Immigration as Racist U.S. Official Policy

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This presentation surveys U.S. immigration policy, and finds the common theme throughout the centuries is the racist basis for exclusion of certain groups.

This presentation surveys U.S. immigration policy, and finds the common theme throughout the centuries is the racist basis for exclusion of certain groups.

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  • 1. Warren J. Blumenfeld Associate Professor Department of Curriculum & Instruction Iowa State University
  • 2.  The notion of “race” is discursively or socially constructed.  The concept of “race” arose concurrently with the advent of European exploration as a justification and rationale for conquest and domination of the globe beginning in the 15th century of the Common Era.  “Race” is an historical, “scientific,” and biological myth. It is an idea.  Geneticists tell us that there is often more variability within a given so-called “race” than between “races,” and that there are no essential genetic markers linked specifically to “race.” Assumptions
  • 3. 2010, Arizona: SB 1070  Mandates police officers stop and question people about immigration status if they suspect they may be in this country illegally  Criminalizes undocumented workers who do not possess an “alien registration document”  Allows U.S. citizens to file suits against government agencies that do not enforce the law  Criminalizes employers who transport or hire undocumented workers
  • 4. Janet Murguia  President CEO of civil rights organization, National Council of La Raza, “By signing it, this bill, Governor Brewer has thrown the door wide open for racial profiling.”
  • 5. “Racial Profiling”  “Racial profiling occurs when race is used by law enforcement or private security officials, to any degree, as a basis for criminal suspicion in non-suspect specific investigations.”  Racial profiling constitutes a form of discrimination, based on race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, and other identities “undermines the basic human rights and freedoms to which every person is entitled.” Amnesty International
  • 6. SB 1070  “law enforcement official or agency…may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona constitution.”  But…how can this NOT be a major consideration?
  • 7. Federal Government & Racial Profiling  1975, U.S. Supreme Court case regarding the Border Patrol's power to stop vehicles near the U.S.-Mexico border & question occupants about citizenship & immigration status  United States v. Brignoni-Ponce: the "likelihood that any given person of Mexican ancestry is an alien is high enough to make Mexican appearance a relevant factor."  1982, Arizona Supreme Court: State v. Graciano “enforcement of immigration laws often involves a relevant consideration of ethnic factors.” Chin
  • 8. Simon (Szymon) Mahler  Maternal grandfather  Krosno, Poland.  13 siblings  Wolf & Basha Mahler  Butcher shop
  • 9. Ashkenazi Jewish Tradition  Child named in honor of a deceased relative.  Wolf Mahler gave me my name, sense of history, sense of my identity.  My Hebrew name is Ze'ev, means “wolf.”
  • 10. Identity  5 years old  Family history  Direct relationship to German Holocaust
  • 11. NAZI “RACIAL” PHILOSOPHY  “Racial” arguments cornerstone of persecution of Jews (as well as most people of color and people with disabilities).  Jews and others descendants from inferior “racial stands.”
  • 12. NAZI “RACIAL” PHILOSOPHY  Nazis asserted Jews polluting “Aryan race.”  Jews forced to wear Yellow Star of David patches, sign of “race pollution.”
  • 13. Mahler’s of Antwerp  Lilian and Armand Mahler Bushel forced to wear yellow star.
  • 14. Cultural Genocide & Deculturalization  Cultural Genocide: the attempt to destroy other cultures through forced acquiescence and assimilation to majority rules and standards  Works through the process of “deculturalization”: the process of destroying a people’s culture and replacing it with a new culture Joel Spring, 2004
  • 15. 2010, Arizona: HB 2281  Signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer  Targets public school districts’ ethnic studies programs  Arizona School Superintendent, Tom Horne, primary supporter of the bill  The law is necessary because, in particular, Tucson, Arizona’s Mexican American, African American, and Native American studies courses teach students that they are oppressed, encourages resentment toward white people, and promotes “ethnic chauvinism” and “ethnic solidarity” instead of treating people as individuals
  • 16. Immigration & Cultural Genocide in Historical Perspective
  • 17. Colonialism  Exploitation  Violence  Kidnapping  Genocide Christopher Columbus & Crew
  • 18. “Puritans”  Left England to practice “Purer” form of Christianity  Divinely chosen to form “a biblical commonwealth”  No separation of “church & state” (religion & government)  Intolerant of other religious beliefs  Killed Quakers, Catholics, others
  • 19.  Scriptural justifications used to support slavery  Many slave ships had on board a Christian minister to help oversee and bless the passage.  Slave ship names included: “Jesus,” “Grace of God,” “Angel,” “Liberty,” & “Justice.” america-was-called-jesus/ slaveship.html Slavery
  • 20. “[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.” Jefferson Davis
  • 21. “Manifest Destiny”  The belief that the United States destined by Providence to expand from Atlantic to Pacific (from “sea to shining sea”), & led by so-called “Anglo-Saxon race.”  Justified stealing Native American territories  Justified war with Mexico
  • 22. “Manifest Destiny” “The doctrine of ‘manifest destiny’ embraced a belief in American Anglo-Saxon superiority…. ‘This continent,’ a congressman declared, ‘was intended by Providence as a vast theatre on which to work out the grand experiment of Republican government, under the auspices of the Anglo-Saxon race’.” Ronald Takaki, 1993, p. 176
  • 23. “Race,” Immigration, & Citizenship 14th Amendment, U.S. Constitution Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
  • 24. Eugenics Movement  “Eugenics” movement in science  18183, coined in England, by Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin  Greek word meaning “well born” or “of good origins or breeding”  “Science” of improving qualities of a “race” by controlling human breeding Sir Francis Galton
  • 25. “Race,” Immigration, & Citizenship  1790, Naturalization Act  Excluded “nonwhites” from citizenship  Enslaved Africans  Asians  Native Americans (“domestic foreigners”)  1924, Native Americans rights of citizenship  Asians continued denied naturalized citizenship status
  • 26. “Race,” Immigration, & Citizenship  1882, Chinese Exclusion Act  Also illegal for Chinese to marry Whites or Blacks  1917, Immigration Act further prohibited immigration from Asian countries, the “Barred Zone.”  China, India, Siam, Burma, Asiatic Russian, Polynesian Islands, Afghanistan.
  • 27. Takao Ozawa v United States  Takao Ozawa, a Japanese man, filed for citizenship under Naturalization Act of 1906  Which allowed white persons and persons of African descent or African nativity to naturalize.  Asians termed an “unassimilateable race” and not entitled to citizenship.  Ozawa attempted to have Japanese classified as "white.“  Claimed his skin is “white”  1922, Supreme Court  Denied natualized citizenship status.
  • 28. 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson  Supreme Court Case  Sustaining racial segregation & “Jim Crow” laws  Setting precedent: “Separate but Equal” June 7, 1892, East Louisiana Railroad Homer Plessy forced off “whites-only” railroad car & onto “colored” car. Plessy “one-eights black,” “seven-eights white”
  • 29. Blacks Lynched A Jew Lynched
  • 30. President Theodore Roosevelt “In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else….But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American….There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag….We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language…and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.” 1907
  • 31. MADISON GRANT 1865-1937  U.S. Lawyer, Eugenicist  Co-founder, with Henry Fairfield Osborn, of the Galton Society for the Study of the Origin and Evolution of Man, 1918.  Grant Influential in Immigration Restriction and Anti-Miscegenation Policies.  Book: The Passing of the Great Race (1916) detailing the so-called “racial” history of Europe: in fact, a work of “scientific racism.”
  • 32. MADISON GRANT 1865-1937  “Racialization” of European “Races” The Passing of the Great Race (1916)  European “Racial” Hierarchy: “Nordics” (Northwestern Europe—superior) “Alpines” (Central Europe—somewhat inferior) “Mediterraneans” (Southern and Eastern Europe—inferior) Jews (most inferior)
  • 33. 1924 Immigration Act  1924 Johnson-Reed Immigration Act: a.k.a. “National Origins Quota Act,” or “National Quota Act”  Restrictive quotas: Eastern & Southern Europe  Viewed as Europe’s lower “races”  Jews (“Hebrew race”), Poles, Italians, Greeks, Slaves  Prohibitions of “aliens ineligible to citizenship” (Asians from 1790 Naturalization Act)  Increased numbers  Great Britain, Germany
  • 34. 1930s United States  Great Depression  High Unemployment  Homes and farms lost
  • 35. W.W.II  Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941  Segregated military units
  • 36. UNITED STATES  1939, Congress refused to pass Wagner-Rogers Bill  Would have permitted entry of 20,000 children, primarily Jewish, from Eastern Europe over existing quotas. “20,000 charming children would, all too soon, grow into 20,000 ugly adults.” Laura Delano, cousin of F.D.R.
  • 37. Japanese American Internment Camps  120,000 Japanese Americans  Uprooted from homes  Transported to Internment Camps  Interior U.S.
  • 38. Have we learned anything?  Following the 9/11 attacks  31% of U.S.-Americans agreed with the statement:  “Muslims in the U.S. should be incarcerated like we incarcerated Japanese Americans during WWII.”
  • 39. 1940s Urban Riots  Realization German & Italian prisoners of war treated better than People of Color in U.S.  People of Color fighting in military but treated poorly
  • 40. After W.W.II  Gender Roles rehardened  Women relinquished jobs  Mandated nuclear families  Racial segregation & “Jim Crow” continued
  • 41. Anti-Miscegenation Laws  Many states: outlawed interracial sexual relations  Outlawed interracial marriage  Example: Mildred Deloris & Richard Loving  Married in D.C.  Residents of and lived in Virginia  Arrested
  • 42. “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and He placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that He separated the races shows that He did not intend for the races to mix.” Judge Leon M. Bazile “Act to Preserve Racial Integrity, 1924,” Ruling, Virginia, July 1958, Richard Perry Loving & Mildred Delores Jeeter
  • 43. 1967, Loving v. Virginia  Supreme Court Decision  Struck down anti-miscegenation laws in remaining 16 states
  • 44. 1950s - 1960s  Tumultuous social change  Challenge underlying assumptions  Authority  Power relationships
  • 45. Civil Rights  1954, Brown v. Board of Education (Topeka, Kansas)  Supreme Court  Unconstitutional: “Separate but Equal” in public education Linda Brown & mother Linda Brown attending integrated school
  • 46. Civil Rights Rosa Parks  1955, refusal to give up seat white person  Montgomery, Alabama  Municipal bus boycott
  • 47. Civil Rights Lunch counter sit-in to end segregation
  • 48. Civil Rights 1963, National March on Washington Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • 49. Civil Rights  Movement to improve working conditions, wages  Farm Workers César Chávez Founder, National Farm Workers Association
  • 50. Free Speech Movement  1964-1965  Student Protest  University of California, Berkeley  Students insisted university lift ban of on-campus political activities  Grant students' right free speech & academic freedom
  • 51. Vietnam War
  • 52. Environmental Movement  Earth Day  Proposed: U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson  First, April 22, 1970  Environmental teach-in
  • 53. Disability Rights Movement
  • 54.  The 1952 McCarran Walters Act overturned the 1924 Act.  The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 removed 'natural origins' as the basis of U.S. immigration legislation, and was framed as an amendment to the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act.
  • 55. Immigration and Nationality Act 1965  Abolished National Origins Formula from  National Origins of 1924  Increased immigration from Asian and Latin American countries and religious backgrounds  Allowed 170,000 immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere, 20,000 per each country  120,000 from Western Hemisphere  300,000 total visas allowed
  • 56. Cultural Pluralism  Horace Kallen  Jewish immigrant and sociologist  Polish and Latvian heritage  Coined “cultural pluralism” to challenge the image of the so-called “melting pot,” which he considered to be inherently undemocratic  Kallen envisioned a United States in the image of a great symphony orchestra, not sounding in unison (the “melting pot”), but rather, one in which all the disparate cultures play in harmony and retain their unique and distinctive tones and timbres
  • 57. Discussion