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This is stupid. One side is saying "we want to get rid of all the immigrants." My disagreement with that is not a communication problem, it's that that position is a red line. There's no chance of me being convinced that forcibly removing immigrants is a good idea. So why even have the conversation? What good could that possibly do?

Don't you feel at least a little bit curious on why someone could adopt a position that is so obviously wrong to you? Remember, these are people too, not that much unlike you. Some of them might even have the same favorite movies as you.

> So why even have they conversation? What good could that possibly do?

To see how the came to that conclusion. It's not like they hate brown people that speak funny, they have real issues that rightly or wrongly get blamed on immigration.

Some people do have real issues that rightly or wrongly get blamed on immigration, but there's also no shortage of actual racism among those who really, really seem to care about immigration. It's not like you don't see tons of explicit or implicit racism on Reddit or Twitter or Facebook among Trump supporters. Or at Trump rallys, for that matter, like "Jew S A" chants or people proudly wearing t-shirts that they think are hilarious about lynching journalists (like, actual old-fashioned lynching involving ropes and trees and victims).

Hell, the KKK endorsed Trump and he didn't denounce them. So yes, there are at least some people who like Trump for his anti-immigrant views that base their support on racism. Based on what I've seen online and in person, there are quite a few of them. Maybe that's not all of them, and some or most are really just concerned about it as a law and order issue, but Trump made absolutely no effort to distinguish between the two. At no point did he ever make any statement that attempted to disassociate his views on immigration from racism, and he was called upon to do so throughout the campaign (like after the KKK endorsement).

Maybe he himself has more enlightened views on immigration, but he clearly couldn't care less if people were on his side because of pure racism. He stoked those fires over and over and over again. Maybe he's just incredibly misunderstood, but he sure as hell didn't make an effort to clarify anything if he was. That speaks volumes about his morals. If you're going to take a hardline stance on illegal immigration and make it a centerpiece of your campaign, it makes it that much more important to be very clear and explicit that racism is not a factor, if for no other reasons than to avoid getting lumped in with racists and to avoid indulging racist tendencies within your own base. Leaders are supposed to lead, and someone who wants to be president has a vastly greater responsibility to be a leader.

Also, the fact that the strongest support for Trump's anti-immigrant views came from the parts of the country that have the fewest immigrants doesn't help. I've known plenty of people who've lived their whole lives within 100 miles of where they were born, in parts of the country where they may not ever actually see a black person, much less anyone from the Middle East or Mexico. People in these homogenous rural communities form (in terms of numbers at least) the core of anti-immigrant sentiment, and yet they also seem to think that strange brown people sneaking into the country is the #1 issue facing America today. It's very hard to look at those views coming from those demographics and not think that there's at least some racism and xenophobia driving those views.

> Hell, the KKK endorsed Trump and he didn't denounce them.

The KKK's official newspaper endorsed Trump[0], but according to CNN[1], Trump has disavowed the KKK (and David Duke in particular):

> Donald Trump issued a crystal clear disavowal Thursday of former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke after stumbling last weekend over a question about the hate group leader on CNN. "David Duke is a bad person, who I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years," Trump said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

> "I disavowed him. I disavowed the KKK," Trump added. "Do you want me to do it again for the 12th time? I disavowed him in the past, I disavow him now."

[0] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/11...

[1] http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/03/politics/donald-trump-disavows...

I take it back! I am very happy to be wrong about this fact. :)

I'm not denying there's actual racism, just that there is enough of it to make an difference to the election. The KKK might vote for trump, but they aren't the reason he's president.

>Also, the fact that the strongest support for Trump's anti-immigrant views came from the parts of the country that have the fewest immigrants doesn't help.

Here's the kicker, why aren't people migrating to these places? They are lovely places that have had high immigration levels in the past. They do know that in other parts of the country those strange brown people are moving in and being more successful than they are in their own country though.

They are lovely places. I wonder if, statistically, it's a function of how long a given family has been in the country. A first generation immigrant (or immigrant family) seems more likely to initially move someplace where they already have friends or family, a home or a job lined up, and/or a preexisting community, and for Mexican immigrants that naturally tends to be in big cities along the southern border. After 10 or 20 or 30 years, new generations grow up in those cities, and some people might move away from their families, to more rural or remote parts of the country.

So, there could be a 30-year delay between a Mexican family's immigration into Texas, and a subset of that family and their descendants moving to Nebraska (random example). When someone is moving to a foreign country with a different language, and mostly populated by other ethnicities, it makes sense that families would usually start out in big border cities, and only gradually make their way to more and more remote, sparsely populated, and less diverse areas.

I was thinking more that they aren't moving there because there aren't jobs in the area to move too, which is why the people there are angry.

While the general goal of this site is a good idea, we'll have a better chance of fostering understanding by approaching the subjects indirectly. Build empathy and rapport first, then you'll have the context to approach the divisive questions productively.

I'd like to see this built on top of Facebook, where a) people are already having conversations unproductively, and b) you have the demographic information to understand who you're pairing without having to bluntly ask them which side of an issue they're taking.

I've had what I thought were pretty constructive and interesting conversations about this topic right here on Hacker News.

Maybe you could talk about smaller and more specific aspects of the issue with people, like

* How has present-day opposition to immigration in the U.S. developed? Was there always strong anti-immigrant sentiment in this country? How were immigrants viewed in different eras? Were parts of those views accurate or inaccurate?

* What are the moral arguments in favor of people's right to migrate? What are the moral arguments in favor of a nation's right to prevent or limit migration? Is it important what existing citizens of a country think? Is it important why they think it?

* Is the present-day international system of nation-states and borders a good idea? How about various notions of citizenship? Are some criteria for citizenship obviously reasonable or unreasonable? Should criteria for citizenship be decided politically by existing citizens or are some kinds of decisions they might reach clearly unfair or morally wrong?

* Should people who live in a country feel proud that others want to move there? Should they feel proud of allowing or encouraging others to do so?

* Why are so many economists so strongly in favor of unrestricted or nearly unrestricted migration? Why have other people found the economists' consensus hard to accept?

* How do immigration restrictions interact with policy mechanisms like a welfare state and minimum wage?

* Is it good, bad, or neither for a government to favor the interests or preferences of existing citizens over others' interests? If it's not bad to do so, are there clear limits to how or to what extent the government may neglect or override foreigners' interests?

* What do we think about cultural differences between people living in different parts of the world? Would we like to acculturate as many people as possible to our own culture and way of life if we had the opportunity? Do we think that acculturation of this sort is inherently good? Do we think existing cultural differences are good, bad, or neither, and do we think at least some cultural differences can be placed on a hierarchy where one culture gets something more right than another?

* Are immigration critics right to worry that a culture could be made worse (and in some way less effective) by the arrival of lots of people with different cultural values? Are immigration supporters right to hope that a culture could be enriched by the arrival of lots of people with different ideas and traditions?

* Is there a meaningful moral difference between trying to deport existing residents who entered a territory without following its official migration rules, and trying to prevent other people from doing so in the future?

* What are the differences between population growth through migration and population growth through reproduction? Doesn't this undermine a simple intuition that migrants take away jobs from existing residents?

* How legitimate is it for members of an ethnic or cultural group to want to have their own nation-state and to make that nation-state somehow reflect the character or interests of that group rather than other groups?

* Is it true (as an article recently posted to HN suggested) that migration almost always makes the economy bigger and creates more total employment, but that the benefits of this growth may be quite unequally distributed or captured? Could migration economically benefit most people while economically harming some people?

* To what extent should a country try to assimilate migrants and to what extent should it be proud of having done so? Are there likely problems if large-scale migration happens without a corresponding assimilation? How successful has assimilation been in the past? Is there something legitimate in the preferences of migrants who don't want to assimilate (or only want to assimilate a little bit)? Is there something legitimate in the preferences of people who strongly want migrants to assimilate?

* Is there some kind of hypocrisy in creating or enforcing significantly stronger immigration restrictions today than those that prevailed in the past?

* Are there reasons for migration that are more or less important than others? How much should discussions about immigration address migrants' motivations? Are there motivations that change the moral status or significance of someone's desire to migrate?

* Many governments have created programs that try to draw distinctions among would-be migrants on the basis of their desirability. Have these programs worked well on their own terms? Who proposed them, and who got to create the criteria for desirability?

* What could governments reasonably know or ask about visitors or would-be immigrants?

* How much migration might occur if practical restrictions on it were removed? What might the long-term consequences be?

* If it's legitimate to physically restrict some kinds of immigration, what kinds of enforcement measures are proportionate and should people be punished somehow for circumventing or attempting to circumvent them?

* What if a country allows people to immigrate easily but makes it difficult or impossible for them to acquire citizenship? (How about temporary "non-immigrant" work visas?)

I bet there are about a dozen more things that could be discussed in this area.

I mention these things because I think it's possible to learn something from talking about them with people who radically disagree with you (and you don't have to give up your moral outlook on the situation, nor your political goals!).

And if this were a normal election we would have time for genteel debate about this subject, but currently, the President-elect is preparing a plan to send armed paramilitary troops into neighborhoods like mine to try to forcibly remove 11 million people. So those are all real cute cocktail party questions and all but all of them are meaningless until I can answer the question of how can I prevent the promised onslaught of violence in communities like mine? How do I keep my friends and neighbors safe? How do we keep families together? It's pretty unseemly to be asking abstract, philosophical questions about immigration generally when, across the street, armed goons with assault rifles are physically separating families from each other and dragging people off to detention centers.

I respect your commitment to protecting people and I hope you succeed.

Earlier in this thread you were saying that there was no point in talking to your opponents. The way you phrased it looked to me like you meant that there was nothing that you could learn from each other and nothing that you could convince each other about. As you can see, I don't think that's right. Now, it seems that you meant to make a narrower point that talking to your opponents won't stop deportations now, which is probably true.

Depending on hard-to-predict factors, there might be conversations you could have that would convince some people not to turn their neighbors and coworkers in for deportation even if they strongly disagree with you about immigration in general.

Come on man, we all know that subtle issues are really just racist dog-whistles.

Which side is saying they want to get rid of all immigrants?

Donald Trump's side. Trump has repeatedly said he wants to remove all 11 million undocumented men, women, and children, by force if necessary. And that means more armed paramilitary shock troops in U.S. cities, more families held in immigrant detention centers, more children being condemned to violence and deprivation in countries they've never known, college students getting torn away from nearly-finished educations and productive careers to be imprisoned or deported, and so on.

You're being disingenuous by equating illegal immigrants with all immigrants - he never said he wanted to get rid of all immigrants. Those illegal immigrants are and were already breaking the law by the way, so his (apparent) intention is merely to enforce it more thoroughly. You knew this. When you engage in dishonest behaviour to prevent any form of concession, then indeed there is no point in conversation.

Personally, I refuse to draw a distinction between illegal immigrants and all immigrants, assuming that when you say "illegal immigrant" you mean someone who only broke the law by coming to the US via unapproved means.

It should not be criminal to just enter the country. There would be no "illegal immigrants" if they were allowed or had the means to enter the country legally in the first place.

That makes zero sense. His wife is an immigrant - surely you must have known this? This fact directly contradicts your post.

And you know how to make sure none of this stuff can happen to you? Simple - don't break immigration laws. It's really that simple. The law is there for a reason.

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