Immigration

 

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He is an American who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds. Michael Gillaume Jean deCrevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer, 1782.

 

My opinion, is that, except of useful Mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions, there is no need of encouragement: while the policy or advantage of its taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the Language, habits and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them. George Washington, in a letter to John Adams, November 15, 1794.

 

Every ship that comes to America got its chart from Columbus. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “On the Uses of Great Men,” Representative Men, 1850.

 

The German and Irish millions, like the Negro, have a great deal of guano in their destiny. They are ferried over the Atlantic, and carted over America, to ditch and to drudge, to make corn cheap, and then to lie down prematurely to make a spot of green grass on the prairie. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Fate,” The Conduct of Life, 1860.

 

Foreign immigration, which in the past has added to much of the wealth, development of resources, and increase of power of this nation, the asylum of the oppressed of all nations, should be fostered and encouraged by a liberal and just policy. Platform of the National Union (Republican) Party, 1864.

 

The admitted right of a government to prevent the influx of elements hostile to its internal peace and security may not be questioned, even where there is not treaty stipulation on the subject. President Grover Cleveland, in his first annual message to Congress, December 8, 1885.

 

We heartily approve all legitimate efforts to prevent the United States from being used as the dumping ground for the known criminals and professional paupers of Europe. Platform plank of the Democratic National Party, 1892.

 

What has become of the descendants of the irresponsible adventurers, the scapegrace sons, the bond servants, the redemptionists and the indentured maidens, the undesirables, and even the criminals, which  made up, not all, of course, but nevertheless a considerable part of, the earliest emigrants to these virgin countries? They have become the leaders of the thought of the world, the vanguard in the march of progress, the inspirers of liberty, the creators of national prosperity, the sponsors of universal education and enlightenment. William Randolph Hearst, testifying before the American Crime Study Commission, May 19, 1929. 

 

In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith, becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag. We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people. Theodore Roosevelt, 1907.

 

The great number of European emigrants, yearly coming over here, informs us that the severity of taxes, the injustice of laws, the tyranny of the rich, and the oppressive avarice of the church are as intolerable as ever. Will these calamites have no end? Are not the great rulers of the earth afraid of losing, by degrees, their most useful subjects? This country, providentially intended for the general asylum of the world, will flourish by the oppression of their people; they will every day become better acquainted with the happiness we enjoy, and seek for the means of transporting themselves here, in spite of all obstacles and laws.Michael Gillaume Jean deCrevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer, 1782.

 

We are a nation of immigrants. It is immigrants who brought to this land the skills of their hands and brains to make of it a beacon of opportunity and hope for all men. Herbert L. Lehman, testifying before the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturalization, July 2, 1947.

 

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