My Thoughts on Immigration…
In 2007, an anti-immigrant movement took root in the county in which I reside. Until that point, I’d been a lifelong Republican and truly felt the party no longer represented the type of person I wanted to be, there was much anger, hatred, and racism although many people argue it had nothing to do with it.
In some sense, what transpired here was a precursor for what would come on a national scale with Donald Trump. In fact, our local Chairman likes to boast he was Trump before Trump.
Anyways to give you an idea of what transpired, a national organization FAIR who purports to be a proponent of immigration but has its roots in eugenics. Prince William, Virginia. It wasn’t the first place, as it had happened previously in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
THE NEW COLOSSUS
BY Emma Lazarus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
I’m first-generation American, my mother was born in England, my maternal grandparents – Ireland, my paternal side, also from Ireland, some of which claimed to remember the ‘Irish need not apply’ signs that were popular at the time. It’s my observation that history repeats, for some reason each new wave of immigrants are never welcomed. The new rallying cry seems to be over the issue of whether or not they are documented.
Based on my name you might have thought I was Hispanic, Almeda is my spouse’s last name which also carries its own immigration story while Lynch is my maiden name. I sometimes wonder how a person’s circumstance influences their worldview and contemplate how my thoughts and feelings on the issue would be different if I’d married someone else.
What I can tell you though is during 2007 when Prince William County, Virginia entered the immigration debate, it was ugly. Invariably I’d hear someone proclaim not to be a racist but then follow that statement with something inherently racist. I emphatically state that the issue can not be dictated on such terms and that attempts to do so must be rebuked. This is what I and a coalition of other residents did when we found a place to counter the hateful rhetoric that was spreading in our community.
Invariably someone will proclaim that we are a nation of laws, and I agree but there are clearly issues with our current system.
What transpired in my county did become part of a documentary and youtube series named 9500 Liberty. Last I checked the film is still available online.