By Rowan Oberman
Immigration has become the conservative litmus test and has been one of the most talked about issues of the primary season. Everyone knows Donald Trump’s rhetoric on immigrants and his proposed plan to build a wall that Mexico would pay for, but the entire Republican field has taken strong anti-immigrant positions. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, for example, have been almost as anti-immigrant as Trump—ironic, given that both Cruz and Rubio are second-generation Americans.
The issue of border security is being made out to be of vital importance; however, all the rhetoric about immigration fails to reflect reality. According to the Pew Research Center, from 2009 to 2014, the United States actually experienced negative net immigration from Mexico. Over a hundred thousand more people left the United States for Mexico than came into the U.S. And these people weren’t being deported; the vast majority of them left on their own accord, according to the study.
Many Republicans insist on stronger border security, but our borders are more secure than they have been in American history, according to President Obama’s televised address in November 2014. However, immigration was still considered the most important issue by ABC.
Republican debate watchers during the Feb. 6 debate. This anti-immigrant rhetoric in the Republican party is relatively new. Ronald Reagan—the gold standard of conservatism—actually granted amnesty to over three million undocumented immigrants, according to npr.org.
The fact is that immigration is beneficial to everyone involved. According to whitehouse.gov, immigrants are 30 percent more likely to create a business, and immigrant-owned small businesses employed nearly 5 million people in 2007.
Immigration is an issue that our country needs to address. It’s not an issue of undocumented immigrants pouring over our border, but how to reform our immigration system. We have to deal with the 11 million undocumented immigrants, most of whom are productive, good members of society. It’s time for us to acknowledge the fallacy of much of our immigration rhetoric, and begin a compassionate discussion about our immigration system going forward.