Immigration and the White Nativist Myth

The Economist has American immigration all figured out. Donald Trump doesn’t want to build a wall to protect Americans. All that stuff about national security, public safety and American sovereignty is just secret code for white racism. According to The Economist, “The president appears to be motivated less by genuine concern for the state of the border than by his white supporters’ feelings of anxiety over demographic change.”

What evidence do the high-falutin’ pundits across the pond provide for this assertion? Well, according to The Economist, “While the white population is on the cusp of declining, most states have flourishing Hispanic communities.” And Trump’s “white supporters” elected him to “defend them against the diversifying of American society that many fear.”

There’s only one problem. That’s a big pile of what the Oxford/Cambridge types who write for The Economist would call “codswallop.”

First off, according to the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University, Trump received 8 percent of the African-American vote, 28 percent of the Hispanic vote, 36 percent of the Asian vote, and 36 percent of the “Other Minority” vote. So, claims that Trump supporters are monolithically white are pure fiction.

Second, claims that Caucasians are rapidly becoming a minority in the United States are widely disputed. And its not just conservatives who have recognized that fact. The unabashedly liberal New York Times has stated, “The question of whether America will become a majority-minority nation — and when that might happen — is intensely disputed, of enormous political import and extraordinarily complex.”

So, what’s really behind the support for Trump and his calls for strict, effective immigration enforcement? In a word, “politics.” But not in the sense that most of us are used to using that word – meaning the swampy, back-room dealings associated with Washington, D.C. Donald Trump revived the debate about politics as Aristotle defined it: The notion that a political community exists to ensure the welfare of its citizens and can only function if it builds civic friendship between its members.

The current immigration debate in the U.S. isn’t about race, it’s about where the boundaries of our political community lie, who is entitled to become a member of our that community and what is expected of aspiring members.

As the British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton put it, “governments are elected by a specific people in a specific place, and must meet the people’s needs – including the most important of their needs, which is the need to be bound to their neighbours in a relation of trust. If we cease to maintain a ‘specific people in a specific place’, then all political principles will be pointless, since there will be no community with an interest in obeying them.”

Trump perceived this and appealed to Americans’ sense that they were losing their identity as a specific people possessing a specific place. That’s why his “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) slogan resonated with American voters.

The Trump immigration agenda is simply a natural extension of the ethic Scruton describes. Rather than setting up racial divides, it seeks to re-establish civic friendship amongst Americans (including those would-be Americans who obey our laws) and re-establish trust that the government is pursuing the well-being of the American people.

Of course, if you’re a posh talking head at The Economist that’s an inconvenient truth. It prevents you from setting up Trump as the big Blue Meanie opposed to all things good and globalist.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    Trump won the Republican nomination in spite of the wishes of the Republican establishment who were looking for an essentially open borders candidate like Jeb. There were many who proposed denying him the nomination even if he won the primaries, which he did with a clear majority of delegates. So while the Republicans are overall better than the Democrats on immigration issues, there is a large contingent who are in the pocket of their corporate contributors.

    Among the sponsors of the Fairness For High Skilled Immigrants Act are sellout Republicans such as Susan Collins, Roy Blount, Jim Moran, Cory Gardner, Tom Cotton, and Kevin Cramer. Cramer says it is “about exactly that, fairness”. This is the bill that would greatly increase not just more legal immigrants for high tech jobs, but would specifically grant huge numbers to the country that already has the lion’s share, India. What it is NOT is “fairness” for the American workers who have lost jobs to H1B visa holders and can’t find equal jobs. We preach constantly in this country to get a college education, and yet our politicians, in response to their corporate masters, pull the rug out from under those who would go into STEM fields. India runs our tech industry, not Americans. Cotton is a disappointment since he campaigned on immigration control and America first.

    In the fake news dept, the Jeff Bezos propaganda sheet The Washington Post has started to walk back all the garbage they printed about the Covington High students, where they were happy to present a completely one sided story. Possibly something to do with the 350 million suit filed against them by the parents of the student wearing the MAGA hat. That young man was not a public figure and yet he was vilified by a media eager to sell yet another fake agenda.

  2. avatar

    Interesting Article

    Unique attack on the Populist WALL, albeit more Open Border Party (OBP) Fairy Tales since Populists include MASSES of Moderate Democrats [African Americans, Asians, women and Hispanics too] voting Trump. Hillary admits this “Moderate Democrat” Shift to Trump too” too.