Is it ironic that people who are allegedly in favor of reducing the role of government in our lives, are the ones who are most likely to get bent out of shape over people crossing the arbitrary lines governments draw. I tend to find this mostly true of conservatives as libertarians general support the freedom of individuals to travel freely across the Earth’s surface.
I find when I talk to actual self-identified conservatives about the issue of immigration, what they often say is downright fascistic. They may say, that they are in favor of immigration, but not illegal immigration (as if the distinction is anything but arbitrary or our laws on immigration are actually moral). They make such a big deal about the supposedly illicit aspect of these people presence in the country, and they refer to them by the rather dehumanizing term “illegals”. The problem is that are immigration laws have little to do with keeping out people who wish to live off the welfare system or commit crime and allowing people who are simply seeking work entry. They instead produce a time consuming bureaucratic process, that makes entering the country illegally much easier than entering through recognized channels. Of course, this also creates a class of easily exploitable cheap laborers who have to live in constant fear that their employers will turn them over to the state (and therefore have no recourse against any abuses they are subject to). This may be good for people who wish to exploit vulnerable laborers but it is bad for everyone else.
The self-identified conservatives I speak to will also say things like “they are not coming here to be Americans”, which apparently they see as grounds for keeping immigrants out. I find the idea that we should restrict the freedom of others to travel, in order to preserve some sort of cultural purity to be not only immoral but the epitome of big intrusive government. At times the claim “they are not coming here to be Americans” also has a racist and xenophobic, aspect as well, depending on who is saying it. Government should be completely neutral to cultural issues, as well as are language or racial makeup.
Overall, my understanding is that immigrants are generally good for an economy, as they are willing to do many jobs Americans are not interested in, and are happy to spend the money they make here, on goods and services, pumping that wealth back into the economy. I tend to find it disingenuous when conservative politicians complain about immigrants taking jobs from Americans. Often these are the same people who are doing everything in the world to make it easier for American companies to outsource to third world nations, and more often than not these politicians are indebted to the businessmen, who are benefiting from the vulnerable laborers are current system is producing.
We are a culture that was produced by countless waves of immigration, as such we should realize this process is still taking place, and that using the state to fight it, has the opposite of keeping government small.