By Julia G. Young
In March 2015, I submitted the final page proofs for my book on Mexican migration to the United States. In June of that same year, Donald Trump gave his now-infamous speech in which he called Mexican immigrants drug dealers, rapists, and criminals. We all know what has happened since then: a nativist presidential campaign, a rhetorical battle with Mexico over the border wall, an upset election, and a growing number of deportations.
President Donald J. Trump’s new executive order on immigration was supposed to go into effect today. The new order was slightly narrower in scope than the original—it suspended travel from six countries instead of seven, and made exceptions for certain visa holders and US legal permanent residents. It also no longer singled out Syrian refugees for indefinite exclusion from the United States—all refugee settlement, including for those fleeing Syria, would have been temporarily suspended for four months pending further review.
Facing extensive criticism and litigation of his first executive order restricting entry into the United States, President Donald Trump has issued a revised executive order (#13780), this time citing historical evidence in support of the policy restricting immigration and refugee resettlement. The American Historical Association has applied the discipline’s professional standards to the revised directive and found that it does not pass historical muster. Moreover, like its predecessor EO 13769, the order “stands at odds with the values stated in our nation’s founding documents.”
By Karen Inouye
In February 1942, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which directed state and local authorities to locate and detain Japanese American citizens and their family members in the western United States at a number of prison sites. In addition to being given only days to prepare for their imprisonment, Japanese Americans received little information about their destinations, the proposed length of their stay, or the conditions they would endure.
By Tyler Anbinder
Underpinning President Donald Trump’s recent ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries is the belief that these immigrants are fundamentally different than those who came to the United States in the past. An unsentimental look at the history of American immigrants, however, shows that the banned immigrants are not fundamentally different from Americans’ foreign-born grandparents, great-grandparents, or even great-great-great-grandparents.
By Mark Philip Bradley
“Don’t tell me it doesn’t work—torture works,” then presidential candidate Donald Trump said at a February 2016 campaign event in Bluffton, South Carolina. “Okay, folks, torture—you know, half these guys [say]: ‘Torture doesn’t work.’ Believe me, it works, okay?” At the time, I was finishing my recent book on Americans and human rights in the 20th century, and Trump’s repeated defense of torture, like so many of his pronouncements, struck me as relics of the past.
The American Historical Association strongly condemns the executive order issued by President Donald J. Trump on January 27 purportedly “protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.” Historians look first to evidence: deaths from terrorism in the United States in the last fifteen years have come at the hands of native-born citizens and people from countries other than the seven singled out for exclusion in the order. Attention to evidence raises the question as to whether the order actually speaks to the dangers of foreign terrorism.
By William Wei
An Asian American attorney contacted me recently to ask whether I knew that Denver once had a Chinatown. He expressed dismay that this historical fact was not widely known. There should be, at the very least, a sign to commemorate it, he said. It turns out he had called the right person—I did know that there was a Chinatown in Denver and I had even written articles about it.