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May 19, 2006

Framing Immigration

I usually try to avoid big national issues here on EP, but with immigration policy so much in the news these days I couldn't resist pointing out the new think-piece from  Rockridge Institute on The Framing of Immigration.  It's a complex issue, and the frames are complex and divisive.  As usual, the folks at Rockridge help peel back the curtain on the often-charged and manipulative language.

Here's a meaty tidbit that summarizes some of the frames different folks are using:


The conservative views:

Law and Order:
The “illegal immigrants” are criminals, felons, and must be punished - rounded up and sent home. There should be no amnesty. Otherwise all law will break down.

The Nativists: The immigrants are diluting our culture, our language, and our values.

The Profiteers:
We need cheap labor to keep our profits up and our cheap lifestyle in place.

The Bean Counters:
We can't afford to have illegal immigrants using our tax dollars on health, education, and other services.

The Security Hounds: We need more border guards and a hi-tech wall to guarantee our security.


Progressivism Begins at Home: The immigrants are taking the jobs of American works and we have to protect our workers.

African-American Protectionists: Hispanic immigrants are threatening African-American jobs.

Provide a path to citizenship: The immigrants have earned citizenship with their hard work, their devotion to American values, and their contribution to our society.

Foreign Policy Reformers: We need to pay attention to the causes that drive others from their homelands.

Wage supports
: Institute a serious earned income tax credit for Americans doing otherwise low-paying jobs, so that more Americans will want to do them and fewer immigrants will be drawn here.

Illegal Employers: The way to protect American workers and slow immigration of unskilled workers is to prosecute employers of unskilled workers.

We can see why this is such a complex problem and why there are so many splits within both the conservative and progressive ranks.

Posted by Jon Stahl on May 19, 2006 at 12:08 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink


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