Let’s Not Let Anybody Else Into the U.S.

Posted on June 15, 2007. Filed under: immigration |

Arrogant, self-righteous American descendants of immigrants need to remember Ellis Island’s past (Reuters: Ellis Island’s past returns in immigration row).

The United States of America should remember past debates over who should be allowed into the country.

Some excerpts from the Reuters article:

“I do think it’s interesting that we worship Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty and yet we want to pull up the gang planks now that we’re here,” said Kenneth T. Jackson, a history professor at New York’s Columbia University.

Jackson and others draw parallels between the current debate and the history of Ellis Island. A century ago it was Irish, Italians and Jews who suffered discrimination, while today it is Latin Americans and Asians.

Europeans did not need a visa to get through Ellis Island a century ago, but sentiment against the entry of Russian Jews and Roman Catholics put the brakes on immigration when restrictions were imposed in 1921 and 1924, Jackson said.

“The difference is that now some of the groups that were discriminated against as being outside the pale are now part of the majority and are now saying hey, let’s not let anybody else in,” Jackson said.

Bush proposes reinforcing border security while providing a chance for illegal immigrants to qualify for legal residency. The legislation was pulled last week after it failed to win enough support in the Senate to advance to final passage.

Bush wants to revive it but has run into opposition from fellow Republicans who oppose what they consider to be an amnesty for people who broke U.S. laws.

Meanwhile, the huddled masses of a century ago are heroes today, their point of entry at Ellis Island recognized as an icon of the American dream.

Listen up, you arrogant Americans! You don’t think you’re immigrants? Don’t fool yourselves! Your ancestors were hardscrabble immigrants. They were part of the huddled masses who were longing to live the American Dream. Who are you to shut out new immigrants?! Who died and made you America’s gatekeepers?!

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