© 2016 by Charles D. Jones

Where Are the Norwegians?

February 14, 2018

The history of legal immigration in America for the last 100 years is fascinating to someone with A LOT of time on his hands. Immigration laws underwent significant changes in the mid 1920's, again in the mid 1960's and may again be altered if the "tribal fringe" of the republican party gets its way. The current tribalists are hoping to leverage a bi-partisan desire for a compromise on DACA to their advantage so they can simultaneously radically restrict and alter immigration again. I've written about their ideas before here, and I'm not a fan. What's interesting to me is that each immigration law change has been promulgated and penned by racists, fear mongers, and bigots. So 2018 is not an anomaly.

 

In the 1920's immigration changes widely supported by the KKK and democrats favored immigrants from northern Europe at the expense of those from southern Europe, predominantly Catholics and the Jews in eastern European countries. The law's unintended consequence was that it made it very difficult for Jews to come to America when Hitler came to power in the next decade. 

 

In the 1960's, southern Democrats again pushed for change. They wanted to go to a system now derogatorily called "chain migration" which favored relatives of existing immigrants. They liked this system because most immigrants at the time were northern Europeans. The new law was passed to limit immigration from Africa, the Middle East, India or Pakistan which they considered less desirable.

 

Now President Trump and the republican tribal fringe, ably represented by Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas, want to blame all our problems on chain migration because the chain leads to "Shit-Hole Countries like...and not Norway." There's no doubt the tribalists want to cherry-pick the countries where our immigrants originate. The racial component is obvious and sadly nothing new.  What is new, but unmentioned, is that they want to severely limit overall immigration--44% according to the CATO Institute.

 

Hopefully, there can be a bi-partisan group of centrists in Congress who can pass a broad immigration bill after the DACA issue is settled. But, let's face it, the Norwegians just don't want to come here. They're not tired, nor poor, nor a huddled mass who want to live free. They've got it pretty good in Norway.

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