When a group is met with
disdain or anger when they act against the established norm (e.g. when they don’t know or refuse to learn the language).
it goes directly against the message inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. When people are willing to risk never seeing their children again just to help them escape squalor, violence and instability, these people deserve a helping hand. The obvious hatred, especially from citizens of areas who largely vote Republican, for Central American refugees comes through loud and clear. By waving American flags and signs like “return to sender,” these terrified people are greeted with the worst America has to offer: racist, ignorant bigots.
Happy Independence Day used to mean celebrating our freedom by fighting oppression and giving folks a fair chance for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Hard-working, destitute folks who simply want a chance to live free and raise their families are, like the early 1900’s, met with hateful protest. Of course, in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, the animosity was directed at Jews and Italians.
The most dramatic case of lynching occurred in 1891 New Orleans, when 11 Italians were lynched by a mob.
Italians, especially more olive-skinned Sicilians, were treated with distrust and hatred. Sicilian-Americans like Justice Antonin Scalia would never be where he is today if America continued to treat immigrants like filthy refuse.
In Murietta California, the Mayor, Alan Long, urged residents to protest the federal government’s decision to move the recent influx of undocumented, largely Central American women and children, into the Riverside County City. The mayor gave this statement:
“Murrieta expects our government to enforce our laws, including the deportation of illegal immigrants caught crossing our borders, not disperse them into our local communities…”
It is antithetical to the American spirit of inclusiveness and acceptance to publicize these angry xenophobes, especially on this Independence Day. Thankfully, there’s a counter movement which will hopefully make this trying time for these poor, undocumented people a little more bearable. Their signs say things like “Americans ARE Immigrants,” which gives us hope our nation isn’t going the way of the Koch Brothers’ hate group, the Tea Party.