The North and South American continents have been inhabited from ancient times by migrating humans. The first migrations are believed to have occurred by Asians who crossed the frozen Bering Strait from Siberia. When Columbus first crossed the great Atlantic Ocean he mistakenly labeled these natives ‘Indians’, believing he had arrived in India. Europeans then began migrating in mass to this ‘new world’ dividing up the lands of the aboriginals into nations. The greatest of these nations became the United States, which included peoples who had migrated mostly from Western Europe, slaves that had been brought over from Africa and the original natives. These new American citizens of European descent looked favorably upon immigration believing that it was necessary for a young nation to survive in a harsh world where old Europe still had its eye bent on conquering and controlling the Western Hemisphere. Yet such immigration was only desirable if the immigrants were Protestants that came from ‘civilized’ Europe. Africans, Chinese and even the Catholic Irish were considered undesirables and their immigrations were resented by much of the American electorate. Laws were even passed that would restrict these undesirable immigrations while encouraging immigration from European countries that were considered more capable of integrating into the fabric of American society. From the 1820’s until after World War II the overwhelming majority of immigrants were from Europe with less than ten percent of immigrants coming from non-European countries. Laws that were passed in the 1930’s minimized immigration to less than two million over the next twenty years. In the 1960’s immigration laws were again changed...
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...ey were labeled against the Irish, Italians, and Puerto Ricans. The German immigrants of yesteryear spoke no more English than the Mexican immigrants of today. America is a melting pot because of its abundant opportunities and freedoms. It seems likely that the attack against the new immigrating groups has more to do with their skin color than their potential to be loyal American citizens.
1. The Arizona Republic. Dying To Work: the human face of illegal immigration.
2003. Cited 25, February, 2003.
2. Small, Cathy A. Voyages. London: Cornell University Press. 1997. p. 28
3. Small, Cathy A. Voyages. London: Cornell University Press. 1997. p. 62
4. Chavez, Leo R. Manufacturing Consensus on an Anti-Mexican Immigration
Discourse. 2001. p.216
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