Saturday, December 23, 2017

Anti-Immigration: This Time Is Different

It's a funny kind of anti-immigrant fervor that's gripping the country. It's just  not that fervid. Even as we suffer from President Trump and his lunatic co-conspirators in Congress, the country as a whole is moving rapidly away anti-immigrant views. This point is well-made in a recent column by Noah Smith where he notes the contrast between today's trends and previous waves of anti-immigrant sentiment in the early 20th century. We're moving in the exactly wrong direction to have such a wave. This is, as Joe Biden might put it, a big f____ deal.

The chart above is from NBC poll data and ends in April. There's been one other NBC poll with this question since then.....and it's even more pro-immigrant (64 percent, immigration strengthens the US; 28 percent, immigration weakens the US). 

These trends are similar to those found in a recent Pew poll. Almost two in three Americans think immigrants "strengthen the US with their hard work and talents" (highest ever! more than double the number back in 1994!) compared to little more than one in four who think immigrants "burden the country by taking jobs, housing and health care". And sure there is indeed a big divide between the parties on this issue but in recent years that's because both Republican and Democratic partisans have become liberal in their views, but Democrats are getting more liberal faster (this is the same pattern found in the NBC polls). 

The chances that the 2020's are going to look like the 1920's look pretty remote to me. Indeed, I would venture to predict that decade will be one of exceptional progressive advance. More on this some other time.

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