“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
In the early 20th century, immigrants were, if not welcome, mostly tolerated. They provided an essential labor force to build a rapidly growing country. They were mostly poor people looking for a better life, and many of them had to sell all of their possessions and borrow money just to get here. They didn’t travel first class.
Fourth class travel was often called “Steerage Class” because the passengers were crowded like cattle. But that was nearly a hundred years ago. Immigrants and the way they travel have changed drastically.
Instead of Europeans arriving by ship, today’s immigrants are mostly Mexicans entering on foot or in vehicles.
But sometimes conditions aren’t any better.
Recently, Mexican police found 513 people squeezed together in two trucks just outside Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas – a painful 18-hour-drive away from the nearest US border.
They were caught when the trucks sped through a vehicle scanner at a police checkpoint. After the incredible X-ray image came up on the screen, police gave chase, finding 240 people in one truck and 273 crammed into the other.
The vacationers are being given spacious apartments before being repatriated to their home countries.
An elementary school in Arizona is giving the Michael Jackson treatment to their poster boys. The mural featuring the faces of kids who attend the school has been the subject of constant daytime drive-by racist screaming, from adults, as well as a radio talk-show campaign (by an actual city councilman, who has an AM talk-radio show) to remove the black student’s face from the mural, and now the school principal has ordered the faces of the Latino and Black students pictured on the school wall to be repainted as light-skinned children.
The Arizona Republic reports:
The project’s leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children’s ethnicity. But the school’s principal says the request was only to fix shading and had nothing to do with political pressure.
The “Go on Green” mural, which covers two walls outside Miller Valley Elementary School, was designed to advertise a campaign for environmentally friendly transportation. It features portraits of four children, with a Hispanic boy as the dominant figure.
R.E. Wall, director of Prescott’s Downtown Mural Project, said he and other artists were subjected to slurs from motorists as they worked on the painting at one of the town’s most prominent intersections.
“We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars,” Wall said. “We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics).”
City Councilman Steve Blair spearheaded a public campaign on his talk show at Prescott radio station KYCA-AM (1490) to remove the mural.
In a broadcast last month, according to the Daily Courier in Prescott, Blair mistakenly complained that the most prominent child in the painting is African-American, saying: “To depict the biggest picture on the building as a Black person, I would have to ask the question: Why?”