So many polarizing issues today draw their energy when certain positions are conflated to mean something else. Disagreements with certain positions are too often conflated to mean that there is a firm agreement with the extreme alternative.
We have ascended to the pinnacle of being a ‘conflation’ nation, where the clouds of emotional irrationality in national discourse have subverted constructive conversations to solve complex issues.
One of the most destructive conflations of issues has been that in the age of terrorism, if one is for stronger border security and restoring law and order to our immigration laws, it is often conflated to mean that one is anti-immigrant. If one points to threats of radical Islam, it is often conflated that they are anti-Muslim.
As an immigrant it is disheartening to see that so many fellow law abiding immigrants have been so eager to associate themselves with movements which conflate measures to better screen refugees from volatile areas, deport criminal immigrants and enhance border security as being about anti-immigration. Recently many immigrants aligned with movements represented on social media by hastags #weareMuslimstoo #weareallimmigrants and #adaywithoutimmigrants. If their motive is to prevent anti-immigration sentiments, their efforts are counter-intuitive and may in fact risk spurring those sentiments.
These movements have used talking points and statistics to highlight areas where immigration has had positive impacts to America. While some may be true and I agree with many of those points, they are being used in the wrong context. Rather, the best way for immigrants to emphasize the positive values immigration in America is to support causes that emphasize that immigration has only been good for America when immigrants assimilate, show ambition, and abide by the rules of law and order. We should always show patriotism to our adopted home by showing solidarity in protecting it from radical and criminal elements that seek to undermine the ideas that have also afforded us the freedoms and opportunities as immigrants in America.
Being allowed to immigrate to a country is a privilege not an entitlement. It also comes with the responsibilities and obligations of being law abiding and to assimilate. The aforementioned movements imply that open-borders as an entitlement. None of us who are immigrants if we still lived in our country of origin would condone bad behavior of immigrants or admission of immigrants without measures to avoid having those who may pose threats. We certainly would want accountability if they committed crimes. In addition, many immigrants left their home country because of a breakdown of law and order to seek the prosperity afforded by law and order in the U.S. If there is anything that should be conflated is that prosperity, and law and order are intricately linked.
Our freedoms, our way of life and the biggest impact that has affected immigration in recent history happened on September 11, 2001 when 19 hijackers who were immigrants crashed planes into buildings and the ground killing thousands. They were part of a larger radical Islamic movement that has only metastasized in sixteen years. We are living in different times and immigration itself has not been the same when it became apparent that people are actively using the freedom of immigration to inflict harm on the United States. While many law-abiding immigrants conflate the biggest threats to immigration with the new security measures favored by President Trump, the biggest threats to immigration will be if we fall back to a pre-9/11 mentality and allow people to use opportunities of immigration to inflict major attacks on the homeland or spread radical ideologies to undermine our culture and freedoms.
When law-abiding immigrants down play the national security concerns of the 21st century such as people using the immigration opportunities to travel to the West and wage terrorism acts against it or commit other crimes, it gives the impression that immigrant communities may incubate such undesirable behavior. Many parts of Europe that are experiencing increased acts of terrorism and crimes by immigrants have also seen a rise of anti-immigrant sentiments. This has mainly been because many natural born citizens don’t trust their immigration system to properly admit refugees and screen for radical Muslims or criminal immigrants who may compromise their security. The same is happening here in the U.S
Immigrants should resist the urge to support politicians in sanctuary cities who seek to defy immigration enforcement by refusing to turn over immigrant gang members and serious criminals to immigration officials. Such criminals don’t help the pro-immigration cause, and they certainly don’t make immigrant communities safer.