Regarding the March 22 Maine Voices column, “Immigration terminology is based on a myth that needs to be challenged“:

I appreciate Bob Casimiro’s apology to Native Americans, but I’m sure that they might think it a little late in coming. The effect, if not the mission, of Mr. Casimiro’s Mainers for Responsible Immigration is to fan the flames of fear and hatred of the foreigners among us.

I find it amusing that Mr. Casimiro wants to draw a bright line between immigrants and the children of immigrants. I am the son of an immigrant from Poland and the father-in-law of an immigrant from Panama. My dad experienced the animosity of those born in the U.S. as anti-Semitism. Hopefully, my grandchildren will not have to face Mr. Casimiro’s wrath. The place we were born does not make us better (or worse) Americans.

For much of our history, legal versus illegal/undocumented immigration, as we now know it, did not exist. Until the 1880s there were no limits on immigration. The first limits were based on race. The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed to fight the so-called “Yellow Peril.” In both the 1880s and the 1920s, the passage of laws restricting immigration reflected the upsurge and revival of the Klu Klux Klan. Quotas imposed in the 1920s for the “good” immigrants – from northern and western Europe – were so large they were seldom filled, while the number of “undesirables” – from southern and eastern Europe – allowed in was well below what it should have been.

The law does not require local officials to do the work of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Under the law, enforcement is ICE’s exclusive responsibility.

We ride high on the contributions of hard work and innovation of today’s immigrants. Our prosperity and security depend on them.

Michael Grunko

Chebeague Island

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