By Obed Manuel
“Them Hispanics work hard as hell,” Jesse Durr tells Vice correspondent Thomas Morton during a segment of Friday’s new episode titled “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Durr was one of the few people in Alabama who took on one of the thousands of agricultural jobs that undocumented immigrants left vacant after 2011, when the state’s governor signed the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, or HB56, into law.
The law intended to make life so difficult for undocumented immigrants in Alabama that they would have to leave the state or the country. Morton started reporting in January 2014 and spent the next six months checking in on the small independent farmers featured in the latest episode of Vice.
By Tanvi Misra
In 1819, Congress passed a law requiring that the arrival of all immigrants be recorded. Immigrant workers were needed, and the rest of the 19th century saw their numbers grow. From that period through today, America has seen waves of immigration, which Natalia Bronshtein has captured in a colorful interactive graphic.
His words do not apply to about 40% of the nation:
- Not to Native Americans who were wiped out or driven west.
- Nor to Black Americans who arrived in chains.
- Nor to Chinese Americans who were killed or driven out of the western US in the late 1800s.
- Nor to Mexican Americans deported in the 1930s.
- Nor to the people whose lands the US took over: Native Americans,Northern Mexicans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Puerto Ricans, Guamanians, Palauans, Eastern Samoans, Northern Mariana Islanders or Virgin Islanders.
- Nor, given the perpetual foreigner stereotype, to Asian Americans.
- Nor to most British or Dutch Americans, who were not immigrants (people who move to a foreign country) but colonists (people who create an offshoot of their mother country). Calling them “immigrants” would mean they joined Native American societies. They were conquerors and invaders, not “immigrants”.
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All this is why I study the changing policies if (im)migration law. In a country that preaches Freedom and Liberty, it has always been more freedom and more liberty for light skinned people.
You can easily see the racism and xenophobia that the U.S. is built on when examining Border politics.
Anti-immigration laws, coupled with shared cultural values, brought this community to life. Almost 100 years later, the community is now retiring to the history books.
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