• jon

    Posted 131 days ago

  • I agree with Dickerson's general claim: that the US has clearly had racial bias in both how it made immigration policies and how it executed on them. But the article itself, I thought, was just terrible. It almost seems like Dickerson closed her eyes and tried to think of as many things should could in an hour and wrote them down in pseudo-academic jargon.

    She starts by comparing the treatment of Mexican immigrants in the early 1900s with Nazi concentration camps. She makes this comparison because border officials used Zyklon B to disenfect workers' clothing as they crossed the border. She says "eventually, the Nazis increased the potency of Zyklon B in their gas chambers, and began using it on human beings." We are somehow supposed to make the connection that American border officials were the cause or at lease corrollary of Nazi gas chambers. This is absolutely ridiculous.

    She extends this metaphor further:

    Congress passed the “progressive” Johnson-Reed Act, which established immigration quotas based on national origin. Adolf Hitler hailed the law as a model to emulate. “Compared to old Europe, which had lost an infinite amount of its best blood through war and emigration, the American nation appears as a young, racially select people,” he wrote.

    Again, we are supposed to make the connection that if Hitler approved of it, it must have been the absolute worst thing in the world. I'm not arguing for the law, I just want to point out the poor comparisons that Dickerson is making here. Another one:

    Within a decade or so of the agency’s establishment, its officers were apprehending nearly five times more people along the Mexican border than along the Canadian border.

    This made me wonder if Dickerson has ever looked at a map of the world. The population of the connected landmass south of the United States is around half a billion people. The population of Canada is around 40 million. Doing some simple math, the population of potential immigrants crossing along the Canadian border is 8% of those crossing across the Mexican border. Yet we are supposed to believe that 5x more apprehensions is somehow a terrible statistic.

    Lastly, she says that "no other country has carried out this many deportations." According to Pew Research, American has, by far, more immigrants than any other country in the world (nearly 4x more than the second country with most immigrants). It would also be reasonable then, that we would expect a corresponding higher level of deportations or refusals of entry.

    My aggrevation with this article was not the underlying theory: the US has not been fair and equal, or just, with immigration in respect to ethinicity or country of origin. My issue is that people in the middle, who could be swayed to support fairer and more just immigration policies will be pushed away by articles and rhetoric like this, because it's simply so bad. So, so bad.