Immigration and Racial Diversity

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Immigration and racial diversity are highly linked concepts. Immigration refers to the influx of foreign persons into a country to live permanently. Immigration often results in a racially diverse nation. The U.S.A is known as an immigrant nation, and could be just about the most racially diverse nation in the world. 2016 statistics by the United States Census Bureau indicated that 76.9% of the country’s over 323 million people was made of white people alone; 13.3% were Black or African American; 1.3% were American Indian and Alaska Natives; 5.7% Asian alone, 17.8% Hispanic or Latino, and 0.2% were Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders. Immigration continues to account for the U.S.A’s ever rising racial diversity. Calabresi estimates that by 2050, minorities would make up more than 50 percent of the population and become the majority. This revelation must be a source of alarm for the White American Natives who have traditionally been the majority in the country. With the fiery immigration debate coming in the backdrop of these statistics, it is reasonable to postulate that the concerns often raised about immigration are fears about the growing racial diversity in America rather than about immigration itself.

The first indication of immigration concerns having racist undertones is the fact these concerns are more directed towards people of particular racial and national descents more than others. When immigration concerns are originated from the political class, it is notable that particular racial groups will be targeted and others spared. There have been recent calls for a border to be established between the U.S. and Mexico, but rarely has there been pursuit of a similar border between the U.S.A and Canada (Huerta). Data from the U.S Census Bureau website indicates that there were about 801,000 Canadian immigrants in the United States in 2012; and 11,713,000 Mexican immigrants the same year. Despite the fact that these significant difference in numbers would justify pressure on one end more than the other, differences in economies and populations of the two countries should be factored into the debate. If the immigration concerns were objectively founded, then equal measures like the border proposal would have been suggested in both cases.

Another questionable aspect regarding the immigration concerns is that they often come from particular racial quarters out of the entire U.S. population. A quick study of this debate shows that it is the white population that is always pushing stringent immigration policies (Barro). Once immigrants become naturalized as U.S. citizens, they acquire equal rights to pursue policy change and legal frameworks just like the Natives. Therefore, the fact that U.S. citizens who are Asian, Hispanic, or African American do not have as much immigration concerns as the White only citizens is a reason to raise eyebrows. For instance, President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan was more of a rallying call for white Native Americans to reclaim the ‘glory of their country.” A huge part of this campaign was directed towards enforcing stronger immigration policies especially against Hispanics and Asians (Huerta). The fact that other racial classes who are American citizens and may also have the interest in making America great again were in a way exempted from this immigration push denotes a racist intent.

Lastly, immigration concerns can seldom be expected to really be about immigration itself as they are often littered with racial stereotype connotations and blatant profiling of immigrant groups. When pushing for the establishment of a border between the U.S. and Mexico, President Trump reasoned in a June 2016 campaign announcement speech that these immigrants were bringing drugs, bringing crime, and that they were rapists (Barro). These comments were made not withstanding the fact crime and drugs are also promoted by immigrants along other borders like the Canadian U.S. border. Calabresi gives an example of the 2006 incident where Ahmed Ressam, the so-called Millennium Bomber, was caught at the Canadian border with a trunk full of explosive precursor material and a plot to bomb Los Angeles Airport. If these immigration concerns were really about immigration itself, then the concerned parties would seek to tackle the issues surrounding immigration solely using facts, and without involving misinformed hyperboles, stereotypical reasoning and racist innuendos.

In conclusion, the concerns raised about immigration are really not about immigration itself. Instead, they are fears about the growing racial diversity in America. This fear is evident in the fact that these concerns are targeted towards specific racial groups, they mostly originate from the White racial quarters, and are littered with stereotypes, racist innuendos and hearsay. Going forward, it is imperative that all immigration debates be founded on provable facts and objectivity.

Works Cited

Barro, Josh. “Here's why Trump's immigration speech was so shocking.” Business Insider, 1 Sep. 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-immigration-speech-shocking-2016-9?IR=T. Accessed 6 Nov. 2017.

Calabresi, Massimo. “Is Racism Fueling the Immigration Debate?” Time Magazine, 7 May 2006, http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1195250,00.html. Accessed 6 Nov. 2017.

Huerta, Alvaro. “The ‘War On Immigrants’: Racist Policies In The Trump Era.” HuffPost. 7 Aug. 2017, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-war-on-immigrants-racist-policies-in-the-trump_us_5980bf68e4b0d187a596909b. Accessed 6 Nov. 2017.

United States Census Bureau. Quick Facts: United States, 2017. www.census.gov. Accessed 6 Nov. 2017.

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