is harder for people such as my mom to get into America. Personally, I don't know why people would not want immigrants into this country especially if they had to go through similar situations themselves, and don't want to ruin their life. They could believe that these immigrants and these border problems could cause problems for all immigrants in this country and that all immigrants could be kicked out if this continues to happen. There could be another reason for this, and this could be a better reason, and that is because they don't want children and families to be separated so they want a better solution to occur before these people immigrate. In the video we watched in class we saw the kids in children separated and the dad and his daughter were separated for months before they found each other once again. The immigrants already in America may not want that to happen to those families and want to keep them together. In an article by John Bargh from the Washington post they talked about parents just wanting to keep their families safe, and I believe that this is a big reason for not wanting immigrants and that is because they know that all immigrants aren't bad but because of Donald Trump and the medias spread information talking about the crime caused by these immigrants it creates fear from the parents so in order to keep their children safe they don't want the immigrants in their country.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 16

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

In my opinion, people in the US who oppose immigration are motivated first by fear, second by limited knowledge, and third by their privilege. It is human tendency to fear the unknown, and that fear often leads them to close their minds in order to “protect” themselves, as seen in the article about the Yale study. Although this is their instinctual reaction, that doesn’t mean that it is logical or right. This reaction is often exacerbated by misinformation about immigration, and the assumptions that they make are commonly derived from a small, very specific set of sources that portray immigrants in a negative way. Misinformation, especially when it comes from prominent political figures with a wide influence (Trump) is extremely damaging to the already complex relationship that our country has with its overall stance on immigration, and this thinking is extremely counterproductive. The license to be able to believe many of these lies stems directly from the privilege that most Americans have but want to pretend isn’t actually a privilege: a relative safety. Anyone who has grown up in a country not torn apart by war or natural disasters is inevitably incapable of understanding what it is like to not only want to, but need to leave their country.

I find it confusing that some descendents of immigrants are opposed to immigration because in doing so they are denying future immigrants the same opportunities that their previous family members sought and inevitably passed on to them. Once again, fear-based opinions and self preservation come into play and interfere with the ethics and humanity that this issue should be treated with.

Posts: 13

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

As we saw in the film and heard about in the interview, most immigrants coming into the United States left their homes out of desperation, sometimes scared for their lives. However, its also clear that many people in charge do not realize this, or do not realize the severity of what these people have gone through. While watching Thomas Homan be asked about the children being held in detention centers and separated from their parents, it became clear to me that he did not, or was trying his best not to see these people as individuals. It's a lot easier to not care about "immigrants" or "aliens" then it is to not care about a six year old who doesn't know what is happening, or where their parents are, or if they are safe in a place they have never been before. It's easy to say that protecting the border is more important, but why does the border need to be protected? What are they so afraid of happening? Fear is a constant theme that we saw throughout the history of immigration issues, and it was highlighted by the article about the Chinese Exclusion Act. Fear was used to "other" immigrants, as well as make them appear dangerous and make immigration seem like a bad thing. With the Japanese, fear of what was happening in the war as well as the fear that Japanese immigrants were secretly serving the Japanese government caused the concentration camps to happen. With immigrants throughout history and today, fear of loosing jobs or space has also been an issue. In the propaganda we looked at in class, we even saw the fear that Asian men were going to "steal" white women. However, especially with Asians, there has been two sides to immigration, which was also talked about in the Washington Post article. Chinese immigrants were tolerated when they were cheap labor, benefiting the U.S., but once people thought that their lives might change, these immigrants were immediately seen as harmful and bad. Even the language that is used promotes negative connotations and ideas of otherness. Aliens are scary and strange and come from completely different planets. They don't bear any similarities to us and most of the time aren't even human. In conclusion, fear is a huge driving factor in the attempts to stop immigration, especially fear of losing your place or livelihood.

Brighton, MA, US
Posts: 20

The most common reason for a person to be against immigration, which I have seen, is that immigrants are coming into America to "steal" their jobs. It becomes a part of the vocabulary of virtually every conservative politician whenever there is an uptick in immigration, especially since Trump opened his campaign by ranting about the Mexican border. But why are so many Americans against immigration, even when the vast majority of them are descendants of immigrants themselves? As with most of the issues plaguing American society, it all comes back to capitalism. In an America where the average rent is $2,007 a month, the minimum wage hasn't budged from $7.25 since 1938, and jobs are increasingly hard to come by, having a steady source of income is necessary for your survival. As seen in Yale Social Psychology Professor John Bargh's study on how the perception of safety affects political opinions, people are naturally inclined to think more conservatively when they are or perceive themselves as being threatened. Your employers hold complete control of your financial livelihood, and can send you spiraling into debt and poverty on a dime; every single working-class American is under a threat of their life. That's why it's so easy for people to believe an evil horde of immigrants are rushing into America and stealing their jobs and kicking puppies. However, there is another, far more bizarre reason as to why people are anti-immigration; the beliefs that immigrants need to assimilate into American culture, and that most immigrants don't want to. One prominent figure who holds this belief is Katie Miller, a former spokesperson of the DHS, who said on record that she "believe[s] if you come to America you should assimilate" when asked why she felt no sympathy for children separated from their parents at the Mexican border, adding "Why do we need to have a Little Havana?" Despite various staples of the amorphous blob that can be described as American Culture (such as jeans, hamburgers, pizza, and the Christmas Tree) all being brought to America by various immigrant groups, many still believe that immigrants must shed all of their cultural identity to become truly "American."

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

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

Fear and anxiety are the primary cause of opposition to immigration. Fear leads to bias against other groups and even leads to conservatism, as studied in the survey conducted by Yale. It spreads from politicians and celebrities to voters, who fear losing their jobs or fear crime. This is why Americans, even immigrants or descendants of immigrants, are so against immigration.

Another source of the problem is a general lack of education and critical thinking. Many people will listen to politicians from their party and take their views at face value without questioning it. This happened on both sides with both Trump and Obama in recent memory which I read about in the article by Scott Horsley, “5 Things To Know About Obama's Enforcement of Immigration Laws”.

As for those who have immigrated to America but are now more conservative on immigration, it would depend on both origin and generation. Some people take pride in being descended from immigrants, but take pride in their American identity, which makes them more nationalistic and closed off. Some people might also react out of fear for consequences for them and their families. This isn't unreasonable, as we saw this when deportation and ICE were not discriminating against those who had citizenship or who had been here for many years. Increased immigration leads to increased push back. However some people already had privilege from the day they came here, such as people that immigrated from Western European countries. Sometimes people see America as the antithesis of their home country and feel separation from their native country, which can lead to xenophobia even towards their own country of origin. However all of these reasons, as well, can be attributed to fear and misinformation.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

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

It’s hard to answer the question of why some descendants of past or present generations of immigrants seem to express opposition to immigration because there’s not one concrete answer. It’s all about underlying racism/ xenophobia, people/ power feeling threatened, and where the line is crossed of it being unconstitutional. I noticed that the biggest theme of people who oppose immigration is fear, and that fits under all of these reasons.

In the documentary we watched in class, they talked about the difference between Obama and Trump’s administration on border control and handling illegal immigration. The articles and films went into this more. According to one of the articles, when the Obama Administration was handling the border crisis, they said they didn't “have the resources or the desire to deport millions of immigrants whose only crime was entering the country illegally. So, it has focused its enforcement efforts on particular targets: namely those caught near the border, those who've committed crimes and those who appear to have arrived in 2014 or later.” The fear and opposition to immigration came from not wanting it to get out of control at the border, and not really about the people who were already living here illegally and causing no harm.

Trump completely changed the process of immigration and was very different in his views. In many of his rallies for his presidential campaign, he declared to millions of people that all of the people coming in from the southern border were criminals bringing illegal drugs and crime. This influential politician’s bias/racist declarations are obviously going to cause fear and his supporters are inevitably going to be opposed to mexican immigrants coming into america. He wanted to stop basically all immigration at the southern border, didn’t want to help families simply trying to escape dangerous living conditions, wanted to deport as many people as possible no matter how long they’d been in America or what they were doing, and even let children be separated from their families if it meant they wouldn’t be let in. America is a country that has been created to be very prideful and, obviously, independent. When outsiders are rushing in and people feel their jobs are being taken and there is too big of a foreign presence and the president is telling them everyone coming in is dangerous, they feel threatened and attacked as Americans. There was an Irish guy in one of the videos who was opposed to immigration for what seemed like this reason and he basically explained that he was so far removed from his immigrant relatives that he does not consider himself part of a chain of people who came to America to leave where they are from. He considers himself american. This is the case with many Americans. A reason that some descendants of past or present generations of immigrants seem to express opposition to immigration is simply because they don’t consider themselves descendants of immigrants and feel protective of their nationality. (discussion question: as the country gets older and people are more removed from their immigrant relatives, would their ethnicity truly just be american?) Their “americanism” and nationalism feels like it's being put in jeopardy. This causes people, especially politicians who make the decisions, to lose sight of anything other than their own concern and they become very stubborn (which I feel has been a pretty common pattern in American politics). Obama made sure families wouldn't be separated at the border, Trump changed that and allowed for it to happen. In one of the films I watched, one of the kids said, “Perhaps president trump will have mercy on us. I ask that they let us all in because we have all come for the same reason”. Also in one of the films I watched, it showed an interview between someone and a member of the Trump administration, Katie Miller regarding empathy for what the Trump Administration is causing families to go through at the border; "My family and colleagues told me that when I have kids I'll think about the separations differently. But I don't think so… DHS sent me to the border to see the separations for myself -- to try to make me more compassionate -- but it didn't work." "It didn't work? I will never forget what I saw. Seriously. Are you a white nationalist?" I asked, exasperated. "No, but I believe if you come to America you should assimilate. Why do we need to have 'Little Havana'?" To a certain extent, I can understand people’s fear/ feeling of threat as reasoning for being opposed to immigration. But how is it that you can hear a child say such a thing and see the torture families are going through and not want to find a way to let them live here as american citizens?

This country was built on being a land of everyone from all over the world. We are meant to e a mix of people who are here for different reasons. It was supposed to be a utopia and a land of the free that welcomes everyone and gives everyone independence and opportunity. The US literally became a country because people from other countries were trying to escape their living conditions. That’s exactly what families at the southern border are trying to do. So again, why is it that people are more concerned with Mexicans immigrants being in the country than with figuring out a way for the families to safely live here? That would be racism. Fear and threat that comes from underlying bias on Mexican Americans. It all ties together.

posts 16 - 23 of 23