“Few of their children in the country learn English. The signs in our streets have inscriptions in both languages. Unless the stream of their importation could be turned, they will soon so outnumber us that all of the advantages we have will not be able to preserve our language and even our government will become precarious.” Those were not the words of someone in 2007, but rather, those of Benjamin Franklin who found the waves of my ancestors pouring into Philadelphia from Germany “the most stupid of their nation.”
I was reflecting on the Fourth upon the yearning for freedom and opportunity that drove those ancestors to journey half-way across the world in rickety ships. They came with an ideal in their heart, a willingness to work hard and their children and grandchildren quickly assimilated into the “American Way.” Yet, they and every other major immigrant group had to overcome the sentiment of not being welcomed from those firmly planted on American soil.
They say that history repeats itself. Are we witnessing such a repeat today?