Yesterday, Will wrote a thoughtful piece on the nature of immigration, foreign workers and the U.S. visa system. In this post, Will makes the observation:
Now, with my last two paragraphs, here is where some people respond, “but why should we consider their fate more important than the fate of those we want to bring over?” The short answer is, quite frankly, because they’re Americans. Just as I would prefer my fellow citizens look after me before looking after a foreign national in some other country, I would just assume do the same. You can call this nativist, if you like. You can call it xenophobic. You can call it bigoted. I don’t wish people harm so much as I place the welfare of some over the welfare of others. To me, expecting otherwise would be to wonder why I value the fate of my adopted cousin over the fate of some stranger. If it’s a bigotry, it’s a bigotry I can live with. To be honest, whether we admit it or not, it’s sewn in to our national discourse with liberals and conservatives alike.
Though I don’t know if he was thinking of me, Will and I have had this dance before (and, so, I didn’t think it necessary to jump into that thread). I do think there’s an element of xenophobia to this position, and it certainly strikes me as a type of bigotry.
What is interesting is that a similar debate is going on in Canada. The government is set to overhaul the Temporary Foreign Worker Program after some issues with the use of foreign workers at companies like HD Mining and RBC. I had been meaning to write about this for a few weeks, so a big thanks to Will for finally getting my fingers to the keyboard. The results can be found at the Commons. Basically, I argue, by assigning more worth to one group of people based on nothing more than citizenship, you’re dabbling in something that is, at least, really close to bigotry.