Because the nation strikes ahead after the previous 4 years of robust immigration insurance policies, it should reckon with a historical past stretching again a lot additional that conflicts with one among America’s most often repeated myths.
“This concept that immigration was by some means primarily based on the ideas laid out on the Statue of Liberty?” It by no means occurred, ”Romo stated. “There has by no means been a coloration blind immigration system. It has all the time been a query of exclusion. “
Most American kids study at school that America’s immigration insurance policies assist make the nation particular and, sure, nice. A haven for outcasts who had been persecuted of their residence nation, the nation was based, the story tells, on the precept of welcoming others handled alike in their very own residence nation , with the concept that granting them particular person rights and freedoms would permit distinct cultures. and traditions to flourish collectively. This story resonated in my very own faculty district in Central California, the place I sat alongside classmates whose mother and father had come from Mexico, India, Laos, and Vietnam.
However the cracks on this story began to seem as quickly as we walked into the schoolyard, the place kids from completely different walks of life had been taking part in collectively, but in addition hurled insults that stung as a result of they had been the load of centuries of regulation. and American rhetoric behind them.
When the Pilgrims crossed the ocean to settle within the New World, they introduced with them concepts that may evolve right into a “manifest future,” that the US was a land that had been granted by God to the Anglo-Saxon whites. In 1790, the primary US Congress made citizenship out there solely to any “free white particular person” who had been within the nation for not less than two years. In 1882, the Chinese language exclusion regulation blocked Chinese language immigrants – and in 1917 it was prolonged to dam most Asians dwelling between Afghanistan and the Pacific. These legal guidelines have been repeatedly upheld by federal courts, notably in a landmark 1922 Supreme Courtroom case, through which the federal government prevailed by arguing that citizenship ought to be granted because the founders meant: “solely to these they knew and deemed worthy to share with them, males of their very own kind, white males . “
Firstly of the twentieth century, the time period progressive turned synonymous with preserving or enhancing the nation’s racial “inventory” – and that meant maintaining it white. Harry Laughlin, whose work would supply a mannequin for Nazi Germany’s sterilization legal guidelines, was “the eugenics skilled” on the Home Committee on Immigration and Naturalization. In 1922 he offered proof of the “hereditary weak spot” of non-white immigrants. Laughlin categorized the matters of his analysis into overlapping subgroups, together with “criminalists,” “the sick” and “addicts.” Two years later, Congress handed the “progressive” Johnson-Reed Act, which established immigration quotas primarily based on nationwide origin. Adolf Hitler greeted the regulation as a mannequin to emulate. “In comparison with outdated Europe, which had misplaced an infinite quantity of its greatest blood via struggle and emigration, the American nation seems as a racially chosen younger individuals,” he wrote.