If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

We're a Country of Immigrants

Dennis Jenkins, University of Oregon archeologist.
I’m rather sickened by all the negative comments about immigrants lately. After all, we are a country built on immigration. If you know your history, you know even the Native Americans are immigrants although because they’ve been here longer than any other immigrants we shouldn’t even think of them as immigrants. The latest evidence is they came from Asia 14,300 years ago. So unless they have ancestors who were Native Americans, they shouldn’t be making negative comments about immigrants.

We all know about the earliest settlers from England, the pilgrims who came to our shore. The first one was the lost colony of Roanoke, and then the English settled in Jamestown, Virginia. They were totally clueless about what they needed to survive in this wild land, and even more so the Pilgrims who settled in Plymouth, miles and miles north of where they were heading. They were lucky that the Native Americans helped them out.

Unfortunately for the native tribes, following immigrants treated them terribly, bringing diseases and even giving them blankets once used by smallpox patients so they’d get the disease and die. Smallpox was the one that wiped out most of the Indians in the east. Scalping? White invaders did the first scalping of Indians. And it never got better for the Native Americans. Gradually, those that didn’t die from disease were pushed west, their lands taken over, and we know about the reservations they eventually ended up on. The white settlers for the most part looked down on the Indians, much as many people today look down on our most recent immigrants.

Immigrants have always faced negativity from those who were already established here.  Immigrants before 1790 came from Africa (slaves), England, Ulster Scotch-Irish, Germany, Scotland, Ireland, Netherlands, Wales, France, Sweden and Jewish immigrants. Many came as indentured servants or transported convicts. There was not as much immigration from 1790 to 1849, and those who came were attracted by the cheap farmland, jobs in factories, digging the canals and railroads. Nativism took the form of political anti-Catholicism directed mostly at the Irish Catholics. Signs on stores and businesses stated that Irish need not apply. Most of the migrants flocked to urban destinations, and made up the bulk of the U.S. industrial labor pool, making possible the emergence of such industries as steel, coal, automotive, textile and garment production, enabling the United States to leap to the front ranks of the world’s economic giants.

Their urban destinations, numbers, and perhaps an antipathy towards foreigners, led to the emergence of a second wave of organized xenophobia. By the 1890s, many Americans, particularly from the ranks of the well-off, and native-born, considered immigration a serious danger to the nation’s health and security. In 1893 a group formed the Immigration Restriction League, and it, along with other similarly inclined organizations, began to press Congress for severe curtailment of foreign immigration. Does all this sound familiar?

What made me want to write about immigration is when I heard an interview on NPR with Princeton University’s Doug Massey, one of the nation’s preeminent immigration scholars. Because I couldn’t write down everything he said, I Googled him and found an article in The Washington Post by Ezra Klein titled “Everything you know about immigration is wrong.” I’ll have to abbreviate this long article. 

Massey slices the history of Mexico-to-U.S. migration in five periods. Early in the 20th century, there was the era of “the hook”  when Japan stopped sending workers to the U.S. and the mining, agriculture and railroad industries begged Mexican laborers to replace them. It’s called ‘the hook’ because laborers were recruited with promises of high wages, signing bonuses, transportation and lodging, most of which either never materialized or were deducted from their paychecks.

Then during the Roaring Twenties, almost 650,000 Mexican workers came legally, causing the number of Mexicans in the U.S. to rocket to almost 750,000 in 1929, from 100,000 in 1900.

The Great Depression ended all that. Jobless Americans took out their anger on jobless Mexicans, and thus began the “era of deportations.” From 1929 to 1939, 469,000 Mexicans were expelled from the U.S.

Enter World War II. With so many American men fighting overseas, Mexican labor was once again in high demand. The U.S. and Mexico negotiated the Bracero Program, which gave Mexican workers access to temporary visas. In 1945 the program brought in 50,000 Mexican guest workers, and by 1963 more than 50,000 Mexicans were emigrating each year. With so many legal ways to enter the country, illegal immigration was virtually unknown. In 1965, the U.S. ended the Bracero Program which began to limit Mexican immigration, but the demand for Mexican labor remained strong. So began the ‘era of undocumented migration.’ But even as millions of Mexicans entered the U.S. illegally, millions also returned to Mexico. About 85% of new entries were offset by departures. After passage of a comprehensive immigration law in 1986, the U.S. began militarizing the border with Mexico even as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and later the North American Free Trade Agreement strengthened economic ties with Mexico. From 1986 to 2000, trade with Mexico increased eight fold.

Here Massey’s story takes a turn that confounds Washington’s conventional wisdom and makes a mockery of the current political debate. According to Massey, the rise of America’s large undocumented population is a direct result of the militarization of the border. While undocumented workers once traveled back and forth from Mexico with relative ease, after the border was garrisoned, immigrants from Mexico crossed the border and stayed once they had run the gauntlet and made it to their final destination.  The arrival of undocumented Mexicans fell off when the recession came. The militarization of the border has cost billions of dollars.

Next, I downloaded Ten Ways Immigrants Help Build and Strengthen Our Economy.

 One:  Immigrants start businesses. 
Two:  Immigrant-owned businesses create jobs for American workers.
Three: Immigrants are also more likely to create their own jobs.
Four: Immigrants develop cutting-edge technologies and companies.
Five: Immigrants are our engineers, scientists, and innovators.
Six: Immigration boosts earning for American workers.
Seven: Immigrants boost demand for local consumer goods.
Eight: Immigration reform legislation like the DREAM Act reduces the deficit.
Nine: Comprehensive immigration reform would create jobs.
Ten:  Comprehensive immigration reform would increase America’s GDP.

The ten ways were backed up with data from various organizations, but it would have taken up to much space to add that.

We are a nation of immigrants. Immigrants have made America great. They’re the ones who built our cities, lay the railroads, started new industries, and our tech businesses. Recently at a naturalization ceremony held at the White House, President Obama said, “The lesson of these 236 years is clear – immigration makes America stronger.”

My ancestors are a hodgepodge of immigrants; the earlier ones were a mixture of Scotch Irish, English whose migration here was long ago. In the late 1800’s, my grandfather, who as an 8 year old boy, came from Slovakia with is mother after his father died. His two older brothers had emigrated here earlier. As I wrote in my blog about my father for Father’s Day, my mother’s father opposed their marriage because my dad was, what he called a Hunky even though he wasn’t from Hungry. I guess to my Grandpa Jones whose ancestors were from Wales everyone from that section of Europe was called that. Apparently, he thought the Welsh were superior.  

Note: Some of my information on immigration is from Wikipedia’s “History of Immigration to the United States.” It contained pages of the history of immigration and was fascinating reading.

What is your opinion of immigration to our country?
What is your family background?


Kait said...

Very timely, Gloria, and a difficult topic. Yes, we are all immigrants, but in a lot of ways, the rules seem to be different. While it's clear in history that the most scorn fell on the last group to arrive, each of those groups had the aim of assimilation. That doesn't seem to be as much the case anymore. Perhaps that perception is also a function of where I live. South Florida, where it is nearly impossible to find a job unless you speak Spanish. Oftentimes, English is the optional language. I've been in stores where the sales clerk had to go find an English speaker when I had a question. It's not an unusual situation either.

That said, so much of the yeast and vibrant excitement of our country is due to each member of the melting pot adding its own special cultural spice to the mix.

Margaret Turkevich said...

A good overview of this year's hottest election topic.

Warren Bull said...

We have a long sad history of xenophobia. Benjamin Franklin's description of German immigrants could be used to describe every subsequent group.

Gloria Alden said...

Kait, I understand your feelings about that. Where I live most of the immigrants have been here awhile and they aren't a problem. Most of them are from the middle east and have small businesses like gas stations or restaurants. I know a local farm that has apple, peach and cherry trees as well as a large strawberry patch, has the same immigrant workers come every year to work for them. It's hard for farmers to find workers who are willing to work in the heat of the sun for minimum wages.

Margaret, I suppose it is, but I tried to keep it nonpolitical.

Warren, I didn't remember that abut Benjamin Franklin. I know he spent much of his life in
England and France and left his business to his wife to run. He didn't honor his marriage vows, either, being quite the ladies man.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Gloria,
It is a difficult topic and I get what Kait is saying about the change in immigrants over the years. My mother's Italian parents forbade her to speak Italian because they wanted her to be American, and told her Americans speak English.
I used to live in a very diverse area. Our library had free English classes that were amazing - people from so many countries gathered to learn English together. Difficult, maybe, but over the years I saw these students become fluent - one even got a job at the library!

KM Rockwood said...

Interestingly, we haven't heard much recently about overpopulation in general.

As the global population grows, people often leave over-populated impoverished areas for places where they perceive (rightly or wrongly) they will find opportunity. Unrest and war, which prevent the people in a given region from growing crops and otherwise providing resources to live reasonably, add to the problem.

Even though we have problems, as we look back at history, I think human relations are lurching unsteadily in the right direction. Some people may be Holocaust-deniers, but I think we have very few who think it was a good idea. Racial problems exist, but we no longer legally accept the ownership of one human being by another. And we don't divide people into "inferior" and "superior" ethnic groups any more, at least officially. At one point in time, native Americans, Australian aborigines, the Chinese, the Irish, Africans, etc. were considered some type of sub-species, inferior and therefore having no more rights than animals. And at that time, those rights were few and far between.

Gloria Alden said...

Shari, I think diverse areas help both immigrants and those who aren't adapt. I do think it's more common in urban areas than in rural areas like where I live. And I think it's more common in states like California where my youngest daughter lives, and southern states.

Grace Topping said...

Like Shari's family, my Italian grandparents insisted that the family speak English because they now lived in America. The most thrilling day in their lives was when they became American citizens. A cause for big celebrations.

Carla Damron said...

This is a critical issue and I'm glad you wrote this. We need to embrace those who seek refuge here. Our ancestors came from far away and helped build this country we are so proud of.

Gloria Alden said...

Grace, what a nice story you have. My Slovak grandparents spoke perfect English, although I don't remember my grandmother because she died when I was only five, but my grandfather had no accent, but then he came over when he was eight years old.

Thank you, Carla. It bothers me to see so much antagonism towards the Muslims when those who support ISIS are not true Muslims at all. Every time I see refuge families suffering in camps, away from home, I'm so touched. And they're only left because they're escaping war and want their children to be safe.

I'm reading in TIME now of an organization that has taken in African children and teenagers who escaped from the terrorists there and have been training for them to participate in the Olympics that start tomorrow. Of course, they'll only pick those who stand a chance to win, but in the meantime they're giving a lot of these refugees a place to live, sleep and eat.