Thursday, February 25, 2016

Anti-Illegal-Immigration vs. Anti-Immigrant

   I suppose I'm becoming a kook about all this stuff, but one of the things that's been baffling/infuriating me for a year or so is the media's resolute effort to paint people who are concerned about illegal immigration as "anti-immigrant." This is--obviously--outrageous. It seems to be too obvious and egregious an error to simply be an oversight, doesn't it? I's an absolutely crucial distinction, it's an extremely obvious and simple distinction... There's no whiff of casuistry in it...  I don't know which thing I find more incredible, that the media could simply be oblivious or indifferent to the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants (and between anti-immigration and anti-illegal-immigration) or that this could actually be an intentional strategy by the media to discredit concerns about illegal immigration. We all tend to recoil from conspiracy theories...but the alternative is that a very large group of at least moderately intelligent people do not recognize an extremely simple and important distinction. CNN and MSNBC seem particularly bad about this; the conflation seems basically routine there.
   Here are just a very few examples grabbed after a few seconds of Googling:
"When Did the GOP Get So Extreme On Immigration?"
"The Danger of the GOP's Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric"
"From California, A Warning To Republicans On Anti-Immigration Rhetoric"
"More GOP Senate Campaigns Adopting Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric"
   In each case, it's actually illegal immigration that's at issue, as you can confirm. Not only do these ignore the distinction between legal and illegal immigration, a lot of them (intentionally?) gloss over the distinction between anti-illegal-immigration and anti-illegal-immigrant. Also, obviously, important.
   I'm getting more and more concerned about American liberalism, more and more concerned with such confusions and tricks by liberals, and more and more concerned about liberalism's cozy relationship (to say the least) with the media (and, on a different note, universities). Unfortunately, conservatism has spent 30-ish years using the "liberal media" mantra to weasel its way out of legitimate making this case isn't going to be easy.
   Perhaps this sort of thing really is par for the course, and I've just been oblivious to it in the past. Perhaps I had an excessively rosy view of liberals and Democrats, and I'm just now having many of my illusions shattered. Of course it's difficult for me to tell.
   At any rate, and other things to the side: if your opponent is wrong, then you shouldn't have to straw-man him. Just explain why he's wrong. If the GOP is wrong about illegal immigration, just state the case. But pretending that they're anti-immigrant is despicable. This is reminiscent of the left's tendency to call anyone who disagrees with them about race 'racist,' and it absolutely needs to stop. Such tactics are sleazy and entirely impermissible.


Blogger Aa said...

First, " I suppose I'm becoming a kook about all this stuff"

Yes, yes you are (could have but didn't want to resist).

Second, I'm not so sure there is a distinction for most republicans. In my experience they hate immigration - period. Legal, illegal, few make the distinction.

Example, growing up in Minnesota in the 1980s there was a large influx of Hmong escaping persecution. They were there legally but boy oh boy, you should have heard the rhetoric from many (normally nice) people. It was ugly.

I've seen many similar instances since. I really don't think most make the distinction.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...


Seriously...I need to know...

I feel ya, Aa...but...I mean...I've just known so many conservatives who were not in any way anti-immigrant (some immigrants themselves) who just had what I'd call a perfectly sane, normal, standard-issue view that illegal immigration ought to be stopped/minimized... So I've had, in a way, the opposite experience you've had.

Also, a concern with illegal immigration is rational.

Also, what I hear from the GOP is resolutely focused on illegal immigration. Hell, even Trump's claim about rapists--which is typically represented as referring to all Mexican immigrants--seems more-or-less clearly to be focused on illegal immigrants. (Obviously I'm not condoning is view in either case...but even for that worst-case comment, it wasn't clearly anti-immigrant per se).

Is your view that the GOP is obviously anti-immigrant per se and just kind of expressing it in the only vaguely acceptable way? Or is your view that they are overtly anti-illegal-immigrant, but that the hypothesis that that is driven by a more general anti-immigrant sentiment is just too clear to doubt?

10:23 AM  
Blogger Aa said...

"Is your view that the GOP is obviously anti-immigrant per se and just kind of expressing it in the only vaguely acceptable way? Or is your view that they are overtly anti-illegal-immigrant, but that the hypothesis that that is driven by a more general anti-immigrant sentiment is just too clear to doubt?"

I think both are in action here. I honestly think very few people make the distinction between legal and illegal - I've seen a lot assume everyone is illegal on the campus where I work with no evidence - and framing it as illegal makes it appear more legitimate and less, well, dare I say racist?

There are legitimate concerns about illegal immigration, but I think an overall 'anti-immigrant' is the driving force here.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Wow. I just never see that stuff. I always see it directed at illegal immigrants. Maybe my experience is way unrepresentative.

But look, what we hear about is, e.g., the desire for a fence, for more border patrols, for more deportations, etc. etc... All that stuff is clearly direct at illegals... I really don't recall ever hearing any calls for, say, fewer legal immigrants from Mexico or Central or South America...

You could be right...but I remain a bit skeptical. Even if you're right, I don't see that the media has a right to assume it or presuppose it without argument.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Aa said...

I could very well be wrong, these are just my perceptions based on experiences. FWIW

10:51 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, that's cool.

Still, it's important to know that other non-crazy people have impressions that are opposite of mine.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Aa said...

Maybe a case in point:

Whereas some of the students might, just might, be illegal it's a good bet most aren't and no distinctions are being made in the article.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Lewis Carroll said...

Winston, there is also the question of whether indeed the crisis is now as acute as the rhetoric would suggest? Especially as concerns the southern border:

9:29 AM  
Blogger Aa said...

Oh yes, I nearly forgot, there's a political angle to this.

In 2004 a colleague was waiting for word on his citizenship application. Approved but the date for the swearing in ceremony kept getting delayed...delayed intentionally by the Bush administration since it was within three months of the election.
Immigrants, by and large, vote democrat.

8:35 PM  

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