|An unaccompanied child migrant was the first person in line on opening day of the new immigration station at Ellis Island. Her name was Annie Moore, and that day, January 1, 1892, happened to be her 15th birthday. She had traveled with her two little brothers from Cork County, Ireland, and when they walked off the gangplank, she was awarded a certificate and a $10 gold coin for being the first to register. Today, a statue of Annie stands on the island, a testament to the courage of millions of children who passed through those same doors, often traveling without an older family member to help them along.
Of course, not everyone was lining up to give Annie and her fellow passengers a warm welcome. Alarmists painted immigrants—children included—as disease-ridden job stealers bent on destroying the American way of life. And they're still at it. On a CNN segment about the current crisis of child migrants from Central and South America, Michele Bachmann used the word "invaders" and warned of rape and other dangers posed to Americans by the influx. And last week, National Review scoffed at appeals to American ideals of compassion and charity, claiming Ellis Island officials had a strict send-'em-back policy when it came to children showing up alone.
That's not true, according to Barry Moreno, a librarian at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and author of the book Children of Ellis Island. The Immigration Act of 1907 did indeed declare that unaccompanied children under 16 were not permitted to enter in the normal fashion. But it didn't send them packing, either. Instead, the act set up a system in which unaccompanied children—many of whom were orphans—were kept in detention awaiting a special inquiry with immigration inspectors to determine their fate. At these hearings, local missionaries, synagogues, immigrant aid societies, and private citizens would often step in and offer to take guardianship of the child, says Moreno.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2010—The rich get richer...: cccx
|In a nation where revenue-strapped county governments are now grinding up paved roads and spreading gravel in the place of asphalt because they can no longer afford maintenance, and states like California are pondering the deep-sixing of adult education programs even though the less-educated populace suffers most from both chronic and acute economic problems, it's not impolite to tell the undiluted truth.
And the truth is that, despite sweetheart settlements with the likes of Goldman-Sachs, the United States is plagued by corporadoes whose premises should be surrounded, Michael Moore-style, with yellow police tape for class war-crimes.
Unfortunately, it's impolitic to tell the truth of class warfare when Glenn Beck draws blackboard arrows to prove Democrats are National Socialists and other hate-ragers spread the meme of ObaMao, the black-red-and-yellow peril wrapped up in a single soundbite. Intone the words "ruling class," and you're automatically a commie.
The most unfortunate consequence of the sinking of John Edwards's political career is that his powerful narrative about "Two Americas" got submerged along with it. In fact, just as the now nearly abandoned phrase "third world" didn't account for grimmer conditions in a fourth and even fifth world of impoverished nations, "Two Americas" also doesn't quite cover the reality of the economic inequality that has been worsening in the United States. The terminology nonetheless resonated.
If only it could be revived without the taint of being connected to you-know-who.
Today's Kagro in the Morning show continues the NN14 theme, with our 1/22/14 show, co-hosted by NN Auction winners Sophia Yen and Ellen Shaffer of the Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women. Greg Dworkin rounds up the McDonnell indictment, the continuing Chris Christie saga [ed. text: lol @ saga, bc I'm in Iceland], and the most ridiculous ways pundits are thinking about them. For the second hour: the Our Silver Ribbon campaign, especially poignant with 1/22 being the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Sophia & Ellen took us on a tour of the hot spots, and broke through the "issue silo" walls, reminding us of why we all have a stake in this fight.