Mistreatment of Immigrants in the U.S.

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The belief that Americans have a long history of welcoming immigrants is only moderately true. The newspaper article featured in The Nation is about immigrants in the early 1920’s and how they were mistreated and not defended properly by the law. The article starts off by speaking on “The Immigrants Day in Court”, which is part of the Carnegie Corporation’s Americanization Studies. It is an example of how the court and the laws implemented fail to represent immigrants in the United States. Herbert Miller states: “Our system was devised to meet the needs of a rural homogeneous population, and it has never been reorganized to meet the needs of an urban heterogeneous population.” In this source, Miller is speaking on behalf of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant’s viewpoint in American life and how they weren’t used to immigrants with different cultures, backgrounds, and styles of living; therefore they wanted nothing to do with them. As well as the first couple of sources presented such as the Carlisle Indian School example or the speech by Roosevelt, this article is another case of American exceptionalism shown in a very negative way domestically. White folks see this act of exclusion as a prideful thing and want nothing to do with immigrants because they are seen as un-American and different. 

“Whole families toil their lives out; sewing all day and far into the night in reeking tenements finishing garments for the merest pittance, making myriads of artificial flowers, neckwear and the like.” The living conditions are even worse in the mining and mill towns. Here the company is also the storekeeper and sells the food and necessities for the family at exorbitant prices. Often a system of charging and counter-charging goes on so that the wages are paid by the company back into its own pocket and the workers are kept always in debt, always in fear of eviction and always facing the spectre of unemployment which means starvation.”