Elon Musk: Rich Immigrant, Angry Over Immigration—Election Influence?

Elon Musk's views spark controversy in political circles.

by Nouman Rasool
Elon Musk: Rich Immigrant, Angry Over Immigration—Election Influence?
© Apu Gomes/Getty Images

Elon Musk, the wealthiest immigrant ever to land in America and the third richest person in the world, was in the media glare again over his observations on immigration. In a speech before the Milken Institute last month, Musk described the southern border as questionable — at a time reminiscent of a zombie apocalypse — and the legal immigration process as a long, Kafkaesque ordeal.

Notoriously known for their provocative stance, Musk emphasized the need to secure the southern border and speed up the legal immigration process. Despite his claim to support immigration, Musk's remMusk often misses a crucial aspect: seeking asylum is a legal right under both national and international laws, irrespective of the mode of arrival in the U.S.

This year, as the election intensifies and Republicans focus on border security, Musk's comMusk has grown increasingly extreme. As the CEO of influential companies like SpaceX, Tesla, and social media platform X (formerly Twitter), he has sometimes leveraged his substantial reach to promote racially charged conspiracy theories and misinformation about immigration laws.

Musk's Political Influence

Interestingly, Musk's influence on public and political discourse is a matter of debate. Some view him as a significant opinion-maker capable of swaying voter behaviour and influencing policy, while others see him as a fringe voice echoing within a conservative bubble.

Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán noted the troubling potential of Musk's becoming talking points in Congress, underscoring the gravity of his platform. The discourse around immigration is a top voter issue, highlighted continuously in polls, including a recent Gallup survey named the most significant problem facing the U.S.

for three consecutive months. The upcoming presidential election, the first since Musk acquired X and reinstated former President Trump's addition, adds another layer of complexity. Musk's defence of Trump following a criminal conviction adds to the controversial nature of his political engagements.

Musk's immigration story adds an ironic twist to his current stance. He migrated from South Africa to Canada and then to the U.S., eventually establishing significant business ventures. This background contrasts sharply with his current rhetoric, which often aligns with hardline conservative views on immigration.

In the political arena, Musk's controversial bill in the California Legislature and repeated endorsement of the misleading narrative surrounding border security legislation show a pattern of engaging in politically charged debates.

This behaviour has sparked concerns about the impact of his statements on rational policy discussions in the U.S. As Musk continues to shape his persona as a pivotal figure in political discussions, his potential role in future administrations, especially if Trump reclaims the presidency, remains a subject of keen interest and speculation.

His influence, whether substantive or provocative, has significant implications for the national discourse on immigration and beyond.

Elon Musk