GOOD

Six Historical Precedents to the Debate Over Syrian Refugees

What we can learn from the United States' checkered immigration legacy.

As a nation of immigrants, America is a country built on the promise that those who arrive on our shores will be afforded the opportunity to create a better life than the one they left behind.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.


In fact, a look back at the history of the United States paints a different picture altogether—one in which people are brought to this country against their will, or detained upon arrival, or are simply refused entry altogether (to say nothing of the treatment of those native peoples who predate European colonialization). In fact, as a nation of immigrants, America has a decidedly mixed track record when it comes to living up to the offer etched into the base of the Statue of Liberty, inviting the world’s poor, tired, and huddled masses to enjoy a better existence within its borders.

This week, the debate over whether—and to what degree—the United States should resettle Syrians fleeing the horrific violence that has pulverized their home country hit a series of alarming lows; GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for a national Muslim tracking database, fellow office-seeker Dr. Ben Carson compared Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs,” and the U.S. House of Representatives voted by a margin of nearly two to one in favor of blocking the resettlement of refugees from Syria and Iraq.

The truth is that since it’s inception, the United States has struggled to embody the very ideals it professes to the world. And so, wave after wave of immigrants and refugees have been subject to scrutiny, abuse, and derision, simply for being “next” in the long line of peoples arriving at America’s borders. This week it’s Syrian refugees. Before that, it was Mexicans, Jews, Irish, and Chinese, to name just a few who made the journey to America, and in doing so, made this country better than it was before.

Here, then, is a brief history of America’s history of immigration debates.

Slideshows
via Michael Belanger / Flickr

The head of the 1,100-member Federal Judges Association on Monday called an emergency meeting amid concerns over President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr's use of the power of the Justice Department for political purposes, such as protecting a long-time friend and confidant of the president.

Keep Reading
Politics
via United for Respect / Twitter

Walmart workers issued a "wake up call" to Alice Walton, an heir to the retailer's $500 billion fortune, in New York on Tuesday by marching to Walton's penthouse and demanding her company pay its 1.5 million workers a living wage and give them reliable, stable work schedules.

The protest was partially a response to the company's so-called "Great Workplace" restructuring initiative which Walmart began testing last year and plans to roll out in at least 1,100 of its 5,300 U.S. stores by the end of 2020.

Keep Reading
Communities
via Rdd dit / YouTube

Two people had the nerve to laugh and smirk at a DUI murder sentencing in Judge Qiana Lillard's courtroom and she took swift action.

Lillard heard giggles coming from the family of Amanda Kosal, 25, who admitted to being drunk when she slammed into an SUV, killing Jerome Zirker, 31, and severely injuring his fiance, Brittany Johnson, 31.

Keep Reading
Communities