By Sammie Jones-
Americans in general and their president may need a useful lecture on the history of immigration in America to educate his outlook on the country he finds himself leading with so much division. America has a long history of immigration which many know about, but which has also escaped the attention of many Americans. Americans who never studied history in school, or who lacked interest in their education will know little or nothing about their history.
The Ellie Island(pictured) is a federally-owned island in New York Harbor, within the states of New York and New Jersey. It contains a museum and former immigration inspection station of the same name and was America’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 to 1954. It processed approximately 12 million immigrants to the United States through the Port of New York and New Jersey. Today, it is part of the Statute of Liberty Monument and the North side hosts a museum of immigration.
Racism in America is rife and far worse than anywhere in Europe, according to ethnic minorities who have experienced both parts of the world. My younger sister’s boyfriend who is mixed race and lived in America for 8 years told me that American racists are pretty open and blunt about their racism.
”Donald Trump is only saying what he knows many racist white Americans want to hear”, he says with conviction as we discuss the racist tweets that has brought the high office of the U.S resident to disrepute, in the words of Al Green who filed articles for impeachment on Tuesday evening. As a white English woman, with a mix of Danish and Italian blood in me. The Danish side comes from my mother whose father was Danish and whose mother was half Italian and half English.
I wouldn’t see myself as any different from an black immigrant born in the Uk like myself, but this is not the way racists see it, especially in America. Superiority of status is perceived to come from the skin alone as they expose their ignorance that many of them share a similar history of immigration when traced back.
Americans in general and their president may need a useful lecture on the history of immigration in America to educate his outlook on the country he finds himself leading with so much division.The resolution from the House condemning Trump’s racist twitter rant against four congress women of colour said Immigration “has defined every stage of American history”, adding that “all Americans, except for the descendants of Native people and enslaved African-Americans, are immigrants or descendants of immigrants”.
It also noted that patriotism is not defined by race or ethnicity “but by devotion to the Constitutional ideals of equality, liberty, inclusion and democracy”. The history of American immigration is known to most educated Americans, but ignored by the president unless he is oblivious of facts learnt in the teenage years of educational development for decades. This history does not hold any moral or legal grounds for an unrestrained entry into America by migrants; sensible regulation of immigration is necessary for any country.
It is worth reminding the outspoken president of the United States of America that the country he proudly describes as great, but whose image is rapidly diminishing because of some of his reckless comments, experienced high waves of immigration during the colonial era, the first part of the 19th century and from the 1880s to 1920. Many immigrants came to America seeking greater economic opportunity, while some, such as the Pilgrims in the early 1600s, arrived in search of religious freedom. In the 1500s, the first Europeans, led by the Spanish and French began establishing settlements in what would become the United States.
Between 1880 and 1920, when industrialisation and urbanisation was rapid, America received more than 20 million immigrants, consisting of an estimated 600,000 Italians migrating to a country believed to be flowing with milk and honey. The United States experienced successive waves of immigration, particularly from Europe. The first successful English colony settled in Jamestown, Virginia. By the early 1600s, communities of European immigrants dotted the Eastern seaboard, including the Spanish in Florida, the British in New England and Virginia, the Dutch in New York, and the Swedes in Delaware.
Boston Massachussets was mostly inhabited by English puritans from the East Anglian parts of England (Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex), as well as Kent and East Sussex. who settled there and in adjacent areas from around 1629 to 1640.
Trump’s comments to the four congresswomen presents him as a leader totally in the dark about his country’s history. The seriousness of his comments in addressing those women in a way he would never have addressed white women from a family history of migrants is what has led to the wide criticism. Trump must surely know that telling an African American to ”go back home” was always going to be understood in racial terms, but perhaps didn’t care much how it would be perceived.