Rinku Sen at HuffPo on Immigration as Economic Stimulus

By Channing Kennedy Apr 14, 2009

To hear more about race’s connection to the economy, check out today’s Compact phone forum, ‘Race and Recession.’ ColorLines publisher and Applied Research Center executive director Rinku Sen has a new article over at Huffington Post. In it, she handily debunks the nativist line that immigrants are out to ‘steal’ American jobs, and shows how the US can rally its economy by legalizing the millions of already-present undocumented workers, rather than letting companies cheat both the workers and the government. As I read the article, I found myself nodding in agreement; the facts she presented weren’t new to me, but I was glad she was getting them out there for those outside the wonkosphere. I expected the reaction would be cordial — something like ‘great article! very informative! I hadn’t thought about it that way before!’ — and it has been, in my immediate circle of influence. But– of course there’s a but — but then I got to the comments on the HuffPo page, and remembered just how contentious the immigration debate continues to be. Shall we? (All typos in original source.) QM2SS says:

The economic impact of these law breakers has overwhelmed our social services system (forcing the closing emergency rooms), filled our prisons, suppressed wages and dumbed-down the education of our children. All this while flying Mexican flags in downtown Los Angeles demanding their "rights".

Rule Of Law replies, and gee I think he might be being sarcastic:

What would the bleeding heart, politically correct, knee jerk liberals (as opposed to thinking progressives) do for a hobby? They’d have no "oppressed" minority to agitate for, no foundations to fund and run to research the problems, no assistance leagues to join. What ever would they do with all their free time? And how could they continue to feel superior?

And of course there’s HernandezUSA, who signs off with the NumbersUSA web address:

Deport the illegals and watch the debt of our states drop as the number of leaches are removed from social net and returned to their home countries. End the support of the RACIST groups like "LA RAZA" that are promoting hate of American values and being so "UnAmerican".

Granted, anyone with HernandezUSA’s potent blend of misspellings and web promotion is clearly out trolling for immigration comment threads to spam. What bothers me is that, as of the time of this writing, the authors are unanimous in opinion. There is no dissenting voice in the comments, digging into the debate and pushing back against the vitriol that the Becks and Dobbs and Limbaughs fabricate and germinate. It’s unsettling to think that ‘our side’ of this debate is even a side still, that the sanctity of human life and the failures of American immigration policy aren’t common knowledge, aren’t already ingrained in the fabric of our discourse. While I know you can’t build a bridge without attracting a few trolls (ha ha), I do wonder where ‘common knowledge’ stands on the issue of immigration in America today, and where it needs to be before we can really move forward. What do you think? Chime in the comments below. And while you’re at it, take on a few trolls over at Rinku’s HuffPo post. It’s easy pickings!