Dara Lind wants you to deceive on immigration this Thanksgiving

Dara Lind of Vox Media offers "How to survive your family's Thanksgiving arguments on immigration" [1]. Instead of enlightening friends and family to the realities of immigration, Lind wants you to propagandize and deceive them.

Lind's effort is similar to last year's also-deceptive "Your Republican Uncle" effort from the DNC. Whether Vox decided to copy the DNC's idea or the DNC asked them to take over the effort isn't know.

Here are just some of the ways Dara Lind attempts to deceive:

1. She claims "illegal alien" isn't "the official legal term", and then proceeds to use the deceptive term "unauthorized immigrants". In fact, illegal alien is the closest we come to an official legal term: it's what's used in the U.S. Code, the bulk of the U.S.'s laws. See immigration terminology, which also explains why calling illegal aliens "immigrants" is deceptive.

2. She constructs a strawman argument in which someone's father-in-law claims Obama is "legalizing" illegal aliens. She does correctly point out that the status of those illegal aliens doesn't change, but most people will probably already realize that. In any case, once those illegal aliens get their work permits it's going to be very difficult to not renew those permits and deport them. The pressure will be on to convert those work permits into some form of permanent residency and from then to citizenship. So, while it's technically true Obama didn't change their status, he took a big first step.

3. Dara Lind then offers a hoary old false choice:

If your father-in-law thinks it's inappropriate to protect millions of people from deportation, you might want to ask him how much effort he thinks the government should be putting into deporting them. Deporting 11 million people would cost hundreds of billions of dollars - does he think that's worthwhile? Currently, there's enough money to deport about 400,000 people a year - should those slots be reserved for criminals instead of parents of US citizens? Is it important to him that every unauthorized immigrant feel that deportation is a constant threat? What would satisfy him?

Lind is trying to fool her audience using the deportations false choice. There are other options besides Obama's actions or similar and mass deportations. One optiion she, of course, doesn't mention is one of the only realistic options we have to actually solve the problem: attrition. That quote also refers to the highly deceptive CAP study. That study arrived at its fantastically high dollar amount by multiplying the cost to deport one person times an estimate of the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. Everyone knows that if we had mass deportations groups of illegal aliens would be deported at one time, not one-by-one in individual actions. If you follow the advice of Dara Lind, you'll be offering your friends and family a false choice, and lying to them using a bogus study.

4. Regarding an "uncle"'s claim the we should just secure the border first, Lind builds another strawman by saying:

You can't totally seal the border. There are plenty of things and people who need to move back and forth: truckloads of goods, people who live on one side of the border but work on the other, people who are legally allowed to come into the US.

"Securing the border" doesn't mean shutting down all traffic and doesn't involve legal traffic. It only means trying to prevent as much illegal traffic as possible. It's somewhat true that politicians can't decide on what metric would indicate a secure border, but a large part of that is an attempt to pass some form of amnesty. For instance, last year there was a propaganda push claiming that illegal immigration had reached an equilibrium so it was safe to declare amnesty. It then turned out that net illegal immigration might be picking up and that was followed by thousands of Central American youths coming here illegally. It would be possible to develop basic metrics that would indicate a secure border: a certain amount of fencing here, aerial surveillance there, foot patrols there, and a decrease in the numbers who made it versus those who tried. In any case, the way to greatly reduce illegal immigration isn't just with fences: the main way to do it is by discrediting those like Dara Lind who enable illegal immigration.

5. To a "cousin" asking about Obama's action leading to more illegal immigration, Lind says:

When most critics of the administration's plan ask this question, they don't mean that future unauthorized immigrants will actually be eligible for protection. They mean that the hope of future protection will be enough to make people want to come to the US illegally who wouldn't come otherwise... This sounds logical, but is it actually the case? Tell your cousin what happened after the 1986 Reagan "amnesty" - which also raised concerns that it would inspire future unauthorized migration. It doesn't appear that it did so. Instead, the wave of unauthorized migration to the US peaked from 1996 - when a law passed that made it much harder to "get legal" if you were an unauthorized immigrant - to 2006 or so... ...Your cousin might not be persuaded. So ask her: what would it take for her to go somewhere without papers? Would she be willing to risk it for the chance of protection from deportation, 20 or 30 years down the road? Would she do it for family? For a job? To flee persecution?

It sounds logical because it is. Obama's sent the message - heard loud and clear in Latin America - that his administration isn't serious about enforcing immigration laws. As with past amnesties, potential illegal aliens will realize they just have to come here and stay under the radar for some number of years and they'll get some sort of amnesty. Obama's action has even codified (or "fiatified") the best way to stay: have a U.S. citizen child. The great majority of illegal aliens use some form of bogus documentation, and it's certainly not outside the realm of possibility that many new arrivals will come here specifically to obtain bogus documentation that would make them eligible for Obama's amnesty.

Regarding Lind's fantastical questions for the cousin, it's clear that what Americans do is different from what illegal aliens do. Few Americans enter countries illegally and settle there, but many foreigners don't see a problem with doing that here. Many potential illegal aliens would also realize it's not going to be a few decades before another amnesty. Obama might enact another amnesty before he leaves office, and Obama's first amnesty gives even more power to the groups that will push for full amnesties in the future.

6. The last dinner table guest is a "sister-in-law", shown wearing a headband and perhaps a necklace with a crystal. The sister-in-law is a duped liberal who doesn't mind Obama's action that will lower wages on struggling American workers. She worries about a GOP president reversing Obama's action. In her response, Lind ends with this: "And should Republicans be openly threatening to use [the information they illegal aliens gave to get in to Obama's program] against immigrants if their party wins the presidency - or is that an immoral line to cross?" There's absolutely nothing immoral about it. Those admitted to Obama's program are foreign citizens being given a benefit; if we decide to take it away and deport them that's our decision to make on our own. As long as their rights guaranteed under the Constitution aren't violated, it's our decision what to do. If you enter France illegally and France gives you a permit to stay there 30 days and then leave, they've already given more than you were entitled to and they can unilaterally decide to take away the permit and deport you at any time.

If anyone wants to do something, tweet @DLind with your thoughts. Even better, look up who she tweets with and point out to them that she isn't credible.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, but please don't spoil it by deceiving your friends and family as Dara Lind and Vox want.