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By Today's Standards Would The Passengers On The Mayflower Be Considered Undocumented Immigrants?: Left of Center View

"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,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Emma Lazarus, 1883

That is part of the poem “The New Colossus” on the Statue of Liberty but that is not the prevailing view in this nation today. If the Mayflower were to land at Plymouth today they would be greeted by the Coast Guard, I.C.E. and probably the Navy with guns drawn. They would be frisked, x-rayed and likely quarantined until their papers could be sorted out and their current health status determined.

We are no longer primarily a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of NIMBY’s. Most Americans these days seem to want things “Made in America” and security from the “illegals”. Being from another country is now seen by millions of people as being a threat to our nation. We are constantly bombarded with reports of threats and plots by outsiders that threaten our “way of life”. Freedom is now far less important to us than security and we have all but given up on the dreams of one nation united.

The passengers on the Mayflower were united in their goal to find a land where they could practice their religion free from persecution and build a life for their families. They were simple people with simple goals. They were not blind consumers of goods or overcome by entitlement issues. They just wanted a better life than the one they had before. Much like today’s immigrants they were willing to work very hard simply for a chance at a better life.

If the natives had greeted the Pilgrims with the same attitude most Americans have towards immigrants today they might not have survived the first winter and America would not have become what it is today. We should remember that when we discuss immigration issues today.


LJ Finstermore - World Citizen | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

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By Today's Standards Would The Passengers On The Mayflower Be Considered Undocumented Immigrants?: Right of Center View

What a ridiculous question! The original colonists brought civilization to a savage land. Comparing the Pilgrims to illegal immigrants is frankly insulting. They came here seeking freedom and liberty. They were not coming to take jobs away from hard working people. The Pilgrims and others who colonized the land built a nation from nothing. It was their hard work that made modern day America possible.

Illegal immigrants are not even in the same class with the people that originally colonized this land. They have legitimate means to come into the country but choose to ignore them. They are not coming into an untamed land and building something from nothing. They are trying to live off the fruits of others’ labor. Now that America has become the land of plenty that the Pilgrims envisioned the illegals want to come here and enjoy all the benefits of the work our ancestors did to build up this country.

When we talk about the Pilgrims we need to have respect. They were the ones that braved a treacherous sea voyage in wooden ships to come to a land that offered the potential for a new beginning. They risked everything to make a new land their home despite it having none of the amenities of the places that they had come from. There were no buildings or cisterns or wells or even planted fields when they came here. They had to build it all up from nothing. Comparing the Pilgrims to illegal immigrants is like comparing a soldier to a gang member because they both use guns.

If the Pilgrims were to land on our shores today they would be treated differently because there is a civilization here today. That does not mean that we should compare the journey they undertook to what illegal immigrants do to come to America. The Pilgrims began the process of carving a nation out of the savage wild. They should be honored for their efforts, not compared to scofflaws that are just taking shortcuts to getting what they want.

Tony M. - California | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

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