Immigration and the American NationPosted 3 July 2010 by Bob Chapman
On Friday, July 2, 2010, NPR’s Morning Edition continued a 22 year tradition. Various NPR personalities read the Declaration of Independence in a segment of the program. The total time to do this takes less than 10 minutes. I find listening to the Declaration carries a power that only reading it does not carry.
Thomas Jefferson could turn a memorable phrase. He invoked vision through words. Each year I particularly like hearing, “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”
Each year something new sticks out when I hear it. This year that something new was immigration reform. Apparently not having the laws needed in place to govern the nationalization of immigrants in a nation of immigrants is not new. Here are some bullet points from the Declaration:
- [King George III] has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
- We have reminded [the Westminster Parliament of the United Kingdom] of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.
Those bullet points stood out in a news broadcast that had these stories:
The more things change, the more they stay the same?
Considering the Declaration is 234 years old, it is the conservative point of view to be against “obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither.” To not welcome the immigrant is to forget that everyone here is an immigrant or the child of immigrants. Even the Native Americans came across the land bridge from Asia into what is Alaska today.
Listen to the Declaration being read. What do you hear in it?