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views on immigration through youtube

Updated on May 2, 2017

The Sides of Immigration on YouTube

In 2016 there are more people learning about everyday issues on YouTube and social media. But the accuracy of those videos is not very high. This paper will demonstrate how YouTube is not a good place to learn about issues. However, YouTube can be a good place to get people to learn about immigration of having an open or closed border. The common viewpoints on immigration if we should have an open or closed borders in the United States, and most people that watch or make the videos do not have much of an educational background to support their argument. Most of the videos are either presenting the topic of immigration with humor, education, seriousness, or non-educational videos. Most of the videos lean towards letting immigrants into the country, but some videos and a lot of comments have negative biases against immigrants, this shows that YouTube is an easy access to have but it is hard to decide what to believe what is true that they are presenting to the viewer.

One-way people are presenting immigration is a humor; many people would use humor to show how people do not take immigration seriously by saying how idiotic having an open immigration would be, and that people do not understand or are too ignorant to see the reality of the issue. The video called Why a Wall Won’t Stop Immigration, is by the you-tuber CollegeHumor. The group that posted the video to their page is a comedy group and posts videos about issues or just random funny everyday things. The You-tuber has 11,223,685 subscribers, there was 2,109,441 views, 67,969 likes and there were 8,840 dislikes, which shows that many people prefer to get their information from humorous sources. This video had many viewers and it seems that 67,969 viewers liked the video and learned something new or they found the video funny. The others that had disliked the video were probably not finding the video funny or they did not agree with the information that was brought up. The video starts off focusing on a television that is saying negative things towards immigrants and why a wall should be built on the border. Then Adam from Adam Ruins Everything comes out of the T.V. and tries to explain why having a border would be a problem. The video provides multiple pictures, actors to act out the scenes, and examples of the wall issue. This video has a higher creditability and is very trustworthy because it brings in Douglas S. Massey, Ph.D., who is a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. “It was making it harder for people to come in and out for the United States... Which making people stay in rather than leaving” (CollegeHumor, “Why a Wall Won’t Stop Immigration”, YouTube, October 19,2016). Massey explains how a wall would actually make immigrants stay longer rather than preventing people from coming and going. The comments that were left from the viewers are jokes and some say that they learned something they did not know before. Most of the comments focus on the economic and environmental effect of building a wall, with some concerned over the practical use of it. There are a few arguments about the topic of immigration but most people seem to be focused on if a wall would work. Some people tend not to agree with each other and make fun of each other for saying their views. People talking about the wall sparks many debates and they start to bring in their political views. The reason this video would be classified as humorous is because it shows how the grandmother is freaking out with the whole thing. It also shows stereotypical Mexicans crossing the border and speaking Spanish, and it also had humor when the border patrol officer doesn’t notice that the immigrants are coming in by plane rather than by foot. When reading the comments left on the video it showed that some people like to start arguments with other people just to prove they are right, when there was no argument, to begin with. The information on this video seemed to be useful because it lets the audience see things from a different perspective and hopefully help them understand the two parties that are arguing on the situation of immigration.

For people that want to take the topic of immigration seriously, a video that demonstrates that is called Immigrant America: The High Cost of Deporting Parents, and the you-tuber that posted this video is Vice News. Vice News has 2,017,318 subscribers, they received 382,941 views on this video and had 4,317 likes and 274 dislikes. The view count on this video is very low considering that this video is taking the audience on a person’s life journey of the struggle of the immigration. Vice News is a media company trying to bring knowledge to the audience and show them what is happening around them if they did not know already. Vice News travels to Guatemala to follow an immigrant and show the viewers what he had to go through. Vice News gives some background of a man named Ray who supported his family before he was deported and they say that “deporting parents costs much more than the price of a one-way ticket home” (Vice News, “Immigrant America: The High Cost of Deporting Parents”, YouTube, October 25, 2016). The people that are recording are trying to get everyone to learn about one person’s life and show them how deporting immigrants can affect their daily lifestyle. They also want the audience to know that deporting someone can be very pricey and that no one is taking this in consideration, and they are not looking at the consequences of separating a family apart. While reading the comments after the video it looks like the audience themselves had more sympathy and were very humble toward the situation that Ray was put upon. There was also those that commented that they did not care at all about the feeling of the viewers or Ray, who went through the whole situation from being apart from his family. Commenter Isko Lampiaw said after watching the video, “This video changed my opinion in deporting illegal immigrants…why deport a man who contribute much to society, speak English and live peacefully with his family, gross injustice…American bureaucracy lost its heart and mind…it’s like psychopath believing in its delusion that everyone is terrorist.” For this viewer, it seems like he had sympathy for the video and what it was trying to get the audience to understand from. He is one of the rare examples of people who actually learn something valuable from YouTube videos. The next commenter did not agree with the video or with Isko Lampiaw, and his comments were, “OK, BUT WHY WE HAVE TO GIVE FOOD STAMPS TO ILLEGALS??, PARENTS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO TAKE THEKIDS WITH THEM TO THEIR REPECTIVE COUNTRIES.” Julio Iglesias2 just showed that he is not in favor of immigrants coming to the United States, and even though Ray’s children are from the United States, Julio believes that it should be okay to take away those citizens children’s right of being here. The comments that were left for this video are very rude because people are saying negative things about the parents, and saying things such as immigrants are taking advantage of social welfare programs such as food stamps. It just shows that for this video there are many commenters that are not agreeing with information, or they do not want to accept the fact that their opinions and views can hurt others and their families. The information that was presented in the video seems to be accurate but is only based on one person’s point of view. The video has a good level of trust because Ray is being recorded doing his daily routine and it appears that he is not changing his life style in order for the viewers to feel any kind of guilt.

While watching YouTube videos on the topic of immigration, there is another way people would present the topic which would be educational. People can use YouTube as an easy way access information to explain topics such as immigration. The first video that is used to educate people on the topic of immigration is The economics of Immigration: Crash course Econ #33, and this video gives background information on the history of this land and its immigrants. The video seems to be from a group of people that just want to educate people on topics and issues that are current today. The video shows a female behind a desk as if she is teaching a class, and she provides definitions and visuals to help understand as she explains some of the history and economic effects of immigration. She does mention both sides of the argument for immigrants coming into the United States, and to support her lecture she shows statistics and quotes from others. A quote from the video is: “IN FACT, A WIDE RANGE OF STUDIES FIND THAT EXTENDING LEGAL STATUS TO UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS WOULD BE A NET POSITIVE" (CrashCourse, “The economics of Immigration: Crash course Econ #33”, YouTube, October 25,2016). This quote shows support for giving legal status to immigrants by mentioning that immigrants will have a positive effect on the economy if they are legal citizens and allowed to work because they will increase the overall workforce in the United States. Another quote from the video, “A 2015 STUDY FROM THE PEW RESEARCH CENTER FOUND THAT ABOUT HALF OF THE U.S ADULTS SAY IMMIGRANTS STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMY. COMPARED TO 40% WHO SAY THEY'RE A BURDEN” (CrashCourse, “The economics of Immigration: Crash course Econ #33”, YouTube, October 25,2016). Many agree that immigrants have a positive effect towards the economy since they bring more workers, but a small percentage of people say that the immigrants are a financial burden, mainly because of the stereotype that they do not work and just live off of welfare. This quote can be problematic for the video because they do not mention who the respondents were or if their statistics were an actual representation of the United States population and their opinion. For example, they could have only asked the big businesses which would explain a high percentage in favor of immigrants in the economy and a low percentage of people that said that immigrants are a burden to them. CrashCourse’s page they 4,956,535 subscribers, and for this video, there are many views and more likes than dislikes. A likely reason for why there is a higher number of likes than dislikes is probably that the number of views and likes are from the subscribers who already view and like the content CrashCourse makes. The information that was provided from the video was very useful and it would be helpful for those that just want to find quick information on immigration. I think that the video would be semi-trustworthy because it did bring in people whose quotes are well known with this topic, but the credibility of the woman “teaching” is questionable since she does not give any background information on her knowledge of the topic or her education or credentials. There were many comments left under this video that was somewhat positive with people saying they learned something from the video, but others thought that this video was very biased. Most of the comments point out that this video only showed the positive sides of the argument and did not show the negatives. Some people understood the video the way it was presented and agreed with it, some gave criticism about its biases for immigration, and some claimed that they did not learn anything from it. The video would have a low level of trustworthiness because it does not say what kind of education the person who is providing the information has, and the viewers seem to think that the video is very biased. They believe that the person who is presenting the information is only showing the positive effects the economy would have and claims that a law against immigration would be bad for the country.

The last video that I will be describing, which is showing the characteristics of a non- educational video, is called Meet an immigrant (Donald Trump Experiment), and the you-tuber that presents this video is UDY Pranks, who has 768,142 subscribers on his page. This video received 5,414,262 views, 117,306 likes, and 8,053 dislikes. The video is from a one person perceptive, very biased, and he does not show any kind of data or sources to support his argument. The argument that he is trying to make is that people assume that if you are an immigrant then you fall into stereotypes that are negative and make people judge you. These stereotypes say that immigrants are criminals, rapist, drug dealers, murderers, and so on. The reason why I gave this video the characteristic of being non-educational is because it did not provide any kind of data to prove his point, all he showed was a quote that Donald Trump had said, and the video did not prove any kind of point even though he was supposedly trying to debunk stereotypes about immigrants. The issue is it a lack of sources takes away from the credibility of the video because someone could have edited the video and mixed up what exactly was said in the case of the Donald Trump quote. A quote that the video gives is: “A PERSON CANNOT BE DEFINED BY WHAT RACE OR NATIONALITY THEY PERTAIN.” (UDY Pranks, “Meet an immigrant (Donald Trump Experiment)”, YouTube, October 25, 2016). This person is showing that people should not be looking at someone’s race and define them into something negative. The comments that the viewers left were very political, used foul language, and most of them seemed to be against immigration laws. The video was just one man dressed up in a jump suit, handcuffed and blind folded, and the man just stood on a sidewalk letting people read his sign that said the supposed stereotypes and labels that people give to immigrants. This made the commenters say things such as their opinions on Donald Trump (with more choice words), as well as using very foul language to either describe their experiences as an immigrant or their experiences with immigrants. These comments show that the video did not help in learning about the topic but rather only fueled political debates. This video is in the lowest level of trustworthiness because the man does not have any kind of education on the issue of immigration; he is just using what he hears on social media. Also, his username is UDY Pranks, so people will not necessarily take him seriously when the rest of the videos he makes are all pranks. When he is just standing outside in a jump suit with handcuffs and a blindfolded, what exactly is he trying to say and show the people around him? To my understanding, the video shows that the man just wants to make people feel bad for the stereotypes that are given to immigrants and make them feel guilty. This video does not show any useful information and should not be used to help those to understand the topic of immigration.

In conclusion, this paper showed how YouTube is not a very useful source for people to go on and find out information on the topic of immigration. The videos on YouTube just showed that rather than trying to learn about immigration people used the videos to say that they do not agree with other’s options and they are even willing to degrade others by what they are saying with their comments. Most of the viewers seemed to not learn anything from the videos and started to bring up political views about the situation. Some videos did have useful information on immigration, but the you-tuber should have shown on their page where exactly they got their information so that people would know that they did not just make it up. Currently, everyone is trying to get their information on issues that are current from social media, but what people don’t think about is that where exactly are the You-Tubers are getting their information, and how much trust should they have with them. YouTube is not a good place to understand immigration because people will be very biased and will only argue the positives or negatives of the situation but never both, nor will they show the sources where they got their information from.


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