tv Erika Lee America for Americans CSPAN April 14, 2020 3:44pm-5:16pm EDT
>> you are watching a special edition of book tv, without airing during the week, while members of congress in our district due to the coronavirus pandemic. tonight, life in america. first, american enterprise institute scholar michael strain argues the future is bright for those who want to become successful in the united states. the washington examiner's, temp offers his thoughts on why the american dream is less attainable today. later, the prize-winning journalist, nicholas kristof report on the issues facing the working class in rural america. enjoy book tv now and over the weekend on c-span2. >> c-span has round-the-clock coverage of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. it's all available on demand at c-span.org/coronavirus. watch white house briefings, updates from governors and state officials, track the spread throughout the u.s. and the world with interactive maps, watch on demand any time,
unfiltered at c-span.org c-span.org/coronavirus. >> american history of the university of minnesota, where she is region professor, distinguished unite professor, chair in 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 date chinese immigration during the exclusionary era, 1882 -- 1943, angel island gateway to america and the making of asian america. a history. at the immigration history, we have helped merge immigration history and the digital humanities. she launched an overseas national endowment for the humanity fund and immigration
story, projects which work with recent émigres to share their expenses. her book, america for americans, history of xenophobia in the united states is subject tonight talk. please welcome erica. [applause] >> i'm so glad to be here. i'm glad to be back here at town hall. i was so blessed here in 2010, before it was activated. i'm happy to be back. i'm very glad we began this evening with acknowledgment, i would like to repeat that land acknowledgment. we'll discuss later xenophobia. they are tightly interconnected. native americans along with african americans were made into this country's first others and the racism and discrimination
that continues to impact native americans has also been driving force in xenophobia. i'm glad we started the evening that way. i am going to begin by reading from the book. going to take us back, it's wintertime here, 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 summer day in jersey city new jersey. i'm on a boat, heading to the statue of liberty and ellis island national museum of immigration. the mood is cheerful, a father explained to his screaming children how their great-great-grandfather came to the united states a century ago
from austria. african-americans record this video. everyone excited to see the statue of liberty? the mother asked. the kids all jump up and down and yell, yes! i'm trying to share in this celebration, a place that serves as a symbol of america's welcome to immigrants. but i keep thinking about another message has heard that day. 2016 republik and national convention has just ended. the drp platform put forward by donald trump was one of pure xenophobia. ever since launching his campaign, trump pledged to beef up border security, fan muslim immigrants, deport 11 million undocumented people living in the united states and build a
massive wall around the country's southern border with mexico. now that he was the official replicant presidential nominee, to the extreme abuse being repeated by a growing number of voters and politicians. the convention opening scene, make america safe again, speaker after speaker painted a terrifying portrait of america under siege by immigrant criminals, terrorists and gang members. most of the statements made by trump and other convention speakers were either false or grossly misleading. none of this seemed to matter. the crowd inside went crazy for trump message. during his 75 minute speech in which he identified immigration as one of the greatest threats to the united states and promised to be restoring america's immigration security, he was repeatedly interrupted by fears, applause and a chance of build the wall.
i can't forget these angry tones as i arrived on the island in the exhibits. there, we learn about earlier chapters in our anti-immigrant history but we are meant to understand them as just that. history is over and done with. by the time visitors get to the gift shop, we are encouraged to banish this ugly path from our minds and celebrate our immigrant roots instead. in true american fashion, we view this by buying something. there : teachers, there are no t-shirts by the way, snow globes of the statue of liberty and the leaning tower of pisa. in the ellis island café however, they take a different inspiration. offering menu items like the all-american angus cheeseburger
and i was trying to figure out the differences between the all american and freedom burger. the freedom burger comes with two parties. angus cheeseburger is just one. so if you really love your freedom, you must also really love your beef. [laughter] between the gift dropped from a i ordered the quinoa salad, clearly not american. between the gift shop and the café, it seems we can both, by both immigrants and all american identities that happily coexist. i know that it's not that simple. i am struggling to figure out how these two america's fit together. i didn't know it then but that visit to the island marked one of the moments that i began to write this book. another one was the morning after the 2016 presidential election.
i was teaching a class in immigration history at the university of minnesota and after a night of not so much sleeping, i throughout my lesson plans and i sat down with my students. first-generation refugees and immigrants. they shared with me their fears of being deported, being separated from their families from being victims of hate crimes. they had many questions for me. one was, i think one that many of us were asking, how could this happen? how could voters elect and explicitly racist, xenophobic presidential candidate openly called mexicans criminals and rapists, that called for total shutdown muslims to the united states? another one was, how could this
be happening? in the united states. a so-called nation of immigrants. and in 2016, after the civil rights movement, after two terms of our first african-american president, i had no answers for them. but i resolved myself to figure it out. i started writing this book. so, like any good scholar, i went back to my office, i went to the library and pulled down books off my shelves and making big piles. i started reading and rereading them. there are common things in the historiography of xenophobia in the united states. one is that historians have consistently explained that in time increment sentiments rises and falls with economic political and social crises, rapid demographic change with
work. they say that when americans feel confident, we are welcoming. when we are anxious, we are not. they've also pleaded xenophobia as an exception to america's immigrant traditions we are told that immigrant campaigns have been, unfortunate episodes, promoted by paranoid extremists, otherwise welcoming nation. there is a consensus xenophobia peaked in the 1920s, this is went past discriminatory origins that closed the door to immigrations, to mostly southern and eastern european immigrants, all the way from asia, this lasted 40 years. that, with the civil rights movement, many scholars have explained, xenophobia range.
when a has resurfaced in the last 50 years, it's been a momentary bliss operation and america's inevitable march toward immigrant inclusion and racial equality. this is what i taught my own students. i have written many books on immigration, i've made points of unearthing these dark environment chapters i've always ended on a positive note. i've always worked the progress we've made. i realized that this progress narrative summary of the that i have read that i and i have in turn, talk to my students, no longer held up.
i knew that i needed to write history so i started writing this book. so this is what i found. this idea that the united states is a nation of immigrants, we recognize this in these well-known illustrations of immigrants on ships looking toward statue of liberty, ford's new beginning and we know that most of our immigrant history focuses on how immigrants were able to succeed from a four-quadrant, integrative. this idea that the united states is a nation of immigrants, a country that welcomed immigrants remained true. the last 200 years, for the 80 million people have been admitted into the country. the united states remains the world largest immigrant nation
even today. united states is also a nation of xenophobia. meaning that it has been ruled by an irrational fear on hatred on immigrants. we have welcomed millions to our shores, we have also deported more immigrants 55 million in any other country. we have been weary of almost every group of foreigners was come to the united states from german immigrants in 18th century, irish and chinese and japanese, italians and muslims today. across the country, immigrants are threatening because therefore, they practice different, they bring prime disease. because i take away jobs, because there are too many of them that they don't assimilate. we defined immigration, not as a
natural movement of people that's been happening since the beginning of human history but rather as a crisis like the movement of people through an invasion of hostile forces that requires a military like response. so this cartoon published in 1903, it's puzzle is the high tide of immigration national ministry the danger here is the so-called riffraff migration, southern and eastern europe, we can tell that the illustrators talking about eastern europeans, labels on their hats, mafia, anarchist or criminal. we also note that the illustrators refer to mexicans because the labeler is outlawed. there's hopefully a chinese figure in there, simply known or seen as somewhere with a hat.
but these immigrants pose a threat to the united states as an unending wave or flood, an invasion that would take over the united states and destroy american values like liberty and its institution. the u.s. past the immigration laws and incarcerated and expelled immigrants, it has exploited segregated from a foreign-born and allowed them to be in the united states but not fully formed as equal americans. so why plants out of this come to be? one of the answers is that xenophobia is an american tradition. it dates back to our founding and has endured across the country. it is not in operation, it does not rise and fall. it is deeply embedded in our
society and our economy. it is actively promoted by special interest in pursuit of political power. even as americans have recognized the threat allegedly posed by immigrants were, inside hindsight, justified, they have allowed xenophobia endured. it has changed and adapted with our time, targeting one threat after another. succeeding through repetition and justified as a necessary defense of our nation. so let's go back to these roots. we start with one of our founding fathers. 1755, benjamin franklin was writing many letters to his friends and colleagues. in a series of them, he learned that so-called supernovae immigrants were coming to the colonies they were the most ignorant, stupid source of their own patient.
they herded together and would soon fill out language and even our government will become precarious. why should pennsylvania become a colony of aliens? servants needed to be regulated. through the fears of one of our founding fathers from american xenophobia became a tradition. franklin's anti-immigrant views were acute echoed by another, otherwise known as the inventor of the telegraph. he warned catholic immigrants were an invasion and an enemy to american democracy. new technology, like the telegraph helped spread anti-catholic views across the country. this was not a simple prejudice,
this led to violence and bloodshed, hitting a peak in kentucky on election day 1855. when 500 members of the anti-immigrant and anti- catholic party and political party, known as the american party, also known as a number of things, tore through the city, attacking foreigners. by night time from of the city guys floated fresh with the flames of burning buildings and the city streets were staying afloat. from 22 to 100 people, mostly irish and catholic immigrants died and what has been remembered as bloody monday. xenophobia was not just about anti- catholicism, a tradition that's deeply rooted in the united states as racism from a it was also about political power, this new political party that i just mentioned, the american party, a new political movement, xenophobia to secure
vote must anti-immigrant law makers and anti-immigrant policies. its goal was to shift the balance of power, critical power in the united states. so this is another reason why xenophobia endorsed, as part of our american politics and part of our american democracy. the know nothing party argued, the 1850 shows that dangerous foreigners were unfit for u.s. citizenship. they were drunk criminals, you can see the stereotypes of irish germans here, german fear and up there were literally rigging elections. this is where this idea of immigrants voting fraudulently comes from. deeply rooted in our political history. at its pipe, they reported one point numbers.
remember i started the talk about the importance of colonialism and xenophobia. the root of this dates back to this movement as well. this party, the imac and party started calling themselves native, small and. native americans. this was a strategy, rhetorical strategy to not only distinguish themselves from the foreigners but also to distinguish themselves and rhetorically take away native root from real native americans. this term native american also, the other think they did is they would use symbols of what they believed to be native american culture in terms of native american culture and their own
organizing processes and labels. so this term, i would like us to think about this, the next time you hear this term or use native american with a small and, i hope you will remember both the xenophobic root of that term as well as the ways in which it was used to continue, think of native americans. the american party was left but it's local policies, including the dismissal of irish born state workers in massachusetts, calling on the federal government to extend their residence, requirement of naturalization from five to 25 years, limiting public office to early u.s. native americans, enforcing deportation in states like massachusetts and during the democratic politics.
so the other part of using this label native american is not just to convey others also to claim specific rights and privileges, for example, only native born citizens can hold public office. these early examples reveal a deep an early roots of american xenophobic tradition and bigotry and megan politics. another reason why xenophobia has endured, it's become so central in the united states is because it's a form of racism. it function alongside slavery, colonialism, segregation and white supremacy. african-americans and native americans were made to this country's first and whatever we've deleted immigrants from immigrant troops in question has always been measured in relationship to african-americans and native americans. so this is how it works. xenophobia defines certain populations as racial and
religious others who are inferior or dangerous, or both independent demonizes them, not as individuals but as a group, based on these presumptions. again, xenophobia is not just a matter of prejudice or bigotry, it played a central role in the definitions of race, citizenship, what it means to be an american. it justifies discrimination and racial violence. so we seek xenophobia has racism first, being expressed in this idea that germans are swarthy or that irish catholics are somehow not purely white and are dangerous but it's with chinese immigration that we see the first full extent of zeno formic racism. chinese immigrants who first started coming in large numbers 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 this in the 1880s called the coming man. this dehumanized character of a chinese immigrant male whose monopolizing all of the work in san francisco while white workers are striking in the background. twenty years after the bloody monday riots in kentucky, on the lookout of self-proclaimed americans gathered to protest against immigration but this time, it's on the west coast the targets were chinese. on april 5, 1876, 25000 people gathered in san francisco's union hall for a statewide
meeting on chinese immigration. it was the largest gathering ever on the pacific coast. the threat of chinese immigration was considered to be greater than 1882, nine states congress passed the chinese exclusion act, the first federal law to single out a specific group for exclusion. immigration from china product from 1882 before the exclusion act was passed, 40000 chinese managed to come into the count country, five years after act was passed in 1887, only ten were allowed in. chinese were also barred from citizenship and subjected to the country's first large-scale detention and deportation policies, as well as government required identification cards, registry and surveillance. this is a page from an officers log from the late 19th century from an officer stationed in
california. it's located there on the california historical society. on page after page, this officer would keep photographic evidence or identification of every chinese immigrant in his vicinity and as you can see, he would hand write down name, age, occupation, any physical mark and also details about whether they had returned to china or reentered the united states. this is essentially our first government database or immigration. throughout the 1880s, times immigration was not just about newer, it's also about expelling those who are already here. you here in seattle know the history well because you know that very close to where we are now in 1886, the entire chinese
population of seattle was forcibly expelled. this happened just months after the entire population of chinese were also expelled. this is not a single episodes but they were part of a much larger campaign to drive out chinese and chinese-americans from the west. this illustration on the left is from harpers illustrated weekly and it shows the mob that forcibly went into as well as marching them down to main and first where they were forcibly put on to the steamer. on the side, i'm missing one illustration. there's also records at the university of washington in their archives of the governor
of the territory at that time and the records of chinese-americans who write to him, asking for help. one of the note says forks expulsion from seattle in 1886, chinese residents forcibly driven out from 200 to 300 now in imminent danger in seattle. we are asking that you secure protection for us. his history has real meaning and deep roots here than many other communities in the united states. by the 1890s, we turn to another tract. it's not from asia but rather from italy, poland, greece, hungary, all others from southern and central eastern europe are they both now by the countries leading scientists and
politicians. again, these are not extremists, they are the elite. universities and the help of congress. by 1893, a group of political and economic.the immigration restriction aid. their goal was the immigrant invasion to protect america for americans. the league became the country's first anti- immigrant float tank and lobbying firm. it pushed lawmakers to adopt new restrictions as a means of racial makeup of the united states. this is one of the roots of this book, america for americans. it's in the article in this particular organization, also by leading eugenicist, and also
president calvin coolidge 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 when america for americans really means. the ku klux klan claimed to speak for all americans by condemning the flood of foreigners who took advantage of the u.s., who pushed the nativeborn aside and teamed leading to foreign flags. this pamphlet titled "america for americans", it's red, white and blue cover featuring white, showing an enormous american flag. the message inside was clear.
immigrants are a threat to the united states. protestant americans are the only true americans. vigilance and regulation through the kkk's campaign of racial violence was the early way to protect and "america for americans". by the 1920s, congress established a national origin that kept the doors open to immigrants in western europe but closed it to almost everyone. countries like great britain, ireland, sweden received nearly 87% of the thesis while countries like poland, italy, czechoslovakia and russia received just 11%. the impact was great. for a country like italy, which had feds in 1921, over 222,000
immigrants, after they were put into place, the quarter for italy was only 3845. these law were championed by adolf hitler in the 1930s, he claims them as a model for europe. they've also been championed by someone more recently, white house senior advisor stephen miller. even refugees from europe could not find a way into the united states. may 1939, a group of over 900 refugees led europe in search of safety. they had visas to enter cuba but when they arrived, cuba refused entry to all but a few. next to the united states. we know from documents that survived that they were so close
to the sea of miami that time, they could see the light quickly in the sky. they sent cable after cable to franklin roosevelt who refused to answer. 254 perished in the holocaust. during the great depression, we also target another group, to get rid of the mexicans because part of local and federal policies, nearly 20% of the entire mexican and mexican american population in united states, equaling about 700,000 were pushed out of the country. including 60% were american citizens by birth.
this is a photograph published in the los angeles evening herald in 1932, which captures a chaotic theme of nearly 1400 mexicans who are waiting at the city's central station monitoring station to board a special south pacific deportation train for mexico. the deportation plans, many times during the year, 19311934 or so, and the caption for this photograph is very appropriate in showing how xenophobia works this way into every facet of our political culture. when i look at this photograph, individuals who are wearing their clothes were trying to regain some of the respect ability that these forced
deportations have stripped from them. the caption of this photograph written by the editor or perhaps the writer, describes a theory of mexicans dressed in sombreros with their baskets, guitars and blankets, to return home to the home and that they left so many years ago with joy. i find it fascinating, the ways in which even in the capture of a photograph, we can be spending these subliminal messages that continue to dehumanize immigrants. the next decade,
japanese-americans were the targets. 120,000 were forced from their homes and camps for the duration of the war, the united states believed they were not loyal to the united states to japan. despite mexican americans, two thirds were american citizens, just like mexican american the americanized. but in a part of u.s. history that's not as well-known as japanese and american incarceration, we know american xenophobia also spread beyond u.s. borders. at the same time the united states was incarcerating its own residence, the u.s. government was also orchestrating and financing the mass roundup of innocent men, women and children of latin america.
the justification was hemispheric security. japanese-americans were a threat to national security, japanese latin america was threatened to our hemispheric security. the goal was to make the nation southern border face infiltrations were attacked by the japanese enemy, including japanese people in the americas. but an unofficial goal that historians found out later is that this nasty deportation was meant to provide a supply of people of japanese ethnicity, and actions that some called hostage shopping who could be traded for americans stranded in the bar harbor. by the time the program ended, 1944, over 2200 men, women and
children of japanese ancestry including citizens and legal permanent residents of 12 latin american countries have been apprehended, deported and incarcerated in the united states. these grimaces of xenophobia during the great depression and world war ii, reveals xenophobia is easily weatherized during times of change and anxiety. that's one of the main pieces in this. but one of the most important and surprising things that i discovered by the end of this book 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. in times of struggle but also racial progress, even during the civil rights movement. after world war ii, the united states undergoes american
society, population and undergo a dramatic transformation in the way sweetie understand race and racism. expose it racism is falling out of favor, we know if there is no scientific basis to this idea of genetic superiority are in. that helps to pass and justify some of those agree just cause. support for liberalizing their immigration policy begins in the books world war ii area and peaks during the civil rights movement. 1958, president john f. kennedy outlined a radical vision for immigration reform in his book, a nation of immigrants. this photograph shows posters from a group called the american community of italian migration.
this is a group of vitale and americans amongst the most active proponents for liberalizing and reforming immigration policy because, as i showed in the earlier sample, they were amongst the most effective by those policies. they make an argument that is not just a civil rights, not just about equality but also good for foreign policy. lawmakers agree. october 1965, faith-based discrimination in american law, american immigration law is formally dismantled as part of the civil rights movement in front of the 1965 immigration. so this photograph shows ceremony that president johnson, he's got several dozen members of congress and their wives. they are in jersey city, they are on liberty island at the foot of the statue of liberty. he flew all of these marketmakers up to new jersey, he signed this bill. it shows the importance of this
immigration law. it also shows that lbj wanted to send this message that a new era was beginning. no longer worry going to discriminate immigration based on where someone came from but rather on what they could bring to the united states. he wanted to send a message that the u.s. recommitting itself to immigration. this is the thesis, the main understanding and framework that we've had about immigration in the past 50 years. this law was the law that ended at all. now we do not have discrimination and zeno, must be a thing of the past. but when i examined the debates around this, the compromises made but also the consequences,
i found a very different story. i found that while liberal and conservative lawmakers professed a commitment to civil rights and racial equality when they are talking about passing this law, they also use veiled and not so failed terms of black and brown immigrants flooding into the country, exacerbating existing race problems and americans and replacing fights. they went against altering the current racial makeup of the united states in 1955, and that was majority some even argued that to not change the immigration laws would constitute a form of reverse discrimination toward european and white american citizens. so the issue at hand was how to reframe immigration law that was not discriminatory based on national origin but that treated
every country the same. initial proposal was to preserve immigration from the western hemisphere and not to put any restrictions or caps on it. but more and more lawmakers believe that to allow immigration from the western hemisphere to come in completely unrestricted constitute a form of reverse discrimination toward european and white americans, in this message, we can see the undercurrent of white supremacy continuing my even during the civil rights movement. this idea that the u.s. is at its core, white and that europeans deserve presidents over others in relation to immigration and other matters. so the law was passed was designed to privilege european immigration. it also did put in place new restrictions in conjunction with other policies,
disproportionally impacted mexican jets. this included the first ever numerical caps on immigration from the western hemisphere and other measures that ended certain types of mexicans migration. particularly the program that brought 4.6 million migrants from mexico since world war ii. and also laws that required decreased application for mexicans only. in addition, the law affirmed the decades-old exclusion of immigrants of so-called alien afflicted sexual deviation. prohibited them from visas. this man, targeting homosexual immigrants was not listed until 1990. so a new intentional regime of restriction and white supremacy continued in immigration law but it was harder to stop, even undertook the language nondiscrimination and professed
commitment to civil rights. much to the lawmakers dismay however, the 1965 immigration act did not work out the way they had intended. the problem was that the lock restrictions, which gave mexico a quarter of 20000, a quota that amounted to 40% reduction in immigration 65 levels did not match economic needs. the u.s. still relied on mexican migrant workers and actively recruited them. but now there was no legal way for them to enter. resulted in undocumented immigration. in essence, the lock created a problem with they had not been run before. by 1986, estimated 3.2 million undocumented immigrants in the country.
in addition, the european immigrant, the lawmakers thought they stayed home. instead, migrants from asia, the caribbean and latin america came. by the 1980s, the new majority of new immigrants were not european. this makes of unintended consequences of immigrants who are not from europe and also increase of immigration has led the foundation for the debates we are having today. by the 1990s, xenophobia had become a central part of american politics and culture. conservative activists, writers and politicians like peter, daniel and patrick warns that immigrants did not assimilate, they took jobs away and would eventually dismay white
americans. they didn't target undocumented immigrants they railed against all immigrants as well as others in the caribbean, asia and africa. if you go through patrick's books like i did. [laughter] you can see that there's this growing hysteria in the way in which he is describing immigration as a threat. so that this book is the death of the west, another one is suicide of america, it's not just warning about immigration, it's a warning about multiculturalism, about the fact that white women are not having enough babies, there's a whole host of arguments but comes increasingly frederick, vance up by the time he publishes in the early 2000's.
but the new xenophobia was not just about race, it was also about power. in the 1990s, so-called war on illegal immigration proved to be an effective way driving voters to the polls. to electing conservative politicians and shifting the balance of power in the united states. shifting the balance of power on a number of issues, not just immigration but also gun control, abortion rights, welfare reform and the environment. by the end of the 20th century, this war had morphed into a term that we all recognize from border security. this was a bipartisan effort. became a normal part of our public discourse and translated into policy. one particular example is how
the actual act of migration became criminalized. beginning the 1980s and 1990s, anti- immigrant bob makers and strategists argue that undocumented immigration was not just a violation of immigration laws, it was a crime and it was a serious crime. those who committed it were serious criminals. they might go on to commit other serious crimes. rape, murder. they deserve to be harshly treated. the most punitive and cruel ways. also in the united states. this is the rationale behind so-called state rights initiative relating to immigration such as california's proposition 187. we just recognized the anniversary of this law. this bill to deny undocumented immigrants all public benefits including education and health services. it also deputized public sector
workers into checking the immigration status of people who were coming in, especially in including public school teachers who are supposed to check on the immigration status of their elementary school students. another law more recently passed is the 2010 law in arizona that allows police to determine the immigration status of someone erected or detained, a provision known as show me your papers. proposition 27 past but it was thrown out by the courts. however, its impact went on to influence other state laws like the arizona bill but also federal policy. it's under president bill clinton and congress that the
u.s. begins to militarize the us-mexico border, we see the increase in funding as well as structures along the border in this life. we also need to look at the laws. one clinton era law, the xenophobic view the undocumented immigrants were under serving criminals, this law then went on to barr them from receiving most public health services and benefits. that law is still in effect. another flaw expanded the category of people as criminal aliens by making both violent crimes and nonviolent crimes such as traffic violations and shoplifting, punishable by quotation. george w. bush pushed for comprehensive immigration form, he also famously moved the gop towards a place of latin
population. as part of a wing that were trying to argue that the future of the party was in a more racially diverse platform. he also increased the use of detention as a primary message of immigration enforcement in an attempt to deter other undocumented border crossings. this is the beginning of the zero-tolerance policy so much about under the trump administration. after 9/11, the bush administration moved all immigration and border immigration mechanisms out of the department of justice and into the newly the credit department of homeland security. this was a signal that immigration is not a welcoming aspect of the united states, no longer that welcoming and integrating immigrants, it was about protecting the united states from danger.
national security became a new codeword for racial, racial and religious campaign targeting muslim immigrants and muslim americans. this has resulted in rising levels of violence, in debt americans muslims since then. of course, in politics, republican candidates politicized, phobia as a way to mobilize voters with various anti- muslim messages and proposals thousand eight, the falls church the presidential candidate barack obama was not only foreign born but also muslim, more than desperate attempt a political rival but a sign of how damaging the labels muslim have become but also how effective it was in american politics. of course, one of the leaders in the so-called birther movement
was tv reality star, donald trump. [laughter] once in office, president obama continued to enforce and even expand on the policies of previous administrations. by the year the obama ministration, record number of individuals were apprehended and deported. this was obama's is calculated effort to compromise with republicans on immigration. they said enforce the border, secure the border first and then we'll come to the table. they never came to the table but the president removed a record number of people. in 2012, 119,000 people. ten times the number of people reported in 1991. obama was famously called
deported and chief by critics. so far, i try to answer the question how we got here and why xenophobia has endured. it's deeply rooted in our history, it's part of american racism, it drives american politics. but the obama years points to another hard truth about xenophobia. it explains why it has endured for so long. that is xenophobia is profitable. in the 19th century, anti- catholic preachers traveled around to sell out crowds, if a catholic became bestsellers like this best-selling book from the 1830s, maria monk disclosures, and expose, a fake expose, getting up big news, i suppose that told sexual abuse and
catholic conference. in the 1880s, companies send messages such as one that used taking up chinese immigrant is a way to promote laundry detergent. a chinese must go, the ad reads. we have no use for them since we've got this wonderful washer. what a blessing to tired mothers. it cost so little don't injure the quotes. fineprint, also assures users that the detergent will not turn the clouds yellow. these ways of selling xenophobia through product books, it does not compare at all to the process product today in the detention center. department of homeland security manages the largest immigrant detention system in the world.
it spends more on immigration enforcement than on all other federal enforcement agencies combined. more than $18 billion a year. too private companies, collections, corporation of america also known as cbo and geo have also cashed in. the $3 billion. the center for american congress and caps on american obama relation has found a well-funded u.s., public network of walkers, politicians, media personalities, news outlets and organizations have also spent upwards of $57 million promoting prejudice and hatred against muslims. xenophobia is an enduring part of racism, politics and
capitalism in the past and present. this explains how we got here. so by the time donald trump ran for president in 2015, calling for a complete and total shutdown of muslims coming to the united states, this idea mexican has criminals and muslims were terrorists invading thank united states has been well established and normalized in the media. many americans expressed outrage that these explicitly racist and hard truth is trump was just repeating a message that had been gaining traction for decades. what is new however, the all-out assault on immigration that he has launched entering office.
this has included a wide range of new policies. increased immigration interior a big, illumination of temporary protective status for many noncitizens, the travel ban on nationals, mostly muslims and the separation of families arriving at the us-mexico border without document, making it nearly impossible central american assignment speakers to gain entry. the refugee resettlement to the gamut states to their lowest level since we began resettling refugees in 1980. in 2016, when president obama left office, he raised the cap to this is all the presidential authority, he raised it to 110,000 refugees.
for 2020, that number is 18000. there's approval to barr immigrants and make those already in the u.s. and eligible for president public benefits like food stamps, public housi housing, medicaid, head start and the school lunch programs. this is currently blocked in the courts but the reports from organizations and advocates shows that immigrants are removing their names from these necessary benefits, they are not signing up, they are fearful that signing fees would somehow cause them to be deported. legal immigration, so much of the rhetoric is about so-called bad immigrants. the undocumented ones from
criminals and terrorists. we have to recognize is how this has affected every category of immigrants refugee seeking entry into the united states. legal immigration has dropped by 70% since 2017. this is where we are today. as xenophobia has become increasingly embedded in american politics and life, it is imperative that we fully understand it cost. what is at stake today? this is not just about immigrants, it's about all of us, it's about our democracy and it's about what it means to be americans. xenophobia is a threat to american democracy. it allows the will of a focal mobilized minority to dictate policy for the majority. public opinion polls consist that most americans rejected
donald trump's divisive rhetoric and opposed this xenophobic policies before and after the 2016 elections. majority supported legal status barr immigrants across the united states got documentation as children, dreamers. increase in legalization, they did not support the wall. it's also imperative to show these policies put in place by executive order, not by congressional, a path that would require witness testimony, research, compromise and vote. this means all of us have been kept out for shutout of the legislative process. xenophobia threatens national unity, it allows white supremacy
and white nationalism to come to the forefront of american politics and culture. we saw this in the 1920s from the ku klux klan support for immigration restrictions, merely echoing a rallying cry from "america for americans" that had other politicians and scientists were already saying. today, anti-immigrant and white nationalist fueled violence are on the rise. after the 2016 election, anti- muslim hate crimes increased by 19%. the second half of 2018, they had risen again by 83%. extremist related murders spiked racist rallies and demonstrations has grown. i don't need to remind you that we recently recognized the one year anniversary of the shooting in pittsburgh or in august 2019, 22 or shutdown on el paso : book by individuals who expressed
anti-semitic and racist sentiments. with so much at stake, understanding exactly how xenophobia works is fundamental to american democracy and for the creation of a more humane global society. it's also important to remember that this is not a problem that will go away if we elect someone new to fit in the white house. i wrote "america for americans" in order to try to answer this question of why and how we have allowed the united states to become a nation of xenophobia. what's 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 xenophobia to
endure? thank you very much. [applause] [laughter] >> sometimes when i talk, i can see all of you in the crowd and i think, i've got to write something. you feel the same way i felt. my husband described this book, maybe there are harry potter fans out there? [laughter] it really felt like something that i needed to do. i was not planning on writing this book. but for me, it felt like a
necessary action, something i could do. something that only a few of us are trained to do but it really has literally made me sick, it is a horrific history. i said before, when i typically write the epilogue, i try to end on a hopeful note. there is some hope in the epilogue, to but there are many times when i felt like the most appropriate ending would be to simply just dropped the mic and leave the room. [laughter] it would devolve into, i am this book. i have some ideas about what we can do but i'm not as helpful.
certainly not as helpful as i would like to be or have been in the past. that being said, i think there's time for our microphones and i would be happy to hear your ideas. >> i'm pessimistic about the future of this subject. my parents came from italy in. [sobbing] 1914. the only way anyone under the age of 15 in the future can have any idea what's going on, we
have to change the curriculum in this country. it has to happen. in children, i more open to new ideas now than ever before. not just the idea of climate change, but do you see any movement in our national system towards letting kids know about this horrific history of this country? is anyone advocating for that? >> absolutely. thanks for that question. i agree, first of all, we need to pay our teachers more so they can do more. [applause] because these types of research is not going to be part of core curriculum. it takes extra effort on behalf of teachers to seek this out and
to then adopt lesson plans to their classes. i like to shadow to an organization right here in seattle, the japanese-american history organization that's doing phenomenal work on education at all levels i just met with one of their executives this morning who was sharing with me some of their efforts are clearly one of the goals is to make sure japanese-american incarceration remains a central part of our teaching of american history but it has expanded to look at immigration and racism and more generally, the challenge i think is that gap between many of the organizations who are creating curricula and overworked,
underpaid teachers who are facing so many increasing demands on their time and energy and resources. so there is great curriculum out there, they're getting it to teachers, i think it is much harder but thank you for the question. >> rev the things you mentioned was that you should've called into question the idea of crisis and immigration but i wanted to get your thoughts on to what extent given that we know that climate change is going to result in hundreds of millions of new refugees much what extent does that language now justify? and you see it changing any conclusions you draw? >> good question. one of the, i think actually the last sentence i write in the book is that for so many years,
we have considered migration the crisis. i would like to reset the terms on the debate and name xenophobia the crisis. we do know that there are record numbers of people who are on the move. every year, the un calls out a new report on migration for upwards of 70 million people, both internally displaced and also externally displaced. displaced but within still the country of their birth. but we also can see how, in response to this growing movement of people but it's not just the united states, we are in this global crisis of xenophobia where countries are erecting either paper walls or wheel fences or creating so many deterrents to migration and paying other countries too, i
hate to use this term but warehouse migrants so we know that the longest running refugee camp that has served refugees as a refugee camp in kenya. there are three generations of somalis who for have been living in that camp with no opportunity to leave. these policies are perhaps very politically expedient, like i've made this before, it certainly got voters to the polls but in the long run, they're not going to help solve either a growing situation of people on the move or climate change. you really need to think about these in conjunction with each other. that is probably the greatest challenge facing proctors like
u.s. but all of us and if we continue to approach this challenge from a perspective of xenophobia, a fear and hatred, it's not going to serve any of us. we will eventually have to rely on those we consider strangers in the future. we will all the interdependent and much more humane and global solutions that i hope will come in the future. >> the irony that stephen miller, one of the worst in the administration, his family escaped the holocaust. what is that come from? 's paranoia or a strong country that so many, especially asian
gifts we've had and all kinds of things, european who came because of the holocaust. they escaped europe. the thought in this country that people who have contributed are a danger understand that kind of paranoia. >> that's another one of the questions that i ask as well. it's not just heller, he is still there. so many others have been forced out. he is effective. it's not just him. this is very much part of the history. what's recently targeted one of the ways in which they become american from one of the ways in which they mistreat their loyalty and patriotism is to turn on i have my transition
from anti- irish catholic anti- chinese go from letting quiets on the east coast and real discrimination that irish-americans felt and experienced to a few decades later, especially here on the west coast, they are the city's mayors, state senators and they are at the forefront of the racial chinese but also at passing clouds. this is where, this is america unfortunately but this is also part of how racism works. >> it affects all of us. you can't be comfortable. feel discomfort. >> this is where knowing our history and knowing that each
it might be a way for us to think about it so we can also realize it. >> so i have many champions or people that are heroines and heroes that i was always drawn to as a student reading writers like mary and 10 or reading about the life of social worker jane addams or the work of carlos who is on to really question this idea of america and promoted a much more inclusion in america so literature that can be a really effective way for students to imagine another version of the united states. the place where i do gain hope from and where i know that the presence that we live in is much different than the past.
and going to, participating in the many immigrant rights marches that have been taking place since 2015, because when i go to these marches i can see a broad cross-section of america. i see that it is inter-racial and its interfaith enda cross generation. it's a soccer mom and the kids from the housing projects. i know that as a historian that has not happened before on immigration issues. we know that no one spoke out against japanese-american incarceration. there were a few defenders of mexicans during the great depression but nothing like this mass movement. so that's what we have to keep going on but we also have to
hold our politicians accountable for real durable and humane coalition. my fear is that we have gone so far in these dreams on all of these immigration issues that simply resetting and going back to 2016 first of all that's going to be extremely hard in where we are now but i also firmly believe that that's not going to be enough given what's owing to be faced. that was sort of a yeah no i'm not, sorry. [laughter] >> hello. i just wanted to as these final three questions but erika will be signing books afterwards.
>> i have some dear friends who are chinese canadian from vancouver. it's an illusion that canada handles immigration issues better and are reopened to running from them? >> one of the things that candidate dead after we passed our exclusion act was they tried to do it in a much more polite way. [laughter] they also did that with japanese and southeastern inclusion. they are almost the same for the laws that are in place in places now like canada or australia are merit-based. there's a lot of debate over whether that's the way that we want to go. merit-based meaning actually president trump is not a fan of family reunification which is
what the 1965 acts put in place. he calls it "chain" migration and he advocates for a merit-based proposal, i think one that is more restrictive than what canada and australia have but it is a policy that has both supporters and detractors because of the way in which critics say it would siphon off the best-educated most skilled immigrants from their home countries that were simply looking at immigrants as an economic in an economic function rather than a broad-based system that would allow people who have very few skills to come and take advantage of what we have offered to so many of our ancestors who came with very
little and were able to make something for themselves and their children and grandchildren so it's a yes and they know kind of answer. >> i'm. this book was extremely helpful because you hold up a mirror to the truth. unless we are able to look at the hard truth we are never going to beat able to get anywhere. my question is one of the things that offend me along the way, most of all tourism is just horrible but at one point obama defended himself. i found that really offensive because he could have said there's nothing wrong with being muslim and the thing that mccain was praise when the woman said he's a muslim and he said no maam he's a good person.
i just wonder that kind of internalizing of a phobia that i didn't feel those responses dealt with too much. >> that echoes very nicely with the answer to your question about the ways in which we have i think you use the right term internalize that the ways in which both we have a long history of islamaphobia in the united states, much longer than post-9/11 so it's easy for us to sort of open up the playbook once again and use it after 9/11. but it also does point to the ways in which white xenophobia does is it forces us to as we demonize one group it's almost like our only other option is to
use the rubric of good immigrants, bad immigrant. it leaves us with very few options to open up a much more humane and inclusive rationale of seeing things so we can say right. the opposite of the young document against the dreamer so yes i came in without documentation but it's their home. they have made a home for themselves. this is america. we are americans and we want to stay in america. one of the challenges that i think dreamers and activists face is they don't just want a clean trey that would only give benefits to them. they also see a much-needed plan for reform so central american asylum-seekers could find a
pathway in so we don't diminish refugee resettlement so it's almost meaningless in a time of growing numbers. it's a zero-sum game where we are left with crumbs and we need to be able to have that conversation and to call that it's not just that you aren't -- but there is nothing wrong with being muslim. we need to take that next step further and we need to make sure the solutions are not going to continue to divide and hold up one group over another. that's what's going to be challenging a thing. >> last question. >> you spoke a little bit earlier about how seem a phobia is very profitable and i was wondering if you could comment on a lot of what's going on in corporate america.
wayfarers furnishing -- and microsoft as one is 10 billion-dollar contract. individuals who i would argue vote with the dollar want to push back as much as we can on that. >> i was at google in 2017 the week that they were organizing the tech walkout in relationship to the muslim ban so i agree that there is this growing movement of reaction in protest and using employees and also some of the leadership, using the corporate days to send the message of rebuke about these immigration policies. here's the bad part now. there is a growing use of tech in immigration enforcement and here in seattle, not just here
in seattle but it's particularly relevant, amazon is one of the most important in leading companies in spearheading some of that software and technology that is very concerning to not only privacy experts but those in the immigrant rights movement who are fearful that the data that is being used will also be shared with i.c.e. and others and help make it easier to track migrants. so it's part of that profitable argument that i was making but to speak to your other plan about what can we do i think the actions of not only marching in
the streets, supporting immigrant advocacy organizations, supporting the organizations who are filing and challenging in the courts, so many of these laws like the aclu supporting refugee resettlement organizations obviously communicating with our elected officials but also voting with our dollars. i think those are all things that we can do on an everyday basis while we wait for the 2020 election's to unfold. thank you so much for these great questions. [applause]
>> thank you for >> hi everybody. thank you so much for coming and filling up the house. i am the editor at the "washington post" which is a home for ideas as his arguments and criticism including nonfiction book coverage and i'm very lucky and you are very lucky to be here tonight with alexis wichowski who is the author of "the information trade" how big tech conquers countries, challenges our rights and transforms our world. can you hear me without without the mic? know, okay. can you hear me with the mic? also know.