Today’s Immigrants See Much Less Discrimination Than Past Minorities


By: Warner Todd Huston

You know, words mean things, right? That having been said, the Washington Post today employed a subtle wording in a headline that turns people who stand against illegal immigration into people who hate the immigrants themselves.

In their February 23rd piece, the Post headlined a report on illegal immigration in Maryland with a grave “Anti-Immigrant Effort Takes Hold in Md.” With that headline, you’d expect the story to be revealing Marylanders who are against a certain block of people. But, as you read the story, you’ll find that no one interviewed is saying they hate the immigrants. They are however, saying they are upset with untrammeled illegal entrance into this country. So, in the end, the story is about being pro-lawful immigration, and not about any hate for the immigrants themselves.

Even the subhead makes it seem as if the efforts of folks in Maryland to stop illegal immigration is directed at the immigrants themselves. “Grass-Roots Movement Expands Beyond Montgomery in Targeting the Undocumented,” the Post claims. Yet, again, nowhere in the story are any of those interviewed saying they are against people. What they are for is an enforcement of our laws and new laws to stop people from breaking our immigration laws. What they are against is lawlessness.

This particular American conflict between classes of residents is one of far different tenor than the racial, or minority fights of America’s past. In the early days of the Republic, Catholics were particularly despised by the bulk of the American people. Irish came in for their share of attack in the late 1800s — again with anti-Catholic sentiment playing a part. Jews and blacks were also put upon by haters and rabble-rousers in our past. And in each of these cases back in our early days (and as late as the 1960s in the case of the black oppressions here), people were barred from working, barred from government, and oppressed. At one time or another they were even physically attacked, their businesses and homes burned to the ground, their children refused schooling, their churches attacked and many were even killed in significant numbers.

But, not so today. We have a growing segment of the American public that truly hates illegal immigration. But that hate has yet to cross the line from a hate of the action of breaking our immigration laws to a hate of the kind of people who break those laws. Now, certainly you can find racists who hate Hispanics. Surely you can find incidents where Hispanics have been victims of racial bias but not in the same numbers and with the same vehemence as in past class struggles. There is a very obvious difference between this particular conflict and ones in our past. Hispanics are not being as widely mistreated as past races or classes of minorities have been treated in this country. There just is no way to say that they have.

On a side note, this isn’t the only minority involved in controversy that has not seen a bias as strong as they might have in the past. Muslims in America are also not finding themselves as badly treated as past minorities have been treated even as their brethren have been responsible for some of the worst atrocities perpetrated by mankind. Americans have given Muslims quite an easy time of it in these very troubled days for Islam.

As to immigration, Americans who are against illegal immigration are far and away mainly interested in making sure that the integrity of our borders is secured and that entrants into this country are here legally. Few Americans have any thought that they wish to keep all of “them” altogether out. The large preponderance of Americans against illegal immigration have absolutely no problem at all with foreigners who come here legally and become Americans.

So, why the skewed headline from the Post? Why make the story seem to be about Americans who hate immigrants? Could it be that the Washington Post has an agenda to further and that agenda is to defeat Americans interested in legal immigration? Could it be that the Washington Post is doing their best to discredit the anti-illegal immigration advocates out there?

And the Washington Post isn’t alone in portraying this social conflict as being far worse on the illegal immigrants than it really is, especially in the light of history. Advocates like the Washington Post do us all a disservice to inflate the conflict past the point at which it actually stands.

In fact, I’d say that papers like the Washington Post are actually attempting to fan the flames of race hatred and conflict with their coverage of the “news.” Right now it is properly a political problem and less an overtly racial one. But, with efforts like the Washington Post’s that could change… and for the worse.

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