Monday, September 30, 2013

Here come the Saxons

While there may be a mainstream publication that is more zealously in favor of open borders than the WSJ is, I'm unaware of its existence. So it's a relief to see a letters to the editor section that looks like this in response to Ellis island paeans by a renowned beltway insider like Michael Barone:

Hostility across the board, with the exception of the ethnic activist writing in an official capacity to express solidarity with the thrust of the piece while complaining that 19th century Chinese immigrants to the US were passed over in Barone's xenophilic celebration of settlers.

I say "relief" rather than "hopeful" or "encouraging" because despite popular opposition to continued unchecked immigration, it continues mostly unabated by anything more than economic conditions within the US and the sending countries.


Black Death said...

The letter from the "ethnic activist" mentioning the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 is interesting. Another recent WSJ article said this:

In 1882, Congress enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first major federal law to put immigration limits in place and the only one in American history aimed at a specific nationality. It came into being in response to fears, primarily on the West Coast, that an influx of Chinese immigrants was weakening economic conditions and lowering wages. It was extended in 1902.

Other laws followed, like the Immigration Act of 1917, which created an "Asiatic Barred Zone" to restrict immigration from that part of the world, and the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, which limited the number of immigrants from any country to 3 percent of those people from that country who had been living in the United States as of 1910.


The Chinese immigrants were mostly brought to this country in the 1860's and 1870's to work on the building of the Western railroads. They were hardworking and docile and did not mind the brutal labor and measly pay they had to endure, because it was still a lot better than what they had experienced in China (sound familiar?). The conditions the Chinese experienced were abominable. Often former slave ships were used to bring them here, and their situation in the US was frequently little better than slavery. When the railroads were finished, the Chinese sought other work and competed fiercely with the native American population at the lower end of the labor force, thereby driving down wages. Hence, the poor native-born Americans, who, unlike the Chinese, could vote, pressured Congress and the state legislatures, especially California, to get rid of them. Of course, we modern, enlightened folks now recognize this as just 19th century racism of the most virulent sort, but it is interesting to contrast it with the current situation, where low-wage Americans and most labor unions seem indifferent to massive immigration by poor foreigners.

Anonymous said...

Great parallel thanks

Orthodox said...

The labor unions will close shop without an influx of new workers. And those poor Americans collect welfare checks, not paychecks these days. Wait until the welfare starts getting cut because it has to be spread across a larger population. That's when immigration will end.

Anonymous said...

The big mill owner in the North of England wanted to import Chinese labour in the late 1920s/early 1930s.

The trade unions of the time said "the first Chinaman to set foot ashore and there will be a national strike"

Different days and, relativley speaking, a more informed workforce.

Matthew said...

The Left apparently has these two separate but parallel histories of America that apparently are never to interact: the one the history of America as a racist and oppressive society, the kind which gave us the racist Naturalization Act of 1790 (passed within just years of our country's founding) and Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882; the other being America as a "nation of immigrants" where we were always meant to have people from all cultures and nations living side-by-side without any question of compatibility or our own traditions.

Depending on the needs of the moment, America is either a nasty, racist society, or it is one in which citizens have no right to concern themselves with culture because a glorious Kumbaya double rainbow is exactly how the Founders intended it.