How Anti‐​Immigrant and Anti‐​Gun Advocates Make the Same Bad Arguments

How Anti‐​Immigrant and Anti‐​Gun Advocates Make the Same Bad Arguments

The Biden administration has made priorities of both immigration reform and gun control, the latter being given particular salience by recent mass shootings in Atlanta, Boulder, and Indianapolis. Yet if those in the administration want to make better policy in both areas, they should realize that bad arguments against immigration—ones often used by the previous administration—are very similar to bad arguments for gun control. First, both argue anecdotally from the most recent incident and ignore broader data. In the previous administration, Trump and his conservative supporters latched on to specific instances of immigrants committing crimes to push the “rapists and murderers” narrative. Hardly a week went by without Kate Steinle —a victim of an undocumented immigrant—being invoked in conservative media. Those instances of immigrant violence were turned into policy proposals to “shut down” whatever “loophole” allowed the perpetrator into the country. The failed Times Square bomber got in with a family visa; time to end “chain migration.” The Boston Marathon bombers came in when their family was granted asylum status; time to shut that “loophole.” It doesn’t matter if you point out that immigrants commit less crime than natives, family visa holders are rarely criminal, and that your chance of being killed by a refugee in a terror attack are roughly 1 in 3.64 billion per year (we don’t have good data on asylees). Similarly, gun‐​control activists are perpetually chasing the guns used in the most recent mass shooting, trying to close whatever “loophole” allowed the shooter to get […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.