Thursday, June 2, 2011

Papers? What Papers?

Our favorite grizzly mom, Sarah Palin on immigration policy (from her trip to Ellis Island the other day):

PALIN: The immigrants of the past, they had to literally and figuratively stand in line and follow rules to become U.S. citizens. I’d like to see that continue. And unfortunately, the DREAM Act kind of usurps that-the system that is a legal system to make sure that immigrants who want to be here legally, working hard, producing and supplying revenue and resources for their families, that they’re able to do that right and legally. Unfortunately, the DREAM Act doesn’t accomplish that.

My German ancestors arrived at the South Street Seaport here in New York in 1849 as 19 year old stowaways on a ship from Danzig (today Gdansk, Poland). They were unmarried and had an infant son. Great great grandpa was on the run from the Prussian army to escape the draft, and because of his political sympathies after the collapse of the 1848 Revolution. Did they have papers? Did they enter "legally?" The only reason they weren't sent back is because a return ticket cost too much for the government to bother.

My French ancestors probably came into the USA by way of Quebec, traveling down the Ohio and the Mississippi to Kentucky and Missouri fleeing poverty. No one ever asked them for papers, and they certainly didn't have any to show.

One of my English ancestors shipwrecked on Sandy Hook, New Jersey trying to flee gambling debts back in London. Did he fit the image of hopeful immigrants with stars in their eyes and hope in their hearts?

I'm as white as Sarah and her devoted followers. The only real differences between us and today's immigrants are skin color and about 150 years.


JCF said...

Preach it!

Daniel Weir said...

While my father's grandparents arrived in the 19th century and probably stood in line in New York, many of my mother's ancestors were among the invaders of Massachusetts in the 17th century. Mrs. Palin appears to forget that there were people here when the first Europeans arrived. Immigration is far too complicated to be reduced to Palinspeak.

MarkBrunson said...

I come from Georgia - how did our colony mean to bring in legal immigrants? It was meant to be a debtor's colony.

Not to mention, when the original USA founders came waltzing in, did they stand in line?

Speaking of family histories, my Cherokee ancestors might have a few questions about legal immigrants and the good ol' US of A.

Counterlight said...

"I want my America back!"

Tell it to Sitting Bull!