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Posts tagged immigration
Chinese workers recognized for their contributions to the U.S. Transcontinental Railroad.

This past Friday, Chinese workers who were integral to the completion of the American Transcontinental Railroad were recognized for their work. A ceremony was held in their memory with speeches and a lion dance at the spot where the final spike of the railroad was driven 150 years ago.

Although Chinese workers largely built the railroad that connected this nation (they were about 90% of the workforce), they were barred from citizenship by the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Chinese workers faced labor discrimination, which meant longer hours for less pay than white peers. Cutting across the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the workers completed some of the most dangerous sections of the railroad. It’s believed that hundreds died, but this information was never recorded.

Reading this story, we are reminded of the ways that immigrants have made invaluable contributions to this country, regardless of our government’s choice to grant them legal citizenship or not. Part of doing better for future Americans is to recognize immigrants as a vital part of our economic strength, and to right the wrongs of history by giving them a legal path to citizenship.

To read the full story, visit www.newyorktimes.com.

Canada Questions the Safety of Asylum Seekers in the U.S.

The Safe Third Country Agreement (S.T.C.A) is an agreement between the U.S. and Canada that prohibits most immigrants who arrive in the U.S. first from making an asylum claim at the border of Canada (and vice versa).

Initially, the agreement was reached based on the idea that both the U.S. and Canada are equally safe countries for immigrants looking to start a new life. It was put in place in part to prevent “asylum shopping” - or “shopping around” at one country before deciding to go to the other. However, now there are legal challenges to the agreement questioning whether the United States truly is a safe place for immigrants.

The mounting evidence makes it clear that the United States government is not capable, or has chosen not to, take seriously the safety of it’s asylum seekers - and that Canada should be able to grant asylum to immigrants who land in the U.S. before making their way up north. It’s a sad reality to face, and we must do better. Read the full story at www.newyorker.com.