Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Texas fight shows conservatives need new message

The past week has been a rough one for both immigration activists and conservatives. Last Monday, a federal judge in Texas blocked President Obama’s executive action that would spare millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Judge Andrew Hanen reasoned that a lawsuit brought by 26 states against Obama’s action could cause the states “irreparable harm,” according to The Boston Globe.

At first blush, this seems like a win for conservatives, most of whom ardently support stricter immigration laws and oppose paths to citizenship for those who are in the country illegally. But the lawsuit, and the attention it is receiving, points to a conservative base in America that still cannot “see the light” on this issue.

Interest groups supporting the lawsuit sang praise for the judge’s ruling, and used the attention to rattle off talking points on how immigration threatens the U.S.

“Struggling American families can find hope in the judge’s ruling which at least temporarily halts the issuance of work permits in March that would have begun allowing millions of illegal foreign workers to compete directly with American workers for new job openings,” Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, said in a statement to the media.

But this claim, though popular among the anti-immigrant crowd, has been thoroughly proven to be false. Most Americans don’t face much competition in the labor market from foreign-born workers, according to a 2009 study of immigrants’ employment by the Center for Immigration Studies. Even some jobs that are typically thought to be saturated with foreign workers are actually mostly held by Americans, including maids, janitors, and ground maintenance workers.

In fact, “of the 465 civilian occupations [examined in the study], only four are majority immigrant. These four occupations account for less than one percent of the total U.S. workforce,” according to the study.

The data shows that conservatives who fret over “immigrants taking our jobs” are trying to make up a problem that doesn’t affect most Americans, but still pushes voters’ buttons. Defending America from a foreign invasion of cheap labor may sound good to patriotic fear mongerers, but pose a great threat to the long-term health of the conservative movement.

Instead of rehashing old arguments, Republican legislators and governors should drop their support for the lawsuit and focus on appealing to the millions of immigrants who have come to stay.

Halting deportations — one of the effects of Obama’s executive action — will help thousands of workers and their families stay put in America. They fill jobs and spend their money here, boosting our economy.

But Republicans who need a more selfish reason to back off on Obama’s plan and take an interest in immigrants should consider this — socially conservative policies, which were once popular with much of the Republican base, are rapidly losing the interest of younger voters. Like those on marriage, women’s reproductive choices, and marijuana, restrictions are quickly following out of favor with the young electorate.

The tides are changing on immigration. Young conservatives need a movement that will adapt and change with them.

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About the Contributor
Sam Humphrey, Newsroom Manager
From starting as a staff writer to helping edit and manage the entire paper, Sam has seen every side of the Journal there is. He covered protests, changes in the school's administration, and local political events on Suffolk's campus and across the city. He graduated from the Sawyer Business School in May 2017 but his favorite memories of Suffolk are from his four years on the paper.

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Texas fight shows conservatives need new message