The Settlers' Distinction

Saturday, February 17, 2007

In a Feb. 12 editorial cartoon, Tom Toles apparently tried to equate today's illegal immigrants with the English immigrants settling in Jamestown 400 years ago. A sign stated: "400th Anniversary! Jamestown, Virginia. Celebrating the state's first illegal immigrants!"

But all of the English immigrants were well documented and are known by name even today. If his point was that they were illegal in the eyes of the Native Americans, then we should note that, unlike those who illegally enter the country today, the settlers made immediate contact with the Indian authorities and did not try to surreptitiously blend in.

We know that many of the people the English encountered were killed and that the natives' land was taken and their culture destroyed as a result of these "illegal immigrants" establishing a permanent presence in Virginia, which was a colony, not a state, in 1607.

Uncontrolled immigration can equate to disaster. We learn that through history. Perhaps that is his point.

-- Wayne Smith


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