Fear of Immigrants Is as Old as America Itself

"It still amazes me that it would be me who is portrayed this way," Richwine said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. "I have a pretty good educational background, I have a good background in doing very good quantitative work. The idea that I am some sort of foaming-at-the-mouth extremist never even crossed my mind."

But as Franklin is evidence, one doesn't have to be dumb to find reason to fear new waves of immigrants. Despite the many studies that show that Latinos are now integrating into society like waves of immigrants before them, even surpassing whites in college enrollment this month, fear persists (even in those with PhDs from Harvard).

American historian Kenneth C. Davis said in a New York Times Op-Ed that Franklin's worry about German immigrants is evidence that as long as we have thought of ourselves as a "melting pot" or a "nation of immigrants," we have also harbored a strong strain of xenophobia.

"Scratch the surface of the current immigration debate and beneath the posturing lies a dirty secret," he wrote. "Anti-immigrant sentiment is older than America itself."

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