This news story first appeared on February 16, 2015 . For more information, click here.
Tower Center Associate, Neil Foley is the Robert H. and Nancy Dedman Chair in History at SMU.
The history of immigration in the United States is the topic of today’s discussion. Ironically even though the United States is a nation of immigrants, immigration has been a controversial issue from its very beginnings.
The immigration debate is again heating up as a result of President Obama’s executive actions as they relate to immigration. Recent news headlines report that 26 states filed a lawsuit to stop President Obama’s executive actions that would allow approximately 4.9 million eligible, undocumented immigrants to temporarily avoid deportation by applying for deferred action programs, namely the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). The suit was initiated by then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has since become the state’s governor.
On the first of our 25th anniversary programs, host, Dennis McCuistion, is joined in part one of a three part series titled A Brief History of Immigration, by experts:
- Mike Gonzalez (via Skype): Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow, Author of A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break Through the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans
- Hipolito Acosta: Former District Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration, Author of The Shadow Catcher, and
- Neil Foley, PhD: SMU Professor -The Robert H. and Nancy Dedman Chair in History U.S.-Mexico Borderlands/Immigration Legal, Labor and Political History of the American Southwest, Author of Mexicans and the Making of America.
While discussing the history of immigration in the United States, our guests take us back in time to the making of our present policies and their colorful evolution. At the start of this country U.S. migration went from East to West. Westward migration expanded into Kentucky and the 1803 Louisiana Purchase pitted us directly against the Spanish Empire. There was a south to north Spanish immigration into Texas, which began causing conflict as early as the 1820’s . The U.S. intended to own America from east coast to west coast.
We’re reminded of the various immigration acts, their outcomes and challenges. At one time Mexicans were not considered immigrants, with families living on both sides of the border. The 1917 Immigration Act called for a head tax and a literacy test, partly to keep Asians, primarily Chinese from immigrating. The 1924 National Origins put quotas on SE Europeans, Irish and Italians, Poles and Slavs. Many of these acts have failed.
It’s no surprise that our guests tell us we keep repeating the same old story. We have border enforcement, which is still not secure, and the same fears of immigrants taking jobs away from citizens.
Join us this week as we talk about our country’s origins and the peoples who have made this country a great one in a Brief History of Immigration.
Thanks for joining us in our 25th year of talking about things that matter with people who really care.