Westfield Newsroom

Aren’t we all Immigrants or Descendants?

by Norman Halls, contributor

The ancestors of modern Native Americans, also known as American Indians, arrived in what is now the United States at least 15,000 years ago, possibly much earlier, from Asia via Beringia, east of the Mackenzie River in Canada. A vast variety of peoples, societies and cultures subsequently developed. Native Americans were greatly affected by the discovery of Norsemen that touched North America soil, which began around A.D. 1000.

Ever since the founding of the United States, immigration laws have been put in place, reformed, dismantled. These laws reflected the needs of the time, but often represent political statements of people’s perceptions, which have cycled back and forth from favorable to hostile. This resource looks at the immigration policies and associated rules put in place, from the forefathers’ first steps, to the challenges faced in today’s globalized world. Later, immigration rules became more restrictive; the ending of numerical restrictions occurred in 1965. Recently, cheap air travel has increased immigration from Asia and Latin America.

“Americans often think of their history as uniquely providential. But we have always existed in a wider global context. The 19th and early 20th centuries witnessed a seismic economic reordering in which people, capital and ideas flowed within and between national borders. The same forces that drove European and Asian migration to the United States—the rise of commercial agriculture and the attendant trend of land consolidation, industrialization and growing international trade—also generated massive waves of internal migration from rural to urban areas and immigration to magnet countries like Brazil, Britain and Canada. The United States was a major part of a much larger story.” Joshua Zeitz, a POLITICO MAGAZINE

“Donald Trump’s paternal ancestry is traceable to Bobenheim am Berg, a village in the Palatinate, Germany, in the 18th century. Johann Trump, born in Bobenheim in 1789, moved to the nearby village of Kallstadt where his grandson, Friedrich Trump, the grandfather of Donald Trump, was born in 1869. Friedrich Trump came to the United States amid a flood of Germans—that year alone, an estimated 1 million made the journey to settle in America, he started of an adventurous life as a barber.”  The Times reported Migration to the United States has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of the U.S. history.  The rationale for the President’s harshest measures, from the indefinite detention of asylum seekers to the separation of families at the border, was that they would deter other migrants from making the trip. The government’s own data contradicts that, and so Trump’s enforcement policy is stuck in a feedback loop: he’s been defending actions that haven’t changed migration patterns, while simultaneously citing a “border crisis” as the reason to double down. From Wikipedia, official estimates of the number of illegal immigrants in the United States range from 11 and 12 million. Trump has repeatedly characterized such immigrants as criminals, although multiple studies have found they have lower crime and incarceration rates than native-born Americans. (Unfound statistics) “This is not how Donald Trump, his advisers, or his administration sees things. In their eyes, spending money to help new people come to and succeed in America all but picks the pockets of those who are already here and aren’t succeeding as well as they’d like.” Wrote Dara Lind

“Immigrants have driven two-thirds of U.S. economic growth since 2011. They founded 30 percent of U.S. firms, including 50 percent of startups valued at over $1 billion. Although they’ve helped the economy overall, the benefit is largely in certain industries. Immigrants with advanced degrees gravitate toward scientific and technical jobs that don’t require high communication. Contrary to other claims, immigrants are not more likely to commit crimes than the native-born population. They only make up 5 percent of the nation’s prison inmates.” Kim Amadeo, The Balance magazine. Someone SHOULD check their facts before speaking.

From the early beginning, Native Americans, Indians, are subjected to authoritarianism, removals and one-sided treaties, and they continued to suffer from prejudiced government policies into the 21st century. Why, couldn’t the intruders share? Even today they are subjected to discrimination and where to vote. The momentous past for many that came to our shores were told, you will never belong here. Yet many of them has contributed much more than those who want to keep them out. “Immigration is not undermining the American experiment; it is an integral part of it. We are a nation of immigrants. Successive waves of immigrants have kept our country demographically young, enriched our culture and added to our productive capacity as a nation, enhancing our influence in the world.” Wrote D. Griswold, CATO Institute

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