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Arthur Schaper: Immigration Issues in Massachusetts

Friday, January 17, 2014


This country needs responsive, and responsible immigration reform, now, believes Arthur Schaper.

Immigration to the Americas (and Massachusetts) was not a big deal in the past, but has become a heated issue in this century. Where did most of us come from, how did New England’s population emerge then change over time, and how has immigration impacted the commonwealth today?

Before the United States, the Americas were a fledgling continent without much of an edge. Consider that Europeans and Asians believed that the world had an edge, or that nothing worth finding was waiting for them beyond their own lands. According to modern geographical reports, the American continents as a whole were populated with migrants. Whether you believe in evolution or creation, these United States have hosted immigrants from all over the world since recorded history.

Just Googling the question “Where did the Native Americans. . .” yields research regarding origins of life, which including speculations as far ranging as mountain ranges in Southern Russia as well as Asia. Whether by land-bridge or waters, separate migrations brought the extensive populations which greeted (or attacked) European explorers. French explorer Jean Lery posited that they descended from Semitic peoples, too.

Immigration in the Bay State

What about Massachusetts? Everyone knows about the Puritans, the Pilgrims, the Separatists, but what about afterwards, during the inaugural years of the Republic? Aside from the Conquistadores of old and the religious dissenters in years to follow, not a lot of people were living here to seek a new life. From the 1600s, English and Scottish teemed to New England shores. From the founding to the late 1800s, Europeans seeking work in the Northeastern textile mills wove their way into United States civic history, including the largest population of Irish migrants (Kennedy, anyone?). Northern Europeans, with a rising number of French-Canadians, moved to the Commonwealth.

By the late 1800’s until the next century, Southern European migration peaked. Following World War I, Russian and Slavic immigrants arrived. From the end of World War II to today, the Immigration Policy Center reports that the Latino and Asian communities feature prominently in the Bay State, with the population of foreign-born rising steadily over the past two decades. Modern concerns surrounding Massachusetts immigration policy cannot be ignored.

“Mister Governor” Patrick agreed to permit undocumented students pay in-state tuition, even though legally they should not be in the state to begin with. Granted, young illegal immigrants who have grown up in the US all their lives did not put themselves into their legal predicament, yet neither are the (few remaining) taxpayers in Taxachusetts at fault, nor the federal government, nor the United States Constitution. In a better (howbeit imperfect) world, immigration would freely respond to market forces, where anyone seeking a better job and better life can freely move to the United States, pass a health screening and criminal background check, then settle and make the most of their stay. National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru recounted that his parents immigrated to the United States with little fanfare or fuss. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s father came to the US, and right away picked up the phone and dialed for work until he got a job.

Why has immigration become more difficult fifty years later? Free-market economist Milton Friedman argued about the same perceived inconsistency regarding immigration, which was welcomed in the 1900s but not today. His response: “You can have free immigration to work, but not to welfare”. A generous welfare state which promises to everyone a certain level of sustenance paid for by the state has discouraged free immigration, since in effect it’s not free!

The welfare problem is all the more pressing Massachusetts, since the Tsarnaev terrorists who bombed the Boston marathon were subsisting off of government welfare while plotting to attack their own adopted homeland.

Federal Immigration Reform

How has the President responded?

Frustrated over the stalling of immigration reform in Congress, President Obama has circumvented the legislature, issuing executive orders to discontinue deporting young illegal immigrants who have finished school and have not committed a crime, along with friends and family of military personnel. Why anyone would migrate to this country seeking the rule of law, when the President routinely flouts the rule of law is just mind-boggling in its inconsistency

What steps should the federal government take to effect effective immigration reform? Go Local Mindsetter Tom Finneran offered a list of essential reforms, such as securing the border, as well as streamlining the naturalization process. It’s a humanitarian crime (and crisis) for well-intentioned, law-abiding immigrants to waste decades before earning citizenship. Later on, Finneran mentioned the welfare abuses in connection with the Tsarnaev terrorists, which segues to another immigration reform:

Amnesty of the welfare state. Require citizenship as prerequisite for enrolling in a public or using an American hospital. The Mexican government requires proof of citizenship for public education, and militantly controls its Southern border. Why doesn’t the US do the same?

And quickly. Domestic workers in Massachusetts are already rallying against worker abuse, demanding a bill or rights, and one Bay State couple has plead guilty to underpaying their Bolivian-born nanny and housekeeper for thirteen years. This country needs responsive, and responsible immigration reform, now.


Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow him on Twitter@ArthurCSchaper, reach him at [email protected], and read more at Schaper's Corner and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.


Related Slideshow: New England Communities With the Most Political Clout 2013

The Sunlight Foundation, in conjunction with Azavea, released data maps this week showing political contribution dollars to federal elections dating back to 1990 -- by county.

GoLocal takes a look at the counties in New England that had the highest per-capita contributions in the 2012 election cycle -- and talked with experts about what that meant for those areas in New Engand, as well as the candidates.  

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25. Merrimack County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $9.86

Total contributions: $1,447,713

Merrimack County is named after the Merrimack River and is home to the states capital, Concord. Merrimack County has a total area of 956 square miles and a population of 146,761.

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24. Cheshire County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $9.88

Total contributions: $759,209

Cheshire is one of the five original counties in New Hampshire and was founded in 1771. The highest point in Cheshire County is located at the top of Mount Monadnock, which was made famous by the poets Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

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23. Rockingham County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $9.96

Total contributions: $2,965,530

Rockingham has 37 communities and has a population of 297,820. Rockingham County also was home to the famous poet, Robert Frost

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22. Belknap County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.02

Total contributions: $604,512

Belknap County is one of the ten counties in New Hampshire and has a population of 60,327. It is located in the center of New Hampshire and the largest city is Laconia.

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21. Hampshire County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.41

Total contributions: $1,664,077

Hampshire County has a total area of 545 square miles and is located in the middle of Massachusetts. Hampshire County is also the only county to be surrounded in all directions by other Massachusetts counties.

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20. Barnstable County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.90

Total contributions: $2,348,541

Barnstable County was founded in 1685 and has three national protected areas. Cape Cod National Seashore is the most famous protected area within Barnstable County and brings in a high amount of tourists every year.

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19. Berkshire County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $12.49

Total contributions: $1,624,400

Berkshire County is located on the western side of Massachusetts and borders three different neighboring states. Originally the Mahican Native American Tribe inhabited Berkshire County up until the English settlers arrived and bought the land in 1724. 

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18. Essex County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $13.22

Total contributions: $9,991,201

Essex is located in the northeastern part of Massachusetts and contains towns such as Salem, Lynn, and Andover. Essex was founded in 1643 and because of Essex historical background, the whole county has been designated as the Essex National Heritage Area.

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17. Chittendon County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $13.86

Total contributions: $2,196,107

Chittenden has a population of 158,504, making it Vermont’s most populated county. Chittenden’s largest city is Burlington, which has about one third of Vermont’s total population.

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16. Lamoille County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $14.82

Total contributions: $369,854

Lamoille County was founded in 1835 and has a population of 24,958. The county has 464 square miles, of which 461 of them are land.

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15. Addison County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $15.49

Total contributions: $569,299

Located on the west side of Vermont, Addison County has a total area of 808 square miles. Addison's largest town is Middlebury, where the Community College of Vermont and Middlebury College are located.

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14. Newport County, RI

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $16.02

Total contributions: $1,214,26

Newport County is one of the five Rhode Island Counties and was founded in 1703. Just like Connecticut, none of Rhode Island counties have an any governmental functions.

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13. Cumberland County, ME

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $18.33

Total contributions: $5,205,507

Cumberland County has a population of 283,921 and is Maine’s most populated county. The county was named after the William, Duke of Cumberland, a son of King George II.

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12. Windsor County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $20.57

Total contributions: $1,156,149

Windsor County is the largest county in Vermont and consists of 971 square miles of land and 5 square miles of water.

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11. Bristol County, RI

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $20.91

Total contributions: $1,027,472

Bristol County has a population of 49,144 and is the third smallest county in the United States. Bristol County was originally apart of Massachusetts, but was transferred to Rhode Island in 1746.

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10. Grafton County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012 :$20.95

Total contributions: $1,868,739

With a population of 89,181, Grafton County is the second largest county in New Hampshire. Home of New Hampshire’s only national forest, White Mountain National Forest takes up about half of Grafton’s total area 

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9. Carrol County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: 2012: $22.81

Total contributions: $1,012,10

Created in 1840, Carroll County has a population of 47,567. Carroll County was also named after Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the United States Declaration of Independence.

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8. LItchfield County, CT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $22.86

Total contributions: $4,286,143

Although it is Connecticut’s largest county, Litchfield has the lowest population density in all of Connecticut. Since 1960 all Connecticut counties have no county government.

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7. Middlesex County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $32.81

Total contributions: $50,432,154

Middlesex County has a population of 1,503,085 and has been ranked as the most populous county in New England.  The county government was abolished in 1997, but the county boundaries still exists for court jurisdictions and other administrative purposes.

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6. Nantucket County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $33.41

Total contributions: $344,021

Nantucket County consists of a couple of small islands and is a major tourist destination in Massachusetts. Normally Nantucket has a population of 10,298, but during the summer months the population can reach up to 50,000.

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5. Norfolk County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $35.87

Total contributions: $24,459,854

Named after a county from England, Norfolk County is the wealthiest county in Massachusetts. As of 2011, Norfolk was ranked the 32nd highest income county in the United States. 

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4. Dukes County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $36.32

Total contributions: $618,960

Consisting of Martha’s Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands, Dukes County is one of Massachusetts’ top vacation spots. Originally Dukes County was apart New York, however it was transferred to Massachusetts on October 7, 1691.

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3. Suffolk County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $40.73

Total contributions: $30,323,537

Suffolk County has a population of 744,426 and contains Massachusetts’s largest city, Boston. Although Suffolk’s county government was abolished in the late 1900’s, it still remains as a geographic area.

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2. Knox County, ME

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $45.89

Total contributions: $1,820,410

Knox County was established on April 1st, 1860 and was named after American Revolutionary War General Henry Knox.  The county has a population of 39,668 and is the home of the Union Fair.

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1. Fairfield County, CT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $55.65.  

Total contributions: $51,970,701 

In a population of 933,835, Fairfield County is the most densely populated county in Connecticut, and contains four of the state's largest cities -- Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk and Danbury.


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