24 Aug '15     home | previous

Immigration and Hostility

The Worldometer population clock tells us that so far this year there have been more than 92.8 million births and 38.6 million deaths. For the year so far, that's a population increase of 54.3 million – enough people for 54 new cities each with a million people.

The state I was born in, California, doesn't need another city of one million annually. What state in the world does?

Immigration is being described as unpopular in Britain, "with approximately three-quarters of the British public favouring reduced levels." Migrations into Europe from the Mid-East and Africa are being described as a humanitarian crisis. Today's BBC News describes "rightwing protesters" clashing with police in Germany at a newly-opened shelter for migrants.

Germany has a low birth rate, and perhaps we can assume that many of its anti-immigrants are hostile toward Islam and some don't want people around who are ethnically different – the xenophobes. Meanwhile, here in the US, presidential candidate Donald Trump has been complaining about citizenship conferred on the infants of people coming into the country, an article in today's Washington Post emphasizes his hostility toward illegal immigration and speaks of his "nativist bandwagon." Some who are hostile toward Trump are accusing him of hostility toward Mexicans – not unlike some accused Reagan of racism when he was running for governor of California. Speaking of Mexicans in general, Trump says, "I love the Mexican people." He has attacked specific Mexicans, calling them rapists and murderers. " Some people are not inclined to separate specifics from the general. They feed the view of some people to the right of the political center who are tired of the exaggerations that produce timidity and political correctness in public discourse.

An old friend of mine in central California, who is left-of-center, tells me he likes Trump, at least regarding immigration. He likes Trump's lack of timidity. He is definitely not a white supremacist or ethnically chauvinistic. I've known him since the 1950s and I've never heard him express hostility toward people not born in the United States.

I have another close friend, a liberal intellectual, who dislikes bombast, common political bull and Donald Trump, except that he agrees with Trump's opposition to "anchor babies" and illegal immigration. My friend is of Irish descent, highly educated and speaks Spanish fluently and well. He likes and dislikes individuals regardless of their ethnicity or race.

Recklessness in labeling people I find ugly, also when aimed at Donald Trump. As for the border, the focus I believe should be more on those who hire illegals, reducing incentive, and on enforcing laws. I'm happy to have people from Asia, Europe and Latin America as members of our community. Some recent arrivals I might not like much as people, but that sentiment extends to a few from families who have been here for generations. Some I'm delighted to have with us and don't want to think of them as immigrants.

Regarding the migrations into Europe, if I were German, Swedish or whatever, I wouldn't be burning down refugee centers but I would not be happy about the size of the influx. Note that multi-culturalism has not worked very well in Sweden. The European Union is handling the migration tragedy fairly well. But I can't get over the idea that, instead of running from their country, people should stay and fight to improve it – not possible for everybody, for sure.

Finally, I wish we would view the increase in migrations into Europe and the United States as not totally disconnected from massive population increases in recent times.

Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.