Anti-immigration: it’s the prejudice, stupid

So, with the Supreme Court hearing a case on Arizona’s immigration law, it was a good opportunity for the Post to put on display the hate and ignorance that drives those people anti-immigration enough to protest on the Court steps:

Supporters of Arizona’s law made it clear that they didn’t simply oppose illegal immigration — they feared it. “We have a home in Florida, and the illegals stay in our back yard,” explained Kay Rivoli, one of the country musicians on stage. “They leave little knife blades, Guatemalan money, sleeping bags and syringes — they stay in the bushes.”

The activists supporting the Arizona law emphasized that illegal immigration was a gateway to a host of unspeakable crimes and moral degeneration: “Take a look at the rape trees in the Arizona desert. When women come, they’re told to bring plenty of condoms, because ‘you’ll be raped,’ and the trees are covered with women’s underwear and condoms,” decried JoAnn Abbott, a tea party activist from northern Virginia, referring to confirmed reports of migrant women’s rape by border “coyotes,”as the human traffickers are known. By contrast, after Virginia’s Prince William County cracked down on immigration, “the crackhouses in my neighborhood were all gone, and the people who smash glass in the storefronts are all gone,” Abbott claimed.

In the event you think that these are just the protesting whackos or that these comments are cherry-picked to make anti-immigration types look bad– sorry.  The best social science on the matter makes it quite clear that much anti-immigration sentiment is rooted in prejudice, plain and simple.  Here’s the quote on the matter I like to read my students:

Most restrictionists are desperate to avoid the appearance that they have been inspired by Archie Bunker, preferring to cast their arguments in economic and sometimes environmental terms.  Unfortunately for these well-intentioned conservatives, the case for limiting immigration is more difficult to air with credibility precisely because a considerable share of the restrictionist sentiment is motivated simply by prejudice. [emphasis mine]

And lest you write this off as the untrustworthy rantings of a librul academic, I can attest that at least one of the authors of this research does not fall into that category.  So, I’m sure you anti-immigration reader out there are motivated entirely by principles and no prejudice, it’s just all the other anti-immigration types who are prejudiced.

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