Editor’s note: The opinions reflected here are the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.
For a nation of immigrants, the current atmosphere of discrimination and intimidation that is being encouraged by the Trump administration should be unacceptable to us all – particularly because it disproportionately impacts many of the most vulnerable members of our society.
My congressional representative, Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), has unfortunately chosen to remain silent, and therefore complicit, instead of coming to the defense of New Jersey’s immigrant population.
It is a shame that Mr. Frelinghuysen appears to lack the courage of his forefathers. Our current situation is in many ways similar to that surrounding the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which was strongly supported by President Jackson and ultimately resulted in the infamous Trail of Tears.
The act forced the removal of many indigenous peoples, including the five “civilized tribes” – so-called because they had largely assimilated into American culture, having taken up farming, reading, writing, etc.
Sen. Theodore Frelinghuysen of New Jersey recognized the importance of standing up for his fellow man, regardless of their color or citizenship status (indigenous peoples were not allowed to become US citizens until 1924) and delivered a six-hour speech in opposition to the act, in which he raised the question, “do the obligations of justice change with the color of the skin?”
Trump fancies himself a modern-day Jackson. A primary attribute that separated indigenous peoples from most American citizens was the color of their skin. Those most impacted by Trump’s anti-immigrant policies are of Latin American, Indian, and Middle-Eastern descent.
The parallels here are clear and the result is a matter of historical record. Mr. Frelinghuysen’s ill-founded allegiance to the Trump administration’s discriminatory anti-immigrant agenda not only puts him at odds with many of his constituents, it also places him squarely on the wrong side of history.
The author is an attorney who resides in the 11th congressional district.