That’s not a fact. It’s a convenient way of ignoring the history of immigration law and the actual experience of immigrants. It’s an incredible and stunning omission to write about the history of immigration as you do and ignore the stories of those who came in legally through Ellis Island. Over 12 million immigrants were screened under the law and legally admitted starting in 1892. In 1907 alone 1.3 million came in legally through Ellis Island. Millions of others came through Boston, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.
The population of the country grew from 76 million in 1900 to 92 million in 1910 with a significant part of the increase due to legal immigration.
Soon after things got tighter. The immigration laws of the 1920s established national origin quotas. Still large numbers of people came in following legal procedures administered by the INS. Hungarians, Cubans, Soviet Jews, and Vietnamese boat people all came in under the law. They did not sneak in across the border.
I also suspect you have never talked to a recent legal immigrant. I’ve talked to a few. They are furious they had to go through a lengthy and costly process to get in, while others slipped in illegally.
It’s also profoundly unfair to all the millions of people who have applied and are on waiting lists to immigrate to allow others to jump the line and get in.
It’s not racist at all to want the country to enforce its immigration laws. Once we enforce the laws, you could debate how many immigrants we should admit and what the requirements should be. But the issue now is that our laws are being broken with impunity and our rules for asylum are being abused.
Labor leaders such as Cesar Chavez and Black American politicians such as Barbara Jordan strongly opposed illegal immigration because it undercut the wages of farmworkers and inner city workers. Would you go back in time and accuse them of racism?
Ultimately it’s a question of sovereignty, whether the citizens of the United States get to decide who will get to immigrate to their country. False accusations of racism and distorted versions of our history don’t justify the brazen flaunting of our immigration laws.