Here’s a good article on the march in Atlanta by thousands against the new nativistic Georgia law on immigration. Parts of the law have already been voided by a judge, as has been the case in Arizona and Utah:
Men, women and children of all ages converged on downtown Atlanta for the march and rally, cheering speakers while shading themselves with umbrellas and posters. Capitol police and organizers estimated the crowd at between 8,000 and 14,000. They filled the blocks around the Capitol, holding signs decrying House Bill 87 and reading “Immigration Reform Now!”
These nativistic laws, which mostly arch-conservative white legislators are passing in a number of states, always remind me that all of us, except for the indigenous folks, are indeed immigrants or the descendants of fairly recent immigrants to this continent. And they need, I think, to ponder carefully the 1880s poem of immigrant Emma Lazarus on our Statue of Liberty:
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Somehow the mostly white nativists forget we are an immigrant nation, and that these Latino, Asian, and other recent immigrants and their children have constantly saved this country from economic decline by providing a regular infusion of new and usually youthful workers who are willing to work, often in the worst jobs in the country, to build new lives and families–and thus to build up the US as it like many countries would otherwise have an aging population and too few younger workers (as in much of Europe)……. They also constantly bring in new cultures, new ideas, new currents of all kinds. I suggest we remember Emma Lazarus’s fine words on the Statue of Liberty, this July 4th.