I am an immigrant. Sure, most of the time I don’t think of myself that way, but that is what I am. We American’s who come to live in Prague like to glam it up a bit by calling ourselves “Expats”, but we are just your run of the mill immigrants. Some of us are here legally and some of us are not. The Czech Government does not want us here and makes it very difficult for us to stay here. The laws are constantly changing and filing for a Visa takes persistence and patience. Czech’s do not like foreigners coming in and taking their jobs and changing their culture. Sound familiar? But, unlike America, the Czechs do not pass unfair laws to keep out would be immigrants. We have a very rich history of turning away people who come to America in search of a better/different life.
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
This is what America promises and does not deliver. The Czech Republic does not claim to be a land of opportunity, and a home for the exiled. It does not claim to be a beacon for the tired and poor and homeless. America does. I find it not just ironic, but unjust and gross that America does not remember its own history and therefor cannot learn from it. “We” came to this land seeking freedom, and in doing so blatantly stole it from the people who lived there. After that, we created laws that would keep them “in their place.”
In 1882 we signed the “Chinese Exclusion Act” which was a ban on Chinese Immigration. This Act was not over turned until 1943. Even after that, in California a Chinese person could not legally marry a “white” until 1948. In 1942 Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Under the terms of the Order, some 120,000 people of Japanese descent living in the US were removed from their homes and placed in internment camps. This was justified by claiming that ALL of these people might be spies. During the war only TEN people were convicted of being spies – and they were all WHITE. Of course in the 1950’s we had “McCarthyism” and Truman’s Executive Order 9835. This was intended to root out the Commies serving in the Government, but all it managed to do was make citizens paranoid and create the House Committee on Un-American Activities – whatever THAT means.
And now, the lovely state of Arizona has passed Bill 1070 – which requires Arizona police to investigate the residency status of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. Did you get that? REQUIRES police to investigate the residency status of ANYONE they think might be here illegally. Holy Racial Crap, Batman! President Obama called the Bill unfair, and he is not alone. This type of discrimination goes against everything America stands for.
If we continue being racially bias our nation will fail.