Republicans need to get rid of nativist gibberish on immigrants – Orange County Register


While traveling I recently heard a podcast appearance from Scott Baugh about his upcoming race with Katie Porter to represent Orange County’s 47th Circuit. (Yes, I’m very cool).

Baugh, a Republican and former congressman, basically said all the usual Republican things. He expressed concern about federal spending. Said a few words about a strong national defense. standard material.

And then he started on the issue of immigration.

Baugh was asked if he thought America’s civil and political code was being torn apart.

He replied, “If you’re talking about tearing that apart, stretching it, then of course we do. When you dilute the culture with other cultures so quickly, it inevitably starts to fray.”

The interviewer then argued that today’s immigrants differ from past immigration waves, like the Irish, because ‘the left’ pushes immigrants against assimilation. Baugh agreed, saying, “You have people who are invited here, they are encouraged not even to assimilate.”

On all of these points, Baugh’s views are just classic nativist gibberish.

New goals, same old nativism

Germans, Irish and Italians were once talked about in the same way Baugh now talks about recent immigrants. They were all demeaned because they didn’t conform to the Protestant, Anglo-American version of America that many favored.

They were smeared with ethnic stereotypes, particularly around alcoholism and crime. They faced discrimination in the workplace. They were convicted because they spoke different languages. The Irish and Italians faced anti-Catholic sentiments, while the Germans were marginalized because of their Lutheranism.

Groups such as the Order of the Star Spangled Banner emerged to protest the influx of Catholic immigrants. The Native American Party, better known as the Know Nothing Party, arose to oppose the influx of immigrants (a chapter was opened in San Francisco against Chinese immigrants).

And yet everyone carried on. Today, America’s once-maligned Germans, Italians, and Irish are so integrated that I’m almost certain to get an email from someone with a German, Italian, or Irish last name chastising me for not understanding that America is under attack .

Do immigrants “dilute” the culture?

It’s pretty clear that Scott Baugh and others who have this notion of America stuff being torn apart by “others” don’t believe that the Germans, Italians, or Irish watered down America.

I doubt you’ll find many who would say they believe Chinese and Japanese Americans, all of whom have faced terrible, even violent, discrimination, have fundamentally “watered down” America.

I doubt you’ll find many who think that the rapid influx of immigrants and refugees from places like Armenia, Cuba, Iran, or Vietnam at various points in history has “diluted” America.

Immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees are no different today. They don’t come here to destroy America. And no, they don’t come here for the food stamps or whatever. They are here and they want to come here because they see America as a land of freedom and opportunity. How dare you?

Of course, immigrants assimilate

While assimilation may take time, even generations, it’s impossible to pretend it’s not happening.

Back in 2015, the National Academies of Sciences published a book on the very subject, concluding: “Across all measurable findings, integration increases over time, with immigrants becoming more like natives with more time in the country and with second and third generations are becoming more like other Native Americans than their parents were.”

The NAS notes that immigrants commit crimes at a fraction of the rate of Native Americans, and divorce and have illegitimate children at lower rates than Americans. But you know, American culture isn’t perfect, and these measures only get worse over time.

On the plus side, immigrants and their descendants learn and speak English the more they are here, they integrate economically, they become homeowners, they start businesses.

To the extent that immigrants find it difficult to integrate and assimilate, in the case of undocumented immigrants, this is largely a function of their legal status.

The solution for these people is simple: legalize them so they can integrate and assimilate.

Also, expand the legal opportunities for people to live and work here, that way you can reduce the need for so many people to immigrate illegally. This isn’t rocket science.

The thing is, even Scott Baugh realizes this.

In a 2014 op-ed for the Orange County Register, he supported the establishment of a work permit program for undocumented immigrants.

“To deal with these undocumented immigrants, many propose self-deportation, which means cutting off access to employment … so that the immigrant will want to deport himself,” he wrote. “These proponents often say ‘illegal means illegal’ and tip their hat to ‘rule of law’ arguments. Those phrases sidestep the more sensitive discussion of what to do with undocumented immigrants who were raised in this country, have children born in this country, and have been employed by American businesses and homeowners for decades.”

The final result

I know it’s time to berate the people of the southern border, but it only obscures the reality that America’s biggest immigration problem is that government policies have unduly restricted legal immigration, thereby forcing millions of people to emigrate opt for the illegal route. And even then, undocumented immigrants themselves are not a problem; Millions have been living productive lives, raising families and living among us for decades.

Do you know why? Because that’s all they want to do.

To the extent that America is fraying, it is not legal or illegal immigrants who are responsible or ever will be responsible.

Sal Rodriguez can be reached at [email protected]


Comments are closed.