It’s no secret that the topic of immigration divides most Americans. President Trump’s supporters largely want to restrict illegal immigration while his opponents want to encourage it. Even on the issue of legal immigration there’s a huge divide. But as much as Democrats like to paint Trump and his supporters as racists for wanting to restrict immigration, that’s not really the issue. The debate surrounding immigration is really one of culture and what type of society we want the United States to be.
What many conservatives see when they see immigration is large groups of immigrants coming from cultures that have far different cultural values than Americans, who have no desire to assimilate, and who when they’re able to vote end up voting for policies that foster bigger government. Whereas previous generations of immigrants came to this country for the economic opportunities offered by a free market, sought to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and congregated among their fellow immigrants for mutual aid, the current generation of immigrants is viewed as coming to take jobs from Americans, force its cultural values on America, and depend on the government for assistance.
Conservatives see every immigrant who enters this country as another possible vote for Democrats, and in many cases that’s true. If the US allowed more immigration from developed countries and allowed more educated, higher income individuals to immigrate, there’s a good chance that many of them might vote for lower taxes and smaller government. But since the US has prioritized immigration from poor countries for over 50 years, most immigrants today have very little to their name. When they or their descendants vote, they largely vote for the candidates who offer them the most government benefits.
It should be no surprise then that so many conservatives are opposed to immigration. They’re not opposed to immigrants per se, just immigrants who move here and force their desires for big government on the existing population. We’ve seen how this occurs in many areas of the country in which transplants from California, Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, etc. move to red states and start to agitate for the very same big government policies that ruined their home states.
It’s no different with immigrants from other countries who come here and begin to agitate for the very same economic policies that ruined their home countries. What American who actually understands how big government and socialist economic policies have ruined country after country would actually want to import people who support those policies? The opposition to immigration isn’t opposition to immigrants themselves, it’s opposition to the ideas and values they bring with them. But since immigration won’t be slowing down anytime soon, it’s also incumbent on conservatives to educate both natives and immigrants on the benefits of small government and free markets.