Fear of Emigrants

There really is nothing new under the sun. The news is full of stories of the New Year outrages around the main railway station in Cologne by middle Eastern gangs and now Swedish police face allegations of a cover up over mass sex assaults at the We Are Sthlm festival in both 2014 and 2015 by a gang of youths — reportedly mostly from Afghanistan.

In the years after the American war of independence there was a great fear of being overrun by mass European emigration.

“Federalists mistrusted foreigners in general and immigrants in particular, especially of the poor and non-English variety. Alarmed by the numbers of Germans, French, and Irish pouring each year into their cities and towns, Federalist politicians had proposed a ban on anyone born outside the United States holding government office, along with a twenty-dollar naturalization fee for immigrants — no small amount at a time when an American farmhand might get by on six to twelve dollars a month (remind you of something the Danes are proposing to do?).

“In July 1797, Congressman Harrison Gray Otis of Massachusetts sounded the alarm on immigration in what became known as the ‘Wild Irish’ speech, warning that while he had nothing against ‘honest and industrious’ immigrants, the country could not afford to ‘invite hordes of wild Irishmen’: ‘The mass of vicious and disorganizing characters who could not live peaceably at home, and who, after unfurling the standard of rebellion in their own countries, might come hither to revolutionize ours.’ ”



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