Don’t Be Terrorized

November 14, 2015 by RICK STEVES

rick steves

After Friday’s horrifying events in Paris, as we keep the victims and their families in our prayers and marvel at how violent hatred can express itself, it’s natural for those of us with travels coming up to wonder what is the correct response. Let me share my thoughts:

I have two fundamental concerns: what is safe, and what is the appropriate response to terrorism.

About safety, I believe this is an isolated incident. Tomorrow Paris will be no more dangerous than it was the day before that terrible Friday the 13th. I also believe that security in Paris and throughout Europe will be heightened in response to this attack. Remember: There’s an important difference between fear and risk.

About the right response to terrorism, I believe we owe it to the victims of this act not to let the terrorist win by being terrorized. That’s exactly the response they are hoping for. Sure, it’s natural for our emotions to get the best of us. But, especially given the impact of sensational media coverage, we need to respond intelligently and rationally.

In 2004, Madrid suffered a terrorist bombing in its Metro, which killed 191 and injured 1,800. In 2005, London suffered a similar terrorist bombing in its Tube system, killing 52 and injuring 700. These societies tightened their security, got the bad guys, and carried on. Paris will, too.

I’m sure that many Americans will cancel their trips to Paris (a city of 2 million people) or the rest of Europe (a continent of 500 million people), because of an event that killed about 150. As a result, ironically, they’ll be staying home in a country of 320 million people that loses over 30,000 people a year (close to 100 people a day) to gun violence.

Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Paris, the victims, and their loved ones. And it remains my firmly held belief that the best way for Americans to fight terrorism is to keep on traveling.

Obama Dedicates $118 Million to Uplift Women and Girls of Color

The new initiative is an awaited counterpart to last year’s initiative for young men, ‘My Brother’s Keeper.’

Girls hug President Barack Obama as he visits the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Girls hug President Barack Obama as he visits the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

NOV 13, 2015
Rebecca McCray is a staff writer covering social justice. A former Fulbright scholar, she is based in New York.
When President Barack Obama announced a multimillion-dollar philanthropic initiative to uplift young men of color last year, the investment was met with praise from some stakeholders and a big question from others: What about girls and women?

On Friday, a long-awaited answer was delivered at an all-day forum at Wake Forest University dedicated to the issues facing women and girls of color. The White House Council on Women and Girls announced a five-year initiative that will include $118 million in public and private partnerships devoted to empowering women and girls and lifting them out of poverty.
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The conference centered around a White House report, Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color, that focuses on education, health care, criminal justice, and economic opportunity, among other issues. While gains have been made for marginalized American women in recent years, the report noted, significant inequity and barriers to success remain.

While the average woman makes just 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, for example, the gender pay gap is even starker for women of color. Black women earn just 60 cents per dollar earned by the average white man, while Latino women earn only 55 cents. In spite of representing a smaller percentage of the overall U.S. population than do their white counterparts, black and Native American girls are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system. Girls of color are more than twice as likely than white girls to become pregnant as teens, decreasing their odds of earning a high school diploma.

Obama addressed the inequalities facing women and girls of color in September during a speech before the Congressional Black Caucus, foreshadowing the initiative announced Friday.

“When women of color aren’t given the opportunity to live up to their God-given potential, we all lose out on their talents; we’re not as good a country as we can be,” Obama said. “So we’re going to have to close those economic gaps so that hardworking women of all races, and black women in particular, can support families and strengthen communities and contribute to our country’s success.”

http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/11/13/white-house-women-and-girls-color?cmpid=tpdaily-eml-2015-11-13?cmpid=organic-share-mailto

Think your immigrant ancestors came here legally? Think again

By Brian Donohue | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com  on November 12, 2015 at 6:12 PM, updated November 12, 2015 at 6:14 PM

Editor’s note: This is a column was written for The Star-Ledger in 2007 shortly after the U.S. Senate’s immigration reform bill died in Congress. We’re posting this here because it never appeared on NJ.com. It remains more relevant than ever to the still intense debate over illegal immigration. 

"Only 1 percent of people who showed up at Ellis Island were turned away, " said Mae Ngai, author of "Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America." "What that statement is ignorant of is that we didn't always have restrictions. It's a fairly recent phenomenon." The copied photograph is from the library at Ellis Island of immigrants arriving on Ellis Island in the early 1900s. (Star-Ledger file photo)

“Only 1 percent of people who showed up at Ellis Island were turned away, ” said Mae Ngai, author of “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America.” “What that statement is ignorant of is that we didn’t always have restrictions. It’s a fairly recent phenomenon.” The copied photograph is from the library at Ellis Island of immigrants arriving on Ellis Island in the early 1900s. (Star-Ledger file photo)

There are many solid arguments for why the United States should not grant legal status to unauthorized immigrants, as opponents of immigration reform, have argued for years now.

But as the debate continues to rage, one particular mantra is heard from opponents of legalization, perhaps more consistently than any other:

“My ancestors came here legally.”

So too, the argument holds, must today’s immigrants. We’re a nation of laws, we must be consistent, and we must not reward law breakers.

RELATED: Trump praises court ruling against Obama’s immigration order

It’s a mighty handy argument that worked wonders for opponents of the legalization bills that have died in Congress over the past two decades. It’s logical, and draws a clear moral distinction between previous generations of law-abiding immigrants and today’s border-jumpers. It heads off allegations of xenophobia, allowing the speaker to say it’s not immigrants he or she is against, just illegality.

if everyone’s grandparents said they immigrated legally, someone’s grandparents were lying.

It works, too, because it rings true with Americans. The images burned into our brains of previous immigration waves come largely from newsreels and photos of immigrants disembarking at Ellis Island, one at a time, orderly, legally.

There’s one problem with the argument. It’s utter hogwash.

First of all, for hundreds of years, as immigrants poured in by the hundreds of thousands from the 1600s to the early 1900s, there were simply no federal immigration laws to break.

PLUS: Christie says Trump’s border wall plan ‘makes no sense’

Unless you were a criminal or insane (or after 1882, Chinese), once you landed here, you were legal.

Crediting yesteryear’s immigrants with following the laws is like calling someone a good driver because they never got caught speeding on the Autobahn.

“Only 1 percent of people who showed up at Ellis Island were turned away,” said Mae Ngai, author of “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America.”

“What that statement is ignorant of is that we didn’t always have restrictions. It’s a fairly recent phenomenon.”

Level the playing field hypothetically, and the argument becomes even more preposterous.

Imagine today’s immigration laws, which make it impossible for most poor foreign farmers to immigrate legally — in effect in, say, 1849.

Somewhere in Ireland, a starving farmer turns to his family, their mouths green from eating grass in the midst of the potato famine.

“We could escape to America and have food to eat,” the farmer says. “But I’d never do that without a visa. That would be a violation of U.S. immigration law.”

Ridiculous, of course. That farmer would have done exactly what today’s Mexicans, Chinese and Guatemalans are doing by the millions — get to the United States so they can feed their families, and worry about getting papers later.

Which brings us to the second reason the “my ancestors came legally” argument is absurd.

It’s because lots of people’s ancestors simply didn’t.

Once Congress put immigration quotas in place to keep out less desirable Eastern and Southern Europeans in 1921, they began sneaking in by the thousands.

MORE: Trump says he’ll sue to revoke birthright citizenship in immigration debate

On June 17, 1923, the New York Times reported that W.H. Husband, commissioner general of immigration, had been trying for two years “to stem the flow of immigrants from central and southern Europe, Africa and Asia that has been leaking across the borders of Mexico and Canada and through the ports of the east and west coasts.”

A story from the Sept. 16, 1927, New York Times describes government plans for stepped up Coast Guard patrols because thousands of Chinese, Japanese, Greeks, Russians and Italians were landing in Cuba and then hiring smugglers to take them to the United States, illegally.

Two years earlier, the immigration service reported that 1.4 million immigrants might be living illegally in the U.S., according to the immigration service’s 1925 annual report.

“The figures presented are worthy of very serious thought, especially when it is considered that such a great percentage of our population … whose first act upon reaching our shores was to break our laws by entering in a clandestine manner,” the report found.

CHRISTIE: U.S. could track immigrants using fingerprints

The problem got so bad that the government was forced to legalize an estimated 200,000 illegal European immigrants by a process called pre-examination. These days, the process would be called amnesty.

Clearly, if everyone’s grandparents said they immigrated legally, someone’s grandparents were lying.

“When people cite their grandparents, they’re basically operating with a very limited understanding of what immigration was back then,” said Edward O’Donnell, author of “1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History.”

“There’s nothing people are more proud of than these huddled masses yearning to breathe free. It’s based on a very skewed or no knowledge of history.”

Stanford University history professor Richard White discovered that after he began researching a book on his family’s immigrant past.

White found his grandfather tried to immigrate from Ireland through Canada in 1936 because he could not get a visa under the quota laws.

“He tried to come through Detroit. It was hard to get caught at Detroit, but he managed to get caught,” White said. Back in Canada, his grandfather called his brother, a Chicago police officer, who crossed the border and met him there. The two then walked to Detroit, his brother flashing his Chicago policeman’s badge to U.S. customs officers who waved the pair through.

“I wouldn’t be here, my brothers wouldn’t be here if illegal aliens had been rounded up and dragged out,” said White, a 1992 Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Few people say what White does in public. But since Ngai wrote her book in 2005, she has heard from some of them. They’re not going on talk shows, blogging or writing letters to newspaper editors. But they’re out there, even if they don’t know it.

Perhaps if the Senate’s legalization bill comes around again, their story could be a rallying cry for those in favor of amnesty.

Brian Donohue may be reached at bdonohue@njadvancemedia.com Follow him on Twitter @briandonohue. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/11/think_your_immigrant_ancestors_came_legally_think.html