Immigration and Racism

Nothing New Under the Sun

Most of the history of immigration laws in the United States is a mockery of The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and our high-sounding ideals. Those laws and the often draconian enforcement of those laws makes hypocrites of us all. I have described that history in some detail in my earlier article entitled “Immigration“, but a brief description of the effect (presumably, the intent) of those laws bears repeating.

  • The Page Act of 1875 was designed to prohibit the immigration of “undesirables”. It’s implementation demonstrated the intended equation:
     
             “Undesirables” = “Chinese”
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  • The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 prohibited the immigration of all Chinese laborers.
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  • The Immigration Act of 1917 created the Asiatic Barred Zone adding much of the rest of Asia and the Pacific Islands to China.
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  • In 1921, The Emergency Quota Act limited the number immigrants from any country to 3% of the number of residents from that country already living in the U.S. at the time of the 1910 Census.
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  • The Immigration Act of 1924 reduced the immigration limit to 2% of the number of people from that country who were living in the United States based on the 1890 Census.
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  • The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 abolished racial restrictions, but retained a quota system for regions and nationalities. It allowed the government to deport immigrants or naturalized citizens deemed to be engaged in subversive activity and specified which ethnic groups were “desirable”.
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  • The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 modified the quota system to one based on country rather than ethnicity.
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  • The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 made it illegal for employees to knowingly recruit illegal residents.
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  • The Immigration Act of 1990 set the overall limit on immigration to 700,000 from 1992 through 1994. Thereafter, the limit would be 675,000. That number continues to be our limit on immigration today.

Most recently, President Trump has given us Executive Order 13780, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”. The original order, signed on March 6, 2017, was a thinly veiled attempt to fulfil his campaign promise to ban Muslims from travelling to the United States.

While technically Religionism (perhaps violating the 1st Amendment) rather than Racism, many other statements and actions imply that President Trump and many of his most ardent supporters consider “white” to mean “people of European (especially Northwestern European) and (of course) Russian descent. After two failed attempts at revising the travel ban, the Trump Administration received the Supreme Court’s okay on a third version on June 26, 2018. This final version bans travel from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. (North Korea and Venezuela must have made the difference. Looks like Kim Jong Un won’t be visiting the White House anytime soon.)

Another bit of the only slightly veiled Racism came out of the President’s mouth on July 13, 2018 in a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

 

Debunking Lies My President Told Me

In my earlier article, I listed and debunked some Immigration Myths being perpetrated by then-candidate Donald Trump and his supporters. Here are some new (and some reiterated) truths to counter some of the Trump Administration’s “exaggerations”. Contrary to what you may have heard:

  • Our borders are more secure than ever.
     
  • Immigration to the U.S. has actually decreased.
      
  • Net migration between the United States and Mexico is north to south.
     
  • Many immigrants cannot “get in line” because there is no “line”. (Our immigration laws define the “line” as family relationships, employment relationships, or the ability to qualify for asylum status.)
     
  • Undocumented immigrants contribute greatly to our economy. (Most pay state and local taxes. Many pay into the Social Security system with no hope of ever collecting. Fixing the immigration system would reduce our deficit by only about $20 billion per year.)
     
  • Immigrants are more law abiding than many other groups. President Trump is fond of associating the gang MS-13 with immigration. He’s correct. MS-13 began in Los Angeles, California during the 1980s. As immigrants to Central America, they took their vicious violence to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Many of the asylum seekers at our southern border are fleeing MS-13 in those countries.
     
  • The Immigration Visa Lottery does not “randomly hand out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of American people”. Nobody is eligible for the lottery until after he or she has been thoroughly vetted.
     
  • Immigrants are not taking American jobs. (The President’s tariffs are doing that. Just ask employees of Harley Davidson, Element TV Company, Volvo in South Carolina, and Mid Continent Nail Corporation in Missouri.)

Who Are These Immigrants?

There are three groups of United States citizens who are not considered by most people to be the descendents of immigrants:

  1. The indigenous people of the Americas (aka “Native Americans“)
     
    Archaeologists and some groups of Indigenous Americans disagree about the origins of these peoples. We are fairly sure that North America and AsiaBeringia 150 once were connected by a “land bridge” that’s been named Beringia. Beringia existed between about 70,000 and 60,000 years ago; was intermittently below and above sea level between 60,000 and 30,000 years ago; and was consistently habitable between 30,000 and  11,000 years ago. Almost certainly, there were many human migrations in both directions whenever Beringia was above sea level. The disagreement is whether the first migration was east to west, west to east, or both more or less simultaneously. DNA studies have shown some genetic structures that are common among Indigenous Americans but rare in the rest of the world.Eden and Adam-ondi-Ahman 100 In any event, the indigenous peoples have inhabited the Americas for a very long time … certainly much longer than anyone else. Maybe it depends upon where the Garden of Eden was … in the Middle East as Genesis implies or in what’s now Missouri as some Christians believe.
     
  2. Native Hawaiians
     
    The first Polynesians probably arrived in Hawaii in the 4th Century … 11 centuries before Columbus; 6 centuries before Leif Erikson. They may not have been the original inhabitants of the islands, but they arrived long before any Europeans.
     
  3. Most African Americans
     
    Most African Americans are descended from slaves. The were brought here by force as early as the 16th Century by the Spanish; then by the English; and, after the American Revolutionary War, by U.S. citizens. Slavery in the United States continued until the end of the Civil War in 1865.

In spite of efforts to first exterminate; then marginalize them, Indigenous Americans make up slightly more than 1.5% of the current population of the United States.Non-Immigrants 350 Slightly more than 0.08% of us are Native Hawaiians. African Americans comprise about 12.3%. That means that about 86% of the population of the United States are legal immigrants or the descendants of “legal” immigrants. (I put “legal” in quotes because the question of legality didn’t come up during the first 89 years of our country’s existence. If you were here … and if you were “white” …, you were legal.) Africans were “property” until the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865. Three years later, the 14th Amendment made them citizens. Native Americans were not declared to be citizens until 1924. Native Hawaiians became citizens in 1900.
  

Returning to the Intersection

Time and Again, the Federal Government of the United States returns to the intersection of Immigration and Racism. Intersection 300Time and Again, Federal Government officials in the Administration, Congress, or both lead us here in the name of protecting our families, our borders, our jobs, and our way of life … while trying to divert our attention from the impending intersection. This time, the Administration is leading the way with those who control Congress following like obedient puppies.
 

Leading the Charge; Fanning the Hate

For the most part, four men are responsible for our current draconian immigration policy … President Donald Trump, Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Let’s take a look at their individual histories with immigration and racism.

As is always the case in the United States, the President must bear the final responsibility for the actions of his Administration. It seems rather odd that Donald Trump should be anti-immigrant. He is part of a relatively recent family of immigrants.Donald Trump 150 His paternal grandfather was an immigrant. His Mother was an immigrant. His first and third wives are immigrants. President Trump and 4 of his 5 children have a parent who is a naturalized citizen.  On his Father’s side, President Trump is among the 56% of us who claim to be of third generation1 or greater U.S. citizenship. Makes you wonder why he hates immigrants, doesn’t it? Is he ashamed of his late 19th Century German heritage? Does he have “Mommy Issues”?

Could his opposition to immigration be something else? Could it have anything to do with the fact that many of today’s immigrants have brown or black skin?

In 1973, Trump and his company were sued by the Department of Justice for housing discrimination against black renters. In 2011, Trump became the leading proponent of  the “Birtherism” conspiracy against President Obama. In 2016, he maintained that a group of black and Latino teenagers were guilty of raping a white woman in the Central Park even though an imprisoned serial rapist had confessed to the crime in 2002. In the speech that launched his presidential campaign, he described Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists. He claimed he couldn’t get a fair hearing regarding the Trump University lawsuit because the judge was a “Mexican-American”. In tweets and speeches, he has quoted fake statistics to link African-Americans to murders and other violent crime. He equated white supremacist marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia with those who protested against them. In 2018, he referred to El Salvador, Haiti, and African countries as “shithole countries”.

Other than these minor examples, President Trump shows no signs of racist tendencies.

Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller is the devil whispering in the President’s ear. He was the prime mover in the Administration’s travel ban, their reduction of the number of refugees that the United States would accept,Stephen Miller 150 and the plan to separate migrant parents from their children … whether they were illegally crossing our southern border or legally applying for asylum at ports of entry. Unlike the President, Mr. Miller is a 4th Generation U.S. Citizen … on his Mother’s side. In the 1903, his great-grandparents escaped anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire and immigrated to the United States. He became a conservative after reading a book by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre. In high school and college, his conservatism expanded to include racism.

Seven of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly‘s great-grandparents were immigrants … 3 from Ireland and 4 from Italy. Kelly has complained that immigrants “don’t integrate” into U.S. culture and some “don’t speak English”. He should know. He grew up in an ethnic enclave of Boston, Massachusetts and one great-grandfather never spoke English. His 8th great-grandparent was born in Portland, Maine. John F Kelly 150His father, Chief of Staff Kelly’s great-great-grandfather was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (That is America, but not the United States.) John is 4th generation U.S. citizen, at least, in 7 branches of his family tree; 6th generation on the remaining branch. To balance his European ancestry, Kelly’s great-great-great-grandfather was born in Ireland. Before becoming President Trump’s Chief of Staff, General (U.S. Marine Corps, retired) Kelly was President Trump’s Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. As Chief of Staff, he’s had his share of racist and misogynist controversies.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ family has been here for a long time. His great-great-great-great-grandfather was born in South Carolina in 1741 and lived to see his colony become one of the United States of America.Jeff Sessions 150 The Internet yielded no reference to earlier relatives. If they were the family’s immigrants, Jeff is an 8th generation American. Of course, if the family remained in the South during the 1860s, they would have been citizens of the C.S.A. rather than the U.S.A. for several years. Jeff’s full name is Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. His grandfather was named after Jefferson Davis, President of the C.S.A. and P. G. T. Beauregard, the Confederate General who lead the attack on Fort Sumter.

Jeff’s name does not define him. He did that all by himself. The Attorney General has a long history of racism and anti-immigration. Being Attorney General has done nothing to change that. When a Federal Judge in Hawaii blocked the Administration’s “travel ban”, Sessions was amazed that a judge “on an island in the Pacific” could do that. It’s difficult to know the stronger focus of Sessions’ hate … immigration or race.

At his Senate Confirmation Hearings, Mr. Sessions gave the impression that he has a “memory like a steel sieve“. Schultz and Sessions 150Like Sergeant Schultz in “Hogan’s Heroes“, he saw and knew nothing. What he does claim to remember demonstrates a limited acquaintance with the truth.

The website PolitiFact.com assigns 1 of 9 more or less self-explanatory categories to the political statements it fact-checks … True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False, Pants on Fire, No Flip, Half Flip, and Full Flop. The last 3 are used for statements that seem to contradict one’s earlier position. “Pants on Fire” seems to be reserved for viral messages in E-mail, Social Media, Bloggers,2 … and someone whose Twitter account name is @realDonaldTrump. Jeff Session has no “Pants on Fire” ratings … nor does he have any “True” ratings. 91% of his entries are rated as “Half True”, “Mostly False”, or “False”.

Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III may be the worst of the four. There were no immigration laws when his family arrived in the North American Colonies nor for 89 years in the country those colonies became … yet he is severely anti-immigration. His history of Racism seems to have been accumulating for at least 7 generations. Only his boss is a bigger liar than he is. In him, Nationalism and Racism have fused into a callous ideology that leaves no room for compassion or empathy. The Civil War is over, Jeff. Your side lost. You’re on the wrong side of history. Get used to it.
 

The Real Sin in Prejudice

Human beings seem to be hard-wired for putting things into categories. In Learning Theory, this ability is called Concept Formation.Chairs 250 Concept Formation helps us understand and cope with the world around us. Without it, everything is something new that requires analysis. Without it, our memories would quickly overflow and we would become caught in an endless cycle of encounter, analysis, and decision-making. Because we’ve developed the concept “chair”, we’re less likely to pull up a petunia when needing to sit.

The REAL sin of Prejudice is treating a person (or any living being) as a thing. Chair is a relatively simple concept; living creatures are not.Pit Bull Mom and Puppies 150 For example, the dogs called Pit Bulls have a reputation of being mean and aggressive. They aren’t. The mean and aggressive creatures are the human monsters who taught the dogs to be as mean and aggressive as themselves … either by intent or by neglecting and/or abusing their animals.

The problem with concept formation is that it works by reducing the number of variables one needs to consider.3 Round Blue Big 37 Look at these figures. What’s the concept … “Big”? … “Round”? … “Three”? … “Blue”? With only this example, we can’t tell.

Let’s try a more refined example. With this example, we’ve eliminated “Big”3 Round Blue 37 as a critical attribute, but we still can’t discriminate among “Round”, “Three”, and “Blue”.

This picture eliminates another attribute. We can see that “Blue”3 Round 37 is not a property of the concept we’re seeking. We’ll need another picture to choose between “Round” and “Three”.

With this final picture, we’ve narrowed the concept down to a single attribute. It’s “Three”. 3 37Could we have learned “Threeness” with this picture alone? Maybe; maybe not.

We could just as easily have concluded that different colors indicate different shapes … and that “Blue” shapes were more important than “Red” shapes and “Green” shapes. We might have decided that anything “Green” wasn’t even worthy of the name “Shape”.

Now that you understand the basic idea of Concept Formation, let’s see how it works with people. Here are four skulls from people of four different races.

Skulls without Races 150

The designations of the four races, in alphabetical order, are African, Australian Aborigine, European, and Northern Asian. Can you guess which is which?

No peeking. Try deciding which skull goes with which race before looking at the  answer below.

Skulls with Races 150

Here are some actors’ faces that parallel the races in order.
 
Faces with Races 123 
The actors are John Cho, Michael Caine, Chris Rock, and Michael Coles Smith. (Yes, Chris Rock is an African-American, but when you do a Google Images search for Africans, you get everybody from Omar Sharif to Sean Cameron Michael.)
 
It’s not just our skull shapes that are hard to link with the colors of our faces. Coexist 02 150Almost everything about us … all our positives and all our negatives … all our highs and all lows … are distributed across all of us. Racism is an idiotic, xenophobic behavior. It may have helped us 50,000 or more years ago, but it’s a major hindrance to our growth as the worldwide family that we are and must come to understand at the deepest levels of our being.

Providing you don’t intentionally (or thoughtlessly) cause harm, prejudice toward a plant or animal isn’t something to lose sleep over. If you back away from a plant that you find foul smelling, the plant doesn’t care. (In its own way, it may even thank you.) If you avoid a snake because you think it’s “creepy”, it’s okay with the snake.Bigotry 01 250 (He’s probably not that thrilled about you either.) You and the plant and the snake are different species with widely differing needs. Because humans are all the same species, with the same basic spiritual, emotional, physical, and social needs, we have an extra word for prejudice toward each other … Bigotry.
 

From The Man Behind the Curtain

Most of the time, I avoid the first person singular in my articles. I am so deeply troubled by this topic that I must express “My Less Than Humble Opinion” from my own perspective rather than in the guise of the disembodied narrator.

When I was growing up near York, Pennsylvania, if someone asked, What are you?”, the most likely answer related to your job, e.g. I’m a Farmer, Teacher, Truck Driver, Nurse, etc. (A kid might answer his or her grade in school or favorite pastime.) Here in eastern Massachusetts, the answer to the question “What are you?” anticipates an answer of one’s national origin. You hear answers like “I’m Irish” or “I’m Greek” or “I’m Italian” or “I’m Dutch” or “I’m fill-in-the-country-of-your-choice“.

The nationality-oriented answer that comes naturally to me is, “I’m American” … not  because I don’t know that most of my ancestors immigrated from Germany, but because so many of them arrived in North America so long ago … before there was a United States. (On occasion, I might say, “I’m Pennsylvania Dutch [i.e. Deutsche],” but that’s just to explain a slip into an expression I heard my Grandpa say … like “macht nichts“.) I am, at least, a 6th generation American. My Father’s Maternal Great-great-grandfather came to the United States what I consider to be fairly recently … 1848. Branches of my Maternal Grandfather’s family came here over 10 generations ago in 1622.

Like President Trump, I am older than 70 and had ancestors who came here from Germany and the British Isles. Like Stephen Miller, one branch of my family tree immigrated to the United States less than a century before my birth. Similar to John Kelly, I have at least one great-great-great-grandparent who was an immigrant. Like Jeff Sessions, many3 of my earliest American ancestors moved to or were born in one of England’s American colonies that became the United States.

Unlike any of the four of them, I am not overtly nor consciously racist and I favor rather than oppose immigration. I certainly don’t think there’s a any way to justify government-sponsored “kidnapping” as a deterrent against a misdemeanor … a first illegal entry into the country. I don’t understand how seeking asylum in accordance with our laws should incur any penalty or deterrent.Jesus 01 300 Three of these four men claim to be Christians. I was raised as a Christian … specifically a Lutheran. I cannot imagine how Trump, Kelly, and Sessions justify taking children … some of them babies … from parents as part of an anti-immigration policy. Did any of them ever read the Gospels in the  New Testament? Did they misunderstand the phrase “suffer little children” in the King James Version of the Bible? Do they think “The Good Samaritan” helped the traveler … or took his children and locked him up? Maybe they only read the Old Testament where God tells a man to sacrifice his son and waits until the last moment to say, “Just kidding”? If so, they’ve missed part of the story … our government isn’t kidding.

I used the phrase “overtly nor consciously racist” above for a reason. White Privilege 01 300Like many white men in the United States, I have unknowingly (or unthinkingly) benefited from both “white privilege” and, to a lesser extent, “male privilege“. I learned about “male privilege” in the ’70s. I’ve been learning to recognize and avoid it ever since. It’s an ongoing process. I was made aware of “white privilege” only about two decades ago.

Like most “white” people, I have a lot to learn. For most of my life, it didn’t occur to me that I or anyone else would be:

  • Denied a job for any reason other than being less skilled or credentialed than someone else.
     
  • Denied a home … or a meal … or any other purchase for any reason other than an inability to pay for it.
     
  • Viewed with suspicion in a store … or a bank … or the subway … or a neighborhood … or any public place.
     
  • The subject of a 911 complaint when I was doing nothing more than minding my own business.
     
  • Be given “the talk” by a parent … not about “the birds and the bees” …, butWhite Privilege 02 300 about being especially polite and docile in the face of authority figures … to avoid being killed.
     
  • Stopped in my car and questioned by the police while obeying the rules of the road.
     
  • Frightened by the presence of a policeman in my immediate vicinity.

Actually, I do have firsthand experience with the last two.

Once, while driving home from a gathering at a friend’s home, I was stopped by two cops in an intervening town. They asked me what I was doing in their town. After I told them, “I’m going home,” and convinced them that their town was, in fact, between my friend’s home and mine, they told me they’d been having trouble with drug dealers. I guess that activity has no color boundary.

I am frightened by the police. When I was young, my Grandma told me, “If you don’t behave, the police will come and take you away.” I guess it gave me “cop phobia”.

Black people experience all of the injustices and indignities bulleted above … and more … every day of their lives.

Fourteen year-old Royce Mann’s prize winning slam poem says it well. Here’s a video of his performance. (Because it’s a bit hard to understand at places, I’ve included a file below the video. Click on the link to open it.)

White Boy Privilege

Violating our Laws; Ignoring our Principles

What ICE is doing at our southern border is an abomination on a par with the treatment of black slaves prior to the Civil War. The actions of President Donald J. Trump’s Administration compete with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Internment of Japanese Americans4 for the title of worst violation of the U.S. Constitution. (ICE cannot touch immigrants … legal or not … until they have entered our country, butConstitutional protections apply to anyone inside our borders.)

George Takei was a guest on a recent news program. When he was 5 years old, he and his family were “interred”. Even though they were U.S. citizens, they were treated like prisoners of war. George considers this Administration’s immigration rhetoric to be “grotesque”. To view the brief interview, click here.

In addition to basic Constitutional protections, the United States recognizes the Right of Asylum. Most of those who have been separated from their children were from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. They were seeking asylum at U.S. ports of entry in accordance with our law. Even though we have known for months that these potential refuges were coming, the ports of entry were woefully short of the personnel needed to process them. (After days of being turned away, some did try to cross illegally.) To punish them for daring to legally seek asylum in our country, the Trump Administration decided to take over 2500 children from their parents. The facilities and personnel needed to care for those children were even more woefully inadequate than those needed to process their parents asylum requests.

On June 27, 2018, a Federal Judge in San Diego, California ordered that the children be returned to their parents within 30 days.914 Ineligible as of 25-Jul-2018 300 Here’s the Administration’s scorecard as of July 25, 2018. By the evening of July 26th, the 1,012 had risen to about 1,100 children who have been reunited with their parents. DHSDOJ, and HSS seemed likely to have a very busy few hours.5

Of even greater concern than the likelihood that the Administration would not meet the conditions of the court order is the 914 children whose parents have been deemed ineligible to have their children returned. Some of those parents have criminal records; some of them were deported without their children; some cannot be located; some were pressured to to sign releases without knowing what they were signing … because they speak neither English nor Spanish. (They speak Mayan dialects.) Translators could not be found … especially given the Administration’s total lack of preparation for it’s horrible “zero tolerance” policy. What is going to happen to those 914 children?

Today … August 2, 2018 …, I heard a news report about what has happened to one of those children. The report was of the arrest of an adult male accused of molesting a572 as of 2-Aug-2018 200 14 year-old girl in one of the child detention centers.

572 children are still living under questionable conditions and safety rather than with their parents as a result of the Administration’s policies and lack of planning.
 

Immigration is Good for Us

North America has been a destination for immigrants for over 1000 years … perhaps much longer. The earliest visitors tried to establish settlements, but failed.1492 01 150 A Some probably returned to Europe. Some probably died. Some may have been accepted into the communities of the indigenous people. It wasn’t until almost three quarters of a century after Columbus that a lasting European settlement1492 02 200 was established in North America. (Columbus did not discover America … nor did Leif Erikson. People already lived here. Had those people been as obnoxious as the Spanish and the English of the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries, the Americans might have “discovered” Europe.)

By the beginning of the 18th Century, England was well on the way to establishing the largest empire in history. By a quarter of a century before the 19th Century, many of the people in the British Colonies in the middle of North America’s eastern coast saw the King and Parliament as despots. The colonists felt forgotten … except  when taxes were required. They rejected their British citizenship and declared themselves to be a new country. (Hmmm … citizens feeling forgotten and rejecting the government. Sounds familiar.)

Each wave of immigration since then has inspired fear among those who were already here. Within 100 years of its conception, the new country began to pass immigration laws filled with xenophobia and shamelessly wrapped in racism. Almost every wave of immigration has treated the next wave with the same disdain they had suffered. In spite of every effort to deny it, each wave of immigration since the beginning of the United States has not harmed us, but has, in fact, made us stronger.

Once again, we find ourselves in political conflict over immigration. Once again, that conflict stinks of racism. Once again, we desperately need more immigration; not less.

  • We are an aging population. Almost half of the Baby Boomers have passed their age of retirement. U.S. Birth Rates are the lowest ever recorded … too low to sustain our population. We are approaching a time when there will be too few workers to maintain production. In time, automation and cheap energy will take care of the problem but …, in the meantime, we need immigrants to fill the gap … and to help supply the technological advances needed to get there.
     
  • Immigrants are twice as likely to start a new businessImmigrant Businesses 250 as are native-born citizens.
     
  • The children of immigrants are much more upwardly mobile in terms of education, skill-development, and income than are those of 3rd or 4th generation citizens.
     
  • Contrary to popular belief, most studies show that the crime rate of immigrants … whether legal or illegal … is lower per capita than that of persons born in the United States.
     
  • The average annual rate of unemployment in the United States has been declining since 2010. The average for the first six months of 2018 was 4.0%. (The rates for April and May were 3.9% and 3.8% respectively.) There are about 6.6 million unfilled jobs. Approximately 60% of the population of the country are working age (19-64). If all 6.6 million jobs were filled,6 the rate of unemployment would be roughly 0.4%. Even with full employment, our national productivity and economy could not grow without immigrants.
     

Immigration Laws for the 21st Century

For nearly 150 years, immigration laws in the United States have not been consistent with our national ideals. In order to meet the challenges of the 21st Century, our immigration laws must be changed.

  1. Updated immigration laws must be free of references … stated or implicit … to race, ethnicity, religion, country of national origin, sexual orientation, or gender.
     
  2. Updated immigration laws should retain all of the current vetting procedures that do not conflict with #1. We already have one of the most comprehensive (extreme?) vetting procedures in the world. It protects us from immigrants who are likely to harm us … e.g., criminals and terrorists. We have enough home-grown criminals and terrorists. We don’t need to import them.
     
  3. Updated immigration laws should accommodate day laborers and seasonal workers. Companies can move their facilities and resources across borders. The only resource available to short term workers is their labor. Some employers in need of short term workers hire undocumented immigrants to save money with below market and under the table wages. Others hire undocumented immigrants because no other workers are available to fill the needs of their businesses. The former should be prosecuted. The latter … and their immigrant employees … should be helped. Many work visa programs … H1-A, H1-B, H1-C, and TN-1 … have provided for skilled labor. We need a similar … and more simple … program for unskilled labor.7
     
  4. All 19 of the 9/11 hijackers arrived in the United States legally … one on a student visa, 14 on tourist visas, and 4 on business visas. Most MS-13 gang members in our country are U.S. citizens.8Coyotes” exist because of our racist immigration laws. (How often do you hear about smuggling immigrants across our northern border?) Drug smuggling is a problem. Among those crossing our borders, “some, I assume are” bad people.
     
    Updated immigration laws must require the Department of Justice and Law Enforcement to investigate, capture, and incarcerate/deport criminals; not harass people seeking asylum and kidnapping their children. (What’s next? Enslaving the parents to build a useless border wall?)
     
  5. Updated immigration laws should increase the total number immigrants and asylum seekers that the country will accept each year … and correspondingly increase the resources needed to process the increased numbers. If we are to avoid economic and cultural stagnation, we need new blood and new ideas. We need the people who want to join us.

The vast majority of immigrants … everywhere in the World … leave the countries of their birth in search of a better life for themselves, their families, and generations yet unborn. The vast majority of immigrants … everywhere in the World … do not bring crime nor seek welfare, but yearn for an opportunity to do hard, honest work. The vast majority of immigrants … everywhere in the World … bring diversity, new ideas, and economic growth to their new countries.

The United States has always been a nation of immigrants. Immigrants created the United States from their own will and blood. Successive waves of Immigrants built the United States from their own creativity and labor. Immigrants of every race, ethnicity, religion, nation, sexual orientation, and gender made the United States the most powerful and technologically advanced country in the World.

We do not need to “Make America Great Again” by rushing mindlessly into the 1950s9 as the current Federal Administration wants us to believe. We do need to move boldly into the 21st Century embracing change rather than fearing it … and, as it has always been, immigrants, with the widest possible range of skills, will help us get there. In doing so, those immigrants become us.

 

 

End Notes
  1. Most demographers define a family’s naturalized citizens as the 1st generation.
     
  2. Now you know why this “blog” has so many links to supporting articles.
     
  3. 65 of my ancestors moved here and 61 of their children were born here before 1776.
     
  4. German and Italian Americans were interned in much smaller numbers. Of course, they were “white”.
     
  5. Not surprisingly, the Administration missed the reunification deadline.
     
  6. Of course, filling all available jobs would require a highly improbable alignment between the job requirements and the skills of the remaining unemployed workers.
     
  7. We could call it the HD-1 (Home Depot) Visa in honor of the parking lots commonly associated with finding and hiring day laborers.
     
  8. They small number of MS-13 members in the U.S. who are undocumented immigrants are recruited by citizen gang members after they arrive in the United States.
     
  9. I remember the 1950s. Even as a child, I found them boring. Thank God, I had Science Fiction.

 

Cartoons: Then and Now

While doing research for this article, I found a number of cartoons related to the history of racism (including slavery), nationalism, sexism, other forms of prejudice in the United States. I’m including them here in no particular order. Bigotry has no order.

Cartoons 01Cartoons 02Cartoons 03.jpgCartoons 04Cartoons 05Cartoons 06Cartoons 07Cartoons 08

 

The Last Word

With apologies to Lawrence O’Donnell, I’m giving the last word to some famous Americans from the past.

Writer, Humorist, Entrepreneur, Publisher, and Lecturer, Mark Twain

Mark Twain
 

Minister and Civil Rights Activist, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr
 

Screenwriter, TV producer, and Narrator, Rod Serling

Rod Serling
 

40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan
(The man who said “Let’s Make America Great Again” in 1980.)

Ronald Reagan B

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Immigration and Racism

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