The (Aristotelian) Rhetoric of Immigration Reform

The (Aristotelian) Rhetoric of Immigration Reform

"While supporters of the DREAM Act and CIR offer powerful moral and policy arguments for providing a pathway to citizenship to many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, opponents continue to make inroads by offering up the strongest rhetorical arguments.  These rhetorical arguments, while simplistic, xenophobic and deeply-flawed, are winning traction with the public, in Congress, and even in the lower courts. ... The rhetoric of immigration reform requires ... that advocates of reform not cede the public sphere of rhetorical debate.  Rather, they must be able not only to identify negative rhetoric but to break it down: to show when it is ugly and mean-spirited, to demonstrate how it manipulates people’s emotions and triggers xenophobic responses, and to prove that it is based on false premises.  At the same time, they must become adept at using the Aristotelian tools of ethos, pathos, and logos to set a better course, to demonstrate, for example, how DACA and the DREAM Act reflect a commitment to justice and fairness on behalf of the young women and men who were brought here as children, who consider themselves Americans, and who, until now, have been denied legal status based solely on the accident of their birth." - Prof. Lauren Gilbert, June 21, 2013.  COPYRIGHT LAUREN GILBERT 2013, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED; REPUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION.

- Prof. Lauren Gilbert