Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

Local - Americans need to work through differences to become one united nation

Jan 13, 2016

To the editor:

The hostile words we hear today toward the role of immigrants and refugees in our nation is deeply troubling given our history.

In contrast, the following appeared in the Salem, Iowa, rural Henry County, Weekly News on June 18, 1881.

“The arrival of emigrants at the port of New York this year is tho’t may reach 500,000. The greater part of these will come west, and after having acquired a knowledge of American ways will become a strong power in developing the great west. The reasons for this great emigration are many, but mainly because of the difficulties and embarrassments the poor man encounters in the old world and the great inducements offered him in the new. By their frugal habits and application they furnish lessons in industry it would be well for many to follow.”

In 1881, Salem citizens and those before them were not far from having emigrated themselves. Political and religious persecution and warfare in Europe and the Middle East brought them here as remains the case today.

To be sure, world circumstances and the weapons of war in our century are much different. What is not different is the spirit of humankind to want to prosper through hard work and citizenship when given opportunity in a new land.

Our need to closely screen today’s newcomers is critical. Given the resources our security agencies will do so.

This can and must be done without shedding the values that have made us strong. These values are based largely in being a nation of immigrants and having found ways to work through our differences to make us one.

 

Sincerely,

Dave Helman

Salem

 

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