To the Daily Campus editors,
I’ve been impressed with the variety and quality of opinion pieces appearing in the Daily Campus this semester. Yet I’ve also been disturbed to come across a number of reactionary screeds, the latest of which, “Open Borders Are Not Compassionate,” by Jacob Marie, appeared in the paper on November 29.
Purportedly a criticism of the Left’s desire for open borders, the piece mostly serves to spread racist caricatures of immigrants, support punitive policies on the US-Mexico border, and stoke partisan sentiment.
What’s more, Marie’s central claims are easily refuted.
The notion that undocumented immigrants commit more crimes than documented people living in the United States can be passed over quickly. Researchers across the political spectrum have proven this assertion false, time and time again.
Similarly, the idea that lax border enforcement promotes human trafficking and other illegal activity rests on a truly twisted logic.
Legal restrictions on immigration, which produce a dual regime of legal and illegal residency, are what render people vulnerable to victimization, not the lack of them. Whether it’s exploitation by a human trafficker when crossing the border or exploitation by a boss on the job within the United States, the vulnerability undocumented immigrants face is conditioned by restrictive immigration laws and militarized border enforcement.
The many migrants who predictably, and unnecessarily, die trying to cross the border every year provide only the most vivid example of that terrible reality.
Another predictable result of the US border regime is the representation of immigrants as dangerous, undesirable, and unsuitable for citizenship. And these negative stereotypes are everywhere on display in Marie’s piece, from the ridiculous (and unsourced) allegation that members of the migrant caravan currently seeking asylum in the United States used children as human shields, to the characterization of Mexican society as uniquely violent and criminal.
Perhaps Marie’s unfortunate opinion is simply a product of ignorance. If so, then the University of Connecticut has many resources that can help. But if the editorial is, in fact, a series of bad faith assertions made only to arouse anger and resentment, then I question the paper’s decision to print writing that so readily demeans and denigrates immigrants, documented and undocumented, who make up a vital part of the UConn community, and so easily abuses any notion of truth, fairness, or humanity.
Ph.D. Candidate, History