The Anti-Immigrant Movement in the U.S.

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With the recent upheave and potential changes to the United States immigration policies, it is important to remember the historic relationship that America has with immigrants. After her completion in 1886, the Statue of Liberty became a symbolic figure to America, as well as a celebration of democracy. The actual figure is not what initially welcomed the huddled masses that it deems itself to be today. It was the New Colossus poem transcribed at the Statue of Liberty's base that welcomed the new migrates from across the globe. Written by Emma Lazarus, a prominent defender of immigration, the New Colossus was constructed around the idea of pro-immigration. When analyzing the poem, the line Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!, strictly focuses on the idea that regardless the background, all immigrants are welcome.

Given the historical timeline, European immigrants settled on the East Coast around 1600. Although it varies from group to group, the common theme among the European immigrants who settled was either religious freedom, or material prosperity. Through the diverse intentions and motivations, the rise of a new civilization would begin on the Northern part of the continent. Eventually, over a course of nearly four centuries, the movement of Europeans to the so called New World grew from a few hundred, to a few million. For years to come, America would begin to establish its setting in the world, and individuals from around the globe would advance forth into the country for residency. The famously known Ellis Island is one of the most prominent disparities within our American culture. For 60 years, Ellis Island operated as a haven for immigrants who were either escaping the harsh reality of their home country or attempting to obtain a more virtuous lifestyle in the United States. Today, it said that nearly 40% of all U.S. citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors back to Ellis Island.

The immigration surrounding the United States began with a positive connotation. Eventually, the country would be seen to the outer world as the melting pot. To be broad, the melting pot metaphor implies a merging of cultures, and intermarriage of different ethnicities. Recently, the United States has had a great deal with the so called second wave of migration. To one's surprise, most of these immigrants are not from European backgrounds, but from the still developing Latin America and Asian countries. Once a movement of people by which society pays homage to, the issue today is a deeply matted racial division. Most immigrants that individuals know of today are either seen in the headlines labeled as a controversy, or a white woman in an ancestral DNA test advertisement. Starting with the controversy, this term seems to only apply to immigrants from Latin America, to be more specific: Mexico. In the U.S. public opinion and legal system, immigration from Mexico holds a complex position. Throughout the 20th century, the laws on immigration have practically swung back and forth. At times these laws have seemed to welcome them, and others have seemingly shut the door on their faces.

Over the years, Congress attempted to come to some type of compromise, which of course failed. The more prevalent one is the DREAM Act, which is generally a path to U.S. citizenship upon meeting certain requirements. The DREAM Act was tossed and turned around Congress for nearly a decade before reaching the attention of former President Obama, who then brought the failure to attention. In response to this, Obama passed the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which according to the National Immigration Law center is for people who received temporary permission to stay in the U.S., as well as employment authorization, for two-year periods, and they could apply to renew that permission and work authorization for additional two-year periods (National Immigration Law Center???). On the contrary, the GOP accused former President Obama of abusing his executive powers (keep in mind that the GOP is the Republican Party), even though his course of action was of that like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush's plan, who both happened to affiliate themselves with the Republican Party. Hypocrisy much?

Practically since the birth of The United States, white America has fueled every motive to stir up fear about immigrants. Whether it is through violent acts of terrorism, lawfully, or white supremacy, these horrific acts have been used as a tactic to literally scare the white people of America. For example, in 1798, the Alien and Sedation Acts were passed and signed into law by President Adams (The Alien and Sedation Acts). These laws included new powers to deport foreigners as well as making it harder for new immigrants to vote (The Alien and Sedation Acts), which ultimately became the beginning of immigration reform. Over time, more acts such as the Page Act of 1875, and The Chinese Exclusion Act were passed as way to ban the undesirable immigrants. More recently, President Trump ordered an end to the Obama-era implemented DACA program, which protects undocumented immigrants from deportation. Absurdity at its finest. Acts and orders as such only prove the true insecurities matted deep within the roots of the United States.

Realistically, white people seem to be the reason so many individuals are in an uproar about illegal immigration. Given a historical perspective, who was it that marched onto the shores of inhabited Northern American land? Who was it that slaughtered residents of a country and labeled them as savages? Through good genocide, who was it that relocated an entire population to so called reservations? Or, who was it that fought their way to aid the Jewish in concentration camps, but turned around and made a modern day, obviously less violent, Japanese concentration camps? The answer is: white people. Most can either refer it to colonization, or manifest destiny, but America's treachery has always been their methodology. Immigration is not feared because of the crime rate, or plummeting economy; it has to do with the fear that the United States will transform into a nonwhite country.

From an outside perspective, the so called anti-immigrant movement has to do more with fear and insecurity, not hate. The modern-day Donald Trump genocide seemingly reverses the concept that made this country a global force in the first place. Sure, one could say that the white people were the ones that founded the country, but can one say they did it alone?

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The Anti-Immigrant Movement in the U.S.. (2019, Oct 30). Retrieved September 26, 2023 , from

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