NOW WE START THE DEPORTATION!
Just the latest chant by marchers in Tennessee in October, 2017! But not the first time this nation’s leaders have focused their misplaced anger and frustration on immigrants! Just in case you may have forgotten these xenophobic periods of our national history…
- Even as the Statue of Liberty was being erected, the United States Congress pass immigration laws targeting European Americans with quotas based on racial hierarchies; these quotas were in place from 1924- 1965
- As immigrants from Europe settled this country, we decimated the Native Americans already living here by nearly 95%
- African Americans, who were victims of forced immigration to this country until 1808, were characterized as “violent, amoral savages”
- English and Scottish immigrants fell out of favor during the American Revolution and did not really regain favored status until WW I
- The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was passed to curtail Chinese immigration
- German Americans – the largest identified ethnic group in America – were subjected to suspicions during both world wars…11,000 German Americans were detained indefinitely by Executive Orders during WW II
- Indian Americans were subjected to discrimination that was upheld by a Supreme Court ruling in 1923…”Indians are not white and therefore cannot become American citizens”
- Italian Americans still subjected to Mafia stereotypes; during WW II, many were arrested, interned and had travel restrictions placed upon them
- Japanese Americans: 110,000 were interned during WW II…Supreme Court upheld this action; California Alien Land Law of 1913 prohibited Japanese Americans from owning land
So, as you can see, the experiences we are having as a nation now are, sadly, not new to us. Even though laws have been passed and enlightened awareness and knowledge have helped, we certainly have not reached that “Promised Land” of which Martin Luther King spoke so eloquently!
Highlights from The World Report, 2017 from the Human Rights Watch include the following:
- Current practices and laws in the United States in the areas of criminal and juvenile justice, immigration and national security violate internationally recognized standards for human rights
- With regard to immigration, the US government continues to detain migrant children from Central America with their mothers for prolonged periods of time; seriously inadequate oversight of over 200+ facilities has resulted in 18 deaths of detainees from 2012-15
- President Trump has promised to deport 2-3 million immigrants with criminal records and to build his “big, beautiful wall” which will almost certainly exacerbate the abusive conditions within detention centers
So, where does all this angry rhetoric lead us? Are we moving, once again, to a dark place where fear and anger rule the day? Or perhaps with an election in November of 2018 we will be able to use Congressional power to thwart this xenophobic effort to “Make America White Again!” The voices of reason and compassion must stand and vote in this most critical election.