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Perils of Unrestricted Immigration

November 30, 2009

“That there are difficulties and even dangers ahead I do not doubt. The most serious seems to me to be the passing of the frontier and the coincident coming to our shores of great hordes of unassimilable immigrants. The frontier, the great manufactory of Americanism, ceased to be in 1890. From 1880 to the present time eighteen million immigrants of utterly alien stock have been added to our population. They come not from the Baltic region but from Africa, Asia, and especially from the negroid population of Southern Italy.

America welcomes and will always welcome immigrants whose social and political ideals are of kindred nature with our own. But whether we can continue unharmed to be the dumping-ground of alien stock is at least questionable. If these immigrants came as children, the case would be different, though education can do little more than bring out what is already latent: breed, at least, is more than pasture. But every day in the year there land on our shores at least one thousand men and women not only un-citizenized but incapable of being citizenized. They go to the crowded centres where the Americanizing influences are weakest and the disintegrating influences strongest.

It was Chateaubriand who said: “Every institution goes through three stages—utility, privilege, abuse.” Unrestricted or nearly unrestricted immigration served at one time the ends of utility; the great steamship companies converted it to a privilege; and it has now become a national abuse. We are imperiling our heritage of idealism because we are watering the nation’s life-blood.”

(Our Heritage of Idealism, C. Alphonso Smith, Address (excerpt) delivered at the University of South Carolina, January 11, 1912)

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 30, 2009 5:14 pm

    It will be our downfall.

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