Alien Nation

Anti-immigrant sentiments are nothing new in America

Though Arizona is considered ground zero for the current debate surrounding illegal immigration, this is not a new fight. What is new is a national push, led by Arizona, toward states taking the issue into their own hands.

According to Brian Gratton, a professor at Arizona State University and an expert on the history of immigration, America is in its third wave of strong anti-immigration feelings. In the 1850s, many Americans hated the Irish and Catholics.

"They were abjectly poor. They were the most important single group in prisons and in crime," Gratton says. "They were a very boisterous and contentious group and there were a lot of riots between natives and the Irish in the streets."

Gratton says the United States has never been a country to welcome mass migration. Those feelings were stunted by the larger crisis of the Civil War, but in the 1920s, an influx of Eastern European immigrants once again sparked anti-immigrant fever, leading to the National Origins Act of 1924, which created immigrant limits for each nation and effectively ended massive immigration to the United States.

There was no limit established for Mexico, and many Mexicans found work in the United States through the Bracero program until it ended in 1965. Gratton says today's influx of immigrants from Mexico, and the reaction against them, is in line with history, with one major exception: the question of legal status. He says the problem of citizenship — who deserves it and who doesn't — is what has caused the vitriolic reaction to this current wave of immigrants. He says the heated debates at the state level are a direct result of inaction from the federal government.

"The way I measure popular opinion in Arizona and how the parties have failed to respond are in the 2006 Arizona propositions," he says. "There were four propositions that were decidedly anti-immigrant, and those things passed by 75 percent."

Gratton is referring to ballot measures passed by Arizona voters in November 2006 that: 1) denied bail to immigrants who commit serious felonies; 2) declared English the state's official language; 3) banned undocumented immigrants from using state funds for adult education (including English classes) and child care; 4) banned undocumented immigrants from suing for punitive damages in civil cases.

Though these measures are sweeping, the 2004 state elections only set the stage for those opposed to immigration. Activists and lawmakers on both sides of the debate over Proposition 200, which requires proof of citizenship to vote and register for social services, say it was the turning point that paved the way for the more dramatic 2006 resolutions to pass.

In 2004, the year Andrew Thomas ran for office, a local poll showed 54 percent of voters in favor of anti-immigrant Proposition 200. Two years later, the same poll showed 64 percent of Maricopa County voters were in favor of anti-immigration ballot measures.

"It's a dramatic illustration on how parties have failed to respond," says Gratton. "When they don't respond, the people will. And you get, in my opinion, more extreme legislation and more extreme positions."

 
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7 comments
O, Leo Leahy
O, Leo Leahy

Some or even all that the professor says may be true, but there is a bigger point to debate. At the federal level, and possibly at the Arizona state level, there are people being paid to determine immediate and future needs for many things- roads, services, and people needed in the private sectory to do the jobs that exist today and in the future. To a degree, this is managing population change, positive or negative. When the government, state or federal allows people to enter the country or a state willy-nilly, you create the situations that the professor describes. Therefore, the federal government should be managing the needs of our country by continuing to analyze and predict population/immigration numbers, without bringing political bias into the analysis. The federal government has shown/demonstrated an inability to do very few things correctly. Therefore, Arizona has the duty and the right to do whatever they believe to be in the best interests of the citizens of Arizona. Case closed.

pac
pac

ronald bola of 12764 newport ave #d tustin ca 92780 married and paid a US citizen to obtain a green card. he also used fake documents to get a tourist visa and work at power circuits in costa mesa between 1987-93. he is now a naturalized citizen.

Neil Richardson
Neil Richardson

Americans have a problem with "illegal" immigration, not immigration itself. My wife migrated to this country legally and had to wait in line doing so.

Illegals are a slap in the face to those who obey the law and processed legally. Paying application fees and submitting to medical, background checks and so forth. Illegals should not be rewarded for their willful actions regardless of intent good or bad. I have no sympathy for illegals only empathy.

If the government really wants to allow illegals into the country then all they have to do is have an open door policy to all nations. No application fees, no visa lottery. This will allow immigrants of every nation rich or poor to come to America without prejudice.

It's not fair to let illegals into the country while legal immigrants pay and wait in lime.

Felicity Pearson
Felicity Pearson

Megan,The illegals are overcrowding and changing the culture for the worse.Stop writing wa-wa columns in their favor. The tide is turning and Arpio and Turner are on the right track. I hope the border doesn't hit them in their ass on their way out.

Jeigh
Jeigh

To what social benefits are we entitled when the US gets too expensive a country in which to live and we move to Mexico, Columbia, etc?

By the way, there were no LAWS in existance during the "No Irish Need Apply" era.

frank l kinney
frank l kinney

immigration is a very big issue for the simple fact of the cost to all american citizens of the united states of america. wheather it be in health care or prison care this is a added cost to all american tax paying citizens period. americans gain nothing from illegal immigrants except more tax paying cost to them selfs. victims of crime! victims of people who if were not here the american citizen or law enforcement who are victims or killed would be alive today period. for these reason enforcement is a must a american citizens who pays his or hers goverment in taxes deserve protection from harms way by there goverment and this is the duty of there federal goverment to provide this protection period! to not provide this protection to its citizens for which we the people are not seeing in a very large scale across the united states is treason! we see american tax dollars given to foreign illegal aliens and criminals and driver license to illegal people on a large scale why? this is the question why? reason? the majority of americans want enforcement and protection and closed borders secure borders but goverment refuses to enforce our laws why? reason? congress gives are tax dollars to defend the illegal alien in court! 10 20 million dollars of american tax dollars to defend a illegal foreign criminal invader! why? reason? i ask why not give funds to american victims of crime by the hands of illegal criminal? in IOWA family was killed by illegal drunk driver this poor american family not only lost there love ones to this drunk illegal criminal the health care cost to this family is destroying there lives too!VICTIMS of a goverment who cares nothing for there own citizens protection from harms way? victims the american citizen a victim of there own goverments TREASON diverting from the truth for which to act or correct? its like we are just guinea pigs for there own amusement or entertainment period. this has gone far from logic its becoming treason plain and simple! a act of some new kind of order and we are just in there way! thing is we are paying for it dig that! system of no system just american victims period! deception open lies secret meetings you name it they have shown it treason at the highest level of our goverment, a syndicate of some new corporate order thats buying up our country to replace law and order and justice for its own tax paying citizens! TREASON BABY OPEN FLAT OUT TREASON PERIOD. lock like michigan a lock for there is no one to turn to because they control law goverment public office! SYNDICATE OF CONTROL! IN MICHIGAN HIMSELF OPEN THIS LOCKED DOOR, NOW THE AMERICAN PEOPLE MUST UNLOCK THIS CONTROL OF OUR COUNTRY? truth this one all see for them selfs, its right in front of all to see! facts actions the simple truth. the goverment con game of deception of both partys. we are just victims of there amusement, thats not funny anymore period.syndicate media radio pr talk host, movies tv shows all in place for propaganda on the american public terrorist yeah right another tool with civil rights! protect middle east and america from terrorist when terrorist are flooding our own country for which to kill and replace all of us! lies bull shit pig latin circle jerk OR THE AMERICAN TRUTH? money money and with it one controls you me the world, we are all just in the dam way! independent the only answer. replace them before they replace you me america period. michigan little big horn. AMEN. HAPPY NEW YEAR! (AMERICA)

Kevin
Kevin

we cannot afford the free ride...

WHAT IF 20 MILLION ILLEGAL ALIENS VACATED AMERICA?By Frosty WooldridgeOctober 29, 2007 NewsWithViews.comTina Griego, journalist for the Denver Rocky Mountain News wrote a column titled, "Mexican visitor's lament" -- 10/25/07. She interviewed Mexican journalist Evangelina Hernandez while visiting Denver last week. Hernandez said, "They (illegal aliens) pay rent, buy groceries, buy clothes...what happens to your country's economy if 20 million people go away?" That's a good question - it deserves an answer. Over 80 percent of Americans demand secured borders and illegal migration stopped. But what would happen if all 20 million or more vacated America? The answers may surprise you! In California, if 3.5 million illegal aliens moved back to Mexico, it would leave an extra $10.2 billion to spend on overloaded school systems, bankrupted hospitals and overrun prisons. It would leave highways cleaner, safer and less congested. Everyone could understand one another as English became the dominate language again. In Colorado, 500,000 illegal migrants, plus their 300,000 kids and grand-kids - would move back "home," mostly to Mexico. That would save Coloradans an estimated $2 billion (other experts say $7 BIL) annually in taxes that pay for schooling, medical, social-services and incarceration costs. It means 12,000 gang members would vanish out of Denver alone. Colorado would save more than $20 million in prison costs, and the terror that those 7,300 alien criminals set upon local citizens. Denver Officer Don Young and hundreds of Colorado victims would not have suffered death, accidents, rapes and other crimes by illegals. Denver Public Schools would not suffer a 67 percent drop out/flunk out rate via thousands of illegal alien students speaking 41 different languages. At least 200,000 vehicles would vanish from our gridlocked cities in Colorado. Denver's four percent unemployment rate would vanish as our working poor would gain jobs at a living wage. In Florida, 1.5 million illegals would return the Sunshine State back to America, the rule of law and English. In Chicago, Illinois, 2.1 million illegals would free up hospitals, schools, prisons and highways for a safer, cleaner and more crime-free experience. If 20 million illegal aliens returned "home" -- If 20 million illegal aliens returned "home," the U.S. economy would return to the rule of law. Employers would hire legal American citizens at a living wage. Everyone would pay their fair share of taxes because they wouldn't be working off the books. That would result in an additional $401 billion in IRS income taxes collected annually, and an equal amount for local state and city coffers. No more push '1' for Spanish or '2' for English. No more confusion in American schools that now must content with over 100 languages that degrade the educational system for American kids. Our overcrowded schools would lose more than two million illegal alien kids at a cost of billions in ESL and free breakfasts and lunches. We would lose 500,000 illegal criminal alien inmates at a cost of more than $1.6 billion annually. That includes 15,000 MS-13 gang members who distribute $130 billion in drugs annually would vacate our country. In cities like L.A., 20,000 members of the "18th Street Gang" would vanish from our nation. No more Mexican forgery gangs for ID theft from Americans! No more foreign rapists and child molesters! Losing more than 20 million people would clear up our crowded highways and gridlock. Cleaner air and less drinking and driving American deaths by illegal aliens! Drain on America's economy; taxpayers harmed, employers get rich Over $80 billion annually wouldn't return to their home countries by cash transfers. Illegal migrants earned half that money untaxed, which further drains America's economy - which currently suffers an $8.7 trillion debt. At least 400,000 anchor babies would not be born in our country, costing us $109 billion per year per cycle. At least 86 hospitals in California, Georgia and Florida would still be operating instead of being bankrupted out of existence because illegals pay nothing via the EMTOLA Act. Americans wouldn't suffer thousands of TB and hepatitis cases rampant in our country-brought in by illegals unscreened at our borders. Our cities would see 20 million less people driving, polluting and grid locking our cities. It would also put the "progressives" on the horns of a dilemma; illegal aliens and their families cause 11 percent of our greenhouse gases. Over one million of Mexico's poorest citizens now live inside and along our border from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California in what the New York Times called, "colonias" or new neighborhoods. Trouble is, those living areas resemble Bombay and Calcutta where grinding poverty, filth, diseases, drugs, crimes, no sanitation and worse. They live without sewage, clean water, streets, electricity, roads or any kind of sanitation. The New York Times reported them to be America's new "Third World" inside our own country. Within 20 years, at their current growth rate, they expect 20 million residents of those colonias. (I've seen them personally in Texas and Arizona; it's sickening beyond anything you can imagine.) By enforcing our laws, we could repatriate them back to Mexico. High integrity, ethical invitation We invite 20 million aliens to go home, fix their own countries and/or make a better life in Mexico. We invite a million people into our country legally more than all other countries combined annually. We cannot and must not allow anarchy at our borders, more anarchy within our borders and growing lawlessness at every level in our nation. It's time to stand up for our country, our culture, our civilization and our way of life.B) 2007 Frosty Wooldridge - All Rights Reserved

 
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