And, besides, the thinking goes, people far from the border really don’t care. ~Peter Brown
Brown’s article makes a lot of sense, but I think it overlooks that the crucial thing that is driving the new wave of opposition to immigration is the response from voters in both border states and in states that are far in the interior. If anyone does still think that people in interior states don’t care about immigration, this is incorrect.
Open borders advocates often cite polling on immigration from border states as evidence that the issue is a losing one, which ignores intensity of the opponents who live in these border states. Meanwhile, the farther away from the border one is, the more troubling a broader mass of voters tends to find illegal immigration to be, especially as it begins to affect their communities. I think this is because it strikes them as evidence of just how out of control things have become. Obviously, Iowa is pretty far away from the Rio Grande, but immigration is a burning issue there, and not just among the activists. The same was true for western Massachusetts and even among some Democratic voters, as the special election earlier this year showed. Part of this, as Lizza’s story on immigration politics explains, is the reaction to recently arrived immigrants in places where there had not been large numbers of them before. The shock of sudden change combined with the underlying dissatisfaction with government failures in this area of policy make for a fearsome political reaction. Add to that the long-standing unhappiness of a significant number of very intense opponents in the border states. As a result, enforcement and restrictionism become much more attractive throughout the country.