Friday, February 2, 2018

How Immigration Became So Controversial

Derek Thompson in the Atlantic looks at "How Immigration Became So Controversial."  He offers an important insight in thinking about the contemporary debate over immigration:

"[I]immigration is not a monolithic issue; there is no one immigration question. There are more like three: How should the United States treat illegal immigrants, especially those brought to the country as children? Should overall immigration levels be reduced, increased, or neither? And how should the U.S. prioritize the various groups—refugees, family members, economic migrants, and skilled workers among them—seeking entry to the country? It’s possible that most voters don’t disentangle the issues this specifically, and don’t think too much about the answers to each question. After all, immigration ranks quite low on Americans’ policy priorities—it’s behind the deficit and tied with the influence of lobbyists—which makes responses shift along with the positions of presidential candidates, political rhetoric, or polling language. (You might, for example, get very different answers to questions emphasizing “law and order” versus the general value of “diversity.”)"


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