Dennis Cassinelli: The history of immigration in America
Since the first undocumented aliens made their way across the Bering Land Bridge to enter North America more than 12,000 years ago, Americans have been plagued by immigration problems. Within just a few years, prehistorically speaking, families of the Spirit Cave Man, the Kennewick Man and the Wizards Beach Man found their way into our land. The Spirit Cave Man settled here in the Great Basin just a few miles east of Fallon. He and the others mentioned above created quite a stir with the local natives because not only did they not have valid passports, but they were totally alien to the region.
Absence of a written history has kept us from knowing about the many other instances of illegal entry by foreigners into America until the Vikings sneaked ashore along the northeastern seaboard hoping to take part in the local grape harvest in the 1300s.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus, an undocumented Italian sailor, stole ashore on an island in the Caribbean and claimed the entire Western Hemisphere for the King and Queen of Spain. He and his crew didn’t first go to Ellis Island to apply for citizenship papers as they should, but rather they set about to ravage the land as illegal aliens are known to do. In my studies of Columbus and his men, I learned he never set foot on the mainland continent of North America, and yet he’s credited with discovering America. Before returning to their native land, Columbus and his men took advantage of the local medical system and refused to pay any taxes. They demanded gold, tobacco and prisoners to take back to Spain, and before they left, they gave all the natives syphilis and tuberculosis.
When the white men first encountered the Indians, they found the natives lived a peaceful life where the men hunted and fished all the time, the women did all the work and no one paid any taxes. The white men then set out to improve on the situation by civilizing these savages and teaching them how they should live. Within a few years, the Indians were either at war, enslaved, drunk or dead from smallpox.
The Indians, as Columbus called the people he found in the Caribbean, were not from India at all. He called them that because he thought he had landed in the East Indies off the coast of India. At any rate, the name stuck, and since then, so far as most people are concerned, they are called Indians. Some politically correct do-gooders have come up with the name “Native Americans” when speaking about Indians. Indians are no more or no less “native American” than I am. All our ancestors came here from someplace else. My grandfather was born here in Dayton. My father was born in Nevada, and I was born in Nevada. We all are native Americans. A more suitable name for the Indians living here would have been “American Indians.”
Because there was no wall or protective fence and because border patrol agents were seldom seen for the next 500 years, the illegals fairly flooded the land with all sorts of human vermin. Many of the illegals became quite successful and sent vast sums of wealth to their families living in comparative squalor back home. European elite considered it their right to enslave the red native savages to work in the mines of South America. Eventually, black men from Africa found free passage to the Caribbean to harvest sugar cane and to the southern United States to harvest cotton. Unlike some others, these people were not just undocumented workers. Their owners had plenty of documentation in the form of bills of sale to document these people, not to mention the manifests of the slave ships that brought them here.
The Comstock was not without its immigration problems. Before silver was discovered in the 1850s, about 200 Chinese illegals descended upon Dayton, where they attempted to join the gold seekers panning their way up Gold Canyon. For a while, what is now Dayton became known as Chinatown due to this population of Chinese. These people were not at all accepted by the other miners and prospectors.
The Miners Union was able to keep the cheap illegal laborers from working the mines, but hundreds of them were employed to build the railroads. No one seemed to have any problem with allowing them to do that type of work if it kept them out of the mines where the gold and silver was. The state of Nevada went one step further in 1879, after most of the major railroads had been constructed. In that year, a law was passed (NRS 338.120) that prohibited employment of Chinese or Mongolians on all public works projects.
The immigration problems we’re having in this country today are just a reflection of what has happened throughout our history. The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. Governments are no more able to come to grips with this problem today than they were 500 years ago. There’s likely to be peace in the Middle East before we’re able to stop illegal immigration in our own country. Before you know it, illegal aliens will be coming to abduct all the good-looking people. Most of you will be safe. I’m just writing this to say goodbye.
This article is by Dayton author and historian Dennis Cassinelli, who can be contacted on his blog at denniscassinelli.com. All Dennis’ books sold through this publication will be at a discount plus $3 for each shipment for postage and packaging.