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Divided States of America: You are a child of immigrants Mr Trump, so what's all the fuss about?
The new American President Donald Trump's latest order of restricting the entry of citizens from seven Muslim dominated countries – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan and Syria – into the United States of America has once again shifted the world's attention on `immigrants'.

But what exactly does the word `immigrant' mean? Well, people who migrate from their homeland into a new country are known as immigrants. Right from the colonial era, to America attaining independence in 1776, and even till today, millions of people from all over the world have left their homelands and travelled to the land of the free, to live what is famously called the American dream. 

Historically speaking, America at its very core has been a nation, of the immigrants, by the immigrants and for the immigrants. A nation which has mostly been open to welcoming the human refuse from all over the world barring a few exceptions like the recent ban on immigrants from Muslim nations or the shutting of doors for Chinese immigrants.

To say the least, America's kinship with immigrants has been, well, complicated...

The colonial powers that created America knew very well that they needed immigrants to build the new found land. In America's last 400 years of history, immigrants have arrived for altogether different reasons. Some came to escape war, some to have religious freedom while some arrived in pursuit of a better life, free of poverty.


Ireland's Potato Blight (a fungus which destroys potato crops) of 1845 brought in a large influx of Irish immigrants. A famine was caused by the fungus destroying potato crops, which was the staple diet of the Irish, and led to almost 20 per cent of Ireland's population immigrating to the United States. Interestingly, among those Irish immigrants, was also the family of John F Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States. So all thanks to potatoes and immigration, United States got another President.

The first wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in America from the 1850s to 1880s as several parts of China were experiencing drought and starvation, until federal laws restricted the entry of the Chinese. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the country's first law to ban immigration by race or nationality.

After relationships normalised between the US and China, the second wave of Chinese immigration started in the 1970s and continues till today. Chinese immigrants are today the third largest group of immigrants after Mexicans and Indians in the United States, numbering more than 2 million and comprising of around 5 per cent of immigrant population of the US as per 2013 census.

It is estimated that between 1882 and 1914, approximately 20 million immigrants came to the United States, mostly from eastern and southern Europe, greatly influencing the demographics of the country. By 1900, New York City had as many Irish as Dublin, more Italians than any city other than Rome and more Poles than Warsaw. Apart from Slavs, Scandinavians and Lithuanians in substantial numbers, NYC also had the largest population of Jews than any other city of the world.

Ironically, America's 45th President, Donald J Trump is himself a child of immigrants, but yet talks about keeping them out of the country where his ancestors had once taken refuge, and were able to live the American dream and create a fortune which he eventually inherited.

Trump's mother, Mary Anne MacLeod was born in the Isle of Lewis, Scotland in 1912 and migrated to the United States in 1930. Donald Trump's grandfather, Friedrich Trump was born in Pfalz, Germany in 1869 and immigrated to the United States in 1885, eventually becoming an American citizen in 1892 in Seattle, Washington.

Furthermore, according to a CNN report, Trump's grandfather, Friedrich Trump, had illegally left Germany, failing to inform the authorities of his intended immigration, as per the findings of German historian Roland Paul. Yet ironically, Donald Trump talks about cracking down on illegal immigrants.

Paul said, "Trump talks about illegal immigration, so I think he should remember his own family story from time to time."


Today, There are a lot of restrictions on immigrants for entering the United States, especially post the 9/11 terror attack. But still, the contributions of immigrants in nation building cannot be disregarded. They have contributed immensely with their sweat and blood in making America great, which is a paradoxical reminder of Donald Trump's campaign slogan `Make America Great Again'.

The America Trump wants to create would be devoid of the very values this nation has always stood for. His idea of America is all about building walls and polarisation of the United States of America into the Divided States of America.

Americans are sharply divided over Donald trump's order of not allowing immigrants from these seven countries to enter the United States. A poll conducted on January 30-31 found that 49 per cent American adults said that they either "strongly" or "somewhat" agreed with Trump's executive order, while 41 per cent disagreed.

Perhaps the once land of the free, is now, the land of the not-so-free.

But there is still hope as the robust and time-tested American democracy that was designed to keep people like Trump in check, has once again proved that it is paramount and bigger than any individual, after Federal Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York granted a stay on Trump's executive order barring immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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