Anti-immigration conundrum

Over at Austro-Athenian Empire, guest blogger Jennifer McKitrick makes a point I've made before:

They say “We’re not against immigration, we’re against illegal
immigration.” OK, so the problem with immigrants is that they broke
some laws. But are they good laws? If yes, they’re for laws designed to
keep immigrants out, so they are against immigration. If no, then they
should be for changing the laws. But they say changing the laws is
either unacceptable “amnesty” for illegals that are already here and/or
it would encourage more immigration. But the immigration that would
happen then would be legal, so if they’re only against illegal
immigration, they should have no problem.

So, I think I think that they are less than sincere when they say they are only against illegal immigration. ...

Share this

Translation

"I'm not against immigration. I'm against ILLEGAL immigration." When you run this phrase through the BS filter it comes out as "I'm against MEXICAN immigration." These populist anti-immigration folk (ala Victor Davis Hanson or Lou Dobbs) are largely just scared of brown people that speak funny languages and are here to "take their jobs".

Not sure. I think they can

Not sure. I think they can be genuinely against the idea of breaking the law, even unjust laws. They seem to believe if somehow the law recognizes it was wrong before the whole balance of society is threatened.

Aspects

Here are two positions, both of which are popular:

1) To be against completely open and unrestricted borders. I believe that the vast majority of Americans are against completely open and unrestricted borders. I myself am in favor, so I am in a very small minority here.

Number 1 is a position about what the law should be.

2) To be in favor of immigration laws being enforced. I myself am in favor of immigration laws not being enforced at all, so I am in a very small minority here as well.

Number 2 is a position about whether the law should be enforced.

These are two distinct aspects of a whole position on immigration. And I don't really think it amounts to much of a criticism to say that people point out that they hold position (2) when in fact they also hold position (1). So they haven't fully described every aspect of their views on every occasion that they wrote about it. Big deal.