Pundits on Fox Business don’t fall for FAIR’s nativist scapegoating

Imagine 2050 Staff • Jun 30, 2014

One thing the anti-immigrant movement has long attempted to do is convince Americans that immigration adversely affects the nation’s economy. On June 20, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) President Dan Stein appeared on the Fox Business Channel program “The Independents” to debate this very topic.

It would be an understatement to say the appearance was not Mr. Stein’s best.

Stein began the segment innocuously enough, claiming that immigration policy “could certainly help improve the productive potential of the American economy.” Not more than 20 seconds later, though, Stein began describing a thoroughly absurd hypothetical in which all people on Earth migrate to America in a forthcoming “monsoon” that “equalizes our standard of living” with the lowest on the planet. Stein went on to conclude, “what we really need is about 30 years of a sustained timeout on immigration.”

“[Stein] is wrong on so many things I don’t know where to start,” ImmigrationWorks USA President and CEO Tamar Jacoby began her response.

Jacoby went on to discuss dynamics of the economy — specifically how immigrants are, by-and-large, complementary and actually increase labor opportunities for all — to combat Stein’s simplistic “keep them out and we’ll be successful” line. Co-host Kmele Foster also took Stein’s blaming of immigrants for economic woes to task when he said, “I think you’re looking at this in a far too narrow and myopic way when you look for the economic causality.”

When one is so steadfast in their desire to keep immigrants out of the country – as members of the anti-immigrant so clearly are – it is difficult to be described as anything but “narrow and myopic.”

Evoking the economy, the state of “American workers” and the middle class in the country has long been a tactic used by the anti-immigrant movement to rile up its base. Such messaging, as Imagine 2050 noted last month, is one of the primary frames the movement uses. These populist appeals serve little purpose other than providing another avenue for nativists to scapegoat immigrants as a threat to the economic prosperity of certain demographics of people they choose to prefer. The reality, as Jacoby said later in the segment, is that “no serious economist thinks that the stagnation of blue collar wages is because of immigration.”

Stein: A man of the people?

Another reality is that FAIR’s tax documents indicate Dan Stein has collected an average of nearly $290,000 in wages and benefits from 2002-2012. If one only looks at documents from the last four years, the average increases to $318,000. For Stein and other leaders in the anti-immigrant movement, there’s plenty money to be made in going on national television to demonize immigrants. For reference, median household income in 2012 was $51,371 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

When he stands so much to gain in this debate, is Dan Stein – who made approximately six times that amount in recent years – really a credible advocate for middle class workers?

The answer, of course, is no. And the more often ideas and reputation of Dan Stein and the anti-immigrant movement are rebuked on national television (this isn’t the first time), the better.


Imagine 2050 Newsletter

  • translate

    English • Afrikaans • العربية • Беларуская • Български • Català • Česky • Cymraeg • Dansk • Deutsch • Eesti • Ελληνικά • Español • فارسی • Français • Gaeilge • Galego • हिन्दी • Hrvatski • Bahasa Indonesia • Íslenska • Italiano • עברית • Latviešu • Lietuvių • 한국어 • Magyar • Македонски • മലയാളം • Malti • Nederlands • 日本語 • Norsk (Bokmål) • Polski • Português • Română • Русский • Slovenčina • Slovenščina • Shqip • Srpski • Suomi • Svenska • Kiswahili • ไทย • Tagalog • Türkçe • Українська • Tiếng Việt • ייִדיש. • 中文 / 漢語