Monday, May 08, 2006

A Little History Lesson on Immigration

As usual, many Americans today lack a clear knowledge of history, even some who were close to presidents lack this knowledge. Well an article has come out in the Washington Post today that should clear some things up about immigration in the past. It is an excellent article, worthy of a read for anybody who has any question or feeling about this great immigration debate we are in today. It highlights the real problems America faces in regards to immigration. the money quote:

Advocates of stricter enforcement argue that those who came a century ago were different because they arrived legally. Movies and novels depict customs agents at New York's Ellis Island -- that keyhole through which 16 million immigrants passed from 1882 to 1922 -- examining immigrants and their papers with a capricious eye toward shipping back laggards. Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, wrote about her Irish forebears in a Wall Street Journal column: "They waited in line. They passed the tests. They had to get permission to come. . . . They had to get through Ellis Island . . . get questioned and eyeballed by a bureaucrat with a badge." But these accounts are flawed, historians say. Until 1918, the United States did not require passports; the term "illegal immigrant" had no meaning. New arrivals were required only to prove their identity and find a relative or friend who could vouch for them.
So all those immigrants that flowed into the United States before 1918 were neither legal nor illegal. They just were. This article also states that the border between Mexico and the United States was hardly guarded and travel between the two was free. If anyone does not think our current debate on immigration is not race related, take a look at the following: In Texas, two white boys attacked and sodomized a hispanic boy for looking at a white girl recently. Some groups have declared "open season" on Hispanics. A game on the internet has the viewer shooting at mexicans crossing over the border. I quote again what President Hinckley has to say about racial hatred (and hatred in general):
I have wondered why there is so much hatred in the world. We are involved in terrible wars with lives lost and many crippling wounds. Coming closer to home, there is so much of jealousy, pride, arrogance, and carping criticism; fathers who rise in anger over small, inconsequential things and make wives weep and children fear. Racial strife still lifts its ugly head. I am advised that even right here among us there is some of this. I cannot understand how it can be. It seemed to me that we all rejoiced in the 1978 revelation given President Kimball. I was there in the temple at the time that that happened. There was no doubt in my mind or in the minds of my associates that what was revealed was the mind and the will of the Lord. Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible? Throughout my service as a member of the First Presidency, I have recognized and spoken a number of times on the diversity we see in our society. It is all about us, and we must make an effort to accommodate that diversity. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children. Brethren, there is no basis for racial hatred among the priesthood of this Church. If any within the sound of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.
President Hinckley continues:
Why do any of us have to be so mean and unkind to others? Why can't all of us reach out in friendship to everyone about us? Why is there so much bitterness and animosity? It is not a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


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