This is worth a read even if you don't work on the issues of immigration. It is a good reinforcement of the power of frames to shape a debate and a call to reread "Don't think of an Elephant." The insiders seem frustrated with GL and the frame process but framing is a really useful tool.
What does this memo tell me to focus the debate on...
1. The US is dealing with an "Economic Refugee Crisis" that is pushing 800,000 people a year across our borders.
2. We are dealing with a humanitarian crisis that pushes good hardworking families to be separated and hundreds to die on a trek to earn a living wage.
3. We need Foreign Policy Reform that cuts support for corrupt governments and dysfunctional banking systems that bleed hard working and sacrificing people from developing countries. We need offer people freedom to follow jobs now that we have mutli-national corporations and trade agreements that are so fluid with capital and assets. Companies have more freedom and choices than the people.
4. We need to reaffirm the core American stand of birthright citizenship before small minded nationalists with fear of diversity attack another one of our core building rights in this nation. (I am the grandson of an economic immigrant from Ireland and I know they tried every trick possible to suppress the Irish too). Born in America is the test of American citizenship.
5. It is an economic crisis, fueled by American choices toward cheap labor. American consumers and businesses pay low wages to provide the crap served out at WalMart and McDonalds. As long as our country continues to do anything and everything to "save a buck" regardless of the human cost we will continue to have economic pressures to hire refugees.
The language is telling. The linguistic framing is remarkable: frames for illegal immigrant, illegal alien, illegals, undocumented workers, undocumented immigrants, guest workers, temporary workers, amnesty, and border security. These linguistic expressions are anything but neutral. Each framing defines the problem in its own way, and hence constrains the solutions needed to address that problem. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, we will analyze the framing used in the public debate. Second, we suggest some alternative framing to highlight important concerns left out of the current debate.