Friday, December 14, 2007

The Second Illegals

The second illegal immigrants most likely came during the period after 1875, after the Page Act was passed. The Page Act essentially forbade the involuntary importation of individuals (namely for the purposes of prostitution) or the involuntary importation of any individual from China, Japan, or elsewhere in Asia, illegal. This law was essentially a response to those pro-immigration representatives from the South who saw Chinese immigration as an opportunity to essentially enslave a new class of indentured servants. This law and the rhetorica around it eventually led to the Chinese Exclusion Acts in the 1882 (amended in 1884), 1892, and 1902. (The laws were 10-year exclusions with sunset triggers-- the third version passed in 1902 took out the sunset.)

Essentially, although numerical data are scarce, the second group of illegals were probably Chinese women smuggled here. I find this interesting because this raises an important about women and "sex trade" with respect to globalization that we struggle with today, but it also reminds us that these sins are not new ones. They are, in fact the oldest sins in The Book. Doing away with all trade or all commerce because some commerce is "sinful" would be to cut off your nose to spite your face.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Immigration Quotation

Another quickie:
The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions, whom we shall welcome to participate in all of our rights and privilegees, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.

- George Washington, shortly after the Battle of Yorktown, addressing Irish immigrants
(Quoted in Roger Daniels, Guarding the Golden Door, 2004, p. 7)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The First "Illegal" Immigrants

Immigration Stat of the Month

I came across an interesting fact today: The first "illegal immigrants" came to the united states around 1809. The constitution allowed for the international trade of slaves for a period of 20 years, after which the only legal trade in slaves was for those who were born into slavery here. It is estimated that about 50,000 slaves arrived in this illegal slave trade after 1808. (See: Roger Daniels, "Guarding the Golden Door," 2004).