Immigration as a Campaign Issue
The soon-to-be-official presidential nomination of Donald Trump has provoked an outpouring of negative commentary by immigration boosters. It appears that there is likely to be a heated debate around immigration during the campaign. This offers a great learning opportunity for the public if it does not degenerate into emotional sound bites.Often the discussion of the issue is misleading and, apparently, designed to confuse the public. An example is a July 18 discussion on the CNBC website entitled “The front line in a Trump immigration war: State economies.” ()As the title implies, the discussion suggests that the economies of the states with the largest numbers of illegal aliens would suffer the greatest impact from a renewed enforcement of the nation’s immigration law by leading to deportations of illegal residents. It quotes a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas as saying, “”It’s very difficult to imagine the economy functioning without this workforce.”That comment suggests that the official believes that the US. economy should be permanently dependent on the exploitation of unskilled, exploitable illegal alien workers. It also ignores the effect of a gradual reduction in the size of the illegal population through deportation and denial of jobs leading to higher wages that would attract unemployed and underemployed legal workers – some of them legal resident immigrants.The CNBC article also demonstrates the difficulty of conducting a serious debate over the immigration issue. As soon as the prospect of a disruption of the economy from deportations was portrayed, the discussion changed gears to legal immigration. The article continued: “U.S. innovation can also get a boost from immigrant college graduates.” The implication is that the Trump immigration policy’s focus on enforcement would also curtail legal immigration. That is a completely fictitious implication.It is abundantly clear that a major effort will be needed by FAIR and fair-minded analysts during the campaign to keep the pundits objective and honest in their commentary about the immigration issue in the presidential debate.
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