The polarized topic of immigration has caused people to believe that wanting a secure border is a racist ideal.
This past weekend 7,000 potential illegal immigrants formed a mass caravan attempting to cross into the U.S. through Mexico. This comes right before the midterm elections, causing immigration to once again be thrown into the forefront of the political cycle.
The main argument when it comes to immigration between liberal and conservative platforms is whether or not the United States has a right to secure its border or if we should have open borders. This should not be confused with the idea of immigration being a good or bad thing. On both sides of the political spectrum, most Americans are in favor of immigration.
According to a Gallup poll, 84 percent of Americans believe legal immigration is a good thing. The idea that one side is “racist” because they think securing the border is important is preposterous and a very boring point of argument. When it comes to securing our borders we need to have a totally separate discussion from the idea of allowing immigrants into the U.S. in general.
The Honduran caravan is a strong argument for why we need secure borders. The idea that we must take in more than 7,000 prospective undocumented immigrants is an outrageous one. Yes, they may say they are seeking asylum, but we need to ask serious and specific questions first. Who exactly are these people as individuals? What are they seeking asylum from? Do any of them have criminal history? What obligation does the U.S. have for people that are not their own citizens?
The caravan has been swelling in size since its initial departure. At first it was a mass of 5,000 immigrants, now it’s being reported to almost doubled in size at more than 10,000 migrants. Ben Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Wire, wrote “If you’re leading a march of economic migrants, not an invasion of citizens of a foreign state, why carry the flag of the nation you are escaping, exactly?”
Has anyone in the caravan explained why they are marching with the Honduran flag? pic.twitter.com/twqcmV4bC0
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) October 22, 2018
The reason why securing the border is so important is because we need a secure way to ensure proper assimilation is done when a person has immigrated into the U.S. Shapiro continues, “the key to any successful immigration wave is an American program of cultural assimilation, rather than an attempt to suggest that such assimilation represents cultural xenophobia.”
A nation needs commonality in order to be a nation, and that commonality could be anything. In the past, one of those things was language. Victor Davis Hanson, a contributor of The Nation Review, wrote, “The Roman Empire worked as long as Iberians, Greeks, Jews, Gauls, and myriad other African, Asian, and European communities spoke Latin, cherished habeas corpus, and saw being Roman as preferable to identifying with their own particular tribe.”
You can scoff at the idea of immigrants needing to speak English or say English is a white patriarchal language meant to oppress minorities, but English isn’t even a “white” language per say. English is the national language of Nigeria, and many other nations require English to be taught and learned by its citizens. Hanson continues, “Rome disintegrated when it became unable to assimilate new influxes of northern European tribes. Newcomers had no intention of giving up their Gothic, Hunnish, or Vandal identities.”
Do these 10,000 migrants intend to share in commonality with U.S. citizens? Would you marry someone you had nothing in common with? If they didn’t speak the same language or were of a different religion? In the same way people look for shared values in their partner, we should also look for shared values and interests in immigrants. This isn’t xenophobic to think about, it’s just common sense because we all apply this standard of thinking in our lives.
In a recent Harvard-Harris poll, the survey found that 72 percent of Hispanic voters say immigration policy “should be based on a person’s ability to contribute to America as measured by their education and skills,” rather than “based on a person having relatives in the U.S.” The poll also found that 81 percent of Hispanic voters say they prefer a secure border over “basically open borders.”
Based on this information we know that wanting a secure border, or even a wall, is not a racist or xenophobic idea. Immigrants and those of Hispanic descent believe in border security too. Border security will even make it safer and prevent families being separated. This is not an issue of a lack of sympathy for immigrants, but an acknowledgment of reality. We can have sympathy for children, but in reality we have an obligation to American children first.