Neese: Immigration Unmentionables

There he goes again, the blabbermouth nativist, Donald Trump, the wall-building xenophobe.

“We have a massive poverty population coming into our country virtually every day from Mexico,” whines the guy who vows to build “a beautiful wall” along the southern border.

Oops. Beg your pardon. Misread our notes. Those actually were the words of Walter Mondale, Democratic senator, Vice President, presidential candidate, Minnesota progressive, speaking in the early 1970s.

Let’s see now … Where’s the cruel, mean, nativist, xenophobic quote we were looking for? Ah, maybe here:

There’s “no national interest in continuing to import lesser-skilled and unskilled workers to compete in the most vulnerable parts of our labor force.”

Oops. Beg pardon again.

That was actually the civil-rights icon, the late Rep. Barbara Jordan, a Democrat, speaking in 1995.

Gosh, a closer look at the notes seems to indicate that civil-rights and liberal reform activism once fairly teemed with what today is condemned as uncharitable, cruel, mean, nasty, ugly, nativist, xenophobic prejudice.

Take, for example, the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave. He observed: “Every hour sees the black man elbowed out of employment by some newly arrived immigrant, whose hunger and color are thought to give him a better title to the place.”

In 1907, education reformer Booker T. Washington and NAACP cofounder W.E.B. Du Bois co-authored a book lamenting “the importation of foreign labor.” They said it was relegating blacks to the lowest of the low-level jobs, or shutting them out of the economy altogether.

As far back as 1895, Washington had urged America’s budding industrial tycoons to fill their new factories with black, not immigrant laborers. He was a gentleman in the way he made the suggestion.

Du Bois was less diplomatic. He said the fat-cat factory owners cared only about cheap labor — cheap and white.

By Dave Neese for The Trentonian
Read full article HERE>

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