Do White Republicans Know That Many Immigrants Are Socially Conservative Just Like Them?

On Tuesday, White House chief-of-staff John Kelly said some immigrants were “too lazy” to sign up for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which he created in order to provide protections for children born in America to parents who are undocumented immigrants. The idea is to create a pathway to citizenship for their parents, rather than just kicking doors down and deporting folks, effectively splitting up families. While President Obama did deport more people than any other president before him, who he was deporting is an incredibly relevant part of the story. While President Obama targeted undocumented immigrants who were either convicted of a crime or detained crossing the border without having any familial roots in America, Trump has been targeted non-criminal family men and women who work hard to make ends meet and stay out of trouble. For some ungodly reason, John Kelly saw fit to attack these citizens and label them with the old-hat racist remark of “lazy”, the confusingly contradictory conservative slur that indicts (especially latino) immigrants as unindustrious while simultaneously blaming them for “stealing all the jobs.”

The blowback to Kelly’s ignorant-ass comments came quick, fast, and in a hurry.

You know what I’ve always found so crazy about Republican racism and xenophobia towards their borders? As much as I understand it’s roots, and have accepted that it’s an almost unextractable reality of the GOP, I still wonder if white conservative Republicans understand that their social conservatism is very popular amongst many immigrants of colour, while social-Democratic ideology is very popular amongst the same white European immigrants they claim they want. As much as Trump claims Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations are shitholes, his socially conservative ideologies (or at least the front his ass puts on to appease his base) aren’t far from what you’ll hear Nigerians, Ghanians, and Haitians say in there home countries, or abroad in their new nations as immigrants. And as much as Trump says he wants immigrants from Norway, one of the whitest countries on Earth, he fails to realize that Norway is one of the most socially progressive countries on Earth. Norway’s laws are enforced to protect gender equality, freedom of religion, state schooling, increasing immigrant labour, and progressive environmentalism (like imposing higher taxes on companies who fail to adhere to environmental standards). In fact, when you look at the most socially progressive countries in the world, they aren’t nations full of Black and brown folks, it’s white Euro nations like Finland, Iceland, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. Them white folks aren’t coming to America to support backwards, regressive policy like that offered by Mike Pence and Paul Ryan, they would come to the U.S. to maintain a semblance of the lifestyle they enjoyed back home.

Having been raised in North America as a member of an immigrant family, what makes me laugh out loud is that Republicans really believe that by closing the border to immigrants of colour, they are strengthening their party, when what they’re really doing is weakening their own base, and driving them to the liberals. By framing melanated immigrants as criminal, lazy, dangerous, shiftless, and ultimately useless, the GOP is effectively using their prejudice to drive these new immigrants (who actually share many of their same beliefs) into the hands of the less aggressively racist liberals. Immigrants of colour aren’t coming to first world nations to destroy their social services by relying on SNAP and welfare, many are actually coming with the same (problematic) bootstrap ideology that the Republicans parrot all the damn time, but then many just eventually gravitate to the one party that will actually welcome them. The GOP’s racism is their own worst weapon for expanding their party.

 

The great paradox of social conservatism is that while it’s globally popular, in America it’s a non-starter if it’s not firmly rooted in white supremacy. Until conservatives can reconcile that, they will forever be a party in contraction as the country becomes less white.

This Is Your Conscience

Lincoln Anthony Blades can be found on Twitter at @LincolnABlades and on Instagram at @ThisIsYourConscience