NILC’s “Immigrants Are Essential” Campaign Misleads and Trivializes Americans

The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) – an organization claiming to fight for the interests of “immigrants” – has been conducting a propaganda campaign titled “Immigrants Are Essential.” As the campaign’s very name suggests, the purpose is to persuade Americans about the essential nature of the foreign-born in the midst of the current public health crisis.

Given that so many other leftist organizations and politicians have sought to cynically exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to further their pro-illegal-alien, pro-open-borders agenda, why focus specifically on NILC’s recent pleadings? One reason is quite simply that the American public – currently preoccupied weathering the coronavirus storm – deserves to know what the pro-illegal-alien lobby is up to, and the stubborn persistence with which it is pursuing its harmful agenda. Another reason is that NILC’s narrative – obscured by a seemingly non-offensive, non-controversial slogan – is misleading and trivializes the role of native-born Americans.

The dishonesty of NILC’s spin lies in the fact that it conflates legal immigrants with illegal aliens, including DACA recipients. In other words, in the organization’s worldview any foreign-born individual – regardless of whether they are legally authorized to be here – is an “immigrant,” and, of course, “essential.” To many legal immigrants – including this author – such moral equivalency is not only frustrating, but also offensive. Why? Because it implies that all their efforts – including following U.S. laws, jumping through all the hoops, filling out all the necessary paperwork, paying all necessary fees, and waiting in line – are equivalent to someone violating U.S. laws by sneaking across the border or overstaying their visa. Treating the difference between legal immigration and illegal migration as irrelevant, or at best a minor technicality, also betrays a disregard for the rule of law which can also be disturbing to those immigrants who left their homelands precisely because of the arbitrary and selective application of laws.

By emphasizing its “immigrants are essential” slogan, NILC also seems to be ignoring and downplaying so many native-born Americans who have proven themselves essential in the current health crisis. This reflects a larger prejudice shared by much of the pro-mass-migration lobby, which appears to view native-born Americans as some kind of grey, dull mass of incompetent simpletons incapable of maintaining a complex and sophisticated modern society. Given that 86 percent of the country’s population (as of 2017) consists of the native-born, one wonders how the United States functions at all?

None of this is to disparage immigrants in any way. The point is that “essential” workers during the coronavirus crisis are both native-born Americans and immigrants. The “essentiality” of one’s function in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is not determined by one’s place of birth. Many native-born Americans are on the front lines doing jobs that are considered highly essential, while undoubtedly many foreign-born are working in jobs deemed non-essential.

If NILC and other pro-illegal-alien advocates want to argue that exceptions should be made for certain illegal aliens performing “essential” work, then they should clarify and say so. Instead, they appear to be utilizing a subset of the foreign-born population – essential personnel in the context of COVID-19 – as a Trojan Horse to promote some version of blanket amnesty and normalize illegal presence in this country.

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