In the shadow of Lady Liberty we ran a detention and deportation center…

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“Ellis Island, as Seen from Liberty State Park, Jersey City, New Jersey” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In the latter half of the nineteenth century and up to 1924, immigrant-bearing ships entering New York harbor did not disembark all passengers at Ellis Island. You see, it depended on how much grease you were able to put onto the wheel. If your papers showed that you were traveling First Class then you were let off at a convenient pier in metropolitan New York’s waterfront district or perhaps at a pier in New Jersey. Before you stepped on land you submitted to a brief shipboard inspection, disembarked and breezed through customs. People that had traveled in steerage — in third class — were transported to Ellis Island. Many of them hadn’t seen daylight since boarding ship. At Ellis Island they underwent medical and legal inspections to ensure they didn’t have a contagious disease or some condition that would make them a burden to the government. Because, you know, the people with money that had traveled with them were immune. Money talks and bullshit walks.

With America’s entrance into World War I, immigration declined and Ellis Island was used as a detention center for suspected enemies. Following the war, Congress passed quota laws and the Immigration Act of 1924, which sharply reduced the number of newcomers allowed into the country and also enabled immigrants to be processed at U.S. consulates abroad. After 1924, Ellis Island switched from a processing center to serving other purposes, such as a detention and deportation center…

In case you may be of the impression that anything is actually new under the sun, white Americans are the people who imported slaves. We are the people who massacred 150,000,000 indigenous native people in a genocide so effective that Hitler and Leopold studied our methods in wonderment. We are the people who denied women their voice. We are the people who used children as laborers in textile factories and coal mines. We are the people that enacted and enforced Jim Crow. We are the people who threw all of our Japanese American neighbors in concentration camps for the crime of looking asian. We are the people that enacted and enforced anti-miscegenation (whites and non-whites can’t marry nor have sex) laws right up until 1967. I can recall old-school, rich white folk saying that it is ok for “the colored’s” to have entertainment and sports careers but not own the night clubs or the sports team franchises. In other words, they can entertain us but they can’t have any say. If you paid any attention at all to this election and noticed its lack of any sign of a “blue tsunami” and listened to the spectrum of rhetoric from the TV pundits right on down to the streets, then surely you saw that racism has been revealed as hidden of late but newly released and reveling in its reemergence and freedom.

On Ellis Island, in the shadow of Lady Liberty, we ran a detention and deportation center.

Parts of this were taken from

Producer and Writer of the online radio show Forbidden America. Writing an online TV interview show set for production in 2021. An emerging Voice-Over Talent.

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