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Irish were Latinos of their day
The Denver Post ^ | 4/01/2006 | Bob Ewegen

Posted on 04/04/2006 5:34:55 PM PDT by neverdem

Today's rancorous debate over immigration has a parallel in the nativist reaction to the mass Irish immigration in the mid-19th century.

Spurred by the potato famine that began in 1845, 3.5 million mostly destitute Irish migrated to America by 1880 - about 7 percent of the population of 50 million. By contrast, today's 11 million unauthorized immigrants, of all nationalities, constitute just 4 percent of our population.

Contemporary immigration foes, like former Gov. Dick Lamm and Rep. Tom Tancredo, claim America can't absorb so many foreign-born without fatal damage to our economy and culture.

Yet, history shows we did just that. Today, there are 43 million Americans of Irish ancestry, a key element of the vibrant alloy that is America.

Today's nativists argue we can't compare today's illegal immigrants to the Irish, because the Irish came here legally. That's technically true, but the 19th century wave was just as uncontrolled, because America had virtually no bars to immigration in those days.

Kenneth Ackerman's book, "Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York," details how the desperate Irish were welcomed at the docks by the political machine that provided the only social safety net in that era.

Tweed minions would help the newcomers find housing and work and, if there was an election in the offing, they would swiftly be naturalized as citizens in mass ceremonies by Tweed's judges, so they could vote for their benefactors.

Cartoonist Thomas Nast, who hated Irish and Catholics with equal fervor, pandered to the nativist bigotry by depicting Irishmen as drunken, subhuman brutes. The accompanying Nast cartoon depicts the role immigrants played in supporting Tweed by showing an Irish thug and a Catholic priest carving up the Democratic Party goose that laid the golden eggs.

But though the Irish were despised, they were still admitted through America's golden door. That's because Americans needed them to do our dirty work.

The first generations of Irish worked largely at unskilled and semiskilled occupations, but their children found themselves working at increasingly skilled trades. By 1900, when Irish Americans made up about 8 percent of the male labor force, they were almost a third of the plumbers, steamfitters and boilermakers. Their places at the bottom of the ladder were taken by newly arrived laborers from southern and eastern Europe.

Today, those dirty, low-paying, jobs are being taken by Latinos. But if history is any guide, the daughter of that Latina who scrubs your floor today may be the doctor who delivers my granddaughter's baby a generation hence.

To some, that is a frightening prospect. But I think Clio, the muse of history, would join with Lady Liberty herself to say:

Bienvenidos, Americanos nuevos.

Bob Ewegen is The Denver Post's deputy editorial page editor.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Mexico; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Colorado; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: illegalimmigration; immigrantlist; immigration; irish; irishamericans; latinos
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The Hispanic Challenge (To America) A MUST READ Samuel Huntington (Long But Good)

The Mexicans are unlike previous immigrants. This definitely needs to be read by everyone at least once! It should be linked on pertinent immigration threads. Here's an interesting link about Samuel Huntington:

"Strangely enough, despite the fact that he was buddies with Henry Kissinger at Harvard, he is registered as a member of the Democratic Party, and has written foreign policy speeches for Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, and Jimmy Carter."


1 posted on 04/04/2006 5:34:58 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

The difference between the Irish and the illegal immigrants, though. The Irish came through Ellis Island and weren't sneaking over the border to get in. There's that whole legal thing again.


2 posted on 04/04/2006 5:36:31 PM PDT by HungarianGypsy (I'm writing a post to a message board. I don't care if it's not grammatically perfect.)
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To: neverdem
Lying slimes.

The Irish never bilked the country for welfare or formed clandestine organizations to make America part of Ireland.

3 posted on 04/04/2006 5:38:04 PM PDT by Nachum
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To: neverdem
Today's nativists argue we can't compare today's illegal immigrants to the Irish, because the Irish came here legally. That's technically true

Not "technically" true. Just simply true and it makes all the difference.

4 posted on 04/04/2006 5:39:38 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: HungarianGypsy
The difference between the Irish and the illegal immigrants, though. The Irish came through Ellis Island and weren't sneaking over the border to get in. There's that whole legal thing again.

Interesting assumption, this, that because so much was going on at Ellis Island, there was no illegal immigration. I would tend to intuit the opposite conclusion -- so much was going on at Ellis Island, that there was plenty left over to "sneak in."

5 posted on 04/04/2006 5:39:47 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (blah)
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To: neverdem

Someone correct me if I'm wrong: Did the Irish come over hear waving the flag of their native country, claiming they had a "right" to the territory they were settling in? Did they demand free healthcare, free education for their kids, and services in native Gaelic? My history is a little rusty.


6 posted on 04/04/2006 5:39:48 PM PDT by rightwingintelligentsia
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: neverdem

Nice try Denver Post. As I recall, the Irish were starving to death and the American people welcomed them with open arms. Neither of which can be said for the South Americans sneaking over our border in the dead of night.


8 posted on 04/04/2006 5:40:23 PM PDT by trubluolyguy (If I wanted to live in Mexico, I'd FRIGGING MOVE THERE!)
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To: neverdem
Today's nativists argue we can't compare today's illegal immigrants to the Irish, because the Irish came here legally. That's technically true

A writer with integrity would have phrased that "That's true" and ended the piece right there.

Once again, a lib attempts to turn this into a debate about immigration. It's about ILLEGAL immigration. I would wonder if he was stupid but he's not--this fudging is done intentionally.

9 posted on 04/04/2006 5:40:30 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 (No respect for conservatives? That's free speech. No respect for liberals? That's hate speech.)
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To: jan in Colorado

ping


10 posted on 04/04/2006 5:40:47 PM PDT by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: HungarianGypsy

The Irish also didn't expect to receive a bilingual education, didn't overload social services, and didn't crank up a "reconquista" movement.


11 posted on 04/04/2006 5:41:47 PM PDT by Cecily
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To: HungarianGypsy
...and they came here to be American, to learn English, to assimilate into American culture and society, not to rebuild Ireland on new soil, not to be Irish in a new land, although they didn't forget from whence they came.

...and there's still that whole legal/illegal thing.

12 posted on 04/04/2006 5:42:37 PM PDT by infidel29 ("We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." --Benjamin Franklin)
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To: Nachum
Hello,

I am damn near 100% Irish, and this article is crap. My great-grandparents came here legally, fought discrimination against the Irish and built lives as Americans. They did it without breaking the law. To the jerk that is trying to make this straw-argument, GFY.

Glad to be here, but pretty ticked off about this, MOgirl
13 posted on 04/04/2006 5:42:41 PM PDT by MOgirl (Hillary. She's a totalitarian freak. And you know what I'm talkin' about.)
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To: Cecily

I also don't think the Irish had obnoxious sounding parties every weekend. Sure, the Irish drink a bit, but at least they have good music.


14 posted on 04/04/2006 5:42:52 PM PDT by HungarianGypsy (I'm writing a post to a message board. I don't care if it's not grammatically perfect.)
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To: neverdem
You left out the most important part.

bewegen@denverpost.com

15 posted on 04/04/2006 5:43:04 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: neverdem

We faced many of those Irish mercenaries in the War of Northern Aggresion,

the ranks of the invaders were filled with many foreigners, from many lands,

while we were true born Americans.


16 posted on 04/04/2006 5:43:35 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: Stopislamnow

The wetbacks wanna stay Mexican.



I agree that the Mexicans are not interested in becoming Americans, but can we leave the racism to them?


17 posted on 04/04/2006 5:43:44 PM PDT by trubluolyguy (If I wanted to live in Mexico, I'd FRIGGING MOVE THERE!)
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To: neverdem
The Irish immigrants in America were hated and treated terribly by the landed gentry.

They were tolerated in as much as they were useful to do disgusting, demeaning and back breaking work.

They were considered lower than black slaves, who at least were "property" and had cash value.
18 posted on 04/04/2006 5:43:53 PM PDT by Tony O (hibobbi!)
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To: neverdem

The Irish did not come here intending to cut off part of the US in order to kick out the previous population and attach the territory to Ireland.


19 posted on 04/04/2006 5:44:02 PM PDT by arthurus (Better to fight them OVER THERE than here.)
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To: neverdem
The Irish, God love em, more then paid their fair share to their new homeland, USA or CSA:


20 posted on 04/04/2006 5:44:15 PM PDT by Michael.SF. (Well, Kerry did win the exit polls.)
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Comment #21 Removed by Moderator

Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: neverdem
Wow, how ignorant can you be. There were no left wing, new world nightmare groups in America, trying to destroy our sovereignty by funding anti-American sentiments among Irish immigrants.
23 posted on 04/04/2006 5:45:47 PM PDT by HisKingdomWillAbolishSinDeath (My Homeland Security: Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper)
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To: neverdem
Bizarrely, the author destroys his own thesis by citing the power that immigration wave gave to Boss Tweed's corruption.
24 posted on 04/04/2006 5:46:21 PM PDT by mrsmith
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To: trubluolyguy
the Irish were starving to death and the American people welcomed them with open arms

That is a bit rosey of a picture you paint. The prejudice against the Irish was real and rampant. But the Irish rose above it through hard work and pride.

25 posted on 04/04/2006 5:46:35 PM PDT by Michael.SF. (Well, Kerry did win the exit polls.)
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: rightwingintelligentsia

Your words need to be printed in the letters-to-the-editor section of the devious rag. Spot on!


27 posted on 04/04/2006 5:46:37 PM PDT by RedWing9 (No tag here... Just want to stay vague...)
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To: HungarianGypsy

Yep, they don't want to face the "legal" aspec of todays problems with the "undocumented" ILLEGAL, parasitic, money stealing, job stealing, terrorist scum who come into this country without permission. Not to mention disease ridden, non productive, worthless criminals. I guess that about covers it. I would think Dane will be here shortly to straighten me out!


28 posted on 04/04/2006 5:46:52 PM PDT by calex59
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To: John Filson

And there still exists to this day, black people in Africa that hunt with spears.


I am sure one of you can come up with a good racist comment out of that one too.


29 posted on 04/04/2006 5:47:10 PM PDT by trubluolyguy (If I wanted to live in Mexico, I'd FRIGGING MOVE THERE!)
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To: Cecily
All of this demonstrates the mindset of invasion rather than immigration-----and The Plan by illegals to overthrow the US government. Plotting to go to war against the US, to overthrow the US government, and to allow a foreign government to occupy the several states is an accurate summary of MECHA's mission statement.

Here's what we have to look forward to:

Reconquista Armando Navarro 'Ethnic Studies' Professor at the University of California, Riverside Anti-American, Fifth-Column Menace. "Ladies and Gentlemen, what this means (the immigration bill) is a transfer of power, it means control, and it is the young people, the people who are now moving to develop an agenda for the twenty first century they are going to be in a position to really make the promise of what the Chicano movement was all about in terms of self-determination, in terms of empowerment, even in the terms of an Aztlan...."


30 posted on 04/04/2006 5:47:18 PM PDT by Liz (Liberty consists in having the power to do that which is permitted by the law. Cicero)
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To: neverdem
Irish were Latinos of their day


What a load of Blarney
31 posted on 04/04/2006 5:47:34 PM PDT by ATOMIC_PUNK ("Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds." -- Albert Einstein)
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To: MOgirl

"...fought discrimination against the Irish and built lives as Americans."

And that's the rub. See, even the Illegals here now COULD follow that lead, but they don't, and they never will. They will always want a Mexico within our borders.


32 posted on 04/04/2006 5:47:58 PM PDT by moehoward
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To: ansel12

You're funny...


33 posted on 04/04/2006 5:48:04 PM PDT by dakine
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To: neverdem

Also, the Irish speak the same language we do, which makes assimilation 100 times easier.


34 posted on 04/04/2006 5:49:25 PM PDT by HisKingdomWillAbolishSinDeath (My Homeland Security: Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper)
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: HungarianGypsy
Yeah, and I don't recall too many Irish burning the American Flag and claiming they wanted to make the US New Ireland.
36 posted on 04/04/2006 5:49:44 PM PDT by PeteB570 (Guns, what real men want for Christmas)
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To: MOgirl
Glad to be here, but pretty ticked off about this, MOgirl

Whoa, MO! I believe that's the first time I've witnessed your 'damn near 100% Irish' temperament! LOL but good far yuh, stahndin' up far thuh truth!

37 posted on 04/04/2006 5:50:08 PM PDT by arasina (So there.)
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To: the invisib1e hand

No one could sneak in from Ellis Island. They were sent back if they had any illness, any descrepancy of their documents, any thing at all that would cast a doubt on their being a productive person if allowed to enter would get them sent back. The whole reason of Ellis Island was to sift through the undersirables and eliminate them. You couldn't "sneak" off of Ellis Island unless maybe you could transform yourseld into a boat!


38 posted on 04/04/2006 5:50:19 PM PDT by calex59
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To: John Filson

Not only does it fit, but "Operation Wetback" was a name of an governmental illegal roundup in the 50's was it not?

I'm not a racist. I dislike every criminal equally. Congressman, Senator, Wetback, Murderer....all the same. Scum.


39 posted on 04/04/2006 5:50:26 PM PDT by Stopislamnow (The 2nd Amendment was written for a reason. It's the biggest fear of corrupt politicians.)
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To: Nachum
Didn't they hang 900 Irishmen in new york on one of those "Cleaning the Decks" police actions?

I also read that Ct. was unsafe due to roving bands of unemployed Irish?

One legacy of the Irish is that crime family the Travelers Uncontrolled imigration has always been a problem
40 posted on 04/04/2006 5:50:37 PM PDT by underbyte
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To: Nachum
Hear, Hear....the Irish came here legally, paid their dues, so to speak..and didn't try to make the US a little Ireland. I live in SoCal...what is happening is making me kinda nervous.
41 posted on 04/04/2006 5:50:38 PM PDT by Conservative4Ever (Buy Danish!)
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To: ansel12

"We faced many of those Irish mercenaries in the War of Northern Aggresion,
the ranks of the invaders were filled with many foreigners, from many lands,
while we were true born Americans."

The South had Irish regiments too. My own people were Scots-Irish and fought in the 1st and 10th Tennessee.


42 posted on 04/04/2006 5:50:53 PM PDT by dljordan
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To: John Filson

Are you saying that someone who swims the Rio to get here illegally isn't a wetback when he gets out of the water on the other side?




No. I am saying that is an illegal invader of my country. For me racism doesn't even enter into it. Apparantly for you, it does.


43 posted on 04/04/2006 5:50:57 PM PDT by trubluolyguy (If I wanted to live in Mexico, I'd FRIGGING MOVE THERE!)
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To: Stopislamnow

Scum indeed.


44 posted on 04/04/2006 5:51:10 PM PDT by John Filson
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To: ansel12
There were Irish, Canadians, French and other foreign born who fought on the side of the south, as well as the north.

Whoops, I guess that doesn't fit in with revisionist history.
45 posted on 04/04/2006 5:51:49 PM PDT by PeteB570 (Guns, what real men want for Christmas)
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To: neverdem

The Irish were known as the White N****** and now the Hispanics are known as S****


46 posted on 04/04/2006 5:52:20 PM PDT by MinorityRepublican (everyone that doesn't like what America and President Bush has done for Iraq can all go to HELL)
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To: Michael.SF.

"The Irish, God love em, more then paid their fair share to their new homeland, USA or CSA:"


I was trying to have a little fun, but your post is more correct,

The Irish really gave a lot of blood to America, including the Indian Fighting Army after the Civil War.

And of course I'm part Irish too, although it's not my favorite bloodline.


47 posted on 04/04/2006 5:54:04 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12
the ranks of the invaders were filled with many foreigners, from many lands, while we were true born Americans.

Sorry friend, but the Irish fought on both sides of the war. Savannah, Ga. had a huge Irish influx, possibly third in the country after NY and Boston.


48 posted on 04/04/2006 5:54:35 PM PDT by Michael.SF. (Well, Kerry did win the exit polls.)
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To: neverdem
America had virtually no bars to immigration in those days.

America had no rush hour, medicaid, or national debt in those days either.
49 posted on 04/04/2006 5:55:09 PM PDT by Old_Mil (http://www.constitutionparty.org - Forging a Rebirth of Freedom.)
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To: MOgirl
To the jerk that is trying to make this straw-argument, GFY.

His e-mail address is: bewegen@denverpost.com

And just in case you ever need it, there's this website.

;^)

50 posted on 04/04/2006 5:55:10 PM PDT by DumpsterDiver
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