1/16/08

Five myths of anti-immigration talk

Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer--whose column Ya Basta! Time to hit back against anti-Latino bigotry inspired the creation of this weblog--has again written truth to nativist hate. In Five myths of anti-immigration talk, Oppenheimer debunks the myths used by nativists as cover for bigotry.

Here's a summary:

• Myth No. 1: ''We are only against illegal immigration. Undocumented immigrants should get in line for visas.'' That's deceptive because you can't demand that people get into line when, for the most part, there is no line to get into.

• Myth No. 2: ''Anti-immigration advocates are not anti-Hispanic.'' Maybe many aren't, but when was the last time you heard anti-immigration Republican hopefuls or cable television talk show hosts lashing out against illegal immigrants from Canada?

• Myth No. 3: ''We are a nation of laws, and the law says you have to enter the country legally.'' Yes, but we are also a nation of immigrants. And, by the way, nearly half of all undocumented immigrants enter the country legally, and overstay their visas.

• Myth No. 4: ''Building a border fence will solve the problem.'' Wrong. As long as the per capita income in the United States is five times bigger than that of Mexico, and as long as U.S. labor market demands millions of low-skilled jobs that Americans won't fill, people will jump over the fence, dig tunnels under it or come through Canada.

• Myth No. 5: Those of us who criticize anti-immigration groups are ''amnesty'' and ''open borders'' supporters. Baloney. I, for one, support both border protection and an earned path to legalization for millions of undocumented workers who pay taxes and are willing to learn English.
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