Eva Longoria Says We Should Focus On How Immigrants Help The Economy Because Public Has No Moral Compass
Eva Longoria pled with Senate Democrats to change the narrative about immigration at the Latino Summit. The Desperate Housewives star and co-founder of Latino Victory believes Democrats should focus on how immigrants benefit the economy, rather than stressing that there is a moral imperative to keep children out of cages. Simply put, Longoria doesn’t believe the moral argument is working.
Longoria’s perspective is a cynical one, but not totally inaccurate. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described the detention centers as concentration camps, a statement many historians agreed with.
“The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are — they are concentration camps,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Instagram Live. “And if that doesn’t bother you … I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that we should not, that ‘never again’ means something.”
If concentration camps and child separation don’t get the American people outraged, then it is easy to ask what will? However, what Longoria fails to acknowledge is that the majority of Americans support immigrants and the majority who don’t are Republicans.
Eva Longoria tells Senate Democrats we need a new conversation about immigrants.
“I do think we as Hispanics have been focused on the moral imperative — this is inhumane what is happening on the border. How we are treating other human beings, it’s just appalling,” Longoria said at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. “And that argument is not working.”
Longoria instead told senators that they should focus on the narrative that immigrants are good for the economy rather than insisting that they’re humans who have rights.
“And so we need the economic imperative argument, right?” Longoria said. “We cannot deny that we have major industries dependent on immigrant labor. More than agriculture — it’s not just agriculture. And I think the truth of the matter is this country does not work without the engine of the immigrant community and the engine of immigrant labor.”
There is something particularly nihilistic about making the argument that humans should only be treated like human beings, if they have some sort of economic value.
Republicans increasingly say U.S. will lose identity due to immigrants, according to Pew Research study.
“Currently, 57% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that if the United States is too open to people from around the world, ‘we risk losing our identity as a nation,'” according to Pew Research.
This is a 13 percent increase among Republicans over roughly a 10-month period — a time when the Trump administration has taken an aggressive anti-immigrant stance. Pew also notes that Democrats believe the opposite and little has changed over a two-year period.
“Today, an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (86%) say America’s openness is essential to who we are as a nation; 85% said this last September,” the study indicates.
What these numbers indicate is that an anti-immigrant stance is a bipartisan issue where Republicans are anti-immigrant and Democrats are not. Thus, Longoria’s argument is somewhat rendered moot: what Democrats have been saying about immigrants has been working because Democrats largely support immigrants.
A majority of Americans support immigration because of their “hard work and talents.”
Another issue with Longoria’s argument is that it is not based on any factual analysis of American attitudes. The majority of Americans support immigrants because of their economic contributions, anyway.
“A majority (62%) say immigrants strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents. Just 28% say immigrants are a burden on the country because they take jobs, housing and health care,” according to Pew.
Gallup reports that Americans feel immigration is the most important problem.
“Americans’ concern with immigration continues to be heightened, as 23% name it the most important problem facing the country. This is by one percentage point the highest Gallup has ever measured for the issue since it first began recording mentions of immigration in 1993,” according to Gallup.
Gallup also noticed that the percentage of Americans who wanted the number of immigrants in the United States decreased also increased to 35 percent, which is consistent with the Pew study that found an increase in anti-immigrant sentiments among Republicans.
In 2015, before Trump was elected, the Washington Post claimed that anti-immigrant rhetoric was “fueling” his support.
“After his first speech as a presidential candidate [that] harshly criticized Mexican immigrants, voters who believed immigration was important flocked to him,” Michael Tesler of the Washington Post wrote, “Those who prioritize immigration continue to be his strongest supporters.”
If Eva Longoria wants to get to the root of anti-immigration attitudes, then she needs to get to the root of the issue: the Trump administration’s policies, rhetoric, and the fact that Republicans — not Democrats – support them. Moreover, if the majority of Americans support immigration why doesn’t our current government reflect those attitudes?