In the Coronado National Memorial — where conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado entered what is now Arizona — contractors are pulverizing the wilderness in a rush to put up as many miles of border wall as possible before the Trump administration vacates Washington.
They’re dynamiting mountainsides and bulldozing pristine desert for a barrier the incoming Biden administration is expected to cancel.
“Wow! This is almost like busy work they’re doing,” exclaims biologist Myles Traphagen as he drives his truck up to the construction staging area and beholds the destruction for the first time. He specializes on the Arizona borderlands for the Wildlands Network.
“They’re cutting roads into a place where no vehicle could go, not a four-wheeler,” he says. “But now they’re cutting into the mountain to create access to build a wall.”
This is one of 29 construction projects being performed by 13 different contractors from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas. In Arizona, contractors have added shifts — they’re working all night long under light towers to meet Trump’s goal of 450 miles of new barriers before his term is over.
“There’s no doubt they’re accelerating the rate of construction,” says ecologist Ron Pulliam, who has been monitoring the wall’s progress on the Arizona border. “They’re trying to do as much as they can in the next 50 days. And Trump wants to fulfill his promise that he’s securing the border.”
Landowners and conservationists are irate. Gary Nabhan, a longtime author and ethnobotanist in the region, says Trump’s wall is forcing an unplanned experiment on the deserts of Southern Arizona.
Canada plans to bring in more than 1.2 million new immigrants over the next three years, the federal immigration minister said on Friday, as the country tries to fill gaps in its labour market and boost the economy, both hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said the federal government aims to accept 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021, another 411,000 in 2022 and then 421,000 in 2023.
Canada needs more workers, he said, “and immigration is the way to get there”.
The crucial point is that Graham continued to defend Nixon long after most Americans smelled a rat. When the first hint of something amiss came to light in 1972, Graham dismissed it as pettifogery.
As I noted in an earlier post today, Ralph Reed said he condemned Trump’s policy of separating children from parents. Tony Perkins, on the other hand, wants to talk about cages. Let me repeat that, there are 545 kids without parents and family values guy Tony Perkins want to talk about who built the cages.:
The oil industry pollutes. it is bad for the environment. Tony Perkins mocks alternative forms of energy:
You can tell Perkins is getting desperate. It’s late in the election and his guy is trailing. He is condemning Biden for not meeting with a North Korean murderer and dictator. This is really getting sad.
Perkins mocks mask-wearing and claims that Biden is the candidate who “covers things up.”
If Napp Nazworth’s reporting is correct, Johnnie Moore, the guy who claims to be a “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer, is probably on the phone right now with The Christian Post asking them to do a piece on how Trump won the debate.
Like Tony Perkins, Ralph Reed tweets Biden’s view on fossil fuel and the oil industry as if reducing our reliance on these things is a bad thing:
The same goes for Charlie Kirk:
It seems like the court evangelicals are divided over the performance of moderator Kristen Welker:
I can no longer write about Robert Jeffress without thinking about his fellow court evangelical Richard Land’s line: “the most dangerous place in Texas to stand is between Jeffress and a television camera.” Expect Jeffress to repeat this tweet tonight on Fox News with Lou Dobbs:
This weekend Charlie Kirk will be bringing this to an evangelical megachurch near you:
I am sure “Falkirk Fellow” Jenna Ellis will be pushing this narrative today on Fox News:
“No rational American believes this”:
No rational American believes this:
Again, these court evangelicals try to deflect from the fact that 545 kids are not with their parents by focusing on the construction of the cages. Where is the empathy and compassion among these evangelical Christians affiliated with Liberty University?:
I just wanted to get this on the record. It was tweeted at a moment when COVID-19 is surging again:
Some thoughts on the final debate of the 2020 presidential campaign.
On the format:
The mute button definitely worked. Kristen Welker did a solid job as moderator. Trump was under control. He started-out very mellow:
Symbolic gestures are important, especially in a pandemic:
This continues to be the essence of Trump’s approach to the coronavirus:
I have no idea what Trump meant when he criticized Biden for “selling pillows and sheets”:
Trump focused on Hunter Biden’s laptop, Burisma, and Biden’s houses (he owns two). No one cares unless you watch Fox News:
Seth Cotlar gets it right:
When Trump attacked Biden’s family, Biden did not get into the mud. (There is a lot of material about the Trump family he could have used). Instead, he appealed to American families:
When Biden talked about American families and their “dinner table” concerns, Trump accused him of being a “typical politician.”:
Trump kept pushing lies about Biden’s positions on health care and fracking:
In one the better moments of the debate, Biden said that Trump was confused about the identity of his opponent in this election, especially as it relates to health care. Biden does not support socialized medicine. He actually won the Democratic primary against the likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who do favor socialized medicine. He reminded the viewers who Trump was running against:
The moderator, Kristen Welker, asked Trump about how his administration manage to lose the parents of 545 immigrant children. Trump claimed that they these children were brought to the country not by their parents, but by “coyotes.” Biden pushed back hard, saying that these children came to the United States with their parents and they were separated. Trump’s failed to exercise any degree of empathy for these children. It was painful to watch.
As a side note, I had interesting exchange on Twitter on this issue with court evangelical and GOP operative Ralph Reed:
I am not holding my breath about Reed’s decision to revisit this issue 10 days before an election.
Welker asked Biden and Trump about “the talk” African-American parents give their children about the dangers they will face in a racist society. Bruce Springsteen summarized this well in his song “American Skin”:
Here is the lyric:
41 shots, Lena gets her son ready for school She says, “On these streets, Charles You’ve got to understand the rules If an officer stops you, promise me you’ll always be polite And that you’ll never ever run away Promise Mama you’ll keep your hands in sight”
Biden responded to this question with a clear statement about systemic racism, lamenting that such a “talk” is necessary in the United States of America. Trump never answered the question. Instead he said this:
Trump claimed he was the “least racist” person in the room. Then he backpedaled a bit, saying he couldn’t be entirely sure that he was the “least racist” person in the room because the lights were too bright and he was unable to see everyone.
Trump then went after Biden for his role in drafting the 1994 Crime Bill. This bill was controversial because it increased incarceration in an attempt to stop crime. It led to more prison sentences and aggressive policing that hurt people of color who are disproportionately likely to be incarcerated.
Biden has said that his support of the 1994 bill was a mistake and he regrets it. He said the same thing last night. But what confuses me is why Trump always criticizes him on this front. Wouldn’t a “law and order” president like Trump who does not believe in systemic racism be in favor of such a bill? After Trump’s response to racial unrest this summer, one might think he would have been chomping at the bit to support such a bill. Biden lost a chance to point this out.
New York Times columnist David Brooks weighed-in on the debate:
Biden said that he wanted to phase out the oil industry because it is bad for the environment. Trump implied that Biden’s statement alienated people in Texas, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Ohio. Perhaps it did, but Biden stood his ground. Historian Andrew Wehrman put it succinctly:
Biden’s claim to be the president of all Americans reminded me of Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address:
Trump did fine. As CNN’s Dana Bash put it, the “bar was very low” for Trump and he managed to clear it.
Biden did fine as well. He had some nice moments.
I don’t think the debate changed much, especially since Trump is probably going to stay some more stupid stuff tomorrow and everyone will forget about last night’s debate.
Many conservative evangelicals champion family values, but I am guessing their leaders will say nothing about this. If the court evangelicals cared about families they should be crying from the rooftops right now. They won’t because they are held captive by the priorities of Donald Trump and his court.
Here is Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff at NBC News:
Lawyers appointed by a federal judge to identify migrant families who were separated by the Trump administration say that they have yet to track down the parents of 545 children and that about two-thirds of those parents were deported to Central America without their children, according to a filing Tuesday from the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Trump administration instituted a “zero tolerance” policy in 2018 that separated migrant children and parents at the southern U.S. border. The administration later confirmed that it had actually begun separating families in 2017 along some parts of the border under a pilot program. The ACLU and other pro-bono law firms were tasked with finding the members of families separated during the pilot program.
Unlike the 2,800 families separated under zero tolerance in 2018, most of whom remained in custody when the policy was ended by executive order, many of the more than 1,000 parents separated from their children under the pilot program had already been deported before a federal judge in California ordered that they be found.
“It is critical to find out as much as possible about who was responsible for this horrific practice while not losing sight of the fact that hundreds of families have still not been found and remain separated,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “There is so much more work to be done to find these families.
The coronavirus is spiking again. The country is in the midst of what might be an unprecedented conversation about race. And polls show that Donald Trump is trailing Joe Biden by a considerable margin.
Trump is desperate. If he loses in November, he will limp back to New York as arguably the worst president in United States history. His growing sense of hopelessness and despair is leading him to double-down on the issues that got him elected in 2016. It’s like a Trump greatest hits album.
NEW YORK – Nine leaders at evangelical Christian organizations are urging the Trump administration to release people from immigration detention facilities “who do not pose a threat to public safety” during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly those who are elderly or otherwise at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.
In a letter sent Monday to Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the evangelicals called for alliances with religious and other local groups to help find released detainees “safe accommodations in which to ‘shelter in place’ for as long as such practices are advised.” Such actions to aid social distancing in detention, the faith leaders wrote, would help staff as well as detained migrants.
“Our concern is rooted in our Christian belief that each human life is made in the image of God and thus precious, and, like you, we want to do everything possible to minimize the loss of life as a result of this pandemic,” the prominent evangelicals wrote.
The evangelicals signing the letter said they would “encourage the many churches and ministries within our networks to provide any assistance they can” to help released detainees shelter safely.
Shared with The Associated Press in advance of its public release, the letter was signed by Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Council, among others.
In Thursday night’s address to the nation, Donald Trump said the coronavirus was a “foreign virus.” CNN asked several historians to reflect historically on this claim. Here is a taste of Catherine Choicet’s piece:
For immigration historians and other scholars, the way US President Donald Trump is describing the coronavirus pandemic has a familiar ring.
“This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history,” Trump said in an Oval Office address Wednesday night. “I am confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus.”
“We’ve had plenty of examples of this in the past. It’s mindblowing that this still continues,” said Varlik, an associate professor of history at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, and at the University of South Carolina.
“It opens up the ways of thinking about disease in dangerous ways,” she said. “Once you open that door…historically we have examples, we know where it goes. And we don’t want to go there. I find it extremely dangerous.”
It’s the latest chapter in a story that historians see as centuries in the making. From the plague to SARS, whenever an outbreak spread, racism and xenophobia weren’t far behind.
Here’s what scholars told CNN about some of history’s shameful episodes, and the lessons we can learn from them.
Trump’s Catholic campaign may tout his record of appointing anti-abortion judges — the president has installed more than 100 judges to the federal bench in addition to appointing Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, both reliable votes to overturn or chip away at abortion rights. But many Catholic bishops and leaders of Catholic agencies play an outsized humanitarian role in aiding immigrants and have strongly denounced the administration’s extreme immigration policies and cruel treatment of migrant families.
For these Catholics, the president’s xenophobia clashes with their own immigrant history. As late as John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, an Irish-American Catholic running for president was viewed with deep suspicion.
This history and resonant cultural memory could, in part, explain why even some white Catholics who voted for Trump in 2016 seem unsettled by the president’s obsession with demonizing migrants. In 2018 focus groups conducted in Macomb County, Michigan, with Republicans and GOP-leaning independent Catholic conservative men who voted for Trump, the Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg described what he called “Trump conflicted Catholics” as particularly anguished over separated immigrant families.
“Everybody’s concerned with the families being torn apart,” one focus group participant said. “You know, to take a child away from a mother or father and put them somewhere where they’re isolated away from their parents.” One voter described family separation as a form of “kidnapping.”
The Trump administration’s profile on immigration won’t be helped by new visa regulations issued this week, making it more difficult for pregnant immigrant women to travel to the United States.
Pope Francis is unequivocal that the “lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute” are as “equally sacred” as the unborn in the womb. The administration’s gutting of environmental protections, reinstatement of federal executions and shameful treatment of children in migrant shelters demonstrate a callous indifference to the sanctity of life that Catholic voters who oppose abortion should not ignore.
For Catholics, neither political party nor any candidate perfectly reflects our church’s teachings about human dignity and respect for all life. But it’s hard to see how a president who chronically lies, targets communities of color and brazenly ignores the Gospel’s clear command to welcome immigrants has earned the right to be considered the best choice for values voters.
John Fremont: Republican Candidate for Fifteenth President of the United States
There are some striking similarities between the Election of 1856 and the Election of 2020. Read about them at NPR’s Steve Inskeep‘s recent piece at The New York Times: “It’s 1856 All Over Again.”
What are lessons for 2020? Expect a terrifying year. What drives Americans to extremes is not losing an election but the fear of losing for all time. As Democrats and progressives count on an evermore diverse population to ensure victory, some of President Trump’s supporters foresee permanent defeat. Fox News stokes dread of demographic change with repeated images of migrants climbing fences. The president told supporters as a candidate in 2016 that he was their “last chance” to save the country.
Some of Mr. Trump’s critics fear permanent defeat for their side as he appoints judges who could remake the courts for a generation and dismisses limits on his power by asserting “the right to do whatever I want as president.” He has tweaked his critics’ anxieties, once sharing a social media meme that showed him unconstitutionally returned to office after 2020 — in 2024, 2028, 2032 and far beyond.
When politicians exploit such fears, voters can find an antidote by recalling the aftermath of 1856. Whatever the result in 2020 — and it’s a safe bet that close to half of us will consider it a disaster — another election will follow. We hope.
At its annual meeting in New York City, the American Historical Association approved the following resolution:
RESOLUTION CONDEMNING AFFILIATIONS BETWEEN ICE AND HIGHER EDUCATION
In light of the serious and systematic violation of human rights committed by both the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the US Border Patrol (USBP) in recent years—and considering their presence on US university campuses for recruitment and research purposes—we resolve the following:
WHEREAS, several US universities have contracts with and host recruitment for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the US Border Patrol (USBP);
WHEREAS, ICE and USBP have been cited for numerous human rights abuses at the border and in detention facilities;
WHEREAS university contracts with ICE and USBP legitimate both agencies as a branch of government and potential employers; therefore, be it
Resolved, that the AHA urge university faculty, staff, and administrators to sever existing ties and forgo future contracts with ICE and USBP; and
Resolved,that the AHA support sanctuary movements on campuses that seek to protect immigrant students and workers.
I am not sure what this resolution has to do with the study of history. If I was present I would have rejected it. The AHA is not a political organization. In this sense, I am mostly in agreement with the former AHA president and Cornell University historian Mary Beth Norton. Here is a taste of a recent piece at Inside Higher Education:
Members of the American Historical Association approved a resolution condemning college and university contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 70 to 60, at their annual meeting over the weekend. They approved an additional statement in support of professors teaching off the tenure track, but voted down two resolutions expressing concern about academic freedom in Israel.
The successful resolution on ICE now goes to the AHA’s governing council for further consideration. Per association policies and procedures, the council may accept it, refuse to concur or exercise a veto.
Alexander Avina, associate professor at Arizona State University, was the first to speak in favor of the resolution, saying that his own parents were undocumented migrants and that he now teaches such immigrants in the borderlands. He urged the AHA to take “a stand against ongoing state terrorism” and the idea that universities should make millions of dollars by working with agencies that perpetrate it.
Ashley Black, a visiting assistant professor of history at California State University at Stanislaus, said she teaches students who were part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and who now live in a “state of fear and insecurity.” She asked the AHA to endorse campuses as sanctuaries in the interest of student safety and learning.
ICE had no vocal fans in the room, but a number of historians spoke out against the resolution on the grounds that it strays from AHA’s mission and established rules and practices. Mary Beth Norton, former AHA president and Mary Donlon Alger Professor Emerita at Cornell University, said she might support a resolution that adhered to the AHA’s Guiding Principles on Taking a Public Stance, highlighting threats to historical sources, academic freedom and historians’ movement. Yet she did not support the resolution as written.
Norton said later that the document said “nothing about historical scholarship or historians. Accordingly, it is outside the purview if the AHA as an organization, even though expressing outrage about ICE is entirely appropriate for individual historians in their capacity as citizens.”
Avina said that he and his colleagues behind the resolution hope that the council will “accept and publicly support” it.
Guillermo Maldonado, pastor of King Jesus International Ministry
Donald Trump has chosen to host his “Evangelicals for Trump” rally at King Jesus International Ministry, a megachurch in Miami. Yesterday, during Sunday services as the church, pastor Guillermo Maldonado had to calm the fears of his undocumented parishioners. Many of them apparently felt that there was a chance Trump would try to deport them.
The Miami pastor whose megachurch is hosting President Donald Trump this week told undocumented parishioners at a Sunday service that he guaranteed they would not risk deportation if they decided to attend the president’s event on Friday.
“You don’t have to be a citizen. And I will give you an affirmation as your spiritual father and your pastor. First, someone said, ‘But how can you bring Trump to church if there’s people who don’t have papers?’ ” Pastor Guillermo Maldonado told his audience of hundreds, referencing Trump’s hard-line anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies.
“I ask you: Do you think I would do something where I would endanger my people? I’m not that dumb.”
Maldonado, a Honduran evangelical pastor who goes by the term of “apostle,” said the King Jesus International Ministry church had been chosen by the president to host about 70 Christian pastors to “talk” and “influence” the president, during a first-ever Evangelicals for Trump rally.
This is a fascinating development. Trump’s choice to have his “Evangelicals for Trump” rally at this church may force him to reconcile his commitment to evangelicals with his crackdown on undocumented immigrants. I hope a journalists asks Trump about this. I am interested in his response.
At this point, I have not seen anything about the speaker line-up at the event.
Appelbaum, however, has not given up hope. He turns to history:
The right, and the country, can come back from this. Our history is rife with influential groups that, after discarding their commitment to democratic principles in an attempt to retain their grasp on power, lost their fight and then discovered they could thrive in the political order they had so feared. The Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, criminalizing criticism of their administration; Redemption-era Democrats stripped black voters of the franchise; and Progressive Republicans wrested municipal governance away from immigrant voters. Each rejected popular democracy out of fear that it would lose at the polls, and terror at what might then result. And in each case democracy eventually prevailed, without tragic effect on the losers. The American system works more often than it doesn’t.
The years around the First World War offer another example. A flood of immigrants, particularly from Eastern and Southern Europe, left many white Protestants feeling threatened. In rapid succession, the nation instituted Prohibition, in part to regulate the social habits of these new populations; staged the Palmer Raids, which rounded up thousands of political radicals and deported hundreds; saw the revival of the Ku Klux Klan as a national organization with millions of members, including tens of thousands who marched openly through Washington, D.C.; and passed new immigration laws, slamming shut the doors to the United States.
Under President Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic Party was at the forefront of this nativist backlash. Four years after Wilson left office, the party faced a battle between Wilson’s son-in-law and Al Smith—a New York Catholic of Irish, German, and Italian extraction who opposed Prohibition and denounced lynching—for the presidential nomination. The convention deadlocked for more than 100 ballots, ultimately settling on an obscure nominee. But in the next nominating fight, four years after that, Smith prevailed, shouldering aside the nativist forces within the party. He brought together newly enfranchised women and the ethnic voters of growing industrial cities. The Democrats lost the presidential race in 1928—but won the next five, in one of the most dominant runs in American political history. The most effective way to protect the things they cherished, Democratic politicians belatedly discovered, wasn’t by locking immigrants out of the party, but by inviting them in.
Whether the American political system today can endure without fracturing further, Daniel Ziblatt’s research suggests, may depend on the choices the center-right now makes. If the center-right decides to accept some electoral defeats and then seeks to gain adherents via argumentation and attraction—and, crucially, eschews making racial heritage its organizing principle—then the GOP can remain vibrant. Its fissures will heal and its prospects will improve, as did those of the Democratic Party in the 1920s, after Wilson. Democracy will be maintained. But if the center-right, surveying demographic upheaval and finding the prospect of electoral losses intolerable, casts its lot with Trumpism and a far right rooted in ethno-nationalism, then it is doomed to an ever smaller proportion of voters, and risks revisiting the ugliest chapters of our history.
Among American evangelical Christians, there are longstanding and deep divisions on immigration and refugees, John Fea, professor of history at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, says. Fea is the author of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump. The spectrum of evangelical views on immigration range from Jim Wallis, founder and editor of Sojourners magazine and author of the 2013 op-ed “The Bible’s case for immigration reform,” and the National Association of Evangelicals on the left, to groups on the right like Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration, Fea says.
Those in the same camp as Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration largely oppose granting citizenship to American-born children of undocumented immigrants affected by the DACA program, and would like to see borders either closely defended or severely restricted, Fea says. “[They] claim that these verses are manipulated by the evangelical opponents to serve their political interests,” he says. “Most claim that these verses about welcoming the stranger do not apply to illegal immigrants, because these immigrants are breaking the law.”
The essential evangelical division here, which divides along political lines, pits Christian compassion against rule of law. “The evangelical differences on immigration have been around for several decades, but right now politics seems to be shaping everything,” Fea says. “Almost all of the evangelicals, who support Trump’s Supreme Court nominations, [and] move of the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem … also oppose all forms of illegal immigration and are fearful about the arrival of these refugees. If they do have any moral qualms or pricks of conscience about the separation of families at the border or the treatment of refugees in detention centers, they do not speak up about it.”
Many white evangelicals, he says, believe that a wall is the only solution to the problem on the southern border. “They do not want to jeopardize their access to political power, because Trump is delivering on abortion and Supreme Court justices, and other issues that are more important to them than immigration reform,” Fea says. “Evangelical Christianity in America has been divided for a long time, but the immigration debate, and Trump’s handling of it, reveals this division perhaps more than anything else.”
Earlier today on his Wallbuilders Live radio show, Christian Right activist David Barton made the following case about the Naturalization Act of 1790 and its assertion that citizenship in the new United States be afforded to only “free white persons”:
The Naturalization Act 1790, is the first immigration act passed by Congress. And, it set forth what it takes to be an immigrant to America. If you come here you have to be able to provide your own income for five years.
If you become a public ward of the government within five years, you go back home. You have to have good moral character and a religious recommendation from some organization. So, it was all about character and the type of people you wanted as inhabitants.
So, why is it white? Because this is part of the anti-slavery thing, that we’re not looking for more slaves to come in. It was shortly after this that George Washington passed the law that forbid the exportation of any slaves out of America.
And, Congress had already been notified by the Constitution that Hey we’re going to ban the slave trade as well. We don’t want more slaves coming into America. And, you have to realize that at that point in time, we’re still in the middle of the Atlantic slave trade.
And, sentiment against that is growing. So, there’s lots of slave ships coming out of Africa. We know that over that that four centuries, about 12.7 million slaves were taken out to Africa; and, while most of them did not come to the United States–the United States only got about 2.5 percent of all the slaves sent out of Africa.
Still, there was growing sentiment against the slave trade in America, saying, “Hey, we need to get out of slavery and end the slave trade.” So, that’s kind of the tone at the time this law is passed. Therefore, while this looks racist today, in the context of the times, this is really more about We’re not after more slaves coming in.
First, notice what the Naturalization Act of 1790 offers citizenship to only free white persons. Barton argues that by restricting immigration to free white people, Congress was trying to curb the number of slaves coming into the country.
Second, let me say that this interpretation is an example of what happens when you allow politics to shape your understanding of the past. Barton’s argument here is absurd, but he has to make such an argument to protect his beloved founding fathers. He knows that this is what his audience needs to hear so he twists and mangles the past to fit his contemporary agenda. He also knows that this is the kind of stuff that keeps him in business.
Third, Barton is making this all up. He has no evidence for this revisionism. How do I know? Because the authors of the Naturalization Act left no specific commentary to explain why they limited citizenship to “free white persons.” In fact, it was not until 1952, with the passing of the Immigration Act and Nationality Act, that Congress prohibited racial discrimination in naturalization.
Fourth, it is likely that Northerners and anti-slavery advocates supported the Naturalization Act of 1790 precisely because it limited citizenship to white people. Duke political scientist and ethicist Noah Pickus has argued that white American men in Congress responsible for the Act–even those who opposed slavery—were trying to imagine what life in the United States would look like after emancipation. Very few of them wanted African-Americans integrated into white society through citizenship.
As Pickus writes in his book True Faith and Allegiance: Immigration and American Civil Nationalism, “many leaders agonized over the tension between blacks’ natural right to freedom and prudential concerns about an integrated nation. The free white clause terminology was consistent in the minds of those who opposed slavery with ensuring a cohesive community. The shared concern to establish a nationalist foundation for citizenship made it easier for all to agree on excluding blacks from citizenship.” In other words, the framers of the Naturalization Act of 1790 wanted a white republic.
Pickus is also aware that the evidence is scant. So he makes an argument partially based on context. He writes, “Arguments from silence are, of course, slippery things that depend heavily on the context into which the silence is set.” But Pickus also looks to future debates over emancipation (rather than 1790s debates over naturalization) to advance his argument. His evidence is found there.
Fifth, there is nothing in the Naturalization Act of 1790 about immigrants being sent back to their home country if they became wards of the state. Maybe I missed it. Perhaps someone can double-check for me. I am afraid that this is Barton trying to twist the act to make a subtle jab about today’s undocumented immigrants.
Beyond that, it is well known that for the past few decades Latino immigration has energized, and in some ways saved, the Catholic Church in the United States. About 40 percent of American Catholics are Hispanic, and they’re more likely to say religion is “very important” in their lives than white Catholics.
What’s less acknowledged is that Latinos have also bolstered evangelical communities. Some 16 million evangelicals are Hispanic, and about 15 percent of all immigrants are evangelical.
After the recent Ken Cuccinelli debacle, several outlets are doing a nice job of informing the public about Emma Lazarus and her relationship to American immigration history. Over at Slate, Rebecca Onion interviews Princeton professor and Lazarus biographer Esther Schor.
Between the 1930s and now, it somehow went from an interventionist poem, making an argument not everyone agreed with, to something that a lot of people think of fundamentally American. By 1986, you write in your biography, at the centennial celebration of the Statue of Liberty, the poem was uncontroversially included. So, sometime between 1930 and 1986, what happened to change its status?
The poem began as a subversive poem. It’s literally subverting the meaning of the statue that the French intended it to have, which was to honor French republicanism and abolitionism. So Lazarus single-handedly changed what the statue meant.
That subversive poem becomes a bourgeois piety, at a certain point. The Cold War had something to do with it—in essence, the Statue of Liberty becomes a symbol of American liberty, as opposed to fascism. Irving Berlin set the poem to music and used it in “Miss Liberty” in 1949; the Statue of Liberty is also used in Saboteur, a 1942 Hitchcock movie. Then, “The New Colossus” is also taken up in the public schools as a recitation poem—it’s widely anthologized, read at civic gatherings. It’s hard to find a date, but I think the Cold War had a lot to do with it.
And my sense is it’s recovering its subversive power now.
Yes, I wanted to ask your perspective on the recurrent resurfacings of the poem in our debate over immigration. On the left, the impulse seems to be to correct anti-immigration Trump officials by making reference to this poem’s ideals. Yet, the poem has always been representative of a particular point of view on American immigration—not a consensus position. It seems hard to point this out without undermining the authority of sentiments I basically agree with!
The poem has had its detractors, years before Stephen Miller. Most notably, David Duke, who published a whole chapter on Emma Lazarus in one of his books. Stormfront calls her the “Jewess who tried to ruin the U.S.” There’s an alt-right tradition of aiming right at the poem.
Think about it this way. What other left cause in this country, if we’re going to call immigration a “left” cause, which it is right now … what other cause has its poem? Where’s the health care sonnet, where’s the gerrymandering sonnet? We don’t have these. We happen to have this poem, and granted people have focused on two lines or a line and a half of it, but there it is. It just comes right out. I have this Google alert for “Give me your tired, your poor,” and at midnight I get all the uses of it, in the press. All over the world. I get things from Australia; Aberdeen, Scotland; Singapore… this poem is just on everybody’s lips.
The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world, but Luxemborg and Israel have more immigrants per capita.
Prior to 1965, Germany sent the most immigrants to the United States. After 1965, Mexico sent the most immigrants to the United States.
The most concentrated immigrant enclaves: French in southern Louisiana, Germans in the Dakotas, Norwegians in North Dakota, Dutch in western Michigan and northwest Iowa, West Indians in Manhattan, and French Canadians in North Dakota.
Slaves came to America from Africa, the West Indies, and South America by the hundreds of thousands as forced immigrants.
Over 17,000 migrants come to America a year as victims of human trafficking.
More immigrants to America speak English today than at any other point in American history
The grandchildren of Latino immigrants “barely speak Spanish.”
Immigrants are forestalling the decline of the Midwest
America was not a “global destination” until the 1965 Immigration Act
“Unauthorized immigration” was in a generally steady decline between 2000 and 2010.
The anti-immigrant Know Nothing Party candidate, Millard Fillmore, won the state of Maryland in the 1856 presidential election.
The U.S. “border zone” includes Bangor, Maine; Salem, Oregon; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Burlington, Vermont.
Look at the maps here and tell me what you take away from the exercise.