Anti-Immigration Arguments

Let’s examine the arguments against allowing immigrants to live in this country. First a note. While it might look like I’m improperly commingling the arguments against legal and illegal immigrants, I think many of the same arguments apply to both, and many of the people arguing against illegals are really against all immigration, especially immigration of people from non-WASP cultures.

Immigrants "degrade the environment". They increase crime, force us to keep our kids indoors, etc.
Despite Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s claim that illegals "degrade the environment", I haven’t seen any independent statistics that bear this out. The immigrants I’ve met personally and professionally in the last 20 years (some of who were almost certainly here illegally) and those living near me now are generally well-mannered and respectful. They are happy to be here and work hard to earn their keep. The people living near me who "degrade the environment" tend to be American citizens who take what they have for granted and view this country as a place where people can do whatever they want and to hell with anyone who disapproves of their behavior.

Immigrants take American jobs.
What sort of jobs are these immigrants stealing? Are hordes of American construction and meat-packing workers unemployed because of illegal immigrants taking their jobs? Are there millions of unemployed American hotel room cleaners and ditch diggers because immigrants have taken their jobs? I’d really like to see this first-hand. Do these unemployed but willing Americans live under rocks? Why aren’t there news stories on this?
Immigrants, especially illegal ones, are known for doing the jobs that Americans won’t. There are immigrants at work in meat-packing plants and cleaning hotel rooms because most Americans won’t take these jobs. The most you can reasonably say is that immigrants will generally work for less than an American, thus driving down wages for the jobs they take. This has always been true, from the time of Chinese and Irish immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This is the way our capitalist free-market economy works. If you don’t like it, consider becoming a socialist. Otherwise, you are attacking the symptoms rather than the disease.

Immigrants take our welfare, health care, and other resources.
I agree with some of this argument, but it’s not the immigrants’ fault. Most immigrants are more motivated than most Americans (they did after all have to work hard and take risks to get here), and they didn’t come here to live on welfare. They do tend to use our public health care resources, largely because we have created a system where even many Americans can’t afford to get good health care. Immigrants, especially the illegal ones, are like millions of uninsured and under-insured Americans in that they avoid getting health care unless (or until) they have a serious health issue, and then they go to the emergency rooms of public hospitals or public health clinics, the only places where someone will help them. This situation is a symptom and obvious result of the shortsighted selfishness that pervades our current public policies. It’s a national problem for everyone, and blaming immigrants for a health-care system in crisis is just stupid. As an example, I am an upper-middle class American citizen with good health insurance, yet when I went to an urgent care clinic a few months ago with chest pain, the fools made me fill out the insurance paperwork before they would even see me. That’s just sad. You can imagine how the immigrants feel.

The Lifeboat Mentality
There is a mentality that views the nation as a lifeboat, with a finite amount of resources that have to be prioritized and spent carefully on those with a real claim to those resources. Otherwise, so these people say, too many people will be taken aboard and the lifeboat will founder and slip beneath the waves, and all will perish. While you can certainly argue the validity of the viewpoint and I will grant that our resources are finite, I will counter that we are operating far below our maximum capacity in both production and consumption of the resources critical to human life. The most that might be needed to accommodate even a hundred million more people is to reduce somewhat our wasteful behavior with regard to these resources. We are certainly wealthy enough to sustain far more people than we currently do. I will not even address the probability that allowing less fettered immigrant access to our nation might stimulate the economy and lead to a revitalization of American industry. Certainly, it’s widely recognized that the diversity of perspective that immigrants from disparate cultures bring to an organization tends to benefit rather than hinder the organization.

Final Words
Let me say a few parting words with regard to the whole issue of illegal immigration. We are a nation that loves quick and cheap solutions to problems and we often prefer such a solution that only addresses the symptoms to a demonstrably better one that costs more and takes longer but addresses the root of the problem. We are very poor at taking the long view or looking at root causes. The root cause of why we have so many illegal immigrants is obvious. There is opportunity here and a chance at a good life. The nations these people are fleeing often lack even basic assurances of safety. Instead of building walls to keep these people out, we need to invest in lifting them up out of poverty and violence and then help them build a prosperous society. Simple human decency demands this of us. To those countries in which we weakened or destroyed stable and prosperous societies with our failed anti-socialist and anti-drug policies, we owe an incommensurable debt, and we must do all we can to create a vibrant and stable society where its citizens can thrive in peace. Only then, when the untenable conditions in these immigrants’ countries of origin have been replaced by stable and sustainable havens of opportunity, will we have solved the problem of illegal immigration.


17 thoughts on “Anti-Immigration Arguments

  1. Olivia James


  2. admin

    Wow, my first comment from a crazy lady, at least in a long time. I especially like how she used all caps and invited me to visit “any illegal hispanic community” … 🙂

    I just finished arguing against a whole group of crazy people on another site. I don’t have the time for this. Let them drink their tea and pretend they can bring back an imaginary world where white people had all the power, non-whites “knew their place”, and everything was “right”.

  3. admin

    We have been having this discussion at my office recently. Immigrants are just people who want to come to this country to make a good life for themselves. How can anyone be against that?

    I’m descended (on my Father’s side) from immigrants who came here from Poland early in the 20th century. Many immigrants were hated then too, but look at how strong our nation became because of that influx of people who were willing to work hard to make a good life for themselves and contribute to the community.

    My stance on this is very simple. Anyone who wants to come here to make a better life for himself and his family should be allowed to, and should be able to become a citizen after five years, provided they have worked here and contributed to the community during that time.

    All citizens should be required to contribute to this nation somehow, by entering the military or law enforcement, civil service, or volunteering to help those who need it most. We have to limit how many people we let in at once for practical reasons and we need to invest in making people’s nations of origin a better place to live so they don’t feel compelled to leave.

    It’s good to see other people who understand that immigrants are fellow human beings who we should be helping, not trying to kick out of the country.

  4. . . . . . . . .

    My mom came as an illegal immigrant and is now a successful lawyer who helps those who are disabled.
    If these illegal immigrants come to ruin America then why would they be supporting us legal citizens after they become successful?

  5. Jeremy

    I am not against LEGAL immigration; Its the ILLEGAL immigration that is harming the country. Illegal immigrants come and live without paying a fair amount of taxes for the government services they receive. I believe we should secure the borders and then take off the immigration quotas that the United States has. Welcome everyone who wants to be an american, but deny those that don’t want to obey our laws.

  6. Jamie sorrells

    Anti-immigrtion needs to happen, they try to come here and change things which people should not be surporting.

  7. Guido

    I agree that immigration can be a good thing. Without immigration, the US would consist of tribes of native Americans only, instead of the superpower it is today. However, it is a fact that many immigrants merely migrate to live off of unemployment allowances. In my home country this is a big problem, because it becomes unaffordable over time.
    Those who are willing to work for a better future, should have a chance to do so.

  8. shane

    Immagration is a bad thing to this country and they don’t care about any thing but what are benifits. All they really want here is a job and the benifits that we get.

  9. Sam

    I am extremely disapointed in the people that are pro immigration. And the guy that commpared immigrants from now to immigrants in the past, you can’t compair them. They are completely different. We have an immigrant over load now. In the past we were a young country that needed skilled workers and people to boost our countries population. And incase you think i’m racist basterd, I have now problem with legal immigrants as long as they’re legal before coming to our counrtry illegally.

  10. American Vet

    I have watched my city go down hill real fast in the last 10 years. It has become over run with Brazilans and Hatians. They are loud ignorant of others in the neighborhood show no respect for our american culture. Fly their flags over their stores.Stay for a number of years and return to their country with all the money they earned here. Most dont want to learn or speak English. Act as tho we owe them a living. Many drive cars that are not registered or insured many dont even have a license. They take and wont give up handycap seats on the bus to the elderly. I dont even hear English on the bus anymore. They make illegal apartments housing far more people than local codes allow. Property Values are droping every year. They are creating white flight away from the city. They get benifits they never earned and that have been taken away from Americans. WE dont have enough work in this country for the people we have we dont need any more. We cant allow the whole world to immagrate here or our way of life will vanish.Many of you say let them come here but clearly you dont have them moving next door to you. One last thing I for got to mention the crime rate in my city has steadly risen these past 10 years. Try to imagrate to their country and fly the Stars and Stripes over a store you open in their country I’ll bet they burn you out and tell you to go back to America, and see if you can speak only English in their country.

  11. Mingus

    I traveled to Mexico City for work. Attempting to have money wired from home, I asked people in line at a bank if they could direct me to where I could get the proper form to request a wire transfer. They were very rude and one woman even spit on me and snapped that I needed to speak Spanish. When I got to the teller’s window, the woman was shooing me away, laughing and telling me to speak Spanish. I was humiliated and crying and had to call my employer (a very prominent business in the city) who came and cursed the Bank Manager. Thereafter, bank personnel handed me the forms and three people were assigned to help me immediately. It turned out two of the bank employees spoke plenty English to where they could have initially helped me. In Peru, I fell seriously ill and could not get medical coverage and was advised to return home (I nearly died on my trip back to the U.S.). And, the money I made in both countries were taxed accordingly to their tax laws. I’m not picking on certain countries but trying to make the point that Americans are expected to give a whole lot of treatment to illegal immigrants when we do not even receive the treatment we are expected to give to migrating countries. Yes, America is richer than most in resources and we should hold a social responsibility in helping less fortunate nations, however, I think we do this on a grand scale and receive no credit for the efforts just because we are against illegal immigration. I am so not against migration, just illegal migration because when the tables are turned, through personal experience, Americans are not treated as fair as we are expected to be to others. Legal migrators are participants into our infrastructure and I really do not understand how so many really think that illegal immigrants are not taxing on our economy. When I returned home from Peru, I was approved for a program (MIA) where I was told they would cover only 20% of my medical bill (without insurance because I was in between jobs), while I watched three others on that day, who could not even speak our language receive enrollment into a 100% coverage program (Medi-Cal), something I, a born American near death, was told I did not qualify for.

  12. Isabelle Walker

    Dearest Nativists,
    In my 9th grade AP Human Geography class, we are preparing to have a debate on the issue of immigration. I have previously been extremely anti-immigration and have seen only the stereotypical, negative sides of the situation. In preparing for our debate, I have looked into and taken time to research the issue and have come across some points, facts, and statistics that have swayed my viewpoint.
    Recent political research and debates have proven that while the amount of immigrants into Amereica has increased drastically recently, these immigrants neither help nor harm the country on a national economic level. While the subject is hugely controversial, it comes down to the basis of wether or not immigration negatively impacts the economy of a country. Data shows that if when compariong areas with a large immigrant population to areas with fewer immigratns and factoring out all other variables that may impact an area, there was little to no economoical difference.
    On another note, immigration also provides opportunities for cultural exchange and even population distribution among an area. Through immigrants, we can expand our cultural views and become a more diverse nation, though America has become a “melting pot” of cultures already.
    My point to you is this: Have your nativist views if you will, but please be sure that you know the facts before ignorantly turning your nose up at a person because their ethnicity is stereotyped to be “lazy” or “selfish”.
    With love from Isabelle.

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