One of the things that baffles me in the immigration debates is that so many people don’t acknowledge that at one time, their own families were immigrants (with the exception, of course, of Native Americans, but they aren’t the ones screaming about immigration on the news). Because of my research on my family history, I’m probably more aware than most would be of the path my family took, having seen ships’ manifests, immigrant aid notes, and hearing family stories of what life was like for the newcomers. But as a third generation American, it is still hard for me to truly comprehend what it was like for my great-grandparents coming to a strange land.
We are lucky we came when we did. Had my family tried to immigrate today, odds are good we would not have made it in. A web site, EntryDenied.org, allows you to put in your immigrant ancestor’s situation to determine if he or she would have been allowed to come over today. Not a single of my great-grandparents would have been permitted to come in.
A bit of food (Eastern European Jewish food, that is) for thought….