Can we talk honestly about the immigration problem?

Ruben Nararrette
Liberal Opinion

Ruben Navarrette

Columnist, host & author
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People like to complain about the immigration problem in the United States: The crime — both non-violent and violent — the threat to low-wage jobs, and the impact on the country’s debt are often cited as consequences of a lax policy. But Straight Arrow News contributor Ruben Navarrette argues that the truth is far different, and it’s time we are talk more honestly and openly about immigration:

In the Southwest, the South and the Midwest, immigration remains a big concern. People complain about it all the time. One member of Congress even declared that in 2022, “every state is a border state.” Ironically, the states where you hear the loudest complaints are the same ones where businesses and individuals are most addicted to immigrant labor — places like Missouri, Georgia, Kansas, or Arkansas.

Oddly enough, these days, the concerns about the border aren’t focused on illegal immigrants as much as they are on illicit drugs. More and more Americans are getting sucked into the fantastical narrative that evil Mexican drug traffickers are corrupting innocent American teenagers by forcing them to swallow opioids laced with fentanyl. That claim is just about as far-fetched as the line that somehow immigrants are stealing American jobs. If your kid falls prey to drug abuse, there are a lot of people you can blame, starting with yourself. But Mexico? No way, Jose.

People make choices, sometimes bad ones, and they suffer consequences, sometimes terrible ones. Whether we’re talking about American’s thirst for workers, or drugs, the principle driving the whole thing is still the same. It’s called supply and demand. As long as we have demand someone’s going to step up with the supply. Is it too much to ask that politician in either party, every once in a while, to have the guts to say that to an angry crowd at a town hall, sitting there with their arms folded? Apparently so.

in this country, we don’t have an immigration problem. It’s worse than that. We have a “can’t talk honestly about immigration” problem.

The immigration issue is like a puzzle. It’s at once everywhere you look, yet also nowhere to be found. It’s everywhere. And then it pops up in news stories, town halls and polls that measure voter concerns. Yet it’s also nowhere in the chatter leading up to the 2022 midterm elections. Despite the fact that as recently as last fall, political observers predicted that it would be a top issue. Senator what was going on back then, in September 2021 10s of 1000s of asylum seekers from Haiti crossed the US Mexico border into Texas. This was an early test of President Joe Biden’s campaign promise to deliver a kinder and gentler immigration policy than the one former President Donald Trump had conjured up. Biden failed the Haitian test with flying colors, border patrol agents on horseback use what investigators would later find was, quote, unnecessary force in rounding up would be refugees. Biden turned away these poor souls relocating many of them not to Haiti, but to Mexico, all without a hearing.

The Haitian spectacle came on the heels of similar border runs by Central American asylum seekers under Trump and 2019. And under former President Barack Obama in 2014. By 2021, Americans were getting weary with what conservative podcasters and radio hosts inaccurately described as a quote open border. It was said that in 2022, voters would make their voices heard by punishing the party in power, ie Democrats. But last September was 10 months ago, which is the equivalent of several lifetimes in the world of politics and media.

Since then, Americans have seen inflation, high gas prices, I returned a COVID-19 a spike in crime, a worsening of the homeless crisis, and congressional hearings into whether Trump tried to subvert democracy on January 6 2021.

Clearly, there’s a lot happening in America. But one thing that isn’t happening is high unemployment. Quite the contrary, millions of workers left their jobs in the so called Great resignation, the country is blanketed and help wanted signs. Any racist, opportunistic or fear mongering politician who gave a speech today about how foreigners are supposedly taking American jobs would be laughed off the stage. The United States could actually use a few million more immigrants and refugees right about now to take jobs that Americans left or just won’t do.

Now, that’s only half the story. And southwest, the South and the Midwest. Immigration remains a big concern. People complain about all the time. One member of Congress even declared that in 2022, quote, every state is a border state. Ironically, the states that you hear the loudest complaints. Ironically, the states where you hear the loudest complaints are the same ones, where businesses and individuals are most addicted to immigrant labor, places like Missouri, Georgia, Kansas, or Arkansas. Oddly enough, these days, the concerns about the border aren’t focused on illegal immigrants as much as they are on illicit drugs. More and more Americans are getting sucked into the fantastical narrative that evil Mexican drug traffickers are corrupting innocent American teenagers by forcing them to swallow opioids laced with fentanyl. That claim is just about as far fetched as the line that somehow immigrants are stealing American jobs. If your kid falls prey to drug abuse, there are a lot of people you can blame. Starting with yourself, but Mexico, no way Jose. People make choices, sometimes bad ones, and they suffer consequences, sometimes terrible ones. Whether we’re talking about American’s thirst for workers, or drugs, the principle driving the whole thing is still the same. It’s called supply and demand. As long as we have demand someone’s going to step up but the supply

is a too much to ask the politician in either party every once in a while has the guts to say that to an angry crowd and a town hall sitting there with their arms folded, apparently so

in this country, we don’t have an immigration problem. It’s worse than that. We have a can’t talk honestly about immigration problem.


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