Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How Eight Immigrants Helped Create the United States By Breaking the Law

Stuart K. Hayashi

My former hero Rush Limbaugh resents it when any defense of undocumented immigrants calls attention to the fact that everyone in the United States is either an immigrant or descendant of immigrants. (Even American Indians descended from people who originally came from Siberia.) Rush replies, “For Obama to tell people that you and I are no different from the current crop of illegals, well, the difference is that back then people obeyed the law.”

Oh, really? I can name eight immigrants from olden times who broke the law:

* Matthew Thornton

* Francis Lewis

* John Witherspoon

* Robert Morris

* James L. Smith

* George Taylor

* James Wilson

* Button Gwinnett

These eight immigrants did not follow the law. They committed a serious crime -- treason -- because they signed the Declaration of Independence. 

Note that these eight had something else in common with the present array of undocumented immigrants -- these eight all also came to the North American continent without applying for any visas. There were no federal restrictions on immigration until 1875 with the Page Act, which was intended to stop Asian women from arriving on these shores. The follow-up to that was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which was protectionist and explicitly racist.


The infographic I created for this: