Immigration, Economics, and Nativism

This essay by Ezra Klein argues that the positive aspects of immigration on the economy outweigh the negative one.  He’ll find no argument with me on that point, however, he falls into the trap that so many pro-immigrant advocates do: he assumes that the obscure intellectual economic discussion will actually influence people who believe that immigrants are transforming their way of life.  And as idiotic as it may sound–some people would rather give up the economic benefits to live in communities where everyone speaks English, is white, and has the same cultural and aesthetic values.

I say this after years of experience working in new destination immigrant communities in the U.S.  It’s irrational, but there are a lot of otherwise good-natured folks out there who see immigrants in their community about as positive as a radioactive brownfield. 

If, as a nation, we are going to address the issue of immigration in communities, it has to be done at the local level.

There is no other way.

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