A few weeks ago Dom and I took the Hard Times Tour at the Tenement Museum. Both of our families came here from Europe at the times of the tenements, so we were very interested to take this tour. It was fascinating because the building stands unchanged. The tour guide was excellent. He gave the listener a real feel for what life was like at that time.
I not only came away from the tour with a renewed respect for my ancestors but also the tour caused me to reflect about immigration in general. Our country has always struggled with the idea of opening her boarders. Yet….. I will let this snipped from an article written by Daniel Griswold express my feelings-
By Daniel Griswold
This article appeared in Insight on February 18, 2002.
Immigration always has been controversial in the United States. More than two centuries ago, Benjamin Franklin worried that too many German immigrants would swamp America’s predominantly British culture. In the mid-1800s, Irish immigrants were scorned as lazy drunks, not to mention Roman Catholics. At the turn of the century a wave of “new immigrants” — Poles, Italians, Russian Jews — were believed to be too different ever to assimilate into American life. Today the same fears are raised about immigrants from Latin America and Asia, but current critics of immigration are as wrong as their counterparts were in previous eras.
Immigration is not undermining the American experiment; it is an integral part of it. We are a nation of immigrants. Successive waves of immigrants have kept our country demographically young, enriched our culture and added to our productive capacity as a nation, enhancing our influence in the world.
Hoping you get an opportunity to go to this museum,