I'll end with the below penned letter by an Irish and Immigrant Rights Activist
As a proud Irish American, living in the United States, it saddens me greatly to hear the violent and heartless rhetoric espoused by those running for the opportunity to be the leader of one of the greatest nation in the world. A nation, mind you, built on immigrants. This country was built on the blood, sweat, tears and bones of those that came here looking for a better life, for themselves and their families.
We are a nation of immigrants, and our history has not always such a proud one. From the time when the first Europeans landed on these shores, it has been a battle for dominance and resources against the First-Americans and at the newly arrived immigrants. The immigrants that arrived here first, then tried to deny the same opportunity to the immigrants that came later, or to immigrants that they looked down upon already, whether for reasons of culture or religion.
Whatever nativist group sprung up, the Know-Nothings, the Klu Klux Klan, and now their ideological descendants; FAIR, Numbers USA, and ALIPAC, are trying the same old methods to destroy, deter and demean the new group of immigrants. However, our neighbors to the South have been here for quite some time and their history and culture permeates the United State in place names, surnames, food and music. Remarkably, most of Hispanics have been for hundreds of years and are an integral part of the United States.
When we draw parallels between the Immigrant Irish of the Potato Famine years and the new immigrants from south of the border, we see an amazing similarity in how they are perceived and in the war against them conducted by the nativists. Both groups are portrayed as sub-human by these hate groups. Both groups have had religion used against them, both face strict immigration restrictions on the numbers allowed in, both were considered lower in intelligence and ability than the dominant population, both demonized for the ills and troubles affecting the current population. Denied jobs, rights, education, accused of being unwilling or unable to learn the dominant language or culture, they are relegated to menial labor and poor working conditions.
But, and there is a big BUT here, they survived and most importantly, they succeeded. In law, in politics, in religion, in education and in government, they have given us some of our greatest leaders, humanitarians and scientists. And during all this, the nativist hatred and chatter has sometimes grown loud and strong and sometimes been silenced and relegated to where it belongs – in the outhouse.
The lessons in history surrounding this issue is this: the nativists have always, ultimately, lost. It was true for the past and will be true again for the future. If the only rhetoric one has, in promoting themselves as a potential leader, is a desire to trample rights so dearly treasured, deny access to those less fortunate, and demonizes an entire race or religion, then that person is not and never will be fit to be a leader.
The future is now. The things we do now, will decide how we are viewed by history. If we give in to those that would advocate violence, deny basic human necessities and think this is what the American people want, we have lost. I have more faith in America than this. I believe that the truth and what is right will ultimately prevail, it might be a rough road, but both the Irish and the Latino populations have both been down this road before, and what does not destroy us, only made us stronger. The nativists would do well to remember that fact.