Last week Immigration Works USA released a poll that highlighted the major problem in the immigration discourse: the conflation of legal with illegal immigration. Despite the three-fourths of immigrants who are here legally, the conversation centers on the one-fourth who are here illegally.
The poll found that once the discussion pivots towards legal immigration, Americans have a strongly positive view and support an enlarged visa program for immigrants doing “physically demanding work.”
The poll found that participants automatically assumed that a conversation about immigration is about illegal immigration. The Immigration Works USA report states, “We repeatedly needed to remind participants who we were talking about and redirect the discussion back to legal immigration.”
One participant, a college-educated Republican stated, “When you look around the country, when you bring up immigration, no matter if we want to or not, we think of illegal immigration.”
This might seem like a minor rhetorical difference. But the impact is noteworthy. Illegal immigration incites negative responses, but legal immigration is met with positive attitudes. So if people overwhelmingly think of immigration as illegal when the issue is raised, their attitudes are soured.
Read the rest on the Niskanen Center here.
Following an hour-long televised debate, Jeremy Corbyn emerged as the surprise favourite for next Labour leader amongst the party’s grassroots. The 66 year old MP for Islington North is a darling of the Labour left, relying heavily on their online campaign to get him on the ballot in the first place. Though he remains unlikely to win the contest, his presence should be regarded as a positive development for libertarians and lefties alike.
The traditional right-wing argument for supporting Corbyn is simple. He won’t win the 2020 General Election, and now that the Labour Party has introduced a way for non-members to vote in the leadership contest, the Right can elect Corbyn as leader. Such is the potential of the ‘#ToriesForCorbyn’ strategy that there is serious discussion about how much it would cost for the Conservative Party to ‘buy’ the next election. However, libertarians should welcome Corbyn’s leadership campaign for reasons beyond the fact he will never secure a Labour majority.
First and foremost, Corbyn is staunchly pro-immigration. In both the recent TV debate and in Parliament, he has repeatedly emphasised the economic and social contributions made by immigrants to Britain. Having such a vocal defender of immigration as candidate for leadership of the UK’s second largest political party is great news for libertarians, who can disregard Corbyn’s support for a planned economy whilst capitalising on freedom of movement inching into the Overton Window.
Secondly, Corbyn has spent much of his political career campaigning against military interventionism. Inspired by a universal (rather than nationalistic) outlook, his views on foreign policy sound awfully libertarian:
I argue for a different type of foreign policy based on political and not military solutions; on genuine internationalism that recognises that all human life is precious, no matter what nationality…
Corbyn’s position as potential leader of the Labour Party means that he is perfectly placed to put anti-interventionism at the centre of the political agenda. If by some miracle he actually became leader of the Labour Party, the effectiveness of his pro-immigration, anti-war message would be magnified significantly. That he is even running is something to be welcomed by libertarians.