Immigration History and the Current Discussion of Syrian Refugees

A wave of migrants from the Mediterranean meets a hostile reception from many Americans. The migrants are seen as alien in religion, culture, politics, law. So different in fact that some Americans argue that they can never be assimilated. They are the Italians, in the 1890s.

CHR Comment: The article uses the example of Italian Catholic immigration to predominantly Protestant America in the nineteenth century to argue for changes in attitude toward Syrian immigrants today. Americans at that time were afraid of Sicilians and mafia due to acts of violence. The comparison seems inexact since the Sicilians weren’t killing people for religious reasons.

Source: A brief history of America’s hostility to a previous generation of Mediterranean migrants — Italians | Public Radio International