Alienation of Immigrants is to blame for delayed public outcry


Immigration became a hot topic in American media this year a when video surfaced of a child crying for his family after being separated by border-control during an attempt to cross illegally. Later more coverage revealed that separated children, like the one in the video, were being kept in inhumane conditions; child detention centers filled with wire cages, for up to several months, before being reunited with their family.

The faces of children behind bars struck a nerve with the public, and the conditions of the detention centers and overall treatment towards immigrants shocked the public even more. It wasn’t long before protestors took to the streets and campaigns such as Keep Families Together rose in the media.

Public outcry was mountainous, but was it overdue?

Child detention centers are not new to the scene, and child detention centers are not the first instance of immigrants being treated poorly in this country.

According to, the first dedicated immigration detention facility in the world opened in 1892: Ellis Island Immigration Station. Then in 1893, Congress passed the first law requiring the detention of any person not “entitled to admission”. Immigration officers would release some, mostly white,  immigrants on bond.

According to, In the 1800s the Irish were the popular target, and newspaper workers-wanted ads commonly included the phrase “No Irish need apply.”

Later on in the 19th century, anti-immigration sentiment was condoned in federal laws that singled out Asians after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Other federal laws targeted Italians and southern Europeans.

Xenophobia is an ironic issue in America, and It’s been happening for a long time.

So what was the factor that triggered the outrage? What made this Immigration crisis the one to cause Americans to take initiative?

Maybe it’s that the media was able to put an innocence face to the issue. Maybe it’s the progressive political climate our country is in, or maybe it’s that Americans are finally realizing the role immigrants play.

No matter the reason, fact is, Americans should of cared a long time ago.

Immigration has always been the larger part of America’s past — with the exception of those of thurow Native American descent, no one is truly “from here.” Whether they sailed on the Mayflower or came through Ellis island or drove across a border, the ancestors of modern day citizens root back to one or several immigrants.

We are all here because someone in our bloodline wanted the chance at a better life, so what makes modern day immigrants any different?