Immigration debate today is racistSome have suggested that the immigration debate today is racist. Samuel Huntington maintains that Mexican immigrants are creating significant problems,...

Immigration debate today is racist

Some have suggested that the immigration debate today is racist. Samuel Huntington maintains that Mexican immigrants are creating significant problems, specifically with response to assimilation. Fuentes argues that much of the debate is racist and appears under the guise of American national unity. With whom do you agree? Support your answer.

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brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

After reference to an article of 06 December 2011 in the Los Angeles Daily News concerning Fuentes, the issue being discussed has to do with "undocumented workers."  Clearly, there is a tremendous difference between immigrants and illegal immigrants.  Immigrants in the United States legally contribute to the economy; in their case, the arguments of the above post are relevant.  However, illegals are another matter entirely. 

All one has to do is look at the massive economic devastation done to the state of California by the entry of illegals to realize that much of the debate has nothing to do with with racial bias against Hispanics. It is economic!

It is not necessarily the case that illegal immigrants are not making contributions.  Many of them pay taxes, and in fact, the IRS has a mechanism for just this situation.  Certainly, sales taxes get paid, and in some instances, property taxes get paid, too.  Not being a Californian, it is difficult for me to comment on how illegal aliens in particular might have devastated the entire economy of that state.  However, given that the entire country is suffering from economic devastation, it is hard to see how what is really a relatively small group of people could have brought about such consequences.

  Absolutely right.  And gasoline taxes.  Property tax is paid by everyone who rents, which is a majority of the undocumented, in the form of higher rents.  But also think of the Social Security and Medicare taxes the undocumented pay, on fake numbers, without the hope of ever seeing those benefits.  They have helped keep those two programs solvent longer than they would be otherwise.

In addition, everyone who buys produce or stays in a hotel or has their yard landscaped is likely to pay lower prices than they would without a low wage undocumented work force.  It's like getting a tax break every time you take a vacation or go to the grocery store.  Some of the money they make they send to their family back home, but they also spend most of it in our economy immediately, and consumer spending is the primary factor behind job creation.

It's true that the undocumented also use public services at a higher rate than others.  But economists suggest that with what they contribute to the economy, there is a small net positive effect to their being here.  And certainly it's inaccurate to suggest that they are the reason why California or the national economy are in recession.  We can look in the mirror on that one.

 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5312900

http://www.rand.org/news/press/2006.html

http://www.businessweek.com/investor/content/apr2006/pi20060407_072803.htm

lorrainecaplan's profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

After reference to an article of 06 December 2011 in the Los Angeles Daily News concerning Fuentes, the issue being discussed has to do with "undocumented workers."  Clearly, there is a tremendous difference between immigrants and illegal immigrants.  Immigrants in the United States legally contribute to the economy; in their case, the arguments of the above post are relevant.  However, illegals are another matter entirely. 

All one has to do is look at the massive economic devastation done to the state of California by the entry of illegals to realize that much of the debate has nothing to do with with racial bias against Hispanics. It is economic!

It is not necessarily the case that illegal immigrants are not making contributions.  Many of them pay taxes, and in fact, the IRS has a mechanism for just this situation.  Certainly, sales taxes get paid, and in some instances, property taxes get paid, too.  Not being a Californian, it is difficult for me to comment on how illegal aliens in particular might have devastated the entire economy of that state.  However, given that the entire country is suffering from economic devastation, it is hard to see how what is really a relatively small group of people could have brought about such consequences.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I definitely agree more with the "salad bowl" analogy of immigration rather than the "melting pot" analogy. I feel that immigration in today's globalised world presents definite challenges and also definite opportunities. The spread of drugs and terrorism is something that governments cannot afford to be naive about, but at the same time, immigrants offer incredibly valuable skills and knowledge that certainly help countries to keep on running smoothly.

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

That's why I used the analogy of a "salad bowl" in my earlier posting. I like the comparison - a green salad has lots of different ingredients all mixed together, but each ingredient retains its individual characteristics and flavor - romaine, carrots, sprouts, spinach, cheese, croutons, whatever - even as they all mix to create a wonderful effect!

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

America should be a place where people can come together under the name of the United States without losing their cultural or ethnic identity. The passe "melting pot" ideology was wrong. The idea of the melting pot was that all people would take on the identity of the majority. Instead, with today's America being so diverse, multiculturalism is more identifiable for those coming into the US.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

After reference to an article of 06 December 2011 in the Los Angeles Daily News concerning Fuentes, the issue being discussed has to do with "undocumented workers."  Clearly, there is a tremendous difference between immigrants and illegal immigrants.  Immigrants in the United States legally contribute to the economy; in their case, the arguments of the above post are relevant.  However, illegals are another matter entirely. 

All one has to do is look at the massive economic devastation done to the state of California by the entry of illegals to realize that much of the debate has nothing to do with with racial bias against Hispanics. It is economic!

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The "debate" (and I think that term gets used too loosely most times) is at least multi-faceted.  What we tend to hear in these national controversies are the very loudest, most controversial voices.  The media plays up shocking comments which then provoke shocking counter-comments, etc.

But I do believe that racism is a major factor among many anti-immigration groups.  They tend to contain members of the older generation who remember a time when publicly racial comments were not shocking at all, but typical, and we were a segregated nation.  Plus, our country has a long history of cultural and xenophobic backlashes against immigrant groups, almost all of them based on widespread racist beliefs.  Lastly, there are so many examples of statements by these groups and individuals that espouse and repeat things as fact that are really just stubborn myths about immigration.

And for the record, the latest waves of Latinos entering the country since the 1980s are assimilating faster than any immigrant wave in US history--in two generations instead of three.

readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I tend to agree with point 2 and Fuentes. The beauty of America is that all people from all different backgrounds could come together with their cultural identity. To say that people need to shed their cultural identity to embrace a "neutral American" one is  disingenuous, because no culture is neutral. Moreover, when it comes to Mexicans, most of them I have met are trying awfully hard to be a part of society. There is a lot of fear mongering and I suspect that it will continue.

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think the last paragraph of the previous post very accurately summarizes the situation, now and throughout the history of the United States. As a nation that has gained a large portion of its population through immigration, we have historically had periods of time when large numbers of people have come to our country from other parts of the world; the historic reaction has always been discrimination toward these new groups until they have become assimilated and integrated into the society.

Some of it is fear of those already in residence that the newcomers are going to take away jobs/housing/health care/school desks/name your concern. Some of it is discomfort, if not outright fear, of the unknown - including people who look or sound different or who have different customs or ideas. Some of it is the human equivalent of NIMB - newcomers are OK but "not in my backyard" - let them settle somewhere else instead of in my neighborhood/town/state.

As with the Irish, the Germans, the Poles, and all the other groups that have immigrated to this salad bowl country of ours, with enough time and contact, they will become another wonderful part of the mixture - adding to the overall richness of our culture while retaining unique characteristics that make them special.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I tend more to agree with Fuentes, but of course I am biased given that my father is an immigrant and I don't look like I'm even half-white.

My reasoning for this is based largely on my experience teaching in a heavily Mexican high school.  Of course, we have problems based on poverty and on the fact that we have many recent immigrants.  On the other hand, assimilation is so obvious in our town.  We have Hispanics whose English is bad enough that they are taking ESL and yet they are doing all-American things like playing football or being cheerleaders.  We have Hispanics named Jorge and pronouncing their names "George."  We have intermarriage all over the place.  I just don't see a lack of assimilation.

I think that claims that Hispanics don't want to assimilate are based partly on race and partly on simple fear.  This is a fear that "natives" have had going back to the 1890s and beyond when people worried about Italians and Jews.  It's a natural thing that happens when immigration is high and the immigrants are in some way identifiably different.

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