Letter to the editor: Frelinghuysen should take a stand in defense of immigrants

'No hate, no fear' rally in Morristown, March 18, 2017. Photo by Nicole Verduin
'No hate, no fear' rally in Morristown, March 18, 2017. Photo by Nicole Verduin

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.

'No hate, no fear' rally in Morristown, March 18, 2017. Photo by Nicole Verduin
‘No hate, no fear’ rally in Morristown, March 18, 2017. Photo by Nicole Verduin

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.

Josh Noreuil

The author is an attorney who resides in the 11th congressional district.

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  1. You and your ilk couldn’t be more off base. I’m sure you know that ISIS has said they will infiltrate the refugee population in order to quietly roam the western world and kill. And they are doing that. This is WWIII. It started on 9/11/01. Wake up. We must vet anyone coming into this country, and these days extra vetting is necessary. That’s not being discriminitory, it’s protecting our country from those wishing to cause harm and commit heinous crimes. Unfortunately that’s a extremely small percentage of the total amount of people wishing to enter the US., but we need to do it. Unless you think it’s alright that an occasional massacre at a cafe, or something like what happened the other day outside the Parliament in England, or heaven forbid another 9/11, is ok in order that people can flow into this country unchecked. To call Frelingheisen or the President anti-immigrant is wrong and reckless. You say we are a nation of immigrants. What country isn’t a land of immigrants? Seriously. And this isn’t 1890 anymore. There isn’t an occasional ship entering the port of New York with people looking for a new life. An airplane lands in our country every 5 seconds. The world population is infinitely higher, and extra caution is needed at our borders. We need to wise up.

  2. The only stand the Congressman should take is on LEGAL immigration. Period! We all love immigrants…we all came from people who were immigrants. We love law abiding immigrants. We also love illegal immigrants, but them must go through the process that is the law.