Thanksgiving: The Anti-Immigration Holiday

by Jason Dzubow on November 26, 2012

Last week, I posted about how Thanksgiving is the quintessential refugee holiday.  I didn’t want to say anything negative about Thanksgiving before the holiday, as that would be a bit of a humbug.  But now, enough time has passed that most of the leftover Turkey is gone, and now I want to write about the more challenging side of the holiday for immigration advocates.  Of course, I speak about the fact that the immigrants in the Thanksgiving scenario (the Europeans) essentially eradicated the original inhabitants of their new country (the Native Americans). 

Europeans were generally not known for being cordial to the Native Americans.

It has always surprised me that more anti-immigration folks don’t use Thanksgiving as an example of what happens when immigration runs amok.  Fifty years after the first Thanksgiving, most of the Wampanoag tribe (the Native Americans who dined with the Pilgrims in 1621) were either dead or sold into slavery.  From an estimated population of 6,600 in 1610, the Wampanoag were reduced to only about 400 individuals by 1677 (they have since recovered somewhat – in 2000, the estimated population was 2,336).  In short, while the first Thanksgiving was lovey-dovey, things didn’t end too well for the native peoples who received the new immigrants.  But this is something we rarely hear about from immigration restrictionists.

I suppose one reason that Thanksgiving is not used by immigration opponents is that it’s not easy to be anti-Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is probably the most popular non-religious holiday in the U.S., and to oppose Thanksgiving might seem un-American (in fact, to oppose Thanksgiving is un-American).  Since immigration opponents always seem to be uber patriots, I guess they do not want to be seen opposing the holiday.

Another reason that the holiday is not used against immigrants is that the analogy between European settlers/colonialists and modern-day immigrants really does not stand up.  The settlers of old were not trying to integrate into the indigenous culture; they were trying to conquer it.  Even if–as some restrictionists might argue–modern day immigrants do not integrate into mainstream society, they are clearly not in the same position to conquer our country as the settlers who conquered the New World.  We are much larger and more unified than the pre-Colombian indigenous peoples.  The number of immigrants coming to the U.S. these days is much smaller proportionately than the number of Europeans coming here in the colonial period.  Finally, most Native Americans died from diseases, and–Lou Dobbs notwithstanding–that is not a real threat to us today (at least not because of immigration).  So even if restrictionists wanted to use Thanksgiving as a cautionary tale about too much immigration, the analogy is weak.

Thanksgiving is frequently cited by pro-immigration types (and pro-asylum types like me).  I do think the holiday could be used to raise questions about immigration: How much immigration is good for our country, whether immigrants appropriately integrate into our society, how best to handle people who are here illegally.  But for restrictionists, maybe it is safer and more effective to raise those issues separately from the Thanksgiving holiday.  That’s fine with me, as I am a fan of Thanksgiving.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I know we have some leftover cranberry sauce around here somewhere…

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Delali Dagadu December 15, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Mr. Dave Francis, may I suggest one thing? (Well, whether you say yes or no…I will suggest!). Before you write your ranting opinion on a topic, make sure to read that topic contents, understand it, and then make your points based on that topic contents. That way, even if no one agrees with your issue/points, you would still be considered a highly intelligent person whose thoughts are highly respected and must be taken into consideration by other intelligent people.

For someone who wrote over 5 long paragraphs (meaning you have a lot to say) you said NOTHING. Instead, you have portrayed yourself as a whining child in a marketplace.

Now picture yourself as a little child, with the government being your parent, standing in the middle of the marketplace and whining incessantly about things passersby in the marketplace don’t understand, thus can’t come to your aid. Whereas, your parent…the government, even though they love you, choose to ignore your whines, because they know no matter what they do to make you feel comfortable and happy, you will always find something else to whine about.

One question: Ever traveled OUTSIDE the United States? I mean real travel!


Dave Francis December 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm

As far as I am concerned President Obama’s leading ranks of voters were the majority of those who are classed as “Freeloaders’”? Not the elderly, not the handicapped or infirm, but those who have learned to play the welfare system. They are also the people who think adding to the most incredulous deficit Washington has ever wrought, with Obama striding out the most insane definition of a free ride for everybody. One of Obama’s plans placed before the Republicans today was a blank check, to continuing the spending disaster.We cannot even pay the advancing U.S. treasury bills, let alone more additional trillions of dollars this administration has in mind. Yet this Congress could do much more, such as restricting illegal aliens with children literary stealing 4.2 Billion dollars annually in child tax credits and the IRS completely ignoring such outlandish behavior. In that this year alone illegal alien families could benefit under the “ADDITIONAL CHILD CREDIT” loophole for the sum of 7.4 Billion, even when in many occasions the child or children live outside the jurisdiction of the United States. “Citizens against Government Waste” a non-profit research organization have pinpointed hundreds of billions of dollars in overlapping agencies in government, both doing the same thing and many other wasteful taxpayer dollars going down the proverbial government drain. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AR) co-sponsored a bill earlier this year to bar illegal immigrants from receiving tax credits, but the bill was blocked from reaching the floor by Nevada Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.


Yet President Obama wants even more money from hardworking taxpayers. Instead of pandering to illegal aliens—not legal immigrants or permanent residents, his Socialist party and the Republicans as well should vote into law “THE LEGAL WORKFORCE BILL” However this electronic business employment verification program should be unilateral between parties, it should shuffle illegal aliens out of the limited job market? The GOP just voted for more visas for high skilled workers of the STEM Variety (Scientists, Technology, Engineers and Math) So American taxpayers should lean on the Democrats and Republicans to revise the 2006 Secure Fence Act, but complete the circuit by making it a felony to enter this sovereign country. American taxpayers should demand both the Legal Workforce Act and the Birthright Citizenship bill, we will not only discourage further invasion from foreign countries, but will inhibit another need for a DREAM ACT in our future. As for a labor shortage in the field, it should be orderly and heavily regulated and absconders who came here for Agjobs, who run off should be heavily held accountable, including the visitor visor overstays who must be tracked. It will also send a signal to people across the globe, that they are not welcome here illegally anymore and we are not going to distribute welfare to them.

As an additional impediment we the American People should be demanding passage of the “Birthright Citizenship Bill” so that pregnant illegal alien mothers cannot take advantage of our public entitlement programs unless one parent is already a U.S. citizen. No baby or young child cannot be given a free U.S. citizenship unless this rule is verified.. This unrealistic law was originally for the emancipation of slaves at the end of the civil war and hasn’t been adapted for this century and costs American taxpayers $113 billion dollars. Its ill conceived when citizens are the homeless and living on our dangerous streets and illegal aliens can collect welfare payments for babies and low income housing. Entitlements for the illegal poor have sky rocketed, as well as the human parasites that live amongst us feeding of our taxes. Just judge California’s “open Door” policy mess of a growing huge deficit. Of course people who can get something for nothing, is going to vote for the “entitlement” President that has allowed his czars to give out “food stamps” like candy and free cell phones.

A few prudent taxpayers are ignored, but if we approach the feds and state politicians in mass, they had better start listening to the core. We can no longer accept paying for shirkers, the spongers and illegal aliens or anybody who threaten this great counties prosperity?

From Stephen Frank website at California News & Views on 11/30/2012

California is in a Depression. Some are trying to make believe massive Federal and State tax increases, unions; illegal aliens a non happening to the “recovery”. “Over the past decade, the state has lost ground in employment and taxable income to economic rivals, especially Texas. Internal Revenue Service data show that California lost more than $4 billion in personal income to Texas from 2000 to 2010. Nevada netted more than $5.6 billion at California’s expense. Arizona gained nearly $5 billion. For a state that depends heavily on the personal income tax, these losses are significant. They also point to broader problems in the state’s business climate. People tend to move mainly for economic reasons, such as jobs or cost of living.”



Jason Dzubow December 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Not sure what this has to do with the post. It was too boring to read the whole diatribe, so maybe I missed something.


Kaytie November 27, 2012 at 11:41 am

This is a rather intriguing point–despite my knowledge of how the Europeans treated the natives, I always viewed Thanksgiving as a better crutch for pro-immigration than anti-immigration. Still, you rightly point out that the situations are hardly similar. Boatloads of foreigners aren’t exactly showing up to America’s shores with unknown disease and masses of weaponry.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: