Sicilian immigrants: Eh, who needs your money-grubbing country anyway?

posted at 6:03 pm on September 4, 2007 by Allahpundit

Despite all appearances to the contrary, from the one-sidedness of the reporting to the insertion of the author’s own biographical details, this is offered as a news article, not an op-ed. Read through it yourself and savor the lemony sourness of class resentment. KP told me last week that the reason she’s so hung up on amnesty opponents’ alleged fear of “brown-skinned illegal immigrants” is because America tolerated mass immigration from European locales like Sicily throughout the 19th and early 20th century, and only now that the flow is coming from an, ahem, “brown” country are we getting itchy about the borders. I told her that it’s not a function of where they’re coming from; if it was, most amnesty opponents wouldn’t also support generous legal immigration policies for Mexico. It’s a function of two things: (1) the sheer, astounding volume of movement across the border and (2) the rise of multiculturalism, which has weakened the imperative to assimilate. Combine those two things and you’re not so much taking in immigrants as annexing small nations of people, which is a hairy proposition no matter who’s involved. According to the Bloomberg piece, Sicilian immigration was no more than 1,000 or so a year before 9/11, which of course obviates the volume problem, but since we’re not about to make exceptions for non-Mexican illegals — nor should we — they’ll simply have to pay the price of the public’s reaction to the tidal wave of illegals from the south. If Sicilians don’t like it, let them take it up with Calderon.

Speaking of whom, Tancredo had some choice words for him this afternoon per his comments this weekend:

“Indeed part of Mexico is moving into the United States, but unfortunately that includes drug runners, gang violence and the Spanish language supplanting English,” said Tancredo. “I’m sure the people of Mexico would be extremely grateful if Calderon showed as much concern over the well being of Mexicans unlucky enough to still live there as he does for the people who have successfully fled his country.”

Tancredo added, “If Mexico thinks we need some sort of permission slip to act unilaterally in our country’s best interest, they have another thing coming.”

“Perhaps Calderon should take a refresher course on geography, because Mexico does in fact end at the Rio Grande,” concluded Tancredo, pointing out Mexico’s hypocrisy in criticizing U.S. immigration policy as their own country boasts one of the harshest border enforcement programs in North America, as they just deported thousands of illegal aliens from the southern border of Mexico last month.

Exit question: With Iraq news set to dominate September, how much time will they devote to immigration at tomorrow night’s Fox debate? Over/under is five minutes.


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It’s a function of two things: (1) the sheer, astounding volume of movement across the border and (2) the rise of multiculturalism,

There’s also the rise of the welfare state. The reason we don’t want a tidal wave of impoverished immigrants also has to do with the fact we would be paying for a boat load of services today that didn’t exist during the immigration waves of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Drew on September 4, 2007 at 6:08 PM

Over.

BadgerHawk on September 4, 2007 at 6:09 PM

Good point.

Allahpundit on September 4, 2007 at 6:09 PM

I’d love to hear more politicians talk like this.

jdawg on September 4, 2007 at 6:13 PM

I’d love Our country needs to hear more politicians talk like this.

jdawg on September 4, 2007 at 6:13 PM

Fixed it for ya.

Zetterson on September 4, 2007 at 6:20 PM

Drew on September 4, 2007 at 6:08 PM

The late Milton Friedman agreed:

“You can have immigration reform, but you can’t have open immigration without largely the elimination of welfare.”

baldilocks on September 4, 2007 at 6:25 PM

Tancredo can be Fred’s Homeland Security dude, at least until Fred dissolves it.

AZCON on September 4, 2007 at 6:26 PM

America tolerated mass immigration from European locales like Sicily throughout the 19th and early 20th century, and only now that the flow is coming from an, ahem, “brown” country are we getting itchy about the borders.

From what I read, (white) Americans were indeed “itchy” about Italian, Jewish and, especially, Irish immigrants.

baldilocks on September 4, 2007 at 6:28 PM

Drew on September 4,2007 at 6:08 pm

You can also add the fact that they came in legally(through Ellis Island) and if they did not register at EI and were found out to be here illegally they were deported. There are many cases of white europeans being deported to their home country. Point being that just because our failed educational system/agenda driven teachers don’t teach (actual)history, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

GOD BLESS AMERICA!
paratisi

paratisi on September 4, 2007 at 6:28 PM

And, the Spanish and Italians were considered minorities if not “brown people” in 1880.

AZCON on September 4, 2007 at 6:29 PM

This is the only thing Milton Friedman said that the WSJ refuses to acknowledge. And they’ve been told many times.

JiangxiDad on September 4, 2007 at 6:31 PM

TEAM TANCREDO

Buy a shirt, send some money. At least someone knows we have a serious problem

400lb Gorilla on September 4, 2007 at 6:33 PM

You hit the nail on the head Allahpundit.

KP should know that the “fear of brown skinned” immigrants as an explanation for ones stance against illegal immigration can only be based on ignorance.

German phobia!

In the late 1890′s Wisconsim passed english only laws, to assimilate German immigrants that were forming enclaves instead of adjusting to thier new home. The reaction today is nothing new. What is new is anti-assimilation politicos that encourage multiculturalism.

Breaking with traditional immigration policy

Immigration has always come in waves. Immigration from Western Europe and Eastern Europe was very regulated. Periods of large scale immigration and periods of low scale immigration. Now that we want to limit Latin American immigration in the exact same way it is racist. The perception, that is all it can be because it impossible to base on facts, that anglo immigration has always been carte blanche and now we want to snatch the American Dream from the poor brown skinned people is riduculous and contrary to the historical immigration policies of the U.S.

More than generous

If anything Latin America has enjoyed robust and liberal immigration opportunities in comparison to any other region of the world. We are going on 4 decades of Latin American immigration. Which is contrary to our policies of the past, that remember applied to anglos, the by product is arrogantly unapologetic, unassimilated masses of Hispanics. How is that any good for the country? We are a nation of immigrants, assimilated immigrants, not settlers. The balkinization of America only sows the seed of predjudice, the end game being Kosovo. Wake up KP.

Theworldisnotenough on September 4, 2007 at 6:35 PM

It looks like the topic has already been covered, but, my first thought when reading KP’s comment was:

“At the time, people didn’t consider Irishmen and Italians to be white.”

JadeNYU on September 4, 2007 at 6:43 PM

Go Tancelot Go! Allah, I think this is deserving of the Sir Tancelot photo…

NTWR on September 4, 2007 at 6:48 PM

Even if we are not in his district, lets show rep. Tancredo our support.

I just sent Tancredo a email thanking him for standing up.

allrsn on September 4, 2007 at 6:49 PM

Message to Sicilians: “immigrate” to the EU or the Italian mainland. Italy is not a poor country anymore. Instead of moving to the horrible, hateful U.S. of A. stay in Italy, make something of yourself. Why does it sound like these people are blaming US for unemployment in Sicily? Mr. Sicilian, you already have a government. Call Rome. It’s not our fault Sicily is a picturesque economic basket case.

That whole story was a stinking load!

Thomas the Wraith on September 4, 2007 at 6:49 PM

It’s the assimilation stupid.

All the rhetoric about being a bigot (one of the most overused word in politics) is a smoke screen.

Try being an Irishman a hundred years ago, they were the scourge of America. Biggotry?

Call it what you want, but the immigrants have to prove themselves as being givers, not takers. And so far the Mexicans have proved to be takers.

right2bright on September 4, 2007 at 6:52 PM

That settles it then…no Guccis, no Ferrari! I will shop elsewhere.

AZCON on September 4, 2007 at 6:56 PM

You can also add the fact that they came in legally(through Ellis Island) and if they did not register at EI and were found out to be here illegally they were deported. There are many cases of white europeans being deported to their home country. Point being that just because our failed educational system/agenda driven teachers don’t teach (actual)history, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

GOD BLESS AMERICA!
paratisi

Not only that, but if they could not prove that they had a skill they could use to make a living, or if they were carrying any number of diseases, they never left Ellis Island but were sent back to their home country.

AZ_Mike on September 4, 2007 at 6:57 PM

im going with the over I’m calling it at 7-10 minutes .

Mojack420 on September 4, 2007 at 7:26 PM

(2) the rise of multiculturalism, which has weakened the imperative to assimilate.

Good post. That above is probably my largest concern. The one nation…indivisible thing.

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 7:29 PM

It’s a function of two things: (1) the sheer, astounding volume of movement across the border and (2) the rise of multiculturalism, which has weakened the imperative to assimilate.

Quick personal story… Saturday I went to the Champlain Valley Fair (here in town at the same time every year) with my brother and his 4 and 2 year old girls, my sister, and our mom. Obviously the girls need an adult with them, even on the kiddie rides, and normally you just give you tickets to the toothless guy and get on your way. Well, my brother kept handing 6 tickets (3 for each girl) as we got on the rides… not to your traditional white trash toothless carny, but to Mexicans… and it caused confusion every time. Not to where you could just be like “we’re just riding with the girls, those tickets are for them”, but to where you sat there and argued with someone who literally couldn’t speak a word of English. I have to say, I can’t recall ever seeing someone who didn’t speak English running the rides here.. EVER! Much less every single ride, and the guys didn’t speak a word of English. Jesus Hernandez at the Merry-go-round was particularly rude and obnoxious. Thankfully he can’t read this, so he won’t be offended.

RightWinged on September 4, 2007 at 7:30 PM

AZCON on September 4, 2007 at 6:56 PM

I will join you in your boycott!

Down with Gucci.

Down with Ferrari.

I’ll return to being a customer of theirs when this nonsense stops. :)

JadeNYU on September 4, 2007 at 7:45 PM

At least “Vito Andolini” aka Don Corleone went through Ellis Island!

kiakjones on September 4, 2007 at 7:50 PM

America tolerated mass immigration from European locales like Sicily throughout the 19th and early 20th century, and only now that the flow is coming from an, ahem, “brown” country are we getting itchy about the borders.

Rubbish. Nothing could be farther from the truth. How can you have a debate when the other side doesn’t have a clue. The Irish, Italian, Polish, etc immigrants were subjected to horrific treatment. There were no government programs, no welfare, no bilinugal education, please. You had sweat shops, prositution, dangerous factory jobs, railroads, coal mines, all with long hours, miniscule pay, unsafe conditions and that was just the children!
To top it all off the Irish and Italians immigrants were Catholics, which added another level of disdain from the natives.

reaganaut on September 4, 2007 at 7:54 PM

Here in Ca. I stopped taking my kids to the local small carnival twenty years ago.

Is America worth nothing?

Are our beliefs, our standards, our traditions our reasons for greatness, a willing sacrifice to appease some made up politically correct ideology that demands we give up everything we’ve achieved in more than two hundred and thirty years of struggle?

Can any reasonable person not understand that the USA cannot continue to absorb millions each year who have no reverence for who we are and have no interest in becoming who we are and expect this country to continue to exist?

People not willing to acquiesce to guilt mongering in saving they’re own nation aren’t racists or bigots or xenophobes, they are Patriots, people who understand the threat and the consequences of doing nothing.

Speakup on September 4, 2007 at 8:08 PM

Why don’t they emigrate to Mexico?

Heard there’s now 12-20 million new empty spaces.

Maybe start a vinyard, since their wine industry is fetid.

profitsbeard on September 4, 2007 at 8:10 PM

Exit question: With Iraq news set to dominate September, how much time will they devote to immigration at tomorrow night’s Fox debate? Over/under is five minutes.

Hard to say. Rudy may try to avoid illegal immigration like the plague while Mitt will angle for a “sanctuary city” angle but all in all I doubt that I’ll feel satisfied with what any of them say on the issue save Tancredo and Hunter.

And reaganaut, you’re 100% correct but don’t assume they don’t know the truth. The left has the same big money agenda as the open borders right and it has nothing to do with the “people” and everything to do with profit.

Buzzy on September 4, 2007 at 8:31 PM

Multiculturalism is important, but for me, it’s the threat of terrorism. If we can’t control our borders for immigration, we can’t control them for terrorism. I was for modified open borders (no welfare, learn English) until 9/11. Once we really control them, then we can talk about immigration policy.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on September 4, 2007 at 9:06 PM

The open borders talking point that we wouldn’t be worried if they were white because we tolerated white immigrants clashes with another open borders talking point, which is that all these same complaints were made during the Ellis Island era and look how foolish they all turned out to be. Which was it? We’re only complaining because they’re brown or we’ve always complained with a colorblind xenophobia?

The differences are:

1) absolute numbers–much, much higher now
2) proportion to native birthrates–immigrant birthrates were matched by native birthrates last time; that’s no longer the case
3) welfare state
4) multiculturalism
5) homogeneity–the current wave is overwhelmingly from one language and ethnic group, and most of that is from one contiguous country; there was *more* diversity, in terms of a balance of languages and cultures, last time

and by far the biggest:

6) the last wave STOPPED. Immigration nuts always say that we’ve always had immigration and that all these complaints were made before but they never explain why the big break in immigration post-1920s wasn’t crucial to digesting the huge wave that preceded it. THAT’s why it worked. We’re overdue for another break.

Alex K on September 4, 2007 at 10:09 PM

Another point is that those immigrants who came through Ellis Island were screened for disease. Those who are spilling across our borders now are doing so without being checked over for contagious diseases…and they are increasing. Things that we once had under control in this control are on the rise.

Undiagnosed disease due to uncontrolled illegal immigration is not merely confined to the border states. This health care crisis spreads daily across the nation. In 2002, Northern Virginia reported a 17% increase in tuberculosis cases. Prince William County alone reported a staggering 188% increase over the previous year. Health officials link immigrants to this outbreak and credit them with introducing the drug resistant strains. And in Queens, N.Y., the health department found that “immigrants” made up 81% of new TB cases in 2001.

ProudPatriot on September 4, 2007 at 10:22 PM

The U.S. Congress has plenary power over immigration to this country and can exclude immigrants for any reason whatsoever, even in ways that are manifestly unfair.

jaime on September 4, 2007 at 10:57 PM

America tolerated mass immigration from European locales like Sicily throughout the 19th and early 20th century

We had control of the spigot then. And we allowed immigration in such great numbers because we had a needs to meet. Western expansion, building the rails, working the mines and other such imperatives were the primary reason we allowed different waves of immigrants. We weren’t simply letting the spigot flow and hoping things would just work out.

thegreatbeast on September 4, 2007 at 11:35 PM

Now I see America on the TV news and my impression is that America is broken,” says Caudullo, managing director of the Catania-based Volcano Trek tour group. “Money is the most important part of American life. That’s left Americans poor inside and alone with their money. I want no part of that.”

The man is right. Somebody put up the sign FOR SALE A PERFECTLY GOOD PREOWNED COUNTRY. (Government included.)

sonnyspats1 on September 4, 2007 at 11:40 PM

My grandfather was born an uneducated peasant in Sicily. As a young man in the early 1920’s he needed to leave his homeland in search of work to avoid starvation. He wanted to come to America like many Sicilians before him, but in 1921, the United States had passed the first immigration quotas designed to prevent the changing of American culture. Quotas were given to each nation based upon the immigration levels of 1910 — before the start of the massive wave of Italian and Southern European immigration in the teens. Consequently, Italy had a very small quota, and my grandfather had to go to Argentina for a few years before he could come through Ellis Island as a legal immigrant.

When he finally arrived, he could not speak English, he did not have an education and did not have a skill. America was the land of opportunity, but it was not a welfare state. There was no social security. There were no food stamps. There were no unemployment benefits. If you presented yourself, sick or injured, to a hospital without the ability to pay, you could be turned away. Nevertheless, there was opportunity. My grandfather found a job as a barber. Eventually, he opened his own barbershop on Bloomfield Avenue in New Jersey — no doubt, somewhere between Satriele’s meat market and Melfi’s doctors office. (I was never fond of his haircuts, but I was impressed by his work ethic and consistency. The floor in his barbershop was made of some type of white manufactured tile product, and over the many years my grandfather had walked around his favorite chair so many times that he had literally worn a ring all the way through the white portion of the flooring tile around that chair. It looked like something out of a Road Runner cartoon.)

He married another immigrant girl from Italy and together they had eight sons and a daughter — Dominic, Vito, Connie, Joey, Franky, Johnny, Mikey, Tommy, and Georgie. He and my grandmother eventually learned to speak broken English, studied American civics and became naturalized American citizens. When he passed away, half of North Jersey turned out to pay their respects.

My father was my grandfather’s first born. He was born in 1939. That means that my father was born to two foreign-language speaking immigrants, and was actually learning to speak at a time when the United States was fighting a war against my grandfather’s former homeland. In fact, when my father was just 3 years old, American GI’s were invading Sicily and fighting battles in and around my grandfather’s hometown. But you know what? My father never once spoke a word of Italian (or more accurately, the Sicilian dialect my grandfather spoke). The only language my father ever spoke was English. My grandfather laid down the law upon himself and his wife — they were not allowed to talk to their own child in their mother tongue. They forced themselves to struggle with a foreign tongue so that their child would grow up speaking the language of their adopted nation.

My father graduated from high school, volunteered for the Marines, put him self through college, married an Irish girl, became a traveling shoe salesman, had four kids (including me), and eventually became the President of the Keds Corporation. When he passed, the footwear trade papers respectfully referred to him as the “Godfather” of the shoe industry. Even though he was an ex-Marine and as American as apple pie, they compared him, with a humorous wink and nod, to a mob boss — he was Sicilian after all.

So, excuse me if I take exception to the current wave of immigration so massive that it dwarfs the wave of which my grandfather was a part. Excuse me if I point out that the combination of open boarders with a third world neighbor and a welfare state does not make sense. Excuse me if I am insulted by bilingual education for illegal immigrants unwilling to assimilate the language and culture of this great nation.

No one is telling them to give up salsa, tortillas and mariachi music. I still eat pasta, mortadella, and provolone and I still listen to Louis Prima. Nevertheless, I hit “1” when the language option comes up.

tommylotto on September 5, 2007 at 1:56 AM

tommylotto on September 5, 2007 at 1:56 AM

Wow! Great Story. My parents came legally from Cuba in 1959. My father literally pushed a Good Humor Ice Cream cart through the streets of Newark, NJ in warm and cold weather, alike, to make ends meet and get his new life going. No handouts or any expectations of handouts – just hard work. So you can also excuse me, if I agree with tommylotto’s comments. I am sure there are thousands of similar stories out there.

ncc770 on September 5, 2007 at 8:05 AM

O.K. so how do you work that block quote thing?

ncc770 on September 5, 2007 at 8:06 AM

Italians were not considered White, or at least not pure White back in the day. They were sent back if they were sick or had a criminal record. Many worked here and returned to Italy for good seeing this as a place to earn a nest egg.

Many Italians took jobs that were once for slaves in South America in order to earn a small investment to bring to America to start a business or buy property and become a citizen.

Most Italians came through Ellis Island, they came legal and learned English. People made fun of them, but they proved that they were just as gifted and loved this country as much as any other culture or race.

What we see going on with Latinos from South of the border can’t compare to the success story of Italians in this country. Now, we have so many illegals jamming the natural flow of immigration that we are turning away people who wish to be part of the American dream and not sinking it.

Hening on September 5, 2007 at 8:07 AM

tommylotto on September 5, 2007 at 1:56 AM

Well said! While my heritage is largely very old Virginia, my wife’s is much like yours. Her Grandparents immigrated from Sezze, Italy in the early 1900′s and raised eight kids in Lock Haven, PA. He worked for the railroad and spoke broken English, and the kids never spoke a word of Italian. Their surname was Anglicized, as were their given names. They became a part of the community, and the nation. This is something to be admired.

BNCurtis on September 5, 2007 at 8:29 AM

Great family,great story,Tommy.

lizzee on September 5, 2007 at 8:34 AM

I’m the great grandchild of 4 immigrant couples, 2 Irish and 2 Portuguese. None of these people were welcomed with open arms or looked upon as some sort of nobility because of their ability to make it to America. they all came with very little in the hope of making more for their familes. And make more they did. They worked hard, they learned English (especially troubling for my Irish ancestors), and they became Americans. They didn’t want to go back to Europe, they left it behind. And this despite being far more victimized by bigotry than today’s immigrants could imagine.

It’s pretty simple. Come here legally, respect our culture, assimilate and work to improve your station in life, and you will be respected for it. Sneak in and come looking for handouts given via your native language and you will not be respected.

Pablo on September 5, 2007 at 12:12 PM

I’m sure the people of Mexico would be extremely grateful if Calderon showed as much concern over the well being of Mexicans unlucky enough to still live there as he does for the people who have successfully fled his country.

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R)

Well said Tom, we need a whole lot more like you in Congress !

Maxx on September 5, 2007 at 2:47 PM

tommylotto on September 5, 2007 at 1:56 AM

Well said. Very nice post.

Maxx on September 5, 2007 at 2:54 PM