The thing that frustrates me the most about the modern-day Tea Party is their views on immigration. First of all, the fact that a group that has named themselves after an event from a time in our nation’s history when the majority of people who considered themselves “Americans” had immigrated from Europe within their lifetimes, and the ancestors of those who hadn’t had been here for a few generations at most, and who were very much aware of the fact that they had left their home countries for a land whose native citizens had not invited them there would be so universally opposed to the idea of new immigrants coming to that very same land is not just the height of hypocrisy, it’s also fucking retarded.
Even despite the obvious hypocrisy, the anti-immigration sentiments of the average Tea Partier make little sense from a rational standpoint. The average member of the Tea Party is over 35 (if not well older) and middle class or above. The idea that the primarily low-skilled or unskilled workers coming to the United States from Mexico are somehow stealing jobs from these people is ridiculous. Most Hispanic workers are not coming to the United States to become accountants. They’re not coming here to work as office drones, as secretaries, computer programmers, psychiatrists, or teachers, aside from the occasional high school Spanish teacher. Very few of them wind up in management positions, and then only after living here for a number of years and learning at least enough English to get by. The few of middle class Tea Partiers who make their livings as mechanics or repairmen, or from high-end manufacturing jobs may have to compete with a handful of mechanics in a labor market that is predominantly black and white, but the vast majority of Tea Partiers have never had a job stolen from them by a Mexican immigrant. Most have never even had to compete with one for a job.
The average Hispanic immigrant to the United States winds up doing seasonal farm work, janitorial work, cooking, cleaning, or, if they’re lucky, working a low-end manufacturing job, more often in food processing than in any area requiring any particular technical ability. The main groups they wind up competing with for jobs are younger Americans between the ages of 16-25 and lower class, predominantly black workers, both groups which are far more likely to vote for Democratic candidates who favor more open immigration than for Republicans who want to crack down on illegal immigrants.
Even the handful of Tea Partiers who work in manufacturing who are more likely to be competing with Mexican immigrants for work have little to fear from them. Manufacturing jobs have been declining significantly due to cheaper competition from China. Without cheaper Mexican labor in the US, it would be far more difficult for manufacturers to justify keeping jobs in the United States, rather than sending them overseas. Many American-born manufacturing workers owe the fact that their jobs exist at all to the fact that Mexicans are doing a share of the work for lower pay. Combined with the fact that low-cost seasonal farm laborers lower the cost of food for all Americans, Hispanic immigrants are improving the way of life of the average American.
While the language barrier can be a nuisance at times, the same could be said of Italian, German, Chinese, Irish, Korean, and Jewish workers for many decades in certain parts of the country, especially in New England, but the descendants of those same immigrant groups speak fluent English today, and in a generation or two so will the descendants of the current wave of Hispanic immigrants.
The only remaining concern of the average Tea Partier is the idea that Hispanic immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, take advantage of social welfare systems moreso than do naturalized citizens. While this may be true in certain parts of the southwest, overall it is generally not true as the majority of immigrants come here to work, not to live off the system. Even if it were true, and admittedly our social welfare system is just as responsible for our current fiscal and economic crises as our military adventurism and the Federal Reserve, increasing the number of workers admitted into the United States legally each year would increase the number of them who are paying taxes (although, since as many illegal workers use fake, stolen, inactive or borrowed Social Security numbers as who work under the table, many more are paying taxes than most people realize) and, in many states, reduce their ability to abuse the system.