The Atlantic: How the Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration

This article is going viral: How the Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration

Liberals must take seriously Americans’ yearning for social cohesion. To promote both mass immigration and greater economic redistribution, they must convince more native-born white Americans that immigrants will not weaken the bonds of national identity. This means dusting off a concept many on the left currently hate: assimilation.

Democrats should put immigrants’ learning English at the center of their immigration agenda. If more immigrants speak English fluently, native-born whites may well feel a stronger connection to them, and be more likely to support government policies that help them. Promoting English will also give Democrats a greater chance of attracting those native-born whites who consider growing diversity a threat. According to a preelection study by Adam Bonica, a Stanford political scientist, the single best predictor of whether a voter supported Trump was whether he or she agreed with the statement “People living in the U.S. should follow American customs and traditions.”

Looks like they are dancing around the issue. The biggest concern is depressed wages, not assimilation. Someone who lost their job isn’t thinking ‘damn I wish those immigrants would assimilate better’ The author posits assimilation as the answer, but that’s just subterfuge for the real motives: cheap labor (for the ‘right’) and cheap votes (for the ‘left’). When both sides promote ‘immigration reform’ and ‘the American dream for immigrants’, they are ignoring a bigger concern: jobs and wages.

Even if immigrants don’t drive-down wages and raise unemployment for non-immigrants, the onus is on politicians to show that. I’ve seen arguments for both sides, and given the intractability of this issue, a better question is to ask how Americans feel about immigration. If the goal is to win, sentiment maters more than facts. Trump correctly gauged such sentiment and used it to his advantage during the campaign, instead of mollifying such concerns with the usual ‘immigrants embody the American dream’ platitudes that we’ve come to expect from both the mainstream left and the mainstream right.

As discussed in Has democracy become too expensive for capitalism? Part 1, large companies don’t just want immigration for cheap labor: immigration is pure top-line earnings growth due to increased consumer spending. Even if immigrants are a net-negative to the economy (in terms of consuming more in public benefits than they pay in taxes), corporations aren’t paying the bill for the externalities (such as increased crime, increased welfare spending, etc.) of increased immigration.