Immigration in the Context of Nationalism vs. Globalism

This second blog post will cover the impact of immigration on the nationalism vs. globalism debate. The article our class read, “We are not the World”, raised the fact that political arguments in the future will not be focused on the tradition left-right wing spectrum on beliefs. Instead, the divide will be between those who favor globalization, the process by whereby “goods, capital, and people move ever more freely across borders”, and nationalists, who seek to protect the identity of their nation-state. Globalists view that the concept nation-state is antiquated in this new, global era. Instead, they favor an integrated world with information, money, goods, and transportation, without being bound to traditional concepts of national identity and borders. The goal of immigration policy, according to globalists, is not about the security of one’s own nation, but the well-being of individuals themselves.

Much of the debate surrounding nationalism is the question of whether or not it is a cover for xenophobia. Nationalist arguments generally center around the notion that the nation’s cultural heritage, foremost needs to be protected and preserved. Immigration from countries with values far different from one’s own, may complicate and undermine the commitment to preserving the national identity. Nationalists may argue that they are welcome to immigrants so long as they can assimilate to their culture. In America, this means adopting American values, learning English, bringing useful skills, and waiting one’s term. When immigrants are eager to embrace facets of American culture such as language, values, and traditions, it reinforces pride and the idea that the country is good. It is also important to consider how nationalists, at least in America, are often uneducated, blue-collar whites who live in rural areas. Those who live in cosmopolitan urban centers are exposed to new ideas and they have greater economic opportunity. Therefore, immigration in an economic sense is seen as more of a threat to those blue-collar workers living in rural areas, who fear competition with low-wage workers. In addition, there is most likely a fear that immigrants can take scarce Federal resources that people use to support their families. In my opinion, these economic factors are not as important than the nationalist’s fear of multiculturalism. Given that much of the backlash against immigration is cultural, I believe that nationalists fear demographic changes and the potential of no longer being a majority. Those who do cite economic concerns may also do so in order to justify their fear of immigrants and multiculturalism. Although I understand, to an extent, the value that people attach to national borders and national identity, I think that nationalism is oftentimes a cover for xenophobia. In conclusion, concerns over the preservation of a national identity are ethnocentric, in my humble opinion.

 

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