There is an undeniable force that compels humans to continue striving for survival and the betterment of their existence: hope. Although 2017 was riddled in the implementation of policies that would otherwise discourage and oppress immigrant communities across the United States, I would like to remind readers of the fuel that propelled millions of people to leave the familiar to traverse oceans, desserts and mountains to settle in this great nation. That force is hope.
In the early 1800s, German and Irish settlers were unwelcomed because they were Catholic. Yet, with hope they overcame. When in 1863 Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation as “an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution…”, the liberation of slaves across the nation served as a catalyst for congress to begin its institutionalized ethnic purging.Chinese immigrants were the first targeted with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Yet, they overcame, with hope.
Just as many states enforced Jim Crow laws across the nation, the Federal government instituted similar restrictions on new immigrants instituting a literacy test in the early 1900s. The Immigration Act of 1924 sought to restrict Eastern Europeans, Africans and Asians to protect the American homogeneity. Yet, with hope these groups also overcame.
Although, with the herald of the civil rights movement, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 eliminated ethnic based quotas, Congress hoped that the family based immigration system would encourage more Western European immigration. Yet, people from many other nations have benefited from the INA in the past 50 plus years. The Current administration clearly continues to be concerned with 1920 notions of American homogeneity. In the Administration’s quest for ethnic purification it has attacked both legal and illegal immigration. It has also served to undermine educational, social, environmental and political government institutions that support immigrants and, conveniently, minorities as a whole. While the institution of travel bans, expulsion of DACA and Temporary protected Status recipients, and attacks on sanctuary cities remain viable threats to immigrant communities, this too shall pass. Hope still lives.
Hope lives in the numerous activists that are supporting immigration communities. It lives in the families that unequivocally advocate for their unity. It lives in us as we continue to have these discussions on who we are as a people and a nation. Eventually, hope lives in each of us as we take our voices to the poll in 2018.
Let us continue to speak in the language of hope. Wishing you and yours the very best in 2018.
By The Immigration Post – Chief Editor