May 10, 2011

Immigration Politics: On Immigration, the Past Is Prologue

OpEd by Amy Novick, Board Member, Immigrants' List, puts the present demagoguery against immigrants in context. See MexicoBlog page on History of U.S. Immigration Laws for how the origins of U.S. immigration laws lie in racial discrimination. 

Amy Novick: On Immigration, the Past Is Prologue: "This week 129 years ago, the first Chinese Exclusion Act was passed, ushering in an era when virtually all persons of Chinese descent (regardless of country of birth) were barred from entering the United States (with few exceptions). Immigration from China was effectively halted.

The Chinese Exclusion Act sparked discriminatory state and local laws, which grew by wildfire; laws were passed restricting the ability of Asians to live in certain localities, to work in certain industries and to have other civil rights guaranteed to white residents. National laws would seek to deport all Chinese immigrants already in America -- even legal immigrants -- unless they could produce residence certificates issued only on the affidavits of white witnesses. (You're not alone if you see frightening similarities to Arizona's 'papers, please' law). In short, the civil rights (and dignity) of Asian immigrants were eviscerated." Huffington Post

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