Skip to main content

tv   Erika Lee America for Americans  CSPAN  February 9, 2020 7:30pm-9:01pm EST

7:30 pm
erika lee teaches history at the university of minnesota where she is a professor, disdain list university professor, the rudolph j. chair and immigration history and the director of the immigration history research center. the author of three award-winning books in u.s. immigration. american history at america's gate, chinese immigration during the era 1882-1943, angel island and the great gateway to america and the making of asian america,
7:31 pm
a history. at the immigration history research center, we have helped to merge immigration history with the digital humanities. she launched the national endowment for the humanities funded immigration stories project, which works with recent immigrants and refugees to collect, preserve and share their experiences. her book, "america or americans the history of xena phobia in the united states," is tonight's talk. please welcome erika lee. [applause] >> seattle, i am so glad to be here and i'm glad to be back here at townhall. i was last here in 2010 before it was renovated, so i'm happy to be back. and i'm very glad that we have begun this evening with an acknowledgment. i would like to repeat the land acknowledgment.
7:32 pm
as i will discuss later xenophobia and colonialism are tightly interconnected. native americans with african-americans were made into the country's first and the racism and discrimination that continues to impact native americans has also been a driving force in xenophobia, so i'm glad we started. i'm going to begin by both reading from the book and take us back, it's wintertime here and it's even worse in minneapolis, but i'm going to take us back to a gorgeous summer day in july, and i'm in new jersey. it's a beautiful midsummer's day
7:33 pm
in new jersey and heading to the statue of liberty and the ellis island national museum of immigration. the mood is cheerful. a father explained to his children how their great great grandfather came to the united states a century ago from austria. an african-american family records their video. everyone's excited to see the statue of liberty, the mother asked. the kids all jump up and down and yelled yes. i'm trying to share in the celebration of ellis island a place that serves as a symbol of america's welcome to immigrants, but i keep thinking about another message as it was heard that they. the 2016 republican national convention has just ended and it was one of pure xenophobia. ever since launching his
7:34 pm
campaign he pledged to beef up border security, ban muslim immigrants, the part 11 million undocumented people in the united states and build a wall across the border with mexico. his views were being repeated by a growing number voters and politicians on the convention's opening theme make america safe again, speaker after speaker paint a portrait of america under seas by criminals and gang members. most of the statements made by trump and other convention speakers were either false or grossly misleading. bunone of this seems to matter. it went crazy for the message. during the 75 minute speech in which he identified immigration
7:35 pm
as one of the greatest threats to the united states and promised to restore america's immigration security, he was repeatedly interrupted by cheers, applause and chanting of build a wall. i can't forget these angry tone is and says. there we learn about the anti-immigrant history that we are meant to understand them as just that. history is over and done with. by th the time they get to the t shop we are encouraged to banish this from our mind and celebrate our risks instead. in true american fashion, we do this by buying something. there are t-shirts but there are
7:36 pm
no team china t-shirts. there are snow globes the statue of liberty and the leaning tower of pisa. in the ellis island café, however, they take a different inspiration. the freedom burger comes with two patties and the angus with just one so if you love your freedom you must also love your beef. [laughter] between the gift shop i ordered a salad so clearly not american. between the gift shop and café, things we can diagnose immigrant and all-american identities that happily coexist. but i know that it is not that simple. i'm struggling to figure out how the two americas is it together.
7:37 pm
it marked one of the moments that began to write this book. another one was the morning afteofthe 2016 presidential ele. i was teaching a class in immigration history at the university of minnesota, and after a night of not so much a sleeping i threw out my lesson plans and i hunkered down with my students many of whom are first generation. they shared with me their fears of being deported and being separated from their families and being victims of hate crimes. one was i think what many of us were asking how could this happen, how could voters elect
7:38 pm
an explicitly racist, xenophobic presidential candidate to openly callethatopenly called mexicanss and rapists and who had called for a complete and total shutdown of muslims to the united states. another one was how could this be happening in the united states, the so-called nation of immigrants, and in 2016 after the civil rights movement and after two terms. i resolved to figure it out and i started writing this book. so, like any good follower, i went back to my office, to the library and i started pulling down books off my shelf making big piles and started reading and rereading them and there are common themes on the histor hisy odysseofthe fee of xena phobia e
7:39 pm
united states. one is that historians have consistently explained. they say that when americans feel confident, we are welcoming and when we are anxious, we are not. they've also treated xenophobia as an exception to the immigrant tradition. we are told that anti-immigrant campaigns have been unfortunate episodes promoted by a paranoid extremists in an otherwise welcoming nation. there is a consensus that xenophobia peaked in the 1920s and this is when we passed discriminatory national origins but closed the door to immigration and mostly southern and eastern european immigrants
7:40 pm
and closed all the way from asia dysplastic for 40 years. yet with the civil rights movement many scholars explain the xenophobia waned. when it resurfaced in the last 50 years, you hav it had been a momentary blip or adoration and america's inevitable march towards the conclusions and racial ecology. this is what i told my own students. i've written many books on immigration. i've made a point of unearthing these chapters in our immigration history that i've always ended on a positive note and marked the progress that we've made and realized this progress narrative and that i
7:41 pm
have taught they no longer held up. i knew that i needed to write a new history so i started writing this book. this is what i found, this idea that the unite united states asa nation of immigrants. we recognize this in these very well-known illustrations of immigrants on ships looking towards the statue of liberty and looking towards a new beginning and we know that most of our immigrant history focuses on how those immigrants did and were able to succeed and were welcomed and integrated. it's a country that has welcomed immigrants and remains true. in the last 200 years, more than 80 million people have been admitted into the country. the united states remains the
7:42 pm
world's largest immigrants receiving nation even today. but, the united states is also a nation of xenophobia meaning it has been ruled by an irrational fear and hatred of immigrants so that even as we have welcomed millions to the shores, we've also deported more upwards of 55 million since 1882 than any other country. we have been wary of any group of foreigners that has come to the united states from german immigrants in the 18th century to the irish and chinese in the 19th, acceptance, japanese, italians in the 20th and muslims today. across this country as americans have argued that immigrants are threatening because they are poor, because they practice a different faith and they bring
7:43 pm
crime and disease and take away from deserving americans because they are simply too many of them and they don't assimilate. we've defined immigration not as a natural movement of people that has been happening since the beginning of human history, but rather as a crisis b crisisg the movement of people to an invasion of hostile forces that requires a military like response. so it's entitled the national menace. the danger here is the so-called riffraff innovation from southern and eastern europe. we can tell that the illustrator is talking about europeans because he helpfully labeled on their hat things like mafia, anarchists were criminal.
7:44 pm
we also know the illustrator has referred to mexicans because the label is outlaw. and there is hopefully a chinese figure simply known or seen. but these immigrants pose a threat to the united states as an unending wave or flawed and innovation that will take over the united states in this place the native born and values like liberty and its institutions. so the u.s. passed discriminatory laws and became incarcerated and expelled. it's exploited them allowing them to be in the united states but not fully welcomed as equal americans. so how did this come to be? one of the answers is xenophobia
7:45 pm
is an american tradition that dates back to the founding and antennas and/or across this country. it's not an aberration. it doesn't rise and fall and it's deeply embedded in our society, politics and economy. it's actively promoted by special interest and in pursuit of political power. even as americans have recognized the threat allegedly posed by immigrants were in hindsight i'm justified they've allowed the xenophobia to endor. it's changed and adapted targeting one threat after another succeeding through repetition and justified as a necessary defense of the nation. so, let's go back to these roots and we start with one of our founding fathers. in 1755 benjamin franklin was
7:46 pm
writing many letters to his friends and colleagues and he warned the so-called immigrants were coming to the economies and they were the most ignorant, stupid sort of their own nation. they herded together and, quote, would soon outnumber us that our language and even our government would become precarious. why should pennsylvania, he asked, become a colony. german immigrants, he insisted, needed to be regulated. so, through the fear of one of our founding fathers, american xenophobia became a tradition. franklin's anti-immigrant views were echoed by another great american otherwise known as the inventor of the telegraph. he warned that catholic immigrants were an invasion and
7:47 pm
enemy to the democracy in 1841. it helped spread views across the country and this wasn't a simple prejudice. this led to violence and bloodshed hitting the peak in louisville kentucky. the new political party was known as the american party also known as the know nothings attacking foreigners and by nighttime is the sky is in the streets were stained with blood. from 22 to 100 people mostly irish and german catholic immigrant died in what had been remembered as the bloody monday. the xenophobia was not just about anti-catholicism, a
7:48 pm
tradition that has been deeply rooted in the united states is racism, it was also about political power. the new party that i mentioned spearheaded a political movement using xenophobia to secure votes, elect the lawmakers and make anti-immigrant policy. the goal was the power in the united states so this is another reason it is part of our american politics and part of our american democracy. the know nothing party argued dangerous foreigners were unfit for u.s. citizenship. they were drunk criminals. you can see the stereotypes of irish and germans here, and they were literally stealing the ballot box and breaking
7:49 pm
elections. this is where this idea of voting fraudulently comes from, deeply rooted in the political history. at its height, the american party reported 1 million membe members. remember i started to talk talking about the importance of the colonialism and xenophobia, the roots of this date back to o this movement as well. this party, the american party, started calling themselves native americans. this was a rhetorical strategy to not only distanced themselves and to distinguish themselves from the foreigners, but also to distinguish themselves and rhetorically take away the native roots from real native
7:50 pm
americans. so the term native american also the other thing they did is they would use the symbols of what they believe to be native american culture and turn the culture and their own organizing practices and labels. so this term i would like us to think about when we use the term native american with a small and, i hope that you will remember both the xenophobic roots of the term and the way in which it was used to continue. the american party was short lived, but the local policies including the irish born states workers in massachusetts calling on the retirement of naturalization from five to 25
7:51 pm
years limiting office to not only us-born citizens or the native americans, and forcing deportation in states of massachusetts hoped to make xenophobia and enduring part of the democratic politics. so, the other part is using the label native american is not just to denigrate others, but to claim specific rights and privileges. these early examples reveal the deep and early roots for the tradition and religious intrigue and american politics. another reason why xenophobia has endured and become centralist because it is a form of racism. it's functioned alongside slavery, colonialism, segregation and supremacy. african-americans and native americans were made into this
7:52 pm
countries first and whenever we have debated immigration, the immigrant group in question has always been measured in relationship to african-americans and native americans. so this is how it works. the xenophobia defined certain populations of racial and religious others who are inferior or dangerous or both and then it demonizes them as a group, not as individuals, but a group based on the presumptions. and xenophobia isn't just a matter of prejudice or bigotry. it's played a central role in america's changing definition of race of citizenship and what it means to be an american. it inspires hi inspires and juss discrimination and racial violence. so we see xenophobia as racism first being expressed in this idea and germans are swarthy or that irish catholics are somehow
7:53 pm
not purely whites and are dangerous. but it is with chinese immigration that we see the first extent of xenophobic racism. to california during the gold rush became considered a race apart, much more like african-americans and native americans and european immigrants. they were inferior, they took jobs away from deserving americans. you can see that it was this dehumanized caricature who is monopolizing all the work while white workers are striking in the background. 20 years after the bloody monday riots in louisville kentucky, another crowd gathered to
7:54 pm
protest against immigration, but this time it is on the west coast and the targets were chinese. april 5, 76, 25,000 people gathered in san francisco union hall for a statewide meeting on immigration. it was the largest gathering ever of the pacific coast. the threat of chinese immigration the united states congress passed the chinese exclusion act, the first federal law to single out a specific group for exclusion. immigration from china plummeted before the exclusion act was passed. after the act was passed in 1887, only ten were allowed in. the chinese were also barred from the naturalist of citizenship and subjected to the country's first large-scale detention and deportation
7:55 pm
policies as well as government required identification cards, registry and surveillance. this is a page from an officer's blog from the late 19th century an officer that was stationed in downey the california on the california historical society. and on the page after page, this officer would keep photographic evidence or identification of every immigrant in his vicinity and as you can see, he would hand right name, age, occupation, any physical marks and also details about whether they had returned to china or reentered the united states. this is essentially the first database on immigration. throughout the 1880s, chinese immigration wasn't just about keeping out the new but it was
7:56 pm
also about expelling those that are already here. you in seattle know this history well because we know that very close to where we are now in 1886, the entire chinese population in seattle was forcibly expelled. it happened after the entire population of chinese and tacoma were also expelled. they were part of a much larger campaign to drive out chinese and chinese americans from the left. this illustration on the left is from harper's illustrated weekly and shows the mob that forcibly went into chinese businesses in chinatown here in seattle as well as marching those down where they were forcibly put
7:57 pm
onto a steamer. on the right -- i think that i'm missing an illustration. there's also records at the university of washington and in their archive of governor of the territory at that tim the time d there's records of chinese americans who want to write in asking for help and one of the note says forced expulsion from tacoma residents driven out from 200 to 300 now in eminent danger in seattle. we are asking that you secure protection for us. this history has real meaning and deep roots with many other communities around the united states. by the 1890s, we turned to
7:58 pm
another threat. it's not from asia but rather from italy, poland, greece, hungary. italians and all others from central and eastern europe are labeled inferior by the country's leading scientists and politicians. again, these are not paranoid extremists. they are the elite in the universities and in the halls of congress. by 1893, a group of boston's political and economic elite formed a new group called the immigration restriction league. the goal was to end the immigrant invasion from southern and eastern europe and to protect in america for america americans. the leak became the country's first anti-immigrant think tank and lobbying firm. firm. it pushed lawmakerthey pushed lt new restrictions as a means of managing the racial makeup of the united states. this is one of the roots of the
7:59 pm
title of the book america for americans. it's in the articles and writings of this particular organization and also leaving genesis and president calvin coolidge who in 1924 signed immigration policy as a defense of america for americans. but it is perhaps this document i found in the archives that perfectly encapsulated what america for americans really means. in the 1920s, the ku klux klan claimed to speak for all true americans by condemning the letter took advantage from the u.s. and who pushed the nativeborn side and maintained allegiance to the foreign flag.
8:00 pm
this was titled america for americans. it's red white and blue cover featuring within enormous american flag. the message inside was clear, immigrants are a threat to the united states. white protestant americans were the only true americans and vigilance as regulation through the kkk campaign of racial violence is the only way to protect america for americans. . these laws were championed
8:01 pm
by adolf hitler and claimed it as a model for nazi era. these laws for someone sitting in the white house today. even once a year they could not find a way into the united states over 900 jewish
8:02 pm
refugees and search of safety but when they arrived they were refused entry they turned next to the united states they were so close to the city of miami at the nighttime they could see the lights twinkling. they sent cable after cable to franklin - - president franklin delano roosevelt who refused to answer and forced to return to europe some of the refugees were taken in the 264 perished in the holocaust. we also target another group of the mexicans that became part of local and federal policies 20 percent of the
8:03 pm
entire mexican and mexican american population in the united states equal several hundred thousand were pushed out of the country 60 percent were american citizens. this is a photograph published in the evening harold in 1932 which captures the chaotic scene of 1400 mexicans waiting at the city's central station to board special south pacific deportation train bound for mexico so this was many times during 1931 through 1934. and the caption was a photograph and was very appropriate to show how xenophobia works its way into
8:04 pm
every facet of our political culture so i look at the photograph i see individuals wearing their best clothes who are trying to regain some respectability through the repatriation that has stripped of them but the caption of the photograph written by the editor or the writer describes the feeling of mexicans dressed in sombreros with their baskets and guitars and threadbare blankets and willing to return to the homeland that they left so many years ago with joy. so i find it fascinating the ways in which capturing the
8:05 pm
photograph we can send the subliminal messages that continue to dehumanize immigrants. the next decade americans were the targets 120,000 were forced from their homes in the camps for the duration of the war because united states believed they were not loyal to the united states but rather loyal to japan two thirds were american citizens just like those that were de- americanized. but in the part of us history that is not as well-known we know america xenophobia sparks beyond the us border. at the same time the united states was incarcerating its
8:06 pm
own residents also orchestrating and financing the mass roundup of children of japanese descent of latin america. the justification was that japanese-americans were a threat to national security than they were a threat to the hemisphere the idea was to make the border safe from infiltration or attack including japanese descended people in the americas. that the unofficial goal that historians found out later is that this mass deportation was meant to provide a supply of japanese ethnicity to be treated for americans after
8:07 pm
pearl harbor. by the time the program ended in 1944, 2200 men women and children of japanese ancestry of legal permanent residents of 12 latin american countries that were deported and incarcerated in the united states. so these glimpses of xenophobia were to reveal it is easily recognized in times of change and anxiety. but one of the most important and surprising things that i discovered is how xenophobia can survive and even flourish in times of economic depression but also economic prosperity in times of war , but also times of peace and
8:08 pm
struggle and progress even during the civil rights movement. after world war ii the united states undergoes the american population and a dramatic transformation in the ways we understand race and racism that falls out of favor we know there is no scientific basis to these ideas of genetic superiority or inferiority to help pass and justify the egregious laws. liberalizing the policy in the post-world war ii era and peaks during the civil rights movement president kennedy outlines a radical vision for immigration reform. this shows posters from the
8:09 pm
american community of italian migration. this is a group of italian-americans among the most active proponents for reforming immigration policy because as i showed it was the most affected by the policies they make an argument not just a civil right or equality but also good for foreign-policy. lawmakers agree and in october they face discrimination in american law and it is formally dismantled as part of the civil rights movement in the 1955 immigration act. so this shows the bill signing ceremony with lbj, several dozen members of congress and
8:10 pm
their wives. they are in jersey city at the foot of the statue of liberty. he flew all of these lawmakers up to new jersey to show the importance of this immigration law and it also shows that lbj and that we will no longer discriminate rather what they can bring to the united states. the us is recommitting itself to immigration. this is the main understanding and framework of the past 50 years that this law was the law that ended at all and now we do not have discrimination
8:11 pm
and now it must be a thing of the past. the compromises that were made but also the consequences i found a very different story. the liberal and conservative lawmakers expect a commitment to civil rights and racial equality talking about passing this law. also used terms of black and brown immigrants flooding into the country and displacing whites and the one that was majority white. then for that not to change of
8:12 pm
reverse discrimination so the issue at hand how to reframe immigration not from national origin but treating every country the same. and immigration from the western hemisphere but more and more lawmakers believed that to allow immigration to be completely unrestricted from white americans and those of white supremacy continuing even during the civil rights movement. the idea that us at its core is white and europeans deserve preference among others in
8:13 pm
relation to immigration and other matters. and then to privilege immigration and also to put in place new restrictions that in conjunction with other policies disproportionately impacted mexican immigrants that included the first ever cap on immigration from the western hemisphere and other measures that ended mexican migration. particularly those that brought four.6 million migrants from mexico since world war ii and also laws that require documentation for mexicans only. in addition, the decades-old gay and lesbian immigrants with sexual deviation to prohibit them. this band targeting homosexual
8:14 pm
immigrants is not lifted until 1990. so with that restriction continues in immigration law but is harder to spot even under the language of nondiscrimination and with that commitment to civil rights. much to the lawmakers dismay the 65 immigration act did not work out the way they intended. the problem was the laws restriction which gave mexico a quota 20000 that amounted to a 40000 reduction did not match economically the us still relied on mexican migrant workers and actively recruited them. that there was no legal way for them to enter.
8:15 pm
so in essence the law created a problem where there was not one before. by 1986 there was three.2 million undocumented immigrants in the country in addition european immigrants at the lawmakers thought would come stayed home and instead migrants from the caribbean and africa and latin america came and in the 1980s the majority of new immigrants were non-european. this mix of unintended consequences of immigrants who are not from europe and also increase of undocumented immigration has led to the debate we are having today. by the 1990 xenophobia was a central part of american politics and culture
8:16 pm
conservative activists fighters and politicians worn that if they do not assimilate they would eventually displace white americans. they don't just target undocumented immigrants but all as well as others from the caribbean and asia and africa. if you go through patrick buchanan's books like i did. [laughter] you can see there is a growing hysteria in the way he describes immigration as a threat that this book is the death of the west another is suicide of america it's not just warning about immigration but the multiculturalism and
8:17 pm
the fact white women are not having enough babies but it becomes increasingly ramped up by the time he publishes in the early 2000's. but the new xenophobia was not just about race but also power in 19 nineties the war on illegal immigration proved to be an effective way to drive voters to the polls. so with conservative politicians to shift the balance of power in the united states, on a number of issues including gun control, abortion rights and welfare. this or that we all recognize as border security.
8:18 pm
this was a bipartisan effort and have a furtive national discourse working into policy. one example is how the actual act of migration became criminalized. beginning in the 1980s and 19 nineties anti-immigrant lawmakers and strategists argued undocumented immigration was not just a violation of immigration law, but a crime and a serious crime. and those who committed it were serious criminals who might go on to commit other serious crimes like rape or murder. and then they deserve to be harshly treated at the border and in the united states. this is the rationale behind the states rights initiative
8:19 pm
behind california proposition 187 past 1994 we just recognized the 25th anniversary of this law. they fought to deny undocumented immigrants and all public benefits including education and health services and deputized public sector workers into checking the immigration status of people coming in to seek services especially and including public school teachers who are supposed to check on the immigration status of their elementary school students. another law was passed allowing peace to determine the immigration status for a provision known as show your papers. proposition 187 past but it was thrown out by the courts.
8:20 pm
however, its impact went on to influence state laws and also federal policy. it is under president bill clinton and congress that the us begins to militarize the mexican border and we see the increase of funding as well as structures with the mexican border. but we also so that undocumented immigrants were undeserving criminals. and with public health services and benefits. and with those of violent crimes and nonviolent crimes and traffic violations meant
8:21 pm
to push for comprehensive immigration reform to move the gop and then try to argue the feature of the party was more in a racially diverse form. and increase the use of the attention of enforcement in the attempt of other undocumented the beginning of the zero-tolerance policy we have been hearing so much about with the border enforcement mechanisms out of the department of justice that
8:22 pm
this was not a welcoming aspect and to protect the united states from danger. so national security was a code word for the muslim immigrants this is rising levels of violence and discrimination with american muslims. and then to look at islam a phobia with other messaging. and in 2008 the charge that barack obama was foreign-born and also muslim represented more than a desperate attempt to discredit a political rival but a sign of how damaging
8:23 pm
that it had become and also how effective for american politics. of course one of the leaders in the birther movement was donald trump. president obama continued to expand in fact a record number of individuals were apprehended and afforded. and with the miscalculated effort with to enforce the borders, secure the border first and then we will come to the table. they never came to the table
8:24 pm
but the president removed a record high number of people. in 2012 it was 419,000 people ten times the number of people deported 1991. obama was called deep order in chief by critics. trying to answer the question how we got here and why xenophobia has endured with american racism to drive american politics the obama years point to another hard truth about xenophobia to explain why it has endured for so long that xenophobia is profitable. in the 19th century anti- catholic preachers traveled around to sell out crowds and becoming bestsellers from the
8:25 pm
18 thirties and those disclosures and those of the fake expose the beginning of fake news that told of sexual abuse and infanticide in catholic convent's. in the 18 eighties those would send xenophobic messages and kicking out chinese immigrants as a way to promote laundry detergent the chinese must go we have a use for them but we have this wonderful washer what a blessing to tired mothers it costs so little and don't injure the close. the fine print also assures users that the detergent will not turn the close yellow. these ways of selling xenophobia does not compare at
8:26 pm
all to the profits made today running public and private immigrant detention centers. dhs manages the largest system in the world and spends more on immigration enforcement than all other federal enforcement agencies combined. more than $18 billion per year. to private companies private collection corporation of america see dl and other groups have cashed in with the combined revenues of five.$3 billion. the center for american progress has also found a well-funded network of politicians media personalities have also spent
8:27 pm
upwards of $7 million from prejudice and hatred against muslims. xenophobia part of american racism, politics and capitalism in the past and present. this explains how we got here. so that by the time donald trump ran for president in 2015 calling for a great big wall a complete and total shutdown coming to the united states the ideas that mexicans were criminals and muslims were terrorist were well-established and normalized in the media. many americans expect outrage and explicitly racist positions but the hard truth
8:28 pm
is that trump was just repeating a message that was gaining traction for decades. but what is new however is the all-out assault on immigration he has launched since entering office. this has concluded a wide range of policies, increased immigration enforcement in the interior of the united states, the elimination of tps for many citizens the travel ban from mostly muslim majority countries, the separation of families arriving at the us-mexico border, making it nearly impossible for asylum-seekers to gain entry. the deduction of refugee d settlement since we began settling refugees in 1980.
8:29 pm
in 2016 when obama left office and then raise the cap to 110,000 refugees for go for 2021 - - 2020 the number is 18000. the new proposal to make us status are not eligible for protected status of these medicaid food stamps or headstart or the school lunch program. this is currently blocked in the courts. but the reports from organizations and advocates show that immigrants are removing their names from these necessary benefits and are fearful that this will somehow cause them to be
8:30 pm
deported. legal immigration so so much of the rhetoric of the so-called bad immigrants the criminals and terrorists, but what we have to recognize is how this has affected every category of immigrant or refugees seeking entry into the united states. legal immigration has dropped by 70 percent since 2017. so this is where we are today. xenophobia has becoming increasingly embedded in american politics and life, it is imperative we fully understand its cost and what is at stake. it's not just about immigrants but all of us, our democracy, and what it means
8:31 pm
to be american. xenophobia is a threat to american democracy. it allows the localized authority to take majority. will will show that most americans and oppose the policies before and after the 2019 oh one - - 2016 election those that supported legal status without documentation as children the dreamers as well as an increase in illegal immigration what they did not support was a wall. it is also imperative to point out that these policies by executive order not by congressional legislation, a pass to require the date, compromise.
8:32 pm
but then to be cut out or shipped out of the legislative process. also to allow white national lesson - - nationalism to come to the forefront of politics and culture we saw this in the 19 twenties with the support for immigration research nearly echoing a rallying cry that other politicians and scientists were already saying. today anti- immigrant and white nationalist feel violence are on the rise perk after 2016 election anti- muslim hate crimes increased by 19 percent in the second half of 2018 they had risen again by 83 percent. extremist relayed us murders racist rallies and demonstrations have grown.
8:33 pm
we recently recognize the one-year anniversary of the synagogue shooting in pittsburgh or the august 2019 from el paso walmart and those individual individuals, there is so much at stake understanding how xenophobia works is fundamental to american democracy for the creation of a more humane global society. is also important to remember this is not a problem that will go away if we elect someone new to sit in the white house. i wrote america for americans in order to try to answer the question of why and how we have allowed the united states to become a nation of
8:34 pm
xenophobia. but what is left unanswered for all of us today, is will we reclaim and remake the united states as a true nation of immigrants or will we allow it to endure cracks thank you very much. [applause] >> [laughter] sometimes when i talk i can see you in the crowd and now you feel the same way that i felt writing this book. my husband grab this book. are you harry potter fans
8:35 pm
cracks he described it that it really felt like something i needed to do i was not intending on writing this book. but for me, it felt like a necessary action, something that i could do that only a few of us are trained to do, but it literally has made me sick it is a horrific history. and if you read the book there is some hope that the most
8:36 pm
appropriate ending is to drop the microphone and leave the room. [laughter] and just devolve because i am this book and i have some ideas about what we can do. but i am not as hopeful i'm certainly not as hopeful as i would like to be or have been in the past. i think there is time for a few questions. i would be happy to hear your ideas. >> my mother's people came to america from italy.
8:37 pm
and the only way that anyone under the age of 15 in the future can have any idea what's going on, we have to change the curriculum of gradeschool in this country. it has to happen. the children are more eye open to ideas now than they were before and not just open to the idea of climate change but do you see any movement in our national educational system to let kids know about this horrific history of this country. is anybody advocating crack. >> absolutely. thank you for that question. i agree. first of all we need to pay our teachers more so they can do more. [applause]
8:38 pm
and that would not be part of core curriculum. on behalf of the teachers to seek it out and adapt. i would like to shout out to the organization right here in seattle the japanese american history organization that has done phenomenal work on education at all levels i just met with one of their staffers this morning who was sharing with me some of their curriculum efforts. clearly one of their goals is to make sure it was named a central part. but it has expanded to look at
8:39 pm
immigration and racism more generally. but the challenge i think is the gap between those organizations that are creating curriculum and overworked and underpaid teachers who are facing so many increasing demands on their time and energy and resources. there is great curriculum out there. giving it to teachers is much harder. thank you for that question. >> thinking for talking to us. one thing you mentioned you called into question the idea of immigration but to what extent do we know climate change will result in hundreds of millions of new refugees is
8:40 pm
that language now justified quick. >> good question. the last sentence that i write in the book is that for so many years we have considered migration the crisis. i would like to reset the terms of the debate and name xenophobia the crisis. we do know there are record numbers of people that are on the move every year the un comes out with a report on migration 70 million people internally and externally displaced but still within the country of their birth. but we also can see how in response to this growing movement of people, it's not
8:41 pm
just the united states. we are in a global crisis where countries are erecting paper walls or creating so many deterrents to migration and paying other countries i hate to use this term but warehouse migrants. so that the longest running refugee camp that served somali refugees in kenya there are three generations of somalis living in the camp with no opportunity to leave. these policies are politically expedient, like i made a point before but in the long run it
8:42 pm
would not help solve either a glowing situation of people on the move or climate change. so we need to think about these in conjunction with each other the greatest egregious challenge for all of us and if we continue to approach this challenge from the perspective of fear and hatred that will not serve any of us. we will have to rely and much more humane that will come in the future. >> the irony of stephen miller
8:43 pm
his family escaped the holocaust. where does it come from the paranoia we are in a country especially that technology , and all kinds of things those european gifts that came because of the holocaust and escaped europe. what is the thought that people who have come here and contributed so much are a danger cracks. >>? >> that is what i asked as well. doctor stephen miller while so many others have been forced out because he is effective it's not just him and it is very much a part of the
8:44 pm
history but that has recently been targeted and the ways they demonstrate their loyalty and patriotism. so i have this transition to the anti- irish chapter where i go from these blood he riots on the east coast and discrimination of irish americans to a few decades later especially here on the west coast the state senators and at the forefront of the chinese but also passing the laws. this is america unfortunately.
8:45 pm
>> it affects all of us. you cannot be comfortable. >> this is where knowing our history and where each of these groups, we can laugh at some of the things that previous generations have labeled but then we say this is the same rhetoric, americans are very adept at rationalizing but to become americans. >> thank you so much for your work.
8:46 pm
i want to ask you, talking briefly about hope and sharing insights of xenophobia it might be a way for us to imagine what that was like in the past. that what i was always drawn to mary and ten or reading about the rights of social workers or the work that questioned the idea of that most more inclusive version of literature that is an effective way for students to
8:47 pm
imagine and another version the place that i know the president of that i live in is much different than the past goes to participating in the immigrant marches taking place since 2016. because when i go to these marches, i can see abroad cross-section of america. it is cross generation, the soccer moms and the kids housing projects. and as a historian, that has not happened before on immigration issues.
8:48 pm
no one spoke out about chinese exclusion or japanese american incarceration. there were a few defenders during the great depression but nothing like this movement. so that's where we have to keep going but also we have to hold our politicians accountable for real, durable , and humane solutions. my fear is we have gone so far in the extreme of all of these immigration issues that simply resetting and going back to 2016 will be extremely hard given where we are now. but i also firmly believe that will not be enough.
8:49 pm
>>. >> i have chinese canadian students from vancouver are we open to learning from them? >> bed then after he passed hours they pass they are as they did in a much more polite way. [laughter] but they also did it with japanese and southeastern one - - south asian exclusions of the law is almost the same. like canada or australia are
8:50 pm
merit-based. and that's the way we want to go merit-based meaning it is not a fan family unification. he calls it chain migration. and he advocates for merit-based that is more restrictive. but it is a policy that has both supporters and detractors because of the way in which critics say to siphon off the best educated and skilled immigrants that are simply looking at immigrants and economic function to allow
8:51 pm
people who have very few skills to take advantage of what we have offered from our ancestors that came with very little to make something for themselves and their children and grandchildren. it is a yes and a no answer. >> i think this book was extremely helpful because unless we are willing to look at the hard truth my question is this one of the things that offended me along the way but at one point obama said no i'm
8:52 pm
not muslim. and i found that offensive he could say there's nothing wrong with being muslim. and then mccain was praised to say he's a good person but can you comment on that type of internalizing that i didn't feel those responses help to the situation. >> and that goes nicely and that goes to internalize the long history of islam a phobia and much longer than post- 9/11 and then to open the playbook once again and to use
8:53 pm
it after 9/11. but it also points to the ways in which xenophobia forces us to demonize one group our only other option is to look at the rubric of good immigrant and bad immigrant there are very few options to open up a more humane and inclusive rationale is standing. so the opposite of the undocumented is the dreamer so without documentation but that this is america. one of the challenges that they face that we don't just
8:54 pm
want to clean dream act to only give benefits to them they also see a much needed plan for reform that central america asylum seekers could also see a path to diminish refugee resettlement so that is meaningless of refugees. it is a zero-sum game where we are left with crumbs and we need to be able to have that conversation and that there's absolutely nothing wrong to be muslim. and we need to make sure those solutions will not continue to divide one person or another.
8:55 pm
>> we spoke a little earlier how xenophobia is profitable and can you comment a lot of what is going on in corporate america like way fair is furnishing those centers of microsoft with a 10 million-dollar contract and the individuals i would argue what we can do to push back as much as we can on that. >> i was at google 2017 when they were organizing the walk out in relationship to the muslim band so i agree there is a growing movement of reaction and protest to use employees using the corporate base to send a message of
8:56 pm
these immigration policies. there is a growing use of tech immigration enforcement and here in seattle it is relevant but amazon was one of the most important and leading companies spearheading some of that software and technology that was very concerning to not only privacy experts but those in the rights movement that are fearful of the data that is being used will also be shared with i.c.e. and others to help make it easier
8:57 pm
to track migrants whereabouts. it is part of that profitable argument i was making but to speak to your other point of what can we do, the actions of not only marching in the street to support advocacy to filing and challenging in the courts so many of these laws like the aclu refugee settlement organizations these are all things we could do on the event - - everyday basis for the 2020 election to unfold. >> thank you for these great
8:58 pm
questions. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
8:59 pm
. . . . notes from an uneven p.
9:00 pm
how are you doing, mr. bryant? >> guest: i'm doing great. >> host: this is a great book. i couldn't set it down. you have ten original essays and i think you touched on a lot of different topics with the different world that exists, and i think they are not aware of those two worlds and even though we are talking about them and pointing things out, you did a good thing laying them outnd


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on