Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Sun Magazine, in an issue focused on immigration (with a great interview with author Pramila Jayapal) has a nice section in which "Readers Write" about immigrants. The magazine also reprinted some great quotes from famous people about immigrants:
The comfortable people in tight houses felt pity at first, and then distaste, and finally hatred for the migrant people.
My whole family has been having trouble with immigrants ever since we came to this country.
Edgar Y. Harburg
The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying, This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not anyone have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, “Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”
There is no great difference in the reality of one country or another, because it is always people you meet everywhere. They may look different or be dressed differently, or may have a different education or position. But they are all the same. They are all people to be loved. They are all hungry for love.
The more I traveled, the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.
The liberals are saying that this guest-worker program . . . is really just a way to depress wages and create a permanent underclass of exploited labor. To which the president said, “And the problem is?”
American society is very like a fish society. . . . Among certain species of fish, the only thing which determines order of dominance is length of time in the fishbowl. The oldest resident picks on the newest resident, and if the newest resident is removed to a new bowl, he, as oldest resident, will pick on the newcomers.
The discrepancy between American ideals and American practice — between our aims and what we actually do — creates a moral dry rot which eats away at the foundations of our democratic faith.
Helen Gahagan Douglas
I’m in love with this country called “America.” I’m a huge fan of America. I’m one of those annoying fans — you know, the ones that read the cd notes and follow you into bathrooms and ask you all kinds of annoying questions about why you didn’t live up to that. I’m that kind of fan. I’ve read the Declaration of Independence, and I’ve read the Constitution of the United States, and they are some liner notes, dude.
The melting pot failed to function in one crucial area. Religions and nationalities, however different, generally learned to live together, even to grow together, in America. But color was something else. Reds were murdered like wild animals. Yellows were characterized as a peril and incarcerated en masse during World War ii for no really good reason by our most liberal president. Browns have been abused as the new slave labor on farms. The blacks, who did not come here willingly, are now, more than a century after emancipation by Lincoln, still suffering a host of slavelike inequalities.
Theodore M. Hesburgh
This problem with illegal immigration is nothing new. In fact, the Indians had a special name for it. They called it “white people.”
His foreparents came to America in immigrant ships. My foreparents came to America in slave ships. But whatever the original ships, we are both in the same boat tonight.
It is said that the quality of recent immigration is undesirable. The time is quite within recent memory when the same thing was said of immigrants who, with their descendants, are now numbered among our best citizens.
Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
So at last I was going to America! Really, really going, at last! The boundaries burst. The arch of heaven soared. A million suns shone out of every star. The winds rushed into outer space, roaring in my ears, “America! America!”
Bartlett’s Book of Anecdotes