So this happened today…
Donald Trump is officially running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. Although there is no shortage of reasons why Trump is a terrible candidate (and is therefore unlikely to actually win the nomination) his stance on immigration is particularly troubling. For one, he continues to perpetuate the myth that immigrants “steal jobs” from Americans. Although this idea is a popular rallying cry for those opposed to immigration reform it is not supported by either economic theory or empirical data. In fact, there may be significant economic benefits to enhancing immigration. See this excellent piece by Adam Davidson for further reading.
As a data-loving nerd, the lack of appreciation for empirical evidence is always irksome but what is especially troubling about anti-immigration sentiment is its racist and xenophobic underpinnings. Canada and America are both countries founded by immigrants and built by immigrants. To the detriment of the peoples who came before us and who have experienced systematic mistreatment and cultural genocide at our hands.
So my question to anti-immigration advocates (who are often, though not exclusively, white) is this: Are you prepared to return your land to the Aboriginal people and move back to Europe? Are you willing to offer your property as reparation to those forcibly brought to your country as slaves?
If the answer is no, then perhaps you may want to reflect on your anti-immigration stance because guess what, you’re an immigrant. Maybe you’re not the first generation to settle in Canada or the United States but, given that both of these countries are relatively young in the grand scheme of history, you’re probably only the second or the third.
If Donald Trump, whose mother was born in Scotland and whose paternal grandparents were German immigrants, can become a job creator, why are those arriving to the United States mere decades after his family doing, in his mind, the complete opposite?
If there is an answer to these questions that isn’t rooted in ignorance, bigotry, racism, or xenophobia I’ve yet to hear it.