U.S. Immigration Act of 1882, DO NOT Send Your Tired, Your Poor,Your Wretched


From 1880 to 1930 the immigrant population in the United States doubled. A third of these immigrants were Irish while another third were German. In American history this is known as the “Great Wave”. The racism that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was not reserved for Chinese only. American citizens were equal opportunity racists. They didn’t really like the idea of any more foreigners at all becoming their neighbors. These huge numbers of immigrants inflamed American society to openly express their hostility with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1882.

Hot on the heels of the Chinese Exclusion Act that was signed into law May 6, 1882, the Immigration Act was signed into law just three months later, August 3, 1882. The Forty-Seventh Congress of the United States, Session I, Chapter 376, 1882, specifically entitled the act “An act to regulate Immigration”, created the following changes to current immigration policies which allowed free, white male immigrants, felons convicted of political crimes, all descendants of slaves, and both genders of Chinese immigrants, citizenship eligibility and prohibited from immigration prostitutes and Chinese laborers:

  • Fifty cent tax was levied on every immigrant upon arrival at a U.S. port for the purpose of creating a fund to defray the national expense of regulating immigration
  • Secretary of Treasury was authorized to execute provisions of the act, including support and relief of immigrants who arrive in need
  • Every immigrant is to receive a physical examination and will not be allowed entry if found to be a lunatic, convict, idiot or unable to care for themselves
  • Secretary of Treasury was authorized to create agencies and contract with private companies to aid enforcement of the act
  • Immigrants determined to be convicts (other than political crimes) are to be deported to their country of origin

It sounds like a rather benign piece of legislation. However, when you consider the fact that many of the Irish immigrants were financially destitute as they immigrated to escape starvation from the Great Potato Famine, it is easy to see they would qualify for denial of entry due to being unable to care for themselves. At this time in history many Germans were motivated to immigrate to the New World because of civil unrest at home that resulted in a serious unemployment problem. They, too, would then most likely arrive to a U.S. entry point with little or no money, putting them into the “unable to care for themselves” category as well. This law was not so benign and general as it then seems at first glance.

Once again the gringa has learned what the public school classroom would not teach her. America was really not the hope for the oppressed masses throughout the world that it attempted to portray itself as. The sonnet, “The New Colossus”, written by poet Emma Lazarus, featured on the Statue of Liberty plaque, contains the following words,

“Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome;…

“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,”

Unfortunately, the United States is guilty of false advertising. None of that is true, except, maybe the exile part. Convicted felons of political crimes were welcome. But, the poor? Huddled masses of the oppressed desiring freedom? Immigrants considered “wretched refuse” in their native country? The homeless? Heck no, America didn’t want any of them. The image the United States projected was a lie. The only desirable immigrant was one who was intelligent and financially stable, and preferably not Catholic, like those damn Irish.

 

Sources:

http://blogs.census.gov, ‘The “Second Great Wave” of Immigration: Growth of the Foreign-Born Population Since 1970‘, posted February 26, 2014, written by: Elizabeth M. Grieco

http://www.ushistory.org, “Irish and German Immigration”

http://library.uwb.edu, “1882 Immigration Act”

http://www.legallanguage.com, “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)

 

Photo credit: www.slideshare.net


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, The Racist Agenda Behind American Propaganda of Liberty and Equality


After the United States had passed the Fourteenth Amendment on July 9, 1868, declaring that all persons born in the United States are citizens, entitled to equal liberty and protection, then later passed the Naturalization Act of 1870, specifically section 7, declaring all African descendants the right to citizenship, this gringa thought that the U.S. was moving away from creating immigration policies that were motivated by power and greed politics. Unfortunately, the administrations of Presidents Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877) and Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881) seemed to follow a capitalist economic agenda that profited from racist policies designed to exploit a specific immigrant labor class.

The image the United States portrayed to the world of having the moral high ground as a nation of liberty built on Christian principals was, in reality, a sham to dupe the masses. The passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, along with friendly political conversations between Hayes and a racist national labor party leader, reveal the truth behind the wholesome propaganda America peddled to an unsuspecting China during the time of Reconstruction.

Immigration requirements in effect before the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 were:

  • Eligible for citizenship were free, white, male immigrants, both genders of African descendants of U.S. slaves, and both genders of Chinese peoples.
  • Specifically excluded from immigration were felons (except for political prisoners), prostitutes of all races, and Chinese men, commonly called “coolies”, who immigrated under a labor contract

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was a series of stipulations to affect the conditions of the Burlingame-Seward Treaty of 1868, signed under President Andrew Johnson’s term. That treaty, establishing favored nation status for China, opened up the borders of the United States in order that the Chinese could freely immigrate. In the course of the fourteen years that elapsed between the Treaty and the Exclusion Act, what happened for public sentiment to become so hostile to the Chinese peoples? To understand, we must go back in time seventeen years prior to 1882.

1865 was the year of Union victory over the South in the Civil War. However, this was no time for celebration. The end of the war simply meant that the nation had to be rebuilt. Half of the nation, the South, had been stripped of the labor force that had created its wealth when slavery was abolished. Property values plummeted and vital railroad arteries were damaged. The administration of President Ulysses S. Grant, elected in 1868, would be responsible for overseeing the rebuilding of a nation.

How, then, would the country be able to afford to rebuild? President Andrew Johnson’s great idea was to turn to China and import cheap labor, hence the Burlingame-Seward Treaty of 1868. When Grant took office the following year, his ideas on how to fund the rebuilding of a nation either failed or were exposed for their corruption. One of his first bright ideas was to sign the Public Credit Act in March 1869. Yes, President Grant, let’s solve the problem of not having enough money by paying for goods and services with imaginary money. The gringa thinks Grant might have been a great general, but he obviously never balanced a checkbook.

Later in the same year, Grant would get himself in trouble again by enabling guys, who were already millionaires, to artificially inflate the gold market so they could make themselves some more money. One million dollars in 1869 would be worth about $17.5 million today. Gee, I guess Grant’s buddies, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, were high maintenance if what they already had was not enough so they felt it was okay to rip off a nation of people who were struggling to recover from the destruction of their country. Does the term “war profiteer” come to mind? Yep, it’s nothing new. So, as Grant went along with the plan and the price of gold rose, he ordered the Treasury to sell a big mess of it which then caused the bubble to burst. Wham, take that hard-working Americans scraping to make a dime.

And if that wasn’t a big enough insult to the whole of America that Grant was supposed to be working for, he then got into bed with Union Pacific Railroad during the 1872 re-election campaign, which he needed lots of money to fund. As President, Grant was the leader of the Republican party, thus, whether directly involved or not, he was still accountable for the actions of the other Republicans in office. Oakes Ames, Republican House member from Massachusetts, distributed amongst fellow Congressmen shares of the construction company Credit Mobilier, a company contracted to build a large portion of the Union Pacific Railroad. Ames stated that the stock was “where it will produce the most good to us.” Among the recipients of these shares was the incumbent Vice President, a Vice Presidential candidate, the current Speaker of the House, and future President James Garfield. All being Republican cronies of Grant’s, I find it hard to believe Grant didn’t know how his campaign was being bankrolled.

Shortly after Grant won Presidential re-election in 1872, the railroad building business roared into a construction frenzy. No big surprise there. Unfortunately, this was the catalyst for one of the worst, and longest, economic depressions the U.S. had ever experienced up to that time. The gringa says, “Muchas gracias, Grant.”

Now, what would be the big plan to get all of these angry Americans off the backs of the political leaders? Hmm, how about fanning the flames of a race and labor war? That might do the trick! Seems to me that was the strategy of the Grant administration, and, later, President Rutherford B. Hayes followed his lead. I think, perhaps, presidential thinking went something like this, “So, after reaching out to another nation and selling them on the propaganda that America is the land of the free, where everyone is equal and enjoys equal protection of their liberty, thus tricking them into immigrating so we could exploit them for cheap labor, now we don’t need them for labor anymore. Instead, to get the heat off our backs, we can use them for a scapegoat and get rid of them for good. I mean, after all, we are actually capitalist racists, aren’t we? We don’t really like their kind anyway, do we? I mean, that was how we were able to exploit them in the first place without bad feelings weighing down our conscience, wasn’t it? We made a huge profit, after all, didn’t we?” Yep, that seems to me to be the very line of logic all of America eventually followed thanks to the leadership of President Ulysses S. Grant. What a model of all things American.

In 1868 when the treaty was signed allowing for open immigration of all Chinese, Reconstruction was in full swing but, soon after, the country was beginning to feel the sting of Grant’s cronyism that drove his economic policy. The California Gold Rush was winding down and the Chinese were finding work in the construction of the railroad. Despite the fact that only about .002 percent of the American population was Chinese, they were still blamed for dropping wage rates and all the problems with the American economy. Sounds familiar to the cries heard round the country today about how the undocumented workers are “stealing” all the jobs. There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to political disinformation campaigns.

I mean, I see plenty of “for hire” signs and want ads. I’m pretty confident there are enough jobs to go around. If you are having trouble getting a job, rather than poke your finger at an undocumented worker, go take a good hard look in the mirror. If an undocumented worker can travel to another country, not speak the language, and have no legal identification yet still manage to find a job, then why the heck can’t an American citizen, with all the privileges and advantages that goes with such a position, find a darn job? Methinks the problem is NOT with the undocumented worker. But, I digress, back to the Chinese labor problem of the 1880’s.

So, now it’s been established that the country, after the economic distress of the Reconstruction period, is slowly starting to enjoy a little progress. With the construction of the railroad and what that will mean to moving goods across the country, hopes are high for the economy to grow. The racist opportunists in Washington were now primed to get rid of the Chinese so the real Americans could keep the expected future wealth amongst themselves. So, by the time 1878 rolled around and President Grant had been replaced by President Hayes (big difference), how do we know Hayes felt this way? Well, he had a meeting with firebrand, labor leader, Dennis Kearney, who was well known for his passionate racism against the Chinese. This meeting, as well as many of Dennis Kearney’s stirring speeches, became a recorded, historical document. Back then, political correctness was not around so U.S. politicians opined freely and openly about racism, as indicated by the following excerpts from Kearney’s book “Speeches of Dennis Kearney, Labor Champion”:

  • From Kearney’s speech to Boston Workingmen’s party August 5, 1878: “The workingmen of California are becoming overpressed. The capitalistic thief and land pirate of California, instead of employing the poor white man of that beautiful and golden State, send across to Asia, the oldest despotism on earth, and there contracting with a band of leprous Chinese pirates, brought them to California, and now uses them as a knife to cut the throats of honest laboring men in that State. A Chinaman will live on rice and rats… They will sleep one hundred in a room that one white man wants for his wife and family… and every man for the past fifteen years… that was elected upon the workingmen’s platform… was chosen upon an anti-Chinese plank.”
  • From Kearney’s speech to Boston Workingmen’s party August 5, 1878: “by the earth and all its inhabitants, and by hell beneath us, the Chinese must go”
  • From Kearney’s speech to Boston Workingmen’s party August 8, 1878: “Let me caution working men not to employ Chinese laundry men. They are filthy; they spit on clothes, and if they have any disease it is transmitted to men and women through such washed clothing when the body perspires. Do you want leprosy here?”
  • From Kearney’s speech to Boston Workingmen’s party August 8, 1878: “We will do it with our bullets if our ballots fail. We will drive these moon-eyed lepers back by steamship and by sail”
  • From Kearney’s speech to Lynn, Massachusetts, Workingmen’s party August 12, 1878: “They are going to import 1,500 pig-tailed lepers into Chicago”
  • From Kearney’s speech to Lynn, Massachusetts, Workingmen’s party August 12, 1878: “All we ask of you is to help us to rid that beautiful golden State of these lepers”
  • August 28, 1878, discussion between President Rutherford B. Hayes and Dennis Kearney: “Kearney – ‘Well, Mr. Hayes, how do you account for the depression in business?’ Hayes then with a great many graceful gestures, and with much earnestness, discussed the subject, speaking about the war, the extravagance of flush times, and the reaction. ‘I think’, he [Hayes] continued, ‘it is at its lowest ebb. I think the tide will soon turn, even without a war. Every fifteen or twenty years, as regular as the ebb of the tide, there is a depression in business that is hard to account for…’ Hayes nodded, and answered, ‘Yes, Mr. Kearney, and without agreeing with you in a great many propositions you advance, I wish to say this: That your going about the country and speaking in the manner you do you are doing good work, noble service. You are concentrating the minds of the people on these evils, and the people are bound to rectify the great wrongs perpetrated by the system growing out of the war.’”

Hayes was more than willing to let the Chinese be the scapegoat for the failure of the American economy to thrive. If he had been more interested in dealing with the truth in an effort to correct the real reasons for the depressed national economy, the need to deflect the anger of the masses toward the Chinese might not have been necessary.

The treaty with China had enabled American industry to profit during Reconstruction by effectively enslaving the Chinese with extremely low wages. These fiscal politics resulted in labor class competition between the Chinese and the homegrown U.S. labor class, a class with a standard of living that could not be maintained if they accepted lower pay on par with what the Chinese were making. Rather than American labor recognize the right for any person, Chinese included, to determine what they will or will not find acceptable as a wage, they chose racist demonization of the Chinese. Although the Chinese were made out to be the villains, it was American politics of greed and power that were actually to blame for America’s economic woes.

What has the gringa learned from all this?  It’s all propaganda that America is equal opportunity. This is a bill of goods sold to the average working person who is too busy grubbing away at their regular jobs, paying the bills and tending to their family to bother with effecting change of the real America, a nation designed and orchestrated by wealthy elites who continue to capitalize off the backs of the working class. And if they get exposed and the labor class brings down the heat on them, they in turn sow the seed of conflict in order to create class wars so that the population starts blaming each other rather than staying focused on the truth.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I enjoy my working class life. I’m just tired of die-hard Patriots getting apoplectic and calling people nasty names like “unpatriotic” when someone speaks the truth about how America really operates and how it was really designed. I’m not advocating class warfare, I’m just saying the labor class has been purposely created and carefully groomed and maintained for the purpose of enriching those who created it and their successors. The truth is the truth whether it’s a pleasant truth or a harsh truth. Stating a harsh truth is not criticizing, it’s simply pointing out what’s true. I, for one, do not go around setting myself up to be lied to. I’ll be the first to tell you to shut up if I think I’m being fed a line of horse crap. So, the propaganda that the founding fathers of America were these high-minded, religious freedom fighters who were wanting to build a new nation where everyone could be equal and free is a bunch of nonsense. I say, “Shut up! No they were not!”

In my opinion they were a bunch of rebellious British subjects who had wealth that they wanted to protect and keep private rather than let the King claim it as crown property. The only way to do that would be for them to flee the kingdom with their wealth and travel to a place out of the King’s reach. The best chance they had to leave the country with all of their wealth in their possession, would be to go with the King’s blessing. I think their cunning plan was to convince the King that they were volunteers who wanted to settle the colonies of the New World. And, so, they ran off, far off, far enough that their king could not effectively monitor what they were actually up to. Then, upon arrival,  they cried foul due to religious oppression and began the propaganda campaign to brainwash the masses into cooperating with their desire to create a capitalist nation.

Why do American historians try to convince us of untruths simply because they sound more noble? Is there anything so terribly wrong with the Puritans running off in order to keep their hard earned money to themselves? I don’t see the need to lie about the Puritans’ motives.

A careful study of Britain’s religious climate at that time tells a different story than the one our historians credit to the Puritans. The reality is that the first colonial arrivals at Plymouth in 1620 were ruled over by King James I who was a devout Protestant. He desired to blend the faiths of Anglicanism, Catholicism and Presbyterianism in order to create a sense of national unity.  The Puritans real issue of religious intolerance was not that England was intolerant, but, that they, the Puritans, were intolerant of anything resembling Catholicism. The religious intolerance argument then falls flat with the gringa. So, if they didn’t come here to escape religious intolerance, it had to be the money. Nothing else makes sense.

Judging by the subsequent actions throughout the years of colonization in the New World, it would seem that the true motivator for the Puritans was that they wanted to keep their personal wealth. The Puritans were not victims. They ran off to the new world, seeded their wealth in the fledgling economies of new colonies, then nurtured these economies until they were strong enough to finance a war in order to completely break the yoke of the crown. And, they designed the laws of the colonies, and eventually the country, to benefit the wealthy in order that they maintain their wealth and power by the fruits of the labor class. And political power was also vested in the same people who controlled the wealth. That is the truth about America. It’s always been about the money, and it always will be.

And it was all about the money, with a side order of racism, in 1882 with the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Sources:

www.ourdocuments.gov, Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, (transcript)

http://racism.org, Burlingame-Seward Treaty of 1868 (transcript)

www.american-historama.org, “Credit Mobilier Scandal”, by Linda Alchin

www.history.com, “Chinese Exclusion Act”, “The Reader’s Companion to American History”, by Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, Editors

archive.org, “Speeches of Dennis Kearney, Labor Champion (1878)”, by Dennis Kearney

http://www.oxfordreference.com/, “James I & VI – Religious Policy”

Photo credit: http://cndls.georgetown.edu

 

Paige Act of 1875, White Hookers Yes, Chinese Hookers No


In the late 1840’s the California Gold Rush was in full swing. People in the United States dreaming of striking it rich were heading west in droves. The United States was less than a century into its nation status and the population was still experiencing much of its growth through immigration. The years of the Gold Rush created a surge in Chinese immigration (“1848-1865: Gold Rush, Statehood, and the Western Movement” by Joshua Paddison, http://www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu). Adult, male Chinese comprised the majority of Chinese immigrants. Financial oppression of the Chinese working class resulted in situations of indebtedness to travel brokers which made it impossible for many of these men to send money home to pay for the passage of their families. As a result, a Chinese prostitution industry sprang up to provide women for these lonely Chinese men (“Push & Pull: Motives for the Immigration of Chinese Women to America”, by Chung-Yu Hsieh, 2001, http://www.dartmouth.edu).

Despite the fact that prostitution among the white population was common, white Americans took exception to the same sort of activity among the Chinese immigrants. The nation’s reaction resulted in the creation of the Paige Act of 1875. Rather than focus on the male Chinese who were immigrating, it concentrated its efforts on curtailing the immigration of Chinese women. The gringa suspects this was probably because the nation, as a whole, enjoyed the benefits of cheap labor (which, in my opinion, bordered on slavery) provided by the Chinese men. All of this despite the fact that the Burlingame-Seward Treaty of 1868, between the United States and China, established favored nation status for China and granted Chinese the right to naturalization as United States citizens (racism.org).

What, then, exactly did the Paige Act of 1875 say and how did it change things for immigration and naturalization in the United States? A transcript of this Act can be found at library.uwb.edu. Contained within all the legislation passed by the Forty-third Congress of the United States on March 3, 1875, is Chapter 141 which is the Paige Act. Brief descriptions of the legalese of each section are as follows:

Sec. 1 – Conditions are created for the purpose of screening Chinese and Japanese immigrants. Necessary entry permits are denied if a person is found to be entering the United States for “lewd and immoral purposes”.

Sec. 2 – Establishes as a crime human trafficking between the United States and “China, Japan, or any Oriental country”. An offense is punishable by a fine of up to two thousand dollars and a prison sentence of up to one year.

Sec. 3 – The “importation into the United States of women for the purposes of prostitution is hereby forbidden”. Those found guilty of importing prostitutes are guilty of a felony and subject to a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to five thousand dollars.

Sec. 4 – Any involvement in importing the labor of a “cooly” (a Chinese male bound in service by contract) is guilty of committing a felony and, if convicted, subject to a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars and a prison sentence of up to one year.

Sec. 5 – Immigration is prohibited to convicted felons of other countries, unless the crime was political. Immigration is also prohibited to women who are “imported for the purposes of prostitution”. If such “obnoxious persons” are aboard a ship that arrives at a United States port, these people are forbidden from leaving the ship. (The gringa finds it amusing that in a formal government document establishing law, a class of people are called “obnoxious persons”.) Allowance is made for suspected “obnoxious persons” to appeal to a United States court and challenge the denial of their immigration. The ship is detained until a judgment has been determined. However, the master of the ship has the option to post a bond of five hundred dollars so that the suspected “obnoxious person” may be permitted to land and offers surety that if said suspected “obnoxious person” is found guilty, will return the offender to their native country within six months. If the owners of the ship are found guilty of any violations, they are subject to forfeiture of the vessel.

The most significant change to immigration policy is that citizenship through naturalization is available to all free, white men, all African descendants, and, now, all Chinese immigrants. Yet, still, any immigrating woman (unless she’s African or Chinese) or non-Chinese or Non-African is denied U.S. citizenship.  However, despite singling out China, Japan, and “any Oriental country” in sections 1, 2, and 4, the lack of racial specificity in sections 3 and 5 establish that it was not really a racially biased Act. What may seem racially biased in Section 4, the prohibition of “cooly” immigration, was actually intended to prevent labor practices that were practically a form of Chinese enslavement.

So, rather than be a racially biased piece of legislation, it was more discriminatory to women. It discriminated equally to all ethnicities of women whom attempted to immigrate for the purpose of plying their age-old sex trade in the New World. The gringa supposes white prostitutes had the most to gain by this bit of legislation. It seems that in 1875 the only prostitutes the United States wanted were the ones that were home grown.

(image credit: http://www.nwhm.org)

 

Naturalization Act of 1870


President Ulysses S. Grant and the 41st United States Congress signed into law the Naturalization Act of 1870 on July 14, 1870. Of the seven sections of the act, much of it seemed to have very little to do with naturalization.

Section one determines a jail sentence of one to five years and a fine of one thousand dollars for people who commit perjury in anything related to the naturalization process.

Section two makes it a felony to apply for citizenship while impersonating another. Equally guilty is anyone who is a witness for this person. Also guilty is anyone associated with any type of forged or false document used in the naturalization or voter registration process. If convicted they are to be imprisoned at hard labor for one to five years and fined three hundred to one thousand dollars.

Section three establishes it to be a crime to fraudulently obtain citizenship papers and/or fraudulently represent yourself to be a United States citizen. It is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to one thousand dollars and imprisonment not to exceed two years.

Section four declares the authority of the 1870 Naturalization Act and the United States right to enforce it through the courts.

Section five has nothing to do with naturalization but, rather, establishes city population standards in order to appoint representatives from each political party to oversee voting procedures. Interfering with voting procedures is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison.

Section 6 authorizes United States marshals to deputize as they see fit in order to keep the peace during Congressional elections.

Section 7 finally gets to the heart of the matter by declaring all aliens of African birth the right to apply for citizenship through the naturalization process as well as any African descendant. At this time in U.S. history, the only people eligible for citizenship through the naturalization process were free, white men and both genders of African peoples. As a woman, the gringa would then not like to hear the descendants of Africans bemoan their status in the eyes of the United States government because, as an ethnic group, they received official equality recognition long before any gringas did.

The following transcript of the Naturalization Act of 1870 can be found in Library of Congress records online at www.loc.gov. Although it makes for boring reading, following is a copy of that transcript for your convenience.

“July 14, 1870, CHAP. CCLIV. – An Act to amend the Naturalization Laws and to punish Crimes against the same, and for other Purposes.

 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of American in Congress assembled, That in all cases where any oath, affirmation, or affidavit shall be made or taken under or by virtue of any act or law relating to the naturalization of aliens, or in any proceedings under such acts or laws, and any person or persons taking or making such oath, affirmation, or affidavit, shall knowingly swear or affirm falsely, the same shall be deemed and taken to be perjury, and the person or persons guilty thereof shall upon conviction thereof be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and not less than one year, and to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars.

SEC. 2.  And be it further enacted, That if any person applying to be admitted a citizen, or appearing as a witness for any such person, shall knowingly personate any other person than himself, or falsely appear in the name of a deceased person, or in an assumed or fictitious name, or if any person shall falsely make, forge, or counterfeit any oath, affirmation, notice, affidavit, certificate, order, record, signature, or other instrument, paper, or proceeding required or authorized by any law or act relating to or providing for the naturalization of aliens; or shall utter, sell, dispose of, or use as true or genuine, or for any unlawful purpose, any false, forged, ante-dated, or counterfeit oath, affirmation, notice, certificate, order, record, signature, instrument, paper, or proceeding as aforesaid; or sell or dispose of to any person other than the person for whom it was originally issued, any certificate of citizenship, or certificate showing any person to be admitted a citizen; or if any person shall in any manner use for the purpose of registering as a voter, or as evidence of a right to vote, or otherwise, unlawfully, any order, certificate of citizenship, or certificate, judgment, or exemplification, showing such person to be admitted to be a citizen, whether heretofore or hereafter issued or made, knowing that such order of certificate, judgment, or exemplification has been unlawfully issued or made; or if any person shall unlawfully use, or attempt to use, any such order or certificate, issued to or in the name of any other person, or in a fictitious name, or the name of a deceased person; or use, or attempt to use, or aid, or assist, or participate in the use of  any certificate of citizenship, knowing the same to be forged, or counterfeit, or ante-dated, or knowing the same to have been procured by fraud, or otherwise unlawfully obtained; or if any person, and without lawful excuse, shall knowingly have or be possessed of any false, forged, ante-dated, or counterfeit certificate of citizenship, purporting to have been issued under the provisions of any law of the United States relating to naturalization, knowing such certificate to be false, forged, ante-dated, or counterfeit, with intent unlawfully to use the same; or if any person shall obtain, accept, or receive any certificate of citizenship known to such person to have been procured by fraud or by the use of any false name, or by means of any false statement made with intent to procure, or to aid in procuring, the issue of such certificate, or known to such person to be fraudulently altered or ante-dated; or if any person who has been or may be admitted to be a citizen shall, on oath or affirmation, or by affidavit, knowingly deny that he has been so admitted, with intent to evade or avoid any duty or liability imposed or required by law, every person so offending shall be deemed and adjudged guilty of felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to be imprisoned and kept at hard labor for a period not less than one year nor more than five years, or be fined in a sum not less than three hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or both such punishments may be imposed, in the discretion of the court. And every person who shall knowingly and intentionally aid or abet any person in the commission of any such felony, or attempt to do any act hereby made felony, or counsel, advise, or procure, or attempt to procure, the commission thereof, shall be liable to indictment and punishment in the same manner and to the same extent as the principal party guilty of such felony, and such person may be tried and convicted thereof without the previous conviction of such principal.

SEC. 3.  And be it further enacted, That any person who shall knowingly use any certificate of naturalization heretofore granted by any court, or which shall hereafter be granted, which has been, or shall be, procured through fraud or by false evidence, or has been or shall be issued by the clerk, or any other officer of the court without any appearance and hearing of the applicant in court and without lawful authority; and any person who shall falsely represent himself to be a citizen of the United States, without having been duly admitted to citizenship, for any fraudulent purpose whatever, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, in due course of law, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not exceeding one thousand dollars, or be imprisoned not exceeding two years, either or both, in the discretion of the court taking cognizance of the same.

SEC. 4.  And be it further enacted, That the provisions of this act shall apply to all proceedings had or taken, or attempted to be had or taken, before any court in which any proceeding for naturalization shall be commenced, had, or taken, or attempted to be commenced; and the courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction of all offenses under the provisions of this act, in or before whatsoever court or tribunal the same shall have been committed.

SEC. 5.  And be it further enacted, That in any city having upwards of twenty thousand inhabitants, it shall be the duty of the judge of the circuit court of the United States for the circuit wherein said city shall be, upon the application of two citizens, to appoint in writing for each election district or voting precinct in said city, and to change or renew said appointment as occasion may require, from time to time, two citizens resident of the district or precinct, one from each political party, who, when so designated, shall be, and are hereby, authorized to attend at all times and places fixed for the registration of voters, who, being registered, would be entitled to vote for representatives in Congress, and at all times and places for holding elections of representatives in Congress, and for counting the votes cast at said elections, and to challenge any name proposed to be registered, and any vote offered, and to be present and witness throughout the counting of all votes, and to remain where the ballot-boxes are kept at all times after the polls are open until the votes are finally counted; and said persons and either of them shall have the right to affix their signature or his signature to said register for purposes of identification, and to attach thereto, or to the certificate of the number of votes cast, and [any] statement touching the truth or fairness thereof which they or he may ask to attach; and anyone who shall prevent any person so designated from doing any of the acts authorized as aforesaid, or who shall hinder or molest any such person in doing any of the said acts, or shall aid or abet in preventing hindering, or molesting any such person in respect of any such acts, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction shall be punished by imprisonment not less than one year.

SEC. 6.  And be it further enacted, That in any city having upwards of twenty thousand inhabitants, it shall be lawful for the marshal of the United States for the district wherein said city shall be, to appoint as many special deputies as may be necessary to preserve order at any election at which representatives in Congress are to be chosen; and said deputies are hereby authorized to preserve order at such elections, and to arrest for any offence or breach of the peace committed in their view.

SEC. 7.  And be it further enacted, That the naturalization laws are hereby extended to aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent.

Approved, July 14, 1870

 

Open Letter To The Honourable Governor of the State of Texas, Greg Abbot


I am so disturbed by recent events in my home state of Texas, that I felt it warranted an additional blog post today. Below I have copied and pasted my e-mailed letter to the Governor of my state. This link, http://www.latintimes.com/texas-denies-birth-certificates-children-undocumented-immigrants-320139, will take you to the story that has motivated my actions.

I urge you to call or write your State Representatives and Senators. Notify your Governors. This is a gross violation of civil rights and racist at its very core. The victims are not the mothers. The victims are newborn babies who are legal U.S. citizens. No one should remain silent. Allowing such discrimination for one opens the door to allow worse discrimination for all.

“Dear Governor,

I’m sure you are aware of the civil suit filed in Austin last week by Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid on behalf of Mexican mothers who were denied birth certificates for their children who were born in the State of Texas, on U.S. soil. It is my fervent hope that Texas will comply with the 14th Amendment and give these children their birth certificates. These documents belong to these children who are legal U.S. citizens by way of the 14th Amendment. It is my hope that Texas will not enter into a racially prejudiced decision to deny such legal status to these children.

I ask you to consider why these Mexican mothers were singled out? According to current statistics, as of 2012 a significant number of undocumented aliens are also Asian, British, Canadian and European. I am certain some of these women have also given birth while in the U.S. Were their newborn U.S. citizen children denied birth certificates also? Also, if Texas hospitals argue denial of birth certificates due to lack of a valid Texas driver’s license, I then pose the following question: How many Texas mothers were under the age of 17, therefore disqualified to hold a valid Texas driver’s license, yet still received birth certificates for their newborn children?

I am deeply disappointed in my home state for being so blatant in its racist actions. I am deeply saddened that the State of Texas does not consider these newborn, United States citizens and Texans worthy of doing the right thing. I have heard many people complain about undocumented people violating the law in order to immigrate here, yet many of these same self-righteous finger-pointers will now support an illegal action. Hypocrites, all. Today, I am ashamed of Texas.

Sincerely,

Michelle Cardenas”

Governor Greg Abbott may be contacted via http://www.gov.texas.gov and selecting the “Contact” tab if you wish to send an email. Other contact information is:

Office of the Governor  (mailing address), P.O. Box 12428, Austin, Texas  78711-2428

.Office of the Governor (delivery address), State Insurance Building, 1100 San Jacinto, Austin, Texas  78701

Opinion Hotline (512) 463-1782

Fax (512) 463-1849

14th Amendment, Equal by Law, But Law Can’t ChangeThe Heart


July 9, 1868 the United States formally adopted the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (www.ourdocuments.gov). This particular piece of legislation is considered to be the first Civil Rights legislation ever instituted by the United States and was in direct response to the social climate of Reconstruction after the Civil War ended in 1865. Considering all conditions of the naturalization of immigrants according to the Naturalization Act of 1802, the specific changes rendered by the Fourteenth Amendment are:

  • Section 1 declares that all persons born in the United States are citizens. This inclusive statement finally makes citizenship attainable for women and non-whites who are born on U.S. soil after the amendment is adopted. Such citizens enjoy equal liberty and protection. However, naturalization of immigrants is not amended so citizenship through naturalization is still exclusively for free, male, white immigrants.
  • Section 2 establishes the ratio of State Representatives with respect to population, making a point to exclude Native Americans from the population count. Phraseology also indicates that adult males who are considered criminal or involved in rebellion are not considered a part of the voting population.
  • Section 3 denies government office to people who have engaged in insurrection or rebellion or given aid or comfort to the enemies of the United States.
  • Section 4 establishes that lawful debt incurred by the United States shall not be questioned. United States assumes no financial responsibility for any act of insurrection or rebellion against the United States. The United States accepts no financial responsibility for the financial loss created by the emancipation of a slave.
  • Section 5 empowers the United States Congress to enforce through legislation the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment.

What was the social, political and economic climate of the United States leading up to the adoption of this legislation? The United States was in the midst of reconstruction, the Civil War having ended three years prior to the date of the Fourteenth Amendment’s approval. The Emancipation Proclamation and Thirteenth Amendment resulted in thousands of people freed from slave status yet left to wonder what exactly that meant.

In the 1857 case, Dred Scott v. Sandford, the Supreme Court ruled that American descendants of African slaves could not attain U.S. citizenship. Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment definitively overruled that Supreme Court decision. The Southern states vehemently opposed the Fourteenth Amendment and only ratified the amendment in order for their states to continue being represented in Congress. In the December 1, 1866 issue of Harper Weekly, editor George William Curtis responded to the resistance of the Southern States acceptance of the Fourteenth Amendment by posing this question, “After a tremendous struggle to overthrow a Government in which you fail, how can you be humiliated by accepting, as the condition of resuming a share in that Government, that it shall be upon equal terms with others?” The common social perception of the Fourteenth Amendment is that it established equality amongst all United States citizens regardless of race or gender (www.14thamendment.harpweek.com).

For the first time in the history of the United States, Congress had enacted citizenship legislation that was not motivated by deceptive exploitation, power or greed. The Fourteenth Amendment was the first step taken by America to create an equal society. By granting citizenship status to thousands of freed slaves who continued to live in the Southern states, a dramatic shift in power would be created in the House of Representatives where power was population-based. The Southern states would have the advantage. Knowing this, Congress still acted to grant citizenship to these Southern freed slaves and accept the political fall out. Considering the political implications it is then truly indicative that the U.S. Congress approached this legislation from a humanitarian perspective.

In the years immediately following the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, there were several civil rights cases that were brought before the Supremem Court. The Supreme Court held that the amendment did not outlaw racial discrimination by private individuals or organizations, but, rather, was a “state action”. It would then seem that, although the United States can pass laws to create a nation that grants equal status to all citizens regardless of race, there is no law that can compel personal opinion. That would take the work of generations to bring about such social change. And, as the gringa  can see for herself within her own barrio, the work ain’t finished yet.