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Immigration is and has been one of the largest concerns of most Americans. I don’t believe we should open up our borders to everyone no matter their past or what they represent. The question is whether we are handling the problem by proposing a giant wall, creating a military-like force to round up illegal immigrants, or simply ignoring the problem. I don’t have an answer to this question but I, and all of us have history to show what was done in the past and what the results were.

Immigration is not a new issue in our nation. On the west coast, Asian immigrants were discriminated against because it was thought they would take over this newest part of the New World. On the east coast, the Irish were first discriminated against because the people who were now part of a generation who came before them thought they were lazy and drank too much. Then the Italians came and the people who were assimilated into our society thought they could not be trusted and would become a part of the organized crime that would eventually take over the morals and ethics of our society. Afro-Americans, who arrived in our nation well before our nation became a nation, were thought to literally be less than people. In all reality, they are still being discriminated against because of the color of their skin.

Today, people who are looking for a better life have emigrated out of South America, Central America, and Mexico are thought to bring drugs and crime to people who now live in our nation. Sadly, Afro-Americans, because of the color of their skin, are still suffering through this type of discrimination.

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I was fortunate to have had a great teacher. In fact, if you talk with people of any generation most have had a person in their education life they will always remember because of what they represented. His name was Mr. Dwyer who taught Russian and Asian History. Being the math / science kid I took these courses because I basically had to in order to graduate. He taught me something I had never heard of before. He taught me how history basically repeats itself even though the characters involved change. He taught me how what happens to other people will basically happen to you.

He also gave me a poster depicting a comment by Pastor Niemoeller who was a victim of the Nazis. Pastor Niemöller was a German theologian and Lutheran pastor. He is best known for his opposition to the Nazi regime during the 1930s. He starts out by stating that, “First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Since I am a man who has been a citizen of our nation for multiple generations I can see why the German people didn’t care about what was happening to the Jews.

Pastor Niemoeller continue his prophesy by stating, “Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist. I always assumed that you could be affiliated with any political organization as long as you did not hurt anyone. Since I am mainstream politically with all of my family and friends there is little to worry about. “Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.” I believe in trade unions because they basically help the workers of my nation and I am sure in today’s political atmosphere unionists have little to fear. At least I don’t think so.

His last statement concerned me the most and now terrifies me today. Actually, I am not afraid because I am old but I fear for my daughter and my grandchildren. “Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

I still believe this could not happen in the United States of America. Even in today’s chaotic and partisan political climate, I pray this could never happen in the United States of America. Could it?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

James Fabiano

James G. Fabiano Born: July 28, 1950 A retired teacher and writer living in York, Maine Education: College of the Holy Cross University of New England University of New Hampshire

 

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