Hat tip: MockPaperScissors.
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And “statute” isn’t even the stupidest thing she said there. Many of the people who came through Ellis Island were, like my grandfather, WOPS, “without papers.” But that’s not the same as legal vs. illegal, which are the constructs we use now.
“Until 1918, the United States did not require passports; the term ‘illegal immigrant’ had no meaning. New arrivals were required only to prove their identity and find a relative or friend who could vouch for them.
“Customs agents kept an eye out for lunatics and the infirm (and after 1905, for anarchists). Ninety-eight percent of the immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island were admitted to the United States, and 78 percent spent less than eight hours on the island. (The Mexico-United States border then was unguarded and freely crossed in either direction.)
“‘Shipping companies did the health inspections in Europe because they didn’t want to be stuck taking someone back,’ said Nancy Foner, a sociology professor at Hunter College and author of “From Ellis Island to JFK: New York’s Two Great Waves of Immigration.” ‘Eventually they introduced a literacy test,’ she added, ‘but it was in the immigrant’s own language, not English.'”
Damn those illegal immigrants who aren’t willing to work and who hate freedom! Wait…there aren’t any? Does Palin know?
(BTW, that’s undoubtedly not the origin of “wop.”)
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Here’s one from the archives:
Lord, save us from the Islamists,
And while you’re at it, the Christianists.
And save us from the Jews
And the holy rollers, too,
For we are humble zealot-fearing atheists, Amen.