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  1. #1
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar
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    Why do US voters care about illegal immigration?

    I was wondering why illegal immigration has been such a prickly issue in US politics. After all, the conservative Cato Institute has pointed out that immigrants commit less crimes than native born citizens: https://www.cato.org/blog/immigratio...-research-says

    Furthermore, economists generally state that migration is good for the economy. I would have thought that the same people who are concerned about the long term viability of social security would be willing to accept just about anything that would be good for the economy. After all, isn't that what the idea is behind environmental deregulation (whether it would actually accomplish that or not)?

    So I decided to try and get a right wing perspective on these things. I found an article from the American Enterprise Institute that I thought was satisfying in this regard. Basically, it has a lot to do with identity politics. Also, there is a sense of frustration that (until Trump started playing with this I guess) politicians were not responsive to the political desires of the anti-immigration groups. Of course, if this is true, it's also disturbing. Surely identity politics should not be driving economic policy? And immigration or no, economically speaking, people without college degrees who want US-sized salaries are basically going to be in trouble going forward in the global economy.

    My concern is that the political dynamic creates a catch-22. Certain economically disenfranchised people want to restrict immigration because they incorrectly believe it will help them economically. However this is more likely to harm the economy, and no matter what anyone does, this particular group probably isn't going to do much better economically as time goes on. The needs of the many are undermined by the baseless fears of a few.

    What do you think? Is this a good assessment or have I missed the boat?

    From: https://www.aei.org/publication/why-...conservatives/

    Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, is the latest Republican to learn how important immigration has become to conservatives. In her response to the State of the Union address, she argued both that immigrants should be made to feel welcome and that we have to maintain control of our immigration policy. For these comments, she was denounced in some quarters as a moderate who had declared war on her own party’s strongest supporters. Both the speech and the reaction offer more evidence that immigration control is becoming a more important, and defining, issue for conservatives.

    Why the issue has become central is less clear. It’s not because the problem of illegal immigration is growing; it has fallen in recent years. But that decline has coincided with at least seven factors that have raised the political importance of immigration for the right.

    Low economic growth. The economic expansion under George W. Bush was weak and ended in a brutal economic crisis, and the recovery afterward has been disappointing. For most people, incomes haven’t been rising as fast as they did in the 1980s and 1990s — and Americans who feel economically vulnerable are more likely to see immigrants as an economic threat.

    Demographic changes among Republicans. If Republicans are more concerned than they used to be about the wage pressure that immigration puts on the low end of the labor market, it’s partly because more Republicans work there than in the past. The party has become more dependent over time on white voters without college degrees. These Americans, who are more exposed to competition from immigrants than white voters with more schooling, have seen their economic prospects stagnate or decline.

    The growth of the immigrant population. The immigrant population, and its share of the total population, has increased over time, and pockets of immigration have formed around more and more of the country. With more immigrants in more places, more native-born Americans have found themselves in competition with immigrants. At the same time, more Americans have grown unsettled by the social changes that accompany large-scale immigration. (Europe’s difficulties in assimilating Muslim immigrants have probably also played a role in forming American conservatives’ views.)
    The unresponsiveness of elites. Only a quarter of Americans favor increased immigration levels, but leaders in both parties have represented this group more than they have the people who want less immigration. In 2013, Jeff Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama, offered an amendment to cap immigration at 33 million over the next decade. Nobody else voted for it. Republicans who want less immigration and more enforcement of immigration laws have come to feel that politicians aren’t really listening to them on this issue. They aren’t a tiny group of voters, and they resent their relegation to a fringe.

    Partisan politics. Immigrants have been voting increasingly for Democrats. Some Republicans think that they should respond by making it clear that they welcome immigrants. Other Republicans, though, have reacted to the same trend by wondering why national policy should keep bringing in more people who support the opposition on most issues.

    The progress of arguments among conservatives. Conservative thinkers, writers, and talkers have been debating immigration among themselves for two decades, sometimes bitterly. Respected conservative voices have been on both sides: National Review has argued for restricting immigration, while the editors of the Wall Street Journal have sometimes urged a constitutional amendment enshrining open borders. Over time, conservatives seem to have found the restrictionist arguments more persuasive. Among conservative publications, for example, the Weekly Standard switched sides, moving from open borders toward restriction.

    The economic argument for more immigration, for example, has fallen flat among conservative opinion-makers as the evidence has come in. In 2013, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the economic effects of legislation to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship and increase legal immigration. It found that in 20 years, per-capita GDP would be 0.2 percent higher thanks to the bill.

    Cascading effects. As more and more influential conservatives made the argument for immigration control; as more and more Republican voters found their take-home pay falling behind their cost of living; as immigrants became more and more identified with the Democratic Party: Conservative Republicans found that more and more of the people they generally agreed with on politics and looked to for information about issues were skeptical about a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and about increased immigration. Those voters who began with no strong opinions on the issue started leaning that way, and those who already leaned that way strengthened their views.

    As I’ve said, none of this means that conservatism is now anti-immigration. But it does mean that conservatives are more skeptical of the benefits of large-scale immigration. They are more eager to see the immigration laws enforced. And they are more inclined to view someone who pushes against this mood—which is all Governor Haley really did–as unconservative. And the constellation of causes nudging conservatives toward a restrictive approach to immigration means, I think, that the shift is likely to continue.
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  2. #2
    goodlun's Avatar
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    They make a great scapegoat. Their are a lot of lies about how they are all on well fare even though they don't qualify for it. Fun fact most of them are not paid under the table, so they actually end up paying money into taxes that doesn't ever get reclaimed.
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  3. #3
    His heart was visible, and the dismal sack that maketh excrement of what is eaten. supporting member
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    Goddamn, your curiosity about common sense stuff amazes me, Wounded Ronin. Seriously. It's cool to learn ****, but you want to learn **** that's so simple. Just use your fucking brain a little instead of searching the depths of the internet for other people's opinions.

    The **** is not complicated. Humans have tribal instincts. If I could have the whole country for the use of my family and friends, I'd have it. Since I can't have that, I'm only willing to be as inclusive as I must be, but that willingness expands in a circle with myself in the center.

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    It is Fake's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    You used a blog which sources a 17 year old paper for proof. This 17 year old paper sources stats from the nineties. I personally think there are much bigger issues than immigration, but this is America and we attack the least common denominator all of the time. Goodlun's post isn't a "fun fact" and your estimation isn't a catch-22.

  5. #5
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devil View Post
    Goddamn, your curiosity about common sense stuff amazes me, Wounded Ronin. Seriously. It's cool to learn ****, but you want to learn **** that's so simple. Just use your fucking brain a little instead of searching the depths of the internet for other people's opinions.

    The **** is not complicated. Humans have tribal instincts. If I could have the whole country for the use of my family and friends, I'd have it. Since I can't have that, I'm only willing to be as inclusive as I must be, but that willingness expands in a circle with myself in the center.
    Maybe so. I thought that people in the US, having it so good with childhood nutrition, access to education, etc. might be able to transcend or overcome this. But it does just sound like old fashioned "default" xenophobia you see through most of history.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wounded Ronin View Post
    Maybe so. I thought that people in the US, having it so good with childhood nutrition, access to education, etc. might be able to transcend or overcome this. But it does just sound like old fashioned "default" xenophobia you see through most of history.


    That is exactly what you're doing by putting "Trump voters" under the 'scope.

  7. #7
    BKR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wounded Ronin View Post
    I was wondering why illegal immigration has been such a prickly issue in US politics. After all, the conservative Cato Institute has pointed out that immigrants commit less crimes than native born citizens: https://www.cato.org/blog/immigratio...-research-says

    Furthermore, economists generally state that migration is good for the economy. I would have thought that the same people who are concerned about the long term viability of social security would be willing to accept just about anything that would be good for the economy. After all, isn't that what the idea is behind environmental deregulation (whether it would actually accomplish that or not)?

    So I decided to try and get a right wing perspective on these things. I found an article from the American Enterprise Institute that I thought was satisfying in this regard. Basically, it has a lot to do with identity politics. Also, there is a sense of frustration that (until Trump started playing with this I guess) politicians were not responsive to the political desires of the anti-immigration groups. Of course, if this is true, it's also disturbing. Surely identity politics should not be driving economic policy? And immigration or no, economically speaking, people without college degrees who want US-sized salaries are basically going to be in trouble going forward in the global economy.

    My concern is that the political dynamic creates a catch-22. Certain economically disenfranchised people want to restrict immigration because they incorrectly believe it will help them economically. However this is more likely to harm the economy, and no matter what anyone does, this particular group probably isn't going to do much better economically as time goes on. The needs of the many are undermined by the baseless fears of a few.

    What do you think? Is this a good assessment or have I missed the boat?

    From: https://www.aei.org/publication/why-...conservatives/
    Illegal immigration (as entry without inspection) is illegal. It's a crime. The people who do it are criminals. Some of them do other illegal things, like illegal drug trafficking. Or other crimes once they get here.

    The idea of tens of thousands of criminals crossing the border every year bugs the hell out of me. If you want to come here, do it legally. I do not want to see people who are criminals rewarded for their initial act of criminality. By rewarded, I mean, some sort of amnesty deal, or just being ignored and left alone to continue living here.

    I don't care if the pay taxes, either, go to church, donate to charity, etc.

    I also would like to see the people who hire them punished.



    Part of the problem is that the legal immigration system needs to be fixed or updated.
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  8. #8
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChenPengFi View Post
    That is exactly what you're doing by putting "Trump voters" under the 'scope.
    I hope that's not how it looks from afar. I can certainly understand some people deciding during the election that Trump was the lesser of two evils compared to HRC. In my mind, at least, I am now trying to understand why his popularity among Republicans remains high in spite of his erratic behavior in office, failure to study issues or perform due diligence, and literalism (such as literally building a wall, which seems expensive and questionable). It appears that these things are going to damage the US geopolitically and economically, and it will hurt everyone including guys who lost their industrial jobs in the rust belt. One would think that because of these and other things, his popularity among Republicans would go down, but seeing as it seems pretty high still, I am trying to figure out why that could be. For example, does his base not realize that his proposals will likely harm them even more economically? Or, is it something like the forceful posturing and rhetoric on immigration is all that is needed to keep his base happy? And if so, why is this such a priority issue for them? Is there a way to try and redirect all this energy towards projects or initiatives that might actually help the economy, build some kind of foundation for the future, and help people come to terms with the new economic reality of the globalized world? I would think that for anyone that cares about the future of the US and has a passing interest in politics and the course of history, these would seem like very important questions.
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  9. #9
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKR View Post
    Illegal immigration (as entry without inspection) is illegal. It's a crime. The people who do it are criminals. Some of them do other illegal things, like illegal drug trafficking. Or other crimes once they get here.

    The idea of tens of thousands of criminals crossing the border every year bugs the hell out of me. If you want to come here, do it legally. I do not want to see people who are criminals rewarded for their initial act of criminality. By rewarded, I mean, some sort of amnesty deal, or just being ignored and left alone to continue living here.

    I don't care if the pay taxes, either, go to church, donate to charity, etc.

    I also would like to see the people who hire them punished.



    Part of the problem is that the legal immigration system needs to be fixed or updated.
    That makes sense. I wouldn't break the law. It is to the detriment of a smoothly functioning society if everyone starts breaking the law as a matter of course. So there is a corrosion or externality cost to systematically turning a blind eye to high profile law breaking.

    My thinking tends to be it would be more effective to focus on prosecuting employers who break labor laws, but of course you mention this as well.
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  10. #10
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar
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    Recent news suggests the anxiety among some segments of the electorate concerning immigration may not be an economic calculation, but may relate to abstract cultural ideas and feelings:

    Much of the nation agrees with this: “Seven out of 10 Americans think the United States is losing its national identity, while just 3 in 10 regard the country’s identity as secure, and these attitudes are related to threats to that identity and pride in several aspects of the country,” reports a new Associated Press survey, which cites three points in particular:

    “Forty-seven percent say illegal immigration is threatening to the American way of life, and 15 percent think legal immigration threatens it. Seventy-one percent say the United States is losing its national identity — that is the beliefs and values the country represents,” the AP advised. “Fifty-seven percent say the United States should be a country with an essential culture that immigrants adopt when they arrive, and 42 percent think the culture of the country should change when new people arrive.”
    Source: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...y-us-losing-i/

    I wish I could hear someone talk more on what exactly might be meant by "losing its national identity". Perhaps this is the core of the issue as a political issue.

    See also from the same article:

    • 76 percent of Americans say the nation has a “unique character” which makes the U.S. the greatest country in the world.

    • 71 percent are afraid America is “losing its national identity.”

    • 57 percent say the U.S. should have an “essential American culture and values” that immigrants take on when they arrive here.

    • 57 percent believe immigrants in the past decade have “mostly retained their own cultures and values.”

    • 47 percent say illegal immigration is “very threatening” to the U.S.; 25 percent say it is moderately threatening.

    • 42 percent say America should “be made up of many cultures and values that change as new people arrive.”

    Source: An Associated Press-NORC Center poll of 1,004 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 16-20 and released Friday.
    Best Vietnam War music video I've ever seen put together by a vet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDY8raKsdfg

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