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Columbus Day

In light of how we have become a country that demonizes immigrants (mostly illegal ones but sometimes even legal), a regular reader sent me the following comment:

Today is the day we celebrate the arrival of the first illegal immigrants. Spanish speaking ones at that. Who came to mine the riches of this land and take them back to their country. For this we take the day off.



  1. Don wrote:

    We’re all of immigrant stock, even those who crossed the land bridge from Asia millennia ago. I’m such a polyglot of immigrants that I don’t know what I am. Irish, Scot, German, Welsh, French, English, and maybe a bit of Dutch, so I guess I’m of European roots, whatever that means.

    If I go back a little further down the Irish, Scot, and Welsh lines, I end up in eastern Europe, the locale of the first peoples described as Celts by the Greeks the Greeks used a hard c, by the way, not a soft c). From this core area, Celts wandered over much of Europe and the middle east. Are my Celtic roots drawn from what is now Turkey or maybe the Iberian Peninsula? Who is to say there isn’t goth blood mixed in – Celts and various visigoths and ostrogoths groups occupied similar areas for significant periods of time. Those people who became known as goths came from what is now Norway and Finland. Is there a bit of Scandinavian blood rolled in there, as well? Still can’t escape Europe, I see, so maybe the polyglot description of me as European is the best I can do.

    The whole point of this exercise, though, is to emphasize that I am a grand mix of peoples going back thousands of years and I’m pretty sure most of the rest of those reading this are as well. Yup, we’re all immigrants in one way, shape, or form. Can’t escape it so embrace it.

    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 11:28 am | Permalink
  2. Jeff wrote:

    If you pass immigration laws that are strict enough, we’ll all get thrown out.

    My grandfather was an immigrant from Germany. He came to America right before WWII broke out, and helped our military by translating for prisoners of war. He was “undocumented” when he first came here, but got his citizenship shortly after arriving so he could help the military. Now, since he came and lived here “illegaly” for some length of time, does that mean that all of his descendents are therefore illegal and not actually citizens?

    America needs to remember its own history with a less jaded eye. We are all from somewhere else, and to pretend otherwise is a disgrace to our heritage and history.

    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  3. Falkelord wrote:

    Friend of mine sent me a text earlier this morning:

    “Let’s celebrate Columbus day by going into someone’s house and declaring we live there now.”

    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink
  4. Don wrote:

    Kinda like how the Navajo treated the Hopi and Zuni? ‘>D

    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink
  5. TJ wrote:

    Jeff- Were all of his descendents born in America? “Anchor-babies” might be hated by the anti-immigrant crowd, but as far as I know no one is arguing against their natural citizen status.

    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    TJ, you aren’t looking very much. I just googled “anchor baby amendment” and got back loads of sites that want that changed.

    Curiously enough, I’m not sure I entirely disagree with them. I might be able to be convinced that a baby born to illegal immigrants is not a US citizen, IF it was part of comprehensive immigration reform that makes legal immigration much easier.

    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Permalink
  7. ebdoug wrote:

    Don it I’m glad you are back with us.

    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Permalink
  8. Laurie wrote:

    As far as immigrants from Mexico go, I believe we stole Texas from them fair’n square back in 1836…. REMEMBER?

    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
  9. Arthanyel wrote:

    IK – I agree. It should be necessary to have at least one parent be an American citizen to make infants automatically American citizens. Forget anchor baby nonsense, if a woman is in this country on vacation and goes into labor, why should their child be an American not a citizen of their native country?

    But the key is immigration reform. The two don’t necessarilty have to be directly connected, but they should be – because otherwise we’re ignoring the reason it’s an issue in the first place.

    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink
  10. David Freeman wrote:

    Two points about “anchor babies”.
    1) anchor is a misleading term used by the Right Wing to imply that the citizenship of the baby transfers to the parent. It does not.
    2) it’s not a simple problem that can be “fixed” as part of comprehensive immigration reform. It’s in the constitution and that is rightfully very difficult to change. I don’t think it’s a big enough problem (if a problem at all) to rise to the level of trying for a constitutional amendment.

    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink
  11. Iron Knee wrote:

    Arthanyel, I would be ok if a child born to a permanent resident — but non-citizen — was automatically a citizen.

    David, the 14th Amendment says “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Arguments have been made that US-born children of illegal aliens are subject to their parents home country’s jurisdiction, although the Supreme Court in the past has ruled against that interpretation. It has been ruled that the US-born children of foreign diplomats are not US citizens, because of diplomatic immunity. The same exemption applies to foreign invaders.

    But my point was that if you reform immigration law so that illegal immigration was far less prevalent (e.g., with a guest worker program), then I think it would be relatively easy to get even a constitutional amendment passed on this.

    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
  12. David Freeman wrote:

    I don’t get it. If illegal immigration becomes far less prevalent then there will be even less motivation for a constitutional amendment. I just don’t see a logical connection. Without fear of illegals from south of the border, anchor babies would not be an issue.

    I don’t think a constitutional amendment of any kind can be relatively easy. I doubt the Bill of Rights could be passed as amendments now.

    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Permalink
  13. starluna wrote:

    Just so you know. I am an anchor baby.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink
  14. David Freeman wrote:

    No, Starluna, you are a US citizen in good standing and our nation is better for it.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink
  15. Fred Wickham wrote:

    Corporations often change their jurisdiction — to Bermuda, for instance — to enjoy the tax advantages. Are they still to be regarded as American “people,” with the constitutional protections given to them by the Citizens United ruling? Can’t we erect a wall to keep these “people” away from us. Let them spawn all the little subsidiaries they want in their adopted country. I guess I’m asking if we can be as nasty to corporations as we are to human beings.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
  16. starluna wrote:

    I say that because most people don’t even know how widely that term would/could be applied. But even I acknowledge that many of us, whether our parents are documented or not, are anchors for our immigrant parents. But not in the way the xenophobes believe. Those who use the term “anchor baby” believe that women come to the US in order to have children so that they can somehow finagle a way to stay in the US. What they have wrong is that most parents stay here not because of the potential benefits to themselves but for the very real, material benefits for their children.

    In our case, my mother wanted to move back after she divorced our US citizen father. She stayed here because her father told her that the US is better for her kids, especially one of my older sisters who had a seizure disorder as a child. She stayed here because the US provided opportunities for her three daughters that they would have never had back in her home country. It is our well-being that prevented her from returning, which is what she really wanted to do. So in fact, my sisters and I are anchors for our mother. And I am not ashamed of that.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink