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April 3, 2006

receiving immigrants with dignity

Although I am in favor of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, last Friday, I suggested that immigration rates will not decline in the long run until the immigrant's homelands are more stable politically and economically. I think history bears this out. Consider the following excerpts about European immigration to Brazil and Argentina:

Dom Pedro II, the ruling Brazilian monarch, was a learned and cosmopolitan man, who abhorred slavery (it was abolished by an imperial decree in 1888) and who thought that Brazil would only achieve progress by bringing in more European immigrants. He thus strongly encouraged immigration from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Middle East, Russia and other regions and countries which were exporting lots of their own people to the New World from 1860 on, due to the accumulation of political and economical crises in Europe. (emphasis not in original) At the same time, Brazil's economy, which was eminently agrarian (coffee, cotton, tobacco, rubber and sugar cane being the main crops) at the time, needed able laborers once slavery of black people was stopped. (Source)
The majority of immigrants, since the 19th century, came from Europe, mostly from Spain and Italy, but with a substantial influx of British and Germans. Also notable were Jewish immigrants escaping persecution. (emphasis not in original) Between 1860 and 1930, newcomers from Spain and Italy countries accounted for 80% of the total immigration. [1] The total population of Argentina rose from 4 million in 1895 to 7.9 million in 1914, and to 15.8 million in 1947; during this time the country was settled by 1.5 million Italians and 1.4 million Spaniards, as well as Poles, Russians, French (more than 100,000 each), Germans, Portuguese, Yugoslavians, Czechs, British, and people from many other countries. (Source)

My hope for our immigrant's is that their homelands will stabilize soon. In the meantime, let's receive our immigrants with all the dignity and respect they deserve as humankind.

Posted by almamia at April 3, 2006 1:33 PM


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