—and prejudice

I’m not in favor of illegal immigration. I think it’s acceptable for our country to set limits on who relocates here, and how many relocate here. Nevertheless, I can’t think of anything to do with the current anti-immigrant movement than oppose it.
Why? Because if the same number of Latinos entering this country were doing it legally, I’d be fine with it. And there are too many people on the other side who wouldn’t.
Some of them are outright white supremacists and bigots who’ve flocked to the anti-immigration movement like flies on rotting meat. Some are less hate-filled—they simply don’t want that many Latinos around.
I won’t work with category A. And category B are just plain wrong.
I have good, non-bigot friends who sincerely believe that Hispanic immigration represents something totally unprecedented in American history. What I hear when they warn me about it is “blah, blah, blah THE IRISH! … blah, blah, blah THE POLES! … blah, blah, blah THE CHINESE! … blah, blah, blah THE JAPANESE (believe me, warnings about how Mexicans will take over the country are little different from what was said about Japanese immigrants a century ago) … blah, blah, blah THE GERMANS! … blah, blah, blah THE JEWS!”
In short, anything but unprecedented.
Me, I believe that if there is such a thing as American exceptionalism, being a nation of immigrants is part of that. Taking in the poor, the hungry, the huddled masses yearning to be free. People believing that leaving their home for the US will fix everything, if not for them, then for their children.
Being told they’re not welcome, that they’re not fit to breathe the glorious air of freedom, that this country belongs to white people and will fall apart of non-Anglo-Saxons run it (a recurring theme in bigot literature for the past century) is not exceptional, though it certainly is American.

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