GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Breaking News

Latest Cape Ann News

April 1, 2013

Letter: Revisionist history and immigration

To the editor:

Oona O’Neill’s letter (the Times, Wednesday, March 27) criticizing Arthur Thomas’s earlier piece that urged people to “walk in the shoes” of today’s immigrants was dripping with angry nostalgia and very distorted history.

Ms. O’Neill waxes nostalgic for some halcyon era in American history that never existed. Her suggestion that today’s immigrants are, on some mass scale, being offered “...free housing, food, energy, education, and health care...” — and that is causing our country’s fiscal woes was misleading to the point of being patently false.

The current crisis impacting our health care system, for example, has little to do with immigrants sucking the system dry. It has everything to do with the huge number of native born Americans who have no health insurance. The state of Texas is a glaring example of that reality.

Sure, some immigrants, like many poor U.S. citizens, receive various forms of social welfare and some, no doubt, abuse it. But does that mean we should turn our backs on and penalize the many who, often through no fault of their own, cannot provide for themselves or their families, be they immigrants or native born?

Ms. O’Neill also revealed in her letter just how little she really knows about the history of immigration in the United States.

She waxed nostalgic about the clean, tidy, Cleaveresque homes some immigrants were thankfully able to provide their families, but never mentioned the filth, squalor, and dire poverty millions of Irish, Italian, and various other immigrants were forced to live in when they first landed on our shores and were herded into urban ghettos and slums because those who viewed themselves as the “real Americans” of those years thought the new immigrants were beneath them and did not want them living in their neighborhoods.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran