We ARE A Nation of Immigrants, But...

Anti-illegals is not anti-immigrant.

Every time anyone talks about the hazards, dangers, or costs of all our illegal immigrants, one of the "open borders" crowd can be counted on to leap up and shout, "But we're a nation of immigrants."  Assuming it's meant to be taken seriously, this retort seem to be saying, "Immigration built the US so we should keep on allowing illegals to come here."

They forget that until recently, there was no such thing as the tidal waves of illegal immigration we're seeing today; it simply wasn't permitted.  Without really meaning to, the New York Times documented the stark, unbridgeable chasm between how the successful immigration of the past worked and the de facto open borders policy we have today.

Their article discussed the upcoming sale of $190 million worth of artifacts salvaged from the Titanic wreck.  When the ship broke apart, the heavy, streamlined bow plunged rapidly to the bottom while lighter items such as hats, gloves, boots, and other clothing floated down more slowly.

The mile-deep water is utterly dark and very cold.  Even though the water isn't frozen, the environment at the bottom is so cold that many garments are preserved well enough to be worn today.

And there, in the lightless saline netherworld, a vest, a trilby hat, a pair of laced boots, a belted valise and an alligator bag (along with a huge range of artifacts) lay scattered across a broad apron of remnants.

The Times went into detail about Marion Meanwell’s alligator bag.

First chartered to sail on the liner Majestic, Mrs. Meanwell rebooked on the Titanic after that vessel was removed from regular service. Tucked into her handbag were a number of documents, among them a letter from the London landlords Wheeler Sons & Co.

This innocuous note, stating blandly that “we have always found Meanwell a good tenant and prompt in payment of her rent,” carried an extra freight of meaning for an immigrant hoping to build a new life.

“If you were coming over without credentials or with no prospect of work,” Mr. Davenport-Hines [author of “Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From,”] said, it was not uncommon for examiners at Ellis Island to refuse entry to new arrivals and to send them home as “vagrants or tramps.” [emphasis added]

Knowing that the American authorities wouldn't admit her unless she could prove that she was a person of good character, the widowed Mrs. Meanwell carried her parents' marriage license, her own marriage certificate, and the letter of recommendation from her landlord.  She was far from being one of those "undocumented Democrats" so beloved of Mr. Obama; she was careful to bring along written proof of her status as a worthy citizen who intended to leave her past behind and assimilate herself into America.

Yes, it's entirely true that we're a nation of immigrants, but this nation was built by legal immigrants who were well aware that they could be turned aside at the border.  America is a nation built by immigrants, but the immigrants who built America were legal immigrants who intended to stay and contribute to their new country.

There's all the difference in the world between someone who collects all possible documentation to prove their worth, and someone who sneaks across only to take advantage of us with the intent of returning after ripping us off.

Unfortunately, our ruling party sees so much advantage in persuading illegals to vote that they're suing states that try to require proof of citizenship before voting.

How ironic!  The Times is as open-border as any paper could be, but in their enthusiasm to write a vivid human-interest story, they showed why immigration was so successful in the past - we were choosy about whom we let in.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Immigration.
Reader Comments

You hit the nail on the head. This should receive more attention -> "who intended to stay and contribute to their new country"

April 13, 2012 1:00 PM

Anyone who thinks that allowing illegals to stay within their borders is "no big deal" should look at what happened to the Native Americans, or the Palestinians.

April 13, 2012 3:22 PM

Nobody wants to go where Werebat pointed. The idea seems to be that since the illegals who overwhelmed the Native Americans and Palestinians were White, it was Bad, but since the illegals we're getting are Brown, it is OK.

Actually, the bottom line is that the politicians think the illegals will vote Democrat.

April 14, 2012 12:17 AM

So we have a bunch of illegal immigrants. Everyone knows that. The greater question is what do we do with them? Republicans and democrats are alike in allowing illegals to enter this country. GWB turned his head while they poured across the border and obama is worse. You cannot blame these people for wanting a better life. Most are hard workers but there are some that are simply criminals. It is fact of life that all groups of peoples have thugs among them and the Latinos are no different.

What caused this influx of Latinos? Once again we look toward government for screwing it up once again. The simple desire for every American to own a home caused a building boom creating a shortage of workers. Latinos were more than happy to come here and work for less than the American workers and the end result is a huge, chaotic situation that can't be stopped because of a lack of political will. The fact that these Latinos came here illegally is to some degree a moot point. Some say send them all back, some say amnesty, some say fine them and make them learn the culture and then they can have citizenship. What is the answer? I really do not know what to do. All I do know is that deporting 15-20 million people would be almost impossible so therefore we have to come up with a solution. We can't allow lawbreakers but we can't enforce the laws. To me and who knows if this is correct or not, but I would allow them to become citizens after they have proved that they are totally fluent in English and have taken American history courses on their own dime and passed them. I would allow them 5 years to get this done plus all existing qualifications needed for citizenship. if this is not done then they could be deported immediately. I would require that all illegals wishing to become citizens come forward and register with no penalties. If they don't come forward then they are gone, period. During this 5 year probationary period a house hold would be required to register with the IRS like any American and pay taxes if any are owed. To not do this is another reason for immediate deportation. Lastly I would close the borders with troops that I brought home from overseas. We must cut down on our overseas policing of the world but that subject is for another day.

April 14, 2012 2:08 AM

I did some research to verify that 'it was not uncommon' to send immigrants for being of questionable moral character. I must say I was completely unable to find anything of the sort that gave that impression.

I did find this (and other similar information) which does include a bit for morals:

"Firing questions at the immigrants, the inspector asked them their age, occupation, marital status, and destination in an attempt to determine their social, economic, and moral fitness. ... Together these laws presented the immigrant with a delicate task of convincing the legal inspectors that they were strong, intelligent, and resourceful enough to find work easily, without admitting that a relative had a job waiting for them. In 1917 anti-immigration force succeeded in pressuring the government to impose a literacy test as a further means of restricting immigration. The law required all immigrants sixteen years or older to read a forty-word passage in their native language."

However when I found the questions ask at Ellis Island the only two that could be really considered 'moral' in nature were:

"20. Whether a Polygamist.
21. Whether an Anarchist."

Of those that were detained after these questions (I was unable to find a number on that) according to the same website listed above 5 of 6 were given entry and the remaining 1/6 could petition to have it reviewed.

Mandated limits on immigration did not start until 1921 as far as I was able to find until then everyone who was healthy, not a criminal, and seemed liked to be able to find work was granted entry.


Capitalism is based upon a simple idea, each person must do what is best for themselves*. In so doing they would cause a growth of wealth in that society. If a person from another nation provides the best value for a company the capitalistic thing to do would be to hire the foreigner. And a nation based on Capitalism would want to maximize the exchange of value between the parties within the nation and therefore want to encourage the best value of employees to come to their nation.

If you are concerned that someone that barely speaks English and has a limited education is going to replace you I would highly recommend either providing a better value to your employer or finding a new job. The Capitalist system demands that the employer hire the person that provides the best value to them. If you find that problematic then either renounce Capitalism or find a job where you can provide the best value.

If you are concerned instead of the crime that has become associated with illegal immigration that I recommend legalizing it quickly. As with prohibition and the failure of the drug war simply making it legal would greatly help the situation. By creating a huge demand for illegal ways to enter the United States we have created an industry to fulfill that demand. If we were to open the boarders to the same basic rules that existed prior to 1921 the number of people entering illegally would drop dramatically. This would put the guides that show people across out of business so they would not exist to help criminals enter. As with everything the government attempts to fix with additional laws it simply makes matters worse.

*While maintaining basic moral and ethical rules, yes Adam Smith was clear that being moral in your dealings with others was essential for Capitalism to function.

April 14, 2012 7:35 PM

The immigrants to Ellis Island were perfectly well aware of the possibility of rejection, hence its nickname "Heartbreak Island."


Of course that's not addressing the immigrants who weren't allowed even to get that far, e.g. Chinese - their immigration was all but entirely banned from 1882 until 1943.


April 14, 2012 7:55 PM

Of course people new you could be rejected and 1 person that is sent back to their nation of origin will be remembered far better than 1000 people accepted from that same nation. You remember what you see and forget the rest.

I had forgotten about the Chinese Exclusion Act, good catch! They were essential to getting the trans-continental railroad built and once completely we politely asked that they leave and never come back. Although they handled it very well despite some absolutely horrible treatment by Americans. Ended up winning their court cases eventually which gave the the right to live her even if no more could enter.

April 14, 2012 8:05 PM

Right you are, jonyfries. The fact that the Chinese railway workers who stayed here faced a shortage of Chinese womenfolk (as no more Chinese could enter), combined with the anti-miscegenation laws of the time that really only applied to pairings involving a White person, is what led to a large percentage of African Americans having at least some Chinese ancestry.

April 15, 2012 1:28 AM

I'm sorry, but I think I've had all of this 'nation of immigrants' stuff I can take, especially when we've just stupidly elected as our 'ruler' (their words, not mine) a man who, on his father's side, *IS* a first-generation American (at most!)

For my part, on my father's side, the most recent arrivals were in 1903. The Irish branch were here by 1828, 20 years ahead of the famine. On my mother's side, her entire ancestry's presence in North America predates the American Revolution by about 70 years. I'm no immigrant, thanks.

More importantly, though, why do we concede the left's point - yet again - and allow them to frame the terms of the debate? Why is being anti-immigrant a bad thing, especially given the destruction that's taken place in the last 50 years or so?

This is OUR HOME. And, as such, American citizens have the right to determine who may or may not enter. I suspect that better than 75% of the public would support someone talking the way Enoch Powell did in the UK in 1968, but for fear of being called 'racist,' when the problem isn't race - it's incompatible culture.

Our right of free association has long since been abolished, and with it, any real chance of living in peace and prosperity.

April 23, 2012 6:38 AM

Brother John, I agree that the US has a right to allow or disallow outsiders from entering her borders, but I find your rhetoric strange. Why does it matter how many generations ago the President's family became citizens?

My Acadian family has been in North America for close to 400 years, and arrived well before the Mayflower. The branch of the family that became the Cajuns never came to the United States -- the US came to THEM, and then it was just one more nation in a long line of nations planting flags and claiming sovereignty over the land they'd been working for generations (the worst of which had been England, which treated them to an ethnic cleansing).

Does that make my citizenship somehow stronger or more valuable than yours, or anyone else's?

I teach ESL, so I work with the children of immigrants. I also teach mainstream students. I can tell you that it is the native born American students, much more so than the immigrant students, who come to school lazy, unwilling to learn, and with the entitlement mentality that really is causing our nation a lot of trouble. Immigrant children, for the most part, want to learn. I much prefer teaching them because they are generally more engaged, not to mention more civil.

This is the year I have decided to opt out of teaching mainstream students if I can. After 15 years, I have begun to give up on reaching our native born poor students. Too often, the parents of these children themselves have no interest in their education, and place no value on schooling. Not so with the immigrant population.

For the record, the immigrant population at my school is mostly Cape Verdean, with a large number of Hispanics (Colombians, Dominicans, etc) as well as Haitians and people from various African countries like Liberia.

Take my words or leave them, but I have made my decision based on 15 years of personal experience with these students and their families, and it has had nothing to do with winning an argument on this blog.

April 23, 2012 10:25 AM

Great nations fall when their native populations grow lazy and complacent. Life gets too easy and they forget what allowed them to have a good life in the first place. Anyone who believes that they are owned anything due to where or to whom they were born is not the kind of people that will allow this nation to continue to be a major power in the world.

Immigration has not caused any significant problems directly. Violence increase is generally due to failed drug policies and the fact that immigration is illegal. Creating a need for violence to redress disagreements, since courts obviously aren't going to resolve them.

Legalization of drugs would greatly reduce violence in cities and along the boarder. Changing immigration restrictions could reduce the people being trafficked. Wages paid to immigrants would also increase and allow for a level playing field since there would no longer be an economic incentive to hire immigrants over citizens since the same laws would apply in both cases.

April 24, 2012 4:40 PM

werebat ...
"or the palestinians"
i understand your sentiment ...
however ... the "palestinians" are the invaders ... not the jews.
the jews bought and paid for the land they are on from the rightful owners,
after WWII.
any other land obtained by israel was obtained from warring nations that tried to eliminate them.
when land is seized by self defense from an aggressor ... there is no obligation to return it.
most "palestinians" are in fact jordanians.

May 25, 2018 1:47 PM

Merlin, you realize that you are responding to comments from 2012, right?

I don't give a rat's ass about Israel or any of the idiots squabbling over it, save the innocent children caught in the crossfire and the ones who want to leave the area but cannot. As far as I'm concerned, there is no solution to that Godforsaken hellhole of an ironic lesson in religion other than a well-placed meteor -- which would well serve the rest of us, God knows. At least until the morons left behind started warring over the smoking crater.

If the Jews left Israel because they realized it wasn't worth the bloodshed, I might think they really were the people of God.

If the Moslems left Israel because they realized it wasn't worth the bloodshed, I might think they really followed the religion of peace.

If the Christians left Israel, or at least stopped meddling in its affairs, because they realized it wasn't worth the bloodshed, I might think they really were following Christ's example.

But none of those things is going to happen. Ever. People are too damned stupid and too damned stubborn.

May 26, 2018 4:20 PM

.... Ours is a nation of immigrants ....

Close -- but no Utah Pioneer Day Box for you, this year, Sir.

For ours is NOT a "nation of immigrants" but of the Melting Pot.

We say e pluribus unum, not e pluribus pluribus

A nation of MIGRANTS - more accurately, post 1965, better called a nation under the unrelenting assault of a "democrats'" Deep State-incited, encouraged and facilitated army of invading and hostilely-colonizing third-world criminal aliens; is the nation one is having when he is no longer having a nation.

Is post-the-barbarians Rome.


July 23, 2018 2:50 AM

I prefer a nation of settlers. My ancestors fled from England, settled in this land, and eventually fought for its freedom in the Revolutionary War. Once we were a nation, people began to immigrate here. The immigrants made vast contributions to America, but it was the settlers and their descendants who conceived of and formed the nation that subsequently became a beacon of light to the world.

November 1, 2018 11:08 PM
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