Trump’s Travel Ban Echoes America’s Long History of Immigration Exclusion

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CMRubinWorld interviews renowned historian and author Vincent Cannato, who claims “there is nothing new about the controversies” surrounding the current immigration debate.

People are moving more freely across borders and continents and this has kept the topic of immigration in the world’s headlines and sparked widespread protests in many countries including the United States.

In an interview with C.M. Rubin (Founder of CMRubinWorld), US historian and acclaimed author Vincent Cannato says that while “America was multicultural long before 'multiculturalism' was fashionable,” the history of Ellis Island “represents America’s attempt to regulate who could and could not come through this country.” Cannato says that “Race always has played a role in American society” and that “every immigrant group had attached to them some negative trope.”

Cannato also notes that virtually all the current discussion about immigration “deals with those who are here illegally or who are ‘undocumented.’ Attempts at restricting legal immigration have gone nowhere.” The U.S. continues to admit around one million legal immigrants each year. Historically “there has been a bias in favor of those who could take care of themselves and a bias against those it was believed could not and therefore would become public charges. Today we tend to favor immigrants who have direct relatives already in the U.S. — that is a modern way that we define ‘desirability’.”

The Pew Research Center projects that by 2050, more than one-third of US schoolchildren “younger than 17 will either be immigrants themselves or the children of at least one parent who is an immigrant.”

Vincent J. Cannato is Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He received his BA with honors in Political Science from Williams College and his PhD in History from Columbia University. His critically acclaimed book, American Passage: The History of Ellis Island, tells the extraordinary story of the roles played by “the immigrants, officials, interpreters, and social reformers” whose lives were touched by Ellis Island. Cannato’s book explores the “politics, prejudices, and ideologies that surrounded the great immigration debate.”

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CMRubinWorld launched in 2010 to explore what kind of education would prepare students to succeed in a rapidly changing globalized world. Its award-winning series, The Global Search for Education, is a highly regarded trailblazer in the renaissance of 21st century education, and occupies a widely respected place in the pulse of key issues facing every nation and the collective future of all children. It connects today’s top thought leaders with a diverse global audience of parents, students and educators. Its highly readable platform allows for discourse concerning our highest ideals and the sustainable solutions we must engineer to achieve them. C. M. Rubin has produced over 500 interviews and articles discussing an extensive array of topics under a singular vision: when it comes to the world of children, there is always more work to be done.

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