In 1585 Sir Walter Raleigh founded the first English Colony in what would later become the United States. Though the Colony of Roanoke would fail and go down in history as “The Last Colony” it was the first round of generations of immigrants coming to these shores, much to the chagrin of the Natives who had already been here for thousands of years. To be sure these weren’t just people from England immigrating to North America, there were French, Spanish, Dutch, Irish, Scottish, Portuguese even Russians who immigrated both here, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean islands. Now our history refers to them as “Colonists” but they were in fact immigrants, people leaving their native lands to settle elsewhere where other people already resided.
As European Colonies grew throughout the Western Hemisphere, they built their cities and towns, established their farms, industry, infrastructure. While doing so they of course relocated the Native Americans away from where they settled while welcoming more immigrants from Europe to join them and expand their lands and influence.
To focus on this country it is a fact that the original English Colonies that rebelled from Great Britain were filled with the sons and daughters of immigrants. Some of our revered “Founders” were in fact first generation immigrants from England and Europe. The rebellion was successful and the newly found nation expanded westward, essentially immigrating further west displacing the Native Americans and moving them to reservations.
Interesting if not ironic to note that although we “Remember the Alamo” but we don’t focus on the fact that those who fought and died there for “Texas” were actually immigrants from the United States to what was Mexico at the time. They were immigrating south of the border to build their lives and fortunes.
In the nearly 500 years since Europeans immigrated to the Western Hemisphere, the lands here always attracted immigration from other parts of the world and within the Western Hemisphere itself. Some of that immigration was forced in that indentured servants came over to pay debts and ended up staying here and of course African Slaves were brought over in chains and forced to remain here. In the 19th Century we brought Chinese labor over here to build the railroads and they remained. However what is beyond all doubt is the fact that what we call America came about from immigration and displacement of the Native tribes. We are a nation of immigrants and their descendants. First generation immigrants actually built much of this nation, were behind much of her innovations, her growth to being a world power and destination for people from all over the world to come over and make their lives better or at the very least, escape violence, oppressive governments, inhumanity, all aspiring to do what generations of previous immigrants did themselves.
So are why people, descendants of immigrants themselves opposed to continued immigration here? First of all, this is a minority view per Pew Polling. In fact only 24% of the nation believe that immigration should be reduced.
Despite the calls from Trump and his inner circle to include Stephen Miller whose great-great grandparents came to this country seeking asylum from Russia in 1903 to escape the Jewish Pogroms the nation overwhelmingly supports immigration and asylum seekers.
The majority of Americans understand that immigration is essential to our economy and always has been. However there are those who throw out false claims that immigrants cause more crime and violence in our country. This is not true.
They make additional false claims that immigrants are a drain on government services while not paying taxes. This is another lie.
So why the lies and disinformation? Some speculate that this is just pure racism, others that it’s a way to rally support by making an enemy of a group in order to rally nationalist support like Hitler did with the Jews, other that perhaps it’s a knowledge that immigration destroyed the culture of the Native Americans and stole their lands and they see it happening to them. There are many reasons but the fact remains most Americans see through this fraud.
Good moral Americans support asylum seekers knowing they deserve to be able to make their claims and knowing they do come from violent places in the world. Further most Americans know that those immigrants from south of the border do most of the heavy labor native born Americans refuse to do or can’t. In reality our population is aging due to low birthrates and only immigration reinvigorates our labor force. Further, the taxes they do in fact pay helps fund the programs that American citizens need and enjoy.
Finally, to treat human beings as less than human, to tear apart families all in a sick attempt to rally political support for a regime that does nothing to merit support from the governed is abhorrent to anyone who considers themselves humane. I personally believe that Trump and the GOP allow this to continue because fascists love to instill fear to rally support when they provide nothing of substance from the population. In their case, they’re taking things away from the middle and working class to fill their own pockets so all they can do is try to convince them there’s worse people out there. Immigrants from south of the border are their Jews.
Defend immigrant human rights, defend American humanity, rally to support the immigrants and vote out the people and party who betray our history and promise to the world.