We hear it said all the time. America is a nation of immigrants. To a greater or lesser extent, for those of us whose families came here over the past half a millennia, this is true. This is not true, of course, for the native americans who were already here and might have a bone to pick with the notion that we were immigrants and not invaders. This is also not true for the millions of african americans whose ancestors were kidnapped and brought here in chains.
But make no mistake. the overwhelming mass of people controlling the government, manning our borders, making decisions about “who we are” as a people? have roots that are not on this continent.
We are a nation of immigrants, refugees, slaves, and their descendants. We have, by and large, always struggled with what this means. There have been some ugly times in our past, even in the 20th century – from restrictive immigration laws to Japanese internment. But those are things that we studied and looked at from our late 20th/early 21st century viewpoint as how we failed as a society.
We’re failing again. Last weekend, the trump regime signed an order, late on a Friday (after anyone who could provide administrative guidance had gone home for the weekend) barring already-vetted legal visa-holding travelers to the US. It threw airports into chaos. Refugees who had spent years being vetted (and yes, despite claims to the contrary, we spend years vetting refugees), landed in the US and were immediately sent back to the danger they were fleeing. Green card holders who have lived here for decades, who have homes and families here, were being barred from entry for the crime of taking a vacation or going to a conference on the wrong day.
This is ugly, and un-American. and so we did what we do now. People turned up at airports around the country in force, and in public spaces to protest this. Because some of us remember history. And some of us simply know that this is not who we are. Courts are now stepping in and every single one is slamming this obviously racist, over broad, unconstitutional order.
These are photos from last Sunday’s protest in Battery Park and march to Foley Square.