September 24, 2020

Immigration for Freedom – Immigration for Freebies

Immigration is a hot button issue in the U.S. these days, I suppose hidden behind the shroud of the claims that we need to tighten up boarder security to keep out terrorists and mixed in with this tale we hear of the criminals, unchecked because of lax immigration laws and the cost to the taxpayer, etc.

While Congress puts up a false front of pretending to debate immigration “for the good of all”, it appears nobody cares much about the grass roots of immigration, what it was, what it meant and in particular what was expected of those wanting to come to America.

Few even realize that immigration was mostly sold as a dream vacation for some, as greedy capitalists wanted cheap labor to bulk up their profit margins. And we can’t overlook the millions of immigrants sent to the United States by the Catholic Church in order to gain global dominance and control as many countries and their governments and their education institutes as possible.

I suppose the Pilgrims were some of our first immigrants, but even from the time of 1620 until the early 1900s, what drove people to want to come to this country is a far cry from what it is today. Consider the differences between once when the sales pitch was about being a free and ideally an equal chance to accomplish what every other man could. Today, not totally unlike many years past, we still have greedy capitalists seeking to exploit the foreigners for money, the Catholic Church still looking for a super majority of followers and we can easily add to that now, the slimy politicians looking for more voters who will keep them in their cushy and corrupt jobs as out of touch, wealthy criminals who hide behind the red, white and blue.

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I have no issue with letting anyone who wants to come to this country for all the right reasons, to do so. Once America had an identity and dream for a future that is very much unlike what reality has bestowed upon us today. Why is it that we feel compelled to give immigrants more than they need to come here?; i.e. food stamps, welfare, education, driver license, etc. The immigrants of the past came and got a piece of paper that told them they had a right to be here and take care of themselves, by themselves and if they wanted they could work toward citizenship and assimilate into an America that was free and independent. Wanting a chance to better themselves and a fair shot at doing so, separated the wheat from the chaff. This is what made America great. An immigrant had to really want to be an American; an American once defined.

My how things have changed.

Over the weekend I read a short book by Mary Antin called: They Who Knock at Our Gates – A Complete Gospel of Immigration. The Riverside Press, Cambridge – 1914. The book examines the justification of immigration as is spelled out in the Declaration of Independence; that the reasons for America to want to be free from the despotic reign of King George, so too must all humans be given that same right.

But as I’ve tried to point out, immigration and what drives people to seek refuge in this country has drastically changed. To prove this point, below I’ve typed out an excerpt from the book that is describing what kind of person(s) wants to come to America and why. Compare this with what is happening today.

“I have little sympathy with declaimers about the Pilgrim Fathers,
who look upon them all as men of grand conceptions and superhuman foresight. An entire ship’s company of Columbuses is what the world never saw.” – James Russell Lowell

It takes a wizard critic like Lowell to chip away the crust of historic sentiment and show us our forefathers in the flesh. Lowell would agree with me that the Pilgrims were a picked troop in the sense that there was an immense preponderance of virtue among them. And that is exactly what we must say of our modem immigrants, if we judge them by the sum total of their effect on our country.

Not a little of the glory of the Pilgrim Fathers rests on their own testimony. Our opinion of them is greatly enhanced by the expression we find, in the public and private documents they have left us, of their ideals, their aims, their expectations in the New World. Let us judge our immigrants also out of their own mouths, as future generations will be sure to judge them. And in seeking this testimony let us remember that humanity in general does not produce one oracle in a decade. Very few men know their own
hearts, or can give an account of the impulses that drive them in a particular direction. We put our ears to the lips of the eloquent when we want to know what the world is thinking. And what do we get when we sift down the sayings of the spokesmen among the foreign folk? An anthem in praise of American ideals, a passionate glorification of the principles of democracy.

Let it be understood that the men and women of exceptional intellect, who have surveyed the situation from philosophical heights, are not trumpeting forth their own high dreams alone. If they have won the
ear of the American nation and shamed the indifferent and silenced the cynical, it is because they voiced the feeling of the inarticulate mob that welters in the foreign quarters of our cities. I am never so clear as to the basis of my faith in America as when I have been talking with the ungroomed mothers of
the East Side. A widow down on Division Street was complaining bitterly of the hardships of her lot, alone in an alien world with four children to bring up. In the midst of her complaints the children came in from school. “Well,” said the hard-pressed widow, “bread isn’t easy to get in America, but the children can go to school, and that’s more than bread. Rich man, poor man, it’s all the same: the
children can go to school.”

The poor widow had never heard of a document called the Declaration of Independence, but evidently she had discovered in American practice something corresponding to one of the great American principles, the principle of equality of opportunity, and she valued it more than the necessaries of animal life. Even so was it valued by the Fathers of the Republic, when they deliberately incurred the dangers of a war with mighty England in defense of that and similar principles.

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