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Horowitz: Ingraham & Carlson Sing Same Old Anti-Immigrant Song

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

 

Laura Ingraham PHOTO: Twitter

The well-applied television makeup, wittiness and occasional intellectual sophistication of Fox News Prime Time Hosts Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson only partially mask the ugly anti-immigrant arguments that these strong supporters of President Trump’s hard line and racially tinged immigration policies assert nightly.  Ingraham and Carlson are very much singing the same old racially and ethnically charged anti-immigrant song that has been loudly proclaimed and proven mistaken time and again throughout our history. Their old and familiar argument that our country will be somehow irreparably damaged because we are being overrun by people that are “different from us" and will be hard to assimilate is the same argument that was made against Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants during the early 1900’s.and by the Know-Nothing movement against European immigration in the 1840’s.

“Now, what do we find in all of our large cities? Entire sections containing a population incapable of understanding our institutions with no comprehension of our national ideals and for the most part incapable of speaking the English language,” said Representative Grant Hudson in 1924. The only difference between Hudson then and Ingraham and Carlson, now is Hudson was referring mainly to Italians and Jews, while the Fox News Hosts are talking about Latinos

In more pointed language, the novelist John Dos Passos made the same case in the early 20th century. “The people of this country are too tolerant. There’s no other country in the world where they’d allow it…After all we built up this country and then we allow a lot of foreigners, the scum of Europe, the offscourings of the Polish ghettos come and run it for us.”

This is the context in which one must view Ingraham recently proclaiming that “in some parts of the country it does seem like the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore,” Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people. And they’re changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like.” 

Or when Carlson says Mexico is “routinely interfering in our elections by packing our electorate.”

The plain facts are that, contrary to Ingraham and Carlson’s attempts to play to our fears, Latino-Americans are assimilating in much the same pattern as previous generations of immigrants.  One of the United States unique strengths is that we are a nation of immigrants and that each new generation of immigrants have reinvigorated and strengthened our country, bringing new economic energy and enhancing our culture. Latino Americans are no exception.

One of the tells that the Fox News Hosts position on immigration is at least partially fueled by anti-Latino bias is that these hosts devote little, if any, time to discussing immigration from Asia-now the largest source of immigrants to the United States.

Fortunately, Ingraham and Carlson represent very much a minority view. The overwhelming majority of Americans view immigrants as the plus they are to our nation. This is documented in a number of recent polls.

Most American embrace the eloquent sentiments of President Reagan as he explained in his farewell address what he meant when he called America a Shining City on a Hill. “After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.”

That’s the expansive, optimistic vision of our nation--one that rejects the ugly and mistaken nativism of Trump, Ingraham, and Carlson.

Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.

 

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