"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!"
Lazarus's sentiments stemmed directly from her campaign to bring into the United States millions of Ashkenazy Jews from the Pale of Settlement in Russia to New York City. Because of the efforts of early "open borders" advocates such as Emma Lazarus, the Golden Door came unhinged between the end of the War Between the States and the 1920s when millions of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe flooded into what was previously a country dominated demographically by Western Europeans (mainly from the British Isles) and negro slaves and their descendants.
The immigration floodtide was temporarily halted by stringent legislation in the 1920s, especially the Johnson-Reed Act (1924) which included the National Origins Act. The latter provision restricted immigration totals to a limit of 2% of the people from a particular country based on the census figures from 1890. This was an effort to keep the demographic make-up of the US primarily northern and western European and Christian. US immigration policy remained fairly static until the revolutionary Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. It was in relation to this act that young Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy said:
"First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same.... Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset.... Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia.... In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think.... It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs."
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the sorry son-of-a-bitch lied. The 1965 act began to change the ethnic and racial demographics of the United States to a degree that few could imagine in that decade. The dire situation we have today stems directly from this piece of treason.
Now, what about the settlers? From the early 17th century to the eve War for Southern Independence, the great majority of the roughly 27 million white people in these United States in 1860 had their origins in the British Isles or elsewhere in Western Europe. They were the mainly Christian progeny of the men and women who had carved a civilization out of a wilderness, especially those we came to know as Southerners. While Yankees huddled close to the coastline in the northeast, bold Southerners laid open the frontiers up to and across the Mississippi River.
My own family came through the Carolinas, across north Georgia, and into the Alabama Territory in the 1790s and early 1800s. By the first decade of the 19th century, they had settled north of the Tennessee River in what is currently Lauderdale County, Alabama. In other words, they were here for more than a decade before Alabama became a sovereign State in this union in 1819.
I've never considered myself the descendant of immigrants; rather, I'm the product of settlers who did most of the dirty work in making this place a fit home for my kith and kin.
Those who came later, after The War, can't claim the same ground. In many cases, they are interlopers. Yes, I understand that many of them came here "legally." However, that does not change the fact that when they got here much of the fundamental hard work in building a country had already been done. They simply took advantage of it. I don't blame them for that.
Historical circumstances, particularly the South's defeat in The War, eventually led to this radical demographic change. Pencil pushing, crooked ciphering, eloquent word twisting became the new postbellum means of acquiring "wealth." My ancestors would not have approved, nor really would they have understood, but they were not given much of a say in the matter.
Today, we settler descendants are fighting to preserve as much land as we can to pass on to our own progeny. Current US immigration policy and the law--especially the incredibly stupid Anchor Baby part--is not helping us. Like our ancestors of old, we settler folk will have to fall back on our own resources. And unlike Emma Lazarus's statue, nothing beckons us to some far-off Golden Door. We are here to live . . . and die, if necessary.
Live well . . .