The Pitfalls of Racializing Immigration Enforcement
People on one side of the current debate surrounding immigration enforcement consistently and intentionally racialize the issue, employing gross generalizations and ignorance to advance their agenda. However, contrary to the media narrative, it is not the rule of law contingent that uses such unwelcome rhetoric. Instead, the open borders contingent consistently plays the dangerous game of racial politics.
The primary example of this phenomenon is their regular reliance on a false portrait of immigration enforcement as a white vs. non-white issue. Consider Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s claim that President Trump’s now-abandoned Census citizenship question was part of an effort to “make America white again.” Or the statement by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) that the purpose of deportation is to “go after minority people.” Or California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell’s tweet that said, “If you’re Hispanic, there’s nothing @realDonaldTrump won’t [sic] do to break up your family, cage your children, or erase your existence.”
It is simply untrue that immigration enforcement has anything to do with race. Instead, decisions about who to deport from the United States are entirely on a legal distinction between those who are U.S. citizens and those who are not. Many immigration violators subject to removal are from European countries, and the U.S. Border Patrol consistently records apprehensions of significant numbers of people from places like Romania, Ukraine, Germany, Russia, and even France and Canada.
To U.S. immigration authorities, the color of a person’s skin makes no difference. The only thing that matters is whether or not a particular individual has complied with our immigration laws or has violated them. Immigration enforcement doesn’t “go after minority people,” like Sanders claims – it goes after lawbreaking people, who come from all corners of the globe.
Additionally, immigration enforcement doesn’t just seek to remove lawbreakers of all races and creeds – it also seeks to protect law-abiders, who are an equally diverse group of people. When open borders advocates claim that the only people helped by immigration enforcement are white people, they willfully ignore and marginalize the millions of minority American citizens and legal immigrants alike who stand to benefit from stricter immigration policies.
Accordingly, Speaker Pelosi displayed tremendous ignorance when she equated immigration enforcement with making America “white again.” She of all people should know that an America without illegal aliens would by no means be an America without racial minorities. To hold otherwise is to imply that only white people can be law-abiding Americans, a belief that we all know is antiquated and racist.
In fact, a recent poll shows that majorities of Hispanics and other non-white American citizens actually support stricter immigration enforcement measures and the proposed citizenship question on the U.S. Census. These Americans understand that illegal immigration lowers their wages and hurts their communities – a reality that open borders advocates would prefer to ignore in order to score cheap points in their game of virtue-signaling.
Pelosi, Sanders, Swalwell, and many in the media might believe that they are defending minority rights by depicting the immigration debate as a white vs. non-white issue. In reality, however, their arguments attack and slander the very people they seek to protect by grouping them with immigration violators instead of with law-abiding Americans. This country needs an honest discussion of immigration enforcement if any progress is to be made on this issue, but that will be impossible until leaders stop racializing a debate that only has to do with legal distinctions.