On My Corner: A loaded question asked

Bob Casimiro

By Bob Casimiro

I received another “loaded question” while holding my “Secure Our Border” sign at Pondicherry Square last week. The previous week’s question was: “Have you traveled overseas?” (“Loaded question for sure,” July 12, 2018). This time a male driver asked me: “Where are your parents from?”

Who am I — the “Answer Man?”

The question about my parent’s origin does give me the opportunity, though, to discuss my immigrant background and also comment on the issues brought up by the lady from Sweden (“Loaded question,” July 19, 2018).

As to the “Where are your parents from?” question, I am of Portuguese French-Canadian heritage. My paternal grandparents came from the Açores, Portugal in 1905 and settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts. My maternal grandmother, Bertha Boyer, is from Terrebonne, Québec, a suburb of Montréal. She came to the United States and married Albert Paquette, a blacksmith, born and raised in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

I traveled to Terrebonne, Québec two years ago, and the researchers at the Musée D’Histoire de Terrebonne were able to provide photocopies of the birth record of my grandmother, and the marriage record of her parents (my great-grandparents) Joel Boyer and Alma Martin.

Likewise, the researchers at the Plymouth, Mass., library provided invaluable records of my Portuguese grandparents, who lived in Plymouth, where my father was born.

That background, along with 16 years of immersion in the immigration issue, give me a profound appreciation and understanding of that issue.

As such, we are not a “nation of immigrants” or, as the writer says, “we are all immigrants.” This is nonsense, and unsupportable. Eighty-seven percent of the residents of this country of 328 million were born here (www.census.gov/popclock/). Forty-three million (13 percent) are aliens, or foreign born. However objectionable to some, alien is the correct and legal term.

Interestingly and coincidentally, 48 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born here. That is 86 percent, almost identical to the current percentage of native-born Americans.

After the passage of the National Origins Act of 1924, which severely restricted immigration levels, the foreign-born population reached a low of 9.4 million in 1960; five percent of the population of 180 million. It started back up with the passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, and now stands at 13 percent.

We were founded by immigrants and continue to grow through, immigration, but we are not a “nation of immigrants.”

Why is that relevant? Isn’t that just semantics?

By pushing the “nation of immigrants” mantra, it allows advocates to justify the “need” for unfettered migration into the country, migration that not only refers to legal immigration — the green card holders — but now no longer makes the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants. It is all “immigrants.”

It only makes sense to maintain the distinction between legal and illegal as the laws, rules, and regulations are different for the two different classes of migrants.

The lady says it is “easy and, essentially, unproductive to wave a banner in the town square proclaiming there is a great menace at our borders.”

While the vast majority of responses I receive are favorable, it is hardly “easy” to be called, as I have, “racist,” “bigot,” “anti-immigrant,” “xenophobe,” “idiot,” and to repeatedly get, not only thumbs down, but the one-finger salute (the middle finger) plus, within the last week, one guy twice, on separate occasions, yelled as he went by: “Get the f**k out of here.”

If that’s “easy,” I’ll skip the hard part (I have documented all this and can verify the day, date, time, and locations of all these comments and gestures).

Also, I do not “wave a banner” — I hold a sign and wave to passing motorists, not in the “town square,” but Pondicherry Square.

The “chaos” at the border was started in 2012 with the influx of UAC (unaccompanied alien children) and resulted in a flood of illegal aliens coming across the border with the “catch and release” policy enacted by Obama in 2014.

As mentioned previously, and obviously ignored, Jessica Vaughan, the Policy Director for The Center for Immigration Studies, testified to Congress that 125,306 of these UACs were apprehended coming across the border from 2012 to 2016 (“Loaded question for sure,” July 19, 2018).

That was “chaos.”

Finally, the lady talks of the need to “…develop an effective and humane immigration policy.”

Fine, let’s hear your solutions. It is easy enough to hurl darts from the safe, secure, protected aerie of bucolic Sweden, Maine, but we want to hear your alternatives to the current policy, rules, laws, and regulations governing this situation.

We await.

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