Sunday, August 27, 2017

What's the Best Way to Get People to Like Immigrants?

How about more immigrants and the passage of time? That's less crazy than it sounds. Consider this from Ron Brownstein
Even as Republicans from President Trump to leading legislators in the House and Senate are driving to reduce both undocumented and legal immigration, the core of the GOP's electoral strength in both presidential and Congressional contests are the places with the smallest share of immigrants, US Census data show.
Likewise, apart from Texas, the coalition of states threatening litigation next month to overturn President Obama's legal protections for children brought to the US illegally by their parents is composed entirely of states with only very small numbers of the so-called "dreamers."
Up and down the ballot, this disparity is partly explained by the Democratic advantages among minority voters, whether native-born or naturalized citizens born abroad. But the consistency of this contrast also suggests that suspicion about immigration among the native-born population is generally more intense in places with little exposure to immigrants than in communities where such exposure is more common.
In higher-immigration states, "Their economies and communities are fully integrated with immigrants -- across the skill spectrum. Therefore, they see and feel the benefits of immigration in ways that more culturally isolated states do not," says Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum and author of the recent book "There Goes The Neighborhood," which explores how communities are adapting to changing demography. "But even the more culturally isolated states are conflicted when you look closely. ... Most Americans know and love the José or Mohammed they know; but are afraid of the José or Mohammed they don't know."
This may be the right formula but it doesn't make it any more pleasant to see and experience the effects of anti-immigrant backlash--backlash that may be with us for some time as more culturally isolated and less economically dynamic places evolve. But it does suggest there's hope.

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