How does the rhetoric of President Trump fit into the history of immigration? Is it in keeping with previous developments or is it something new?
At times,the motivations have been economic,focusing on competition for jobs and such social goods as housing or welfare programs.But there has also been a recurrent theme of cultural differences-an emphasis on characterisitics of religion and language that identify new arrivals as the other.
Anti immigration sentiments emerged in force starting in 1830s when US citizens descended primariy from English and Scottish settlers bridled at influx of Irish.Most of the arriving Irish were Catholic,prompting a hostile reaction among some protestants that led to deadly riots in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
In 1840s and 1850s,political parties formed in US to oppose the permissive immigration policies of the time.Some of these parties embraced the term “Native American”that has stuck to succeeding generations of immigration opponents.Immigration and Urbanization was renewed when the census of 1920 showed immigrants had helped shift the center of US population from rural to cities.
By 1970s the political focal point was the effect the law was having on the southwest and the influx of mexicans and other spanish speaking population.Pressure for changing the law grew as natives again saw the new arrivals as a social,culturl and political challenge.President George Bush threw his support behind a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws in mid 2000s.He was joined by the Republican rival Sen.But conservatives more generally opposed the bill as another extension of amnesty.Since then,the Republican Party has moved far from the Reagan-Bush-McCain attitude on immigration and embraced the nativist tradition taht has also been an element in the mix of its history back to 1856.
Now the passion of opposition to the nativism has returned.The battle lines could not be clearer.And it is a battle that is nearly old as America itself.