Skip to comments.Our Nation Of Immigrants Forgets Its Past
Posted on 07/26/2014 6:22:06 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Lady Liberty's lamp has been lowered. Its light flickering. The huddled masses are no longer wanted be they tired or poor, be they homeless or hungry, be they adults or children threatened and yearning to breathe free.
The welcome light has dimmed. The spirit embodied in the words inscribed on the plaque on the Statue of Liberty rarely lived up to the reality of America's view and treatment of immigrants, whether they were from Europe, the Far East, Haiti and, now, Mexico and Central America.
In the late 1700s, the fear of immigrants, also known as aliens, partly led to the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798. Despite the desire to have immigrants to help develop America, the Germans, Irish and English were the outsiders in the mid-to-late 1800s as were the Chinese.
During World War I, the fear of aliens and others with close ties to their homelands was a concern that led to the Sedition Act.
Opposition to immigrants also applied to the Japanese, Italians and on down the immigration line.
The majority of blacks in this country were not immigrants. They were first brought here as slaves but in both slavery and freedom were regarded as outsiders and noncitizens even after those who came after them were accepted as Americans and no longer identified by their country of origin.
There were times when immigrants from Cuba were welcomed with open arms in the early 1960s. But that was when we were trying to score points about Cuba's system of government when compared to our own.
The name Elian Gonzalez has long left our collective memory. He was the boy who landed on America's shores nearly 15 years ago as one of three survivors who fled Cuba on a small boat for America. His mother was among those who drowned in the attempt. His father wanted him back, which prompted a long immigration and ideological battle over whether he should be allowed to stay in democratic America or sent back to his father in communist Cuba. The issue was whether the conditions of his life meant he'd be better off.
There are no communists involved in the 57,000 children who have fled to America since last October 2013 to June 2014, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. There is no government that is the antithesis of America's democracy. There are no ideological points from the countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador with crime worse than some of our worst cities.
It's just the poverty and violence from which they flee seems invalid and irrelevant to most Americans.
They keep coming, doubling the number of children who came into America in the previous fiscal year.
Where should they go? The children crossing the border into America have become more than a trickle it's a flood with no end in sight. Land and space is not infinite. Neither is the welcome light.
As much as I agree that something needs to be done to stem the tide, one thing I can't see myself doing is standing in the middle of the road yelling, screaming, chanting and blocking the path to a busload of children.
It would seem too much of what some of my own generation and my parents' generation of blacks experienced. It would be unconscionable to turn around and do that to others.
So why does this nation of immigrants and once and still outsiders wish to block an influx of immigrant children?
People forget. They forget what their predecessors felt. Doing the undoable to others becomes easy when you don't remember or know. On the other hand, it is not all about remembering, forgetting or not knowing.
People often just turn around and do the bad that was done to them.
The oppressed become the oppressors.
The locked out become the locker-outers.
The kept out become the keeper-outers.
And so it goes in America where the light in the land of liberty grows dark on those on the outside trying to get in.
Frank Harris III of Hamden is a professor of journalism at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. His email address is email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at fh3franktalk.
Cesar Chavez kept UFW members at the border to beat any illegal coming in.
Gotta love the utter stupidity of Nancy Pelosi comparing illegals to Moses being taken in by the Pharaoh.
The Pharaoh was a dictator and when Moses grew up, he took his people and fled.
So now these lawbreakers are being compared to slaves?
Democrats, making indentured servitude cool again.
Please. The use of the word “immigrant” is being used to emotionally manipulate, when the facts are widely different between then and now.
I am not sure if this is a direct link but check out this letter to the editor which would be an ideal reply to the author. It is on page 19 of 24 in this newspaper:
I never understand the liberals on immigration.
Because we have a history as a nation of immigrants, then that means that we have to have unfettered illegal immigration? That means that we have to grant residency, and all sorts of government benefits, to anyone, from anywhere in the world, under all circumstances?????
Why does that make sense?
At one time, immigrants helped build this country, settled the frontier, worked in industries which grew after the industrial revolution.
We don’t need massive numbers of immigrants to build this country or work in our business and industry. Yet to the liberals, we should still allow unlimited immigration. Even though times have changed, liberals want us to think it’s still 1890 or 1900.
I wonder what the opinion of professors such as this author would be, if illegal aliens were coming in to work in his job field, and resulted in curbs to his job potential and earnings, due to his having to compete with immigrants, legal or otherwise, for his work.
It has a big red WARNING, attack site!
I wonder why?
What did it say? Just an idea.
So why, in previous generations, did immigrants choose America?
Was it for our generous welfare system? No, we had no government welfare programs.
Was it to overcome an American system which they regarded as evil with sheer numbers of immigrants? No, before the Marxist indoctrination of the third world our system was held up as the success to be emulated.
So it was for the opportunity to join us, contribute, become an American and create a better life for themselves and their families!
So why is the current wave of law despisers coming to America?
Because they have been told that America is vile vile, capitalist country which has stolen the world’s wealth and they hope to loot America.
My family came here and wanted to speak English, be Americans and did not take financial support because there was none.
Some were sent back because of health issues, others because of crimes.
Those coming today, and I experience this because of a large Illegal immigrant population here, bring their abandoned country and all the worst attitudes with them. They refuse to speak English. They refuse to cooperate. They leech and expect others to give. They openly scorn America and Americans.
If our government sees fit to erase our borders, there is no country. If there is no country, there are no laws. If there are no laws I won’t be bothered to obey.
There cannot be two or many systems of laws ready to be broken because of political expediency.
If many are not under the laws, e.g. Wall Street and the illegals just a few of those exempt, what incentive other than fear which, one can overcome, is there to obey?
the professor/author needs to put his address in the article so theses new immigrants know where to stay....
Really? Sorry about that. I don’t see a copy and paste option.
A woman wrote and asked about the futures of current U.S. children in not only the inner cities but suburbs and emphasized that the new arrivals are making the U.S. an uneducated population. She blasted people in DC because they will not be affected and asked if the president and governor (of Massachusetts I presume) are going to keep these children in their homes or if the average tax payer will have to support them.
There are plenty of foreign communist professors who would be willing to work for less than half of what this brainiac is paid.
The original immigrants came here of their own volition seeking to work hard. become Americans and were excited to have the Opportunity America provided to better their lives.
The new illegal immigrants are people imported and encouraged by our own Government to come and get free stuff without becoming Americanized, as an opportunist would do.
People came because it was new, vacant and ready for settling.
We've gone from shacks to skyscrapers.
We were inventive and creative.
Many never became citizens (including my grandmas). Many never spoke English. But they did have something in common....ethics and the willingness to work.
The new illegals....if their intentions were good, they'd wait in line like our old time immigrants.
When they raise the wrong flag....they don’t belong here.
“At one time, immigrants helped build this country, settled the frontier, worked in industries which grew after the industrial revolution.”
and while doing that they were not on the government dole nor a blight on their neighborhoods and taxpayers.
Good points. Waves of immigrants of the past were not coming here to get on public assistance programs. Welfare or public assistance as we know it today simply didn’t exist back then. They knew they were coming to a country where they would have to work.
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