December 2006 Archives

Holiday Season

By Andy Urban, PhD candidate in History at the University of Minnesota. IHRC Affiliated Faculty

It often seems that this blog dedicates much of its space and time to trying to debunk popular perceptions surrounding threats associated with immigration and immigrants. Seemingly every week some politician or group espouses malicious rhetoric about closing the Mexican-United States border or how in 2050 English will cease to exist as the language of the United States. It is essential to engage these voices on an intellectual terrain. There is no doubt in my mind that an important function this blog serves is to try to make sense of news’ stories pertaining to immigration, which can lack historical context and perspective.

That said…I thought it would be nice to write about immigration in a more pleasant light. Since it is the holiday season, why not celebrate immigration, ethnicity, and the multicultural urban area we find ourselves living in. Below are some suggestions on how residents of the Twin Cities might take advantage of the season to delve into the rich culture of immigration and ethnicity that thrives around them.

Producers, Consumers and …Raids

By Donna R. Gabaccia, Director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota

The main immigration story last week was a string of “raids? on Swift meat-packing plants that employ foreigners working who lack proper documentation. It’s a rare occasion when staid New York Times reporters and radical bloggers agree about anything. Yet most everyone writing about these events agreed they were “raids.?

Immigration and Health in the News

By Andy Urban, PhD candidate in History at the University of Minnesota. IHRC Affiliated Faculty

A recent article in the Star Tribune “A freeze in the nursing pipeline? discusses how the pool of 50,000 special visas set aside for foreign nurses and their families has been fully utilized, and how the United States Congress will be considering whether to pass an act allotting additional visas of this sort. The primary recipients of these nursing visas are Filipina women, who take classes that are modeled on the education they would receive if they did their training in American schools, and then are recruited by American hospital and private care representatives abroad.

Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free?

By Donna R. Gabaccia, Director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota

Americans have long associated immigration with the images that Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus? affixed to the pedestal supporting the Statue of Liberty—images of the “tired? and of the “poor? and of “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.?

Historians now dispute whether the immigrants of the past were either tired or particularly poor. Most were working age people, full of energy, and in possession of sufficient cash to pay their own passages, as the truly poor of their times were not. Today, those images of huddled masses seem even less appropriate than they did a century ago.

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