When opponents of the ACA consistently framed the law as somehow outside the ideological boundaries of what is traditionally considered "American" public policy, those in the public with existing nativist attitudes would become more likely to oppose the ACA.
Contrary to the popular belief that we are swimming in more immigrants than ever, in 1890 14.8 percent of our population was foreign-born compared to today's 12.5 percent. And the number of illegal immigrants is on the decline.
The complaints that were made about Irish immigrants are pretty similar to those we hear today about Mexican immigrants. The xenophobes insisted the Irish were lazy, prone to crime, drank too much, and were stealing jobs from good white Americans.
In the absence of national action on immigration reform, states and local communities have attempted to fill the gap, passing and defending ill-advised laws that seek to preempt federal power over immigration.
Environmentalists need to be aware of so-called "progressives for immigration reform" and their true motives. These individuals and organizations do not see protecting the environment as their primary goal.