Immigration- RAISE Act or Race Act…You Decide

collage Lady Libert tears and welcome mat

Once again Trump pulls up the welcome mat to the rest of the worlds with his callous attack on immigration. Donald Trump just doesn’t like the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses that the Statue of Liberty beckons.

Only In TrumpLand  does Lady Liberty lament : “Give me your xenophobes, your angry, your middle masses yearning to be free of those damn foreigners….”

Donald Trump has been busy recently taking up the case of oppressed white people  first going after affirmative action and now keeping out those darn foreigners by supporting the RAISE Act which would slash the number of immigrants admitted to the US while favoring those who spoke English and had certain education levels, and skills.

…Need Not Apply…Fill In the Blank

vintage editorial cartoon anti Irish

Vintage Anti-Irish Immigrant Editorial Cartoon The Irish were once reviled as new immigrants

In the great American melting pot, Trump appears to want to add only high end, “artisanal ingredients. This is the same, bland  nativist recipe we’ve tasted before ( hold those spices).

Under the pretext of “Putting America First” a lot of first and second generation Americans wouldn’t be here if their own parents or grandparents had to meet those same requirement. I know my Yiddish speaking  great grandparents might well have been turned away. Not to mention Mr Trumps  own  grandparents.

Steven Miller, Trump’s henchman, believes the poem at the base of Lady Liberty is “meaningless” because they were “added later” and do not reflect  American values towards immigrants.

So what are our values?

The American Way

American history loves to celebrate our role as a land of asylum, humanity and opportunity for people across the globe. It’s a pillar of our cherished self-image as exceptional among nations.

It’s the American Way.

Whenever tragedy has struck Americans put out their hands in compassion and help.  This is indeed true of America but it is often not achieved without great resistance.

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Steeped in fear some Americans have a habit of marking an entire people as predisposed to disloyalty and danger

History books often overlook or minimize the contrasting truth – that along with setting out a friendly welcome mat there has always been opposition, reluctance and setbacks to that warm hospitality.

That too is the American Way.

Not So Hospitable Times

immigration-european-garbage-dumping-site-type

“Dumping European Garbage ” Political cartoon 1890 Judge Magazine. Immigration laws passed between 1882 and 1929 that were among the most discriminatory in the world, regulating immigration by race.

A Nation of Immigrants

anti imigration-political cartoon Joseph Keppler

Anti Immigration Cartoon. “Looking Backwards” by Joseph Keppler appeared in Puck Magazine 1893. Credit: Courtesy of Michigan State University

In a nation of immigrants, many have been less than hospitable to the next generation of newcomers.

In this 1893 cartoon called “Looking Backwards,”  artist Joseph Keppler depicts American descendants of immigrants denying entry to the country’s next generation of newcomers.  The five wealthy men shown have shadows which portray their past lives as former immigrants or relatives of immigrants exposing the hypocrisy of denying the new immigrants a chance at the American dream which made them wealthy.

anti immigration political cartoon 1891

“Where The Blame Lies” by Grant Hamilton 1891 Judge Magazine. In the late 19th century these new waves of immigrants were different from previous immigrants who largely came from Western Europe. These new immigrants were from Eastern European countries that had a history of being either dictatorship or a socialist regime.

In this cartoon called “Where the Blame Lies” by Grant Hamilton, we see Uncle Sam looking disapprovingly at the recent arrivals of immigrants. Uncle Sam seems to believe  that the values of America would not be upheld by many of these new Eastern European  immigrants.

They were perceived as different both morally and politically and were a danger.

And we are seeing that today, bigly.

While many are protesting Trumps now blocked  illegal and immoral executive order temporarily banning immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, some Americans, panicked and paranoid,  have supported Trump. Citing the risk to national security, Trump has essentially pulled up the welcome mat to tens of thousands of people seeking asylum, based solely on their religion.

Though  the travel ban has been temporarily halted by a federal judge, the deep prejudices remain.

I Don’t Know Nuthing About Governin No Country

November 24, 2015

November 24, 2015 Political Cartoon Adam Zygus

The sloppy, chaotic roll-out of this unconstitutional Executive Order has pointed to the glaring inadequacies of an often no-nothing Trump administration

In truth Donald Trump wasn’t the first “know nothing” to capture America’s attention.

America has a long inglorious history of worrying that the character of our country was changing and that new immigrants posed a serious threat to the American way of life. Muslims are just the latest religious group of other unwanted immigrants that have included Catholics and Jews.

Mr. Trump, This Buds For You

 

We can get an odious whiff of the Know Nothing sentiment in this years Budweiser’s  Superbowl commercial which is hard not to interpret as a subtle rebuke of Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric.

The ad dramatizes the company’s founder Adolphus Busch’s arrival in the U.S. from Germany where as an unwanted immigrant the viewer witnesses firsthand the prejudice he endured after arriving here. “You’re not wanted here,” one man shouts.  “Go back home,” snarl another.

Like most immigrants young Busch left his home country for a better life in America. He had a dream (I want to brew beer) And he is categorically shunned by Americans as soon as he gets off the boat.

anti immigration-cartoon Irish and German

Political cartoon 1850 Irish and German anti-immigration cartoon. Nativism popular at the time, was a social and political movement that opposed immigration of Catholic and Irish , non Protestant and non-English speaking people.

Arriving in 1857 it was at a time when the anti-immigrant Know Nothing political party had risen in response to an influx of unwanted immigrants, empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish Catholic immigrants. Though the Know Nothing party largely disbanded after the 1856 presidential elections, their anti-immigration platform endured for many years and helped make religious differences into political issues.

Reflecting a Steve Bannon-like “nativist” sentiment, the party (popular from 1840-1850’s) promised to “purify” American politics by limiting or ending the influence of Irish and Catholics.

Like today it was a period of great division. Increases in immigration to the US from cultures and countries considered by some more “exotic” than previous waves that had arrived from England, Protestant Germany, and Scandinavia caused grave concern.

immigration-chinese-exclusion-act

1882 Political Cartoon. Rising negativity from American to the Chinese led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

 

immigration-chinesemustgo

The early Chinese immigrants in the mid-1800s were hemmed in by intense racial hatred and fears ( the dreaded yellow peril) by language barriers and by stringent immigration laws that kept their families in China

On the west coast influxes of Chinese and Japanese found new homes and work. Millions arrived in the East from Ireland and Italy mostly Catholics, who elicited great suspicion.

People were worried that the character of their country was changing.

Although the Know Nothings didn’t last long as a political party, their brand of racist, anti-immigration policy seems as relevant today.

abe-lincoln-1858

Abraham Lincoln 1858

It’s worth reading what one future Republican President said in reaction to the Know Nothing party. In a letter to Joshua Speed dated August 1855, Abraham Lincoln wrote:

“I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of Negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except Negroes.”

When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except Negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

You Might Also Enjoy:

I Married A Refugee

American Nativism- Nothing New

 

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21 comments

  1. A brilliant and timely response to the Trump administration’s vile rhetoric. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Trumps Immigration: Race Act. – The Militant Negro™

  3. It seems like every other day something utterly stupid comes out of the White House. It has reached the point where it is becoming less and less a shock to me. I am so damn embarrassed right now to call myself an American. When he was on his TV “comedy” show The Apprentice, I could handle his utter DSM-5 diagnosable megalomaniac narcissistic disorders! In this modern age of global economy, an increasingly global society with most foreigners being able to fluently speak 2-5 different languages in order to be more gloabal humanitarians, let alone understand diverse cultures… this man we disasterously put in the Oval Office is isolating the USA more and more with every passing WEEK!!! I know this clueless tRump doesn’t have any experience with foreign affairs and relationships and therefore doesn’t understand the complete ramifications of isolation. He is quite simply a moron.

    Ugh, sorry Sally I went off on this rant. This POTUS pushes so many buttons with me. Grrrrrrrrr. 😡🤢

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hardly a rant, it is a feeling most of us are experiencing.My only correction is you say every other day something stupid comes out of the WH…nay, its Every day and now its several times a day. He covers up his sheer ignorance with long meandering lie filled statements on an hourly basis.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ahh, see, I can’t stomach the constant news coverage of this Ringmaster and his circus administration so I must FORCE myself not to watch/read any latest headlines just to maintain my sanity and blood-pressure! You’re much stronger than I Sally if you can get through the days and hours of this soap-opera on Pennsylvania Avenue. 😵

        I hope this nightmare ends sooner than later.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Extra Therapy sessions help manage the daily onslaught

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahahaha! Great idea Sally! 😛

        At least I do enjoy immensely when even Republicans can’t syncronize with him! And that seems to be on the rise, yes? But is it REALLY a surprise that he’s fragmenting the GOP!? I mean, DUH!!!! He had and still doesn’t have ANY federal governing experience (or collaborative intelligence) whatsoever! He honestly thought — “since I know how to make BIGLY deals” in the (un)regulated corporate arena — I can just do whatever I want HOW I want in Washington D.C. Bwahahaha! Is that even funny, let alone legal and democratic!? 😲

        Like

  4. Pierre Lagacé

    This is a great history lesson Sally.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pierre Lagacé

    History books in 2100 will reflect upon this dark period of the United States… We won’t be there to read it though but our descendants will.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I am a retired history teacher who admits to glossing over our true history regarding immigrants. Blame it on my political indoctrination classes during the 50’s and 60’s part of the Cold War, Civics and US History, or the fact I went to a White, Southern, Liberal Arts college. Wish I had an epithany during the first quarter of my career rather than the last. Great history lesson.

    Liked by 3 people

    • So much of our history books during that time universally presented us a welcoming, tolerant to all nation. That was the conventional wisdom. There were pockets of disagreeable history taught such as the Chinese Exclusion act and the infamous “Irish Need Not Apply” signs were well known, but these blemishes were quickly glossed over, by the notion of our generous spirit.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Shared from Sally Edelstein, Envisioning The American Dream Immigration- RAISE Act or Race Act…You Decide — Envisioning The American Dream | cigarman501

  8. I hear the Trumpster (rhymes with dumpster) has issued an executive order. It orders that Emma Lazarus’ poem be removed from Lady Liberty and replaced with “Turn around and go back where you belong, you dirty immigrants. Only Americans allowed here. And tourists with lots of cash.” He’s also putting up a sign above the Statue’s head that says, “Trump Liberty Island Hotel”.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ouroboros

    You go Ms. Edelstein. I am totally pro-immigration. I say Israel should also accept non-Jewish immigrants- especially muslims from african and mid-eastern countries. No longer should Israel be the monolithic xenophobic jewish ethno-state it currently is. Multiculturalism is the future for Israel! Right Ms. Edelstein?

    Like

  10. Donald Trump and his ilk, (including Steve Bannon), are know-nothing, vulgarians who are only going to award people are the ones who look just like them. A.K.A. whites only! 😦

    Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on zobop republic and commented:
    The author Ishmael Reed would call this “RAISE act”, awarding whiteness.

    Like

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