We owe our Halloween traditions to immigrants

By Josh T. Smith

Published:

Immigrants enrich US culture

Cultures must live and breathe freely to thrive

As with the Irish in the 1840s, tight controls on immigration today are defended as a way to preserve American culture and values. Immigration, according to this view, should only be allowed to those who assimilate. It’s an appealing position in part because American culture is so important in the country’s economic and social success. But the question is much more difficult when the rubber hits the road. Efforts to protect American culture often betray the values that they seek to protect.

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Source: Wikipedia. “A Statue for Our Harbor” is an 1881 cartoon depicting a Chinese man replacing the Statue of Liberty with the words: ruin to white labor, diseases, immorality, and filth surrounding his head. The cartoon illustrates the racism directed towards Chinese immigrants and the motivations for the passage of The Chinese Exclusion Act on May 6, 1882.

We’re better together

If you don’t take a long view on immigration policy, you’ll miss an important theme that borders on the cliché. Yesterday’s immigrants are praised, and today’s are condemned. The argument is startling in its repetition, no matter the time period. The refrains go that “Immigrants don’t fit in. They don’t assimilate!” But this refrain has been wrong as often as it has been said.

CGO scholars and fellows frequently comment on a variety of topics for the popular press. The views expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Growth and Opportunity or the views of Utah State University.