Immigration and Morality in the Left


There appears to be running narrative promulgated within leftist circles, and to an extent left-leaning media, that the current immigration debate is primarily about a race.  Those in favor of stricter immigration laws endure accusations of racism, as evidenced by claims made by Forbes Magazine contributor and economist Adam Ozimek[1], CNN contributor Sally Kohn[2], and MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow[3].  Opposition to illegal immigration is distorted into opposition of a particular people, ethnic group, or religion, and although there may be a cursory acknowledgement of other factors constituting an anti-immigration stance, the stigma of xenophobia is already attached.  Thus the terms of debate are set, and one side is arguing from the moral high ground.

In order to contend the leftist view with any efficacy, the argument must be reframed.  Moral authority must first be removed entirely from the equation, and reintroduced at a later juncture; the debate need not be about the right of an individual to live where they choose, or the right of a country to decide who lives within its borders and benefits from its existence.  Rather, the merits of lenient immigration legislation and its effects on the host population should be called into question; therefore, the issue can be examined first without even broaching the subject of morality.  The current conservative approach favors too heavily philosophical conclusions predicated on the fact that the individual has already accepted the superlative sovereignty of the people residing within a state, and that the state is an extension of the people, and as such will naturally conclude that the protection of state borders is an extension of the people’s right to protect themselves.  Therefore, it is moral to practice an immigration policy that prevents certain people from entering the country.  However, the leftist ideology does not accept the key premise: that the state is representative of one identity.  Instead, the liberal ideology contends that the national identity of the United States is mercurial and shifting, its culture dependent upon its current residents.  Since the American identity is not held sacrosanct, appeals to it are ineffective.

Facts and statistic-based arguments are similarly fruitless.  Studies from the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Immigration Studies[4] may have concluded that the costs of illegal immigration outweigh the benefits and have a negative impact on the public welfare of the native population, but again, this too is an exercise in futility for several reasons, namely the existence of pro-immigration studies with contradictory data.  Moreover, I contend that even if the left accepted the negative impacts of illegal immigration, they still would defend it.  A narrative would be spun to place the blame firmly at the feet of the oppressive host nation, no matter the transgression.  The recent Ohio State attacks, and faculty member Stephanie Clemons Thompson’s appeals for sympathy for the young Somali immigrant, demonstrate this emotional response perfectly, although the situations differ, as the immigrant was here legally.

The central issue revolves around the archetype valued by modern leftism.  While conservatism might be associated with self-determination and individualism, leftism prizes victimhood, deifying martyrs of a tyrannical yet conveniently invisible oppression.  Where is the oppression, one might wonder, when each undocumented household receives nearly $15,000 more in government services than is put in?  It is a contemporary take on the myth of the noble savage, and it is this failure to see past misplaced empathy that perpetuates itself, so that, in the vein of Kipling, Western societies continue to open their borders.  It is their burden.  The threat that would doubtless arrive from this line of thinking is quite obvious: are the incoming cultures compatible with the host culture?  Here, a liberal application of relativism is applied, if you’ll pardon the pun.  While leftists may argue vehemently for the emancipation of women and the equality between genders, they refuse to condemn incoming cultures that are fundamentally patriarchal and disdain female suffrage and body autonomy.  The beliefs of other cultures are held inviolable, and thus genuine oppression is perpetuated under the guise of social justice.

The cultural relativism present within liberal dogma and the rejection of the concept of the nation-state are the main obstacles to be overcome in winning over the left.  The hypocrisies and double standards must be attacked, the misguided altruism shown in its true meretricious nakedness, and the cognitive dissonance illuminated, so that the fallacy is visible to all.








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