Published at 11:14 on 7 April 2019
In a provocatively-titled article published in this month’s Atlantic, David Frum (himself am immigrant to the USA) claims that “If Liberals Won’t Enforce Borders, Fascists Will.”
He points out (correctly) that the current level of immigration in the USA is historically high, then starts using lots of rhetorical hand-waving to imply that this is certain to cause all sorts of problems and resulting discontent in the voting public. And then, if liberals refuse to clamp down on the immigration, the scenario in the article’s title will presumably play out.
The problem with Frum’s contention is, what statistical evidence there is doesn’t precisely support the presumptions of his hand-waving very well. (That probably explains why hand-waving and not hard evidence is used in his article.) In fact, what evidence there is directly contradicts most of Frum’s assertions.
The Cato Institute recently published an article showing that public support for more immigration has actually increased since a fascist administration (and yes, Trump, is a fascist) took office in the USA. Actually, it’s been increasing since the mid-1990’s. Then, roughly 65% wanted immigration to be decreased. Now only about 30% do.
That’s right, roughly 70% want immigration kept the same or increased. And that’s after a decade of high levels of immigration! In a country with a fascist president who uses his bully pulpit to regularly promote xenophobia! There is, simply put, no evidence of growing public support for reducing immigration.
And let’s consider who tends to support restricting immigration? Republicans, that’s who. Where do Republicans tend to live? Away from the big cities. Likewise, Democrats (who support continued or increased immigration) tend to live in or near big cities. Where do immigrants tend to live? Also in or near big cities. That’s right, those who live near immigrants tend to view immigration in a positive light. Exactly the opposite situation one would expect if the mere presence of immigrants produced unease about immigration.
This goes for the border wall, too. The closer a person lives to the US/Mexico border, the less likely he or she is to support building Trump’s wall.
Finally, the Pew Research Center has done comparative surveys on immigration in multiple countries. Here’s the most recent one. Note that, compared to the world as a whole:
- Americans are more likely to believe immigrants are a source of national strength.
- Americans are less likely to associate immigrants with crime.
- Americans are less likely to associate immigrants with terrorism.
- Americans are less likely to support the deportation of illegal immigrants.
In short, there’s simply not much evidence in favor of Frum’s contention.
Quite the contrary, I would say. Support for fascism in the USA comes primarily from rural right-wingers who have little or no regular interaction with immigrants. Simply put, they fear that which they don’t know.
Newly-naturalized citizens naturally see such fascist proclivities as personal threats and as such oppose them. Therefore, increasing the number of immigrant voters will improve the quality of the electorate, by increasing the fraction of it that has a profound revulsion to fascist politics.
And it’s not just the situation on the electoral battlefield that will be helped by the presence of more immigrants. The electoral battle itself will tend to be less fought and more conceded in the pro-immigration, pro-diversity direction. Remember, the mere presence of immigrants tends to cause a more positive attitude towards immigrants.
“You’re promoting immigration because you want to destroy America,” the fascists say. And on this one, they are right; or rather, we should act in ways that make this accusation correct. When fascists say “America” they are referring not to what actually is but their fascist vision of what they believe it ought to be. That vision is evil and should be destroyed.
Politics is war by other means. Fight it. Support continued and even increased immigration.