Immigration VS. Conservativsm

Hello, this is Michael Niren, immigration lawyer and founder of Lately I’ve been doing a lot of videos about politics as they pertain to immigration.

It’s primary season in the United States where the Republican and Democratic candidates are working hard to become the ultimate nominee for the general election. So I think it’s appropriate to do a lot of videos about the election and immigration because invariably any candidate who becomes the president will influence immigration policy.

Today I want to talk about the Republican party, in particular: conservatism — the philosophy behind the Republican party. Some candidates are more conservative than others, but generally speaking, when you think of Republicans you think of the political philosophy of conservatism.

This is important is because the candidates, while they disagree on many ideas and many policies, there seems to be a consensus when it comes to immigration. All the candidates spoken loudly, loudest by Donald Trump, talk about building a wall and stopping illegal immigration. They talk about immigration reform. And I find it curious because traditionally the conservative movement, philosophically at least, is all about freedom. The traditional view of freedom, as codified in the US constitution: Individual rights, the limited government, Liberty. These terms are mostly associated with conservative philosophy. The idea that government be small, it should be restraint, and should allow individual to engage in free trade, freedom of enterprise in business.

But for some reason it’s different when it comes to immigration, which really is about individuals crossing borders, coming to the US, most of whom want to work, want to succeed, and want a piece of the American dream.

Traditionally, America has opened its arms, opened the doors to immigrants. America is the country of immigrants. In fact, some of the greatest industrialists, the greatest scientists, the greatest teachers are immigrants. And even today, you go to Silicon Valley, who are some of the top CEO’s or those who’ve come up with amazing ideas online? Often Indian Nationals or people from China or other countries. So, it’s all about the American dream and in the conservative tradition they’re typically quite welcoming, but unfortunately, in this primary season in 2015-2016, we’re hearing quite the opposite.

Now, of course, we live in the age of terrorism. We live in the age of concerns over border security. And that’s all important and valid concerns, but the way the narrative going, it seems like it’s painting immigration with one broad brush basically saying that immigration is a problem.

I agree that immigration needs to be reformed, but probably in the opposite direction than most conservatives are advocating. Economically, it’s just the case that immigration benefits everybody. It benefits companies, they hire talent from all over the world. It benefits consumers because they get the best products, the best services, from the best labor pool. It doesn’t typically hurt American workers or local workers; that is an economic fallacy.

I don’t want to go into all the technical details about that but it’s just an economic fallacy. We call that protectionism, and that term, protectionism, it seems to be the driving philosophy behind the current Republican position on immigration, which is unfortunate because, as I’ve said before, the US has typically been welcoming to immigrants.

The concern really is that the Conservatives and the Republicans are losing their way by getting caught up in this rhetoric which sounds appealing to some voters but in the end, to use Donald Trump’s phrase, “Will it make America great?”

The answer is no.

America’s greatness has been a result of its openness to immigration. And yes you are going to get some bad apples, you are going to get some individuals who come and mean us harm, and who may commit crimes or horrible things. But that happens domestically — citizens are just guilty. Of course being a citizen, that means you have the right to stay in the country and in immigration law if you do commit an offense you could be subject to deportation.

The bottom line is, just because there are some bad apples, think of the big picture. You don’t close your borders. What countries have the tightest borders restriction? Typically retrogressive countries, typically countries where there are walls. For example, remember east Germany, remember the Soviet Union, where you needed an exit Visa to leave, you couldn’t just couldn’t enter. Those are the kind of countries that I think America does not want to emulate.

This being an on-going issue, if you are a Conservative, if you are a Republican, I urge you to think twice about what is being said in terms of immigration policy.

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Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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    • Vahe Mirzoyan

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      Regards, Vahe

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