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  by  Chris Johnson

The New York Times columnist Thomas B. Edsall wrote "The 'Third Rail of American Politics' Is Still Electrifying," an op-ed where he shared many pieces of commentary on immigration, even using Gallup findings to drive home that immigration support is on the rise. Unfortunately, he has managed to collect some of the worst takes out there.

Edsall has a simplistic pro-immigration vs. anti-immigration (mis)understanding of the issue and debate. He seems especially attracted to "it's-all-about-race" theories. An example:

"René D. Flores, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago who studies American attitudes toward immigration, and Ariel Azar, a graduate student in sociology at the University of Chicago, found that white people's attitudes toward immigrants could be broken up into "five main classes or 'immigrant archetypes' that come to whites' minds when they respond to questions about immigrants in surveys: the undocumented Latino man" (38 percent), the "poor, nonwhite immigrant" (18.5 percent), the "high status worker" (17 percent), the "documented Latina worker" (15 percent) and the "rainbow undocumented immigrant" (12 percent)."

The New York Times opened comments (and promptly closed after 335 comments) to readers who mostly disagreed with Edsall's column and commented on what they think needs to be done regarding imigration policy. Here are some of the top The New York Times and Reader Picks:

  • "Opponents of immigration seem less concerned about who's coming than about how they're coming. Legal immigration 'which could be managed with effective immigration and border policies' is both desirable and necessary. What is lacking is the capacity of politicians to design something that works. Trump, while tending to the extreme, still took the attitude that stopping unbridled entry to the country was not beyond our capacity. If you compare the situation at the border today to what it was when Trump was in office, you might easily conclude that things have seriously deteriorated to the country's detriment." - David, Maryland (NYT Picks)
  • "Mr. Edsall is falling into the same trap that lost the Dems so many votes last night. The electorate is not dumb. Virtually none of us are opposed to immigration and we're tired of being painted with that broad brush. What we're opposed to is chaos at the border and illegal immigration. If the current state of affairs at the border is NOT something that Mr. Edsall opposes then prepare for more Republican wins." - Craig W., PDX (NYT Picks)
  • "My own personal views on immigration have evolved. As a moderate Democrat my view is that immigration in general needs to be slowed dramatically. Not because of any particular race or nationality. It's simply that I don't believe our country needs more people in it. Overpopulation is a massive problem globally and I prefer America not be the resting ground for global migration. We have subsidized American education and training by hiring foreign nationals, especially in Information Technology roles, and that has masked a larger issue of skilled labor in our country." - 8thiest, Vermont (Reader Picks)
  • "The left should actually be opposed to massive immigration for environmental reasons. Depleting the country's natural resources, uncontrolled growth in housing and infrastructure, and so on are environmentally destructive. What Alejandro Mayorkas is doing at the border is madness. He's even consciously eliminating Remain in Mexico (MPP), even though he doesn't have to--the policy is working as it should. One gets the feeling that the Democrats want to bring in as many migrants as possible, at any cost." - Eugene, Washington, DC (Readers Picks)
  • "The fact that many undocumented immigrants have integrated into American society does not mean that they deserve to be citizens. Those who came illegally as adults knew they were breaking the law. Many of the undocumented break the law every day by working without authorization. If we are to remain a nation of laws then we cannot reward those who violate them." - Richard, Arlington, VA (Readers Picks)
  • "I think this discussion is badly framed. Most Americans don't oppose immigration - what they recognize is that the age of MASS immigration should be over!

    If the Democrats don't recognize this we are going to be in for very bad times." - Airborne, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Readers Picks)
  • "most undocumented immigrants ... are Americans deserving of full citizenship."

    "Who, Mr. Edsall, are you to say such a thing? [How do you define 'deserving'? That they managed to avoid detection and deportation for 10 years? That they pay taxes (although there are many who get paid in cash and pay virtually no taxes)? That they don't commit crimes? What does it mean to be deserving of citizenship? I don't think you, or any individual, gets to decide that." - Roger Demuth, Portland, Oregon (Readers Pick)

There are plenty more comments from readers available to read here.

CHRIS JOHNSON is a content writer for the Media Standards Project for NumbersUSA

Updated: Tue, Nov 23rd 2021 @ 5:15pm EST

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