Politics

Thinking of Immigration as a Security Issue Means We Can’t See It as Economic Necessity

On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) said that because we’ve lumped immigration in with border security, we can’t think of immigration as an economic necessity because it’s viewed as a security issue.

Host Ali Velshi said, “Congressman, I’m always — I’m concerned about, in this country, we have, accidentally or otherwise, decided to treat immigration as a security threat, as opposed to an economic matter. We’ve done this — immigration falls under the Department of Homeland Security, which I’ve always thought, I understand why it was done after 9/11, but it feels like it was actually a mistake. Most other countries think of immigration as an economic imperative, and they think about security at their borders as a separate matter. We’ve lumped the two together, and now it becomes impossible for Americans to think about it as an economic imperative that it is, because we think about it as a security matter.”

Garcia responded, “That’s right. First, immigration is a net positive in this country. It always has been. Immigrants, as we know what — look at the economy, immigrants contribute so much to our national economy, to our local economies in all of our states across the country. Immigrants are getting educated, going back, you have folks that are completing graduate degrees, folks from other countries that are here contributing, everything from folks that are going to college, to the folks that are out there, paving our cement, our streets, our roads, our bridges, there are so [many] contributions. We know that the only way our economy can work is with immigrants, and oftentimes, it’s immigrant labor that many other folks don’t want to do. And so, this idea that we’re going to somehow shut off immigration, that we’re going to go back on our values is wrong. And Donald Trump is the leader of this rhetoric. And he has convinced so many Republicans that used to have a little bit more respect for immigrants, a little bit more understanding of the contributions. This is not the party of Ronald Reagan, of George Bush, of so many others that at least understood those contributions. He has a warped reality, his rhetoric is racist against immigrants, his rhetoric is xenophobic, and he needs and his campaign, need to be stopped.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett



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