Still yearning, art by Lyric Montgomery Kinard

Still Yearning

July 8, 2017

Still Yearning
21″w x 14”h
Printed cloth, batting, thread, embroidery, hope
Exhibit Schedule Here

From it’s very inception, the privilege of citizenship in the Unites States of America has been denied to group after group, based on race and religion. African Americans were not granted citizenship until 1868, four years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Native Americans were not granted citizenship until 1924. Chinese immigrants were not allowed citizenship until 1943. We have turned away people after people who have sought refuge and opportunity. Now our leaders have chosen to vilify Muslims fleeing massacre and Latin Americans fleeing unbearable violence and seeking a better life for their children. 

We as citizens can choose to better live the highest of our American values; “that all men are created equal.” Through our individual actions and with compassion we can stitch our country into a tapestry of great strength and beauty. Through our votes and by encouraging data based civil dialogue, we can mend the tears in the fabric of our society.

Flag photograph by Stuart Seager used by permission
Immigrant photos by Augustus Sherman
Manuscripts and Archives Devision
The New York Public Library: public domain

You can hear me speak more about this piece on the
Threads of Resistance website here

History of Racial Discrimination in US Immigration Policy

1790 Any free white person can apply for citizenship after two years of residency.

1798 Alien and Sedition Acts require 14 years of residency before citizenship and provides for deportation of “dangerous” aliens. Changed to five year residency in 1800.

1857 Dred Scott decision declares free Africans non-citizens

1868 The Fourteenth amendment to the constitution grants citizenship to African Americans, four years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act suspended Chinese immigration for 10 years and barred Chinese in the U.S. from citizenship.

1888 Provisions are again adopted for expulsion of aliens.

1891 Bureau of Immigration established. More classes of aliens restricted.

1892 Ellis Island opened on the east coast, Angel Island on the west. Women traveling alone must be met by a man, or they were immediately deported.

1902 Chinese Exclusion Act renewed indefinitely.

1906 Knowledge of English becomes a basic requirement for naturalization.

1907 Head tax on immigrants is raised. People with physical or mental defects and unaccompanied children added to the exclusion list. Japan agrees to limit emigrants to US.

1910 Congress assumed inferiority of “new immigrants” from southern and eastern Europe.

1917 Immigration Act established “Asiatic Barred Zone”

1921 Quota Act of 1921 limited immigrants to 3% of each nationality present in US in 1910.

1922 Japanese made ineligible for citizenship.

1924 Quotas changed to 2% of each nationality based on numbers in 1890. Jewish emigres limited. Border Patrol established. Native Americans made citizens.

1929 Annual quotas of the 1924 act made permanent.

1943 Chinese Exclusion Laws repealed, China’s quota set at token 105 immigrants annually.

1948 Displaced Persons Act allowed 205,000 refugees over two years, gave priority to Baltic States refugees. Technical provisions discriminated against Catholics and Jews.

1950 Grounds for exclusion and deportation are expanded. All aliens required to report their addresses annually.

1952 Immigration and Nationality Act eliminates race as a bar to immigration or citizenship. japans quota set at 185 annually, China’s at 105, the Axian countries 100 apeice. Restrictions placed on immigrants from British colonies in order to stem tide of black West Indians.

1965 Hart-Cellar Act abolished national origins quotas. Categories of preference based on familiy ties, critical skills, artistic excellence, and refugee status established.

1978 Separate celings for Western and Eastern hemispheric immigration combined into a worldwide limit of 290,000.

1980 Refugee Act removes refugees as a preference category.

1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act provides amnesty for many legal aliens.

1990 Immigration Act of 1990 limited unskilled workers to 10,000 per year. 

2001 USA Patriot Act amended Immigration and Nationality Act to broaden scope of aliens ineligible for admission or deportable.

2017 President Trump attempts to ban muslims from entering the United States from seven so-called “terrorist” countries in spite of the fact that not one single American life has been lost by a domestic terrorist attack from an immigrant from those countries. There is no ban placed on travel from countries that HAVE attacked the United States. In fact, President Trump greatly admired the dictators in Saudi Arabia.



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  • Reply
    Pat T
    July 10, 2017 at 11:49 am

    President Trump asked for a 90 day DELAY, not a travel ban, in admitting all persons from the 7 above “terrorist” countries. The comment that other majority Muslim country citizens are free to travel to the U S again negates his supposed intolerance to muslims as does his ongoing relations with Saudi leaders. He simply asked for a stay for “all refugees who do not possess either a visa or a valid travel document” from terrorist countries. Obama viewed these 7 as the same. What country can any one travel to without such documents?

    Many of the other statements above-i.e., 1965,1978,1980,1990,2001- are not to be construed as racial discrimination as author’s title indicates, they’re actually all encompassing.

    • Reply
      Lyric Kinard
      July 10, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      Pat, I appreciate your comment, especially your civil tone. I respectfully disagree with you. Trump’s ban is not the same as Obama’s. That was a temporary ban in direct response to a specific threat from a country where actual terrorist plots had been foiled. Trump’s ban is preemptive. No refugee or immigrant from any o the seven countries targeted by the ban has been implicated in any fatal terrorist attack in the United States. Trump’s ban requests a permanent halt to refugees from Syria.

      Nationals from the seven countries singles out by Trump have killed zero people in terrorist attacks on US soil between 1975 and 2015.
      On the other hand, Saudi Arabians (not included in the ban) who have been convicted of attempting, or completing a terrorist attack on US soil? 2,369. [according to a study by Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the libertarian Cato Institute]

      Refugees? Not one single death has resulted from a terrorist activity by a Muslim extremist refugee between 1975 and 2015.

      Far-right extremist violence on the other hand – in a shorter time period – between 1990 and 2016, there have been 292 deaths caused by far-right extremists, And the EXCLUDES the Oklahoma City bombing. [According to an April 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office]

      On another point – when his ban temporarily took effect, there were MANY people who were denied entry who had VALID visas and travel documents. The implementation of the ban was racist. Pure and simple.

      So, by the data, according to facts – who is it that Americans need to be protected from? I take broad issue with this administrations fomenting of hatred towards immigrants and refugees. Trump’s tolerance for Muslims applies only to the Dictators who can enrich his family personally. Not for those who can do good for our country and who desperately need shelter from extremists of any stripe, but particularly from ISIS.

      I cede your point on the second paragraph.

      Again, thank you for your civil discourse.

      • Reply
        March 31, 2023 at 2:43 pm

        Dig deeper into US history. The antagonism was in the past, as now, over numbers and vacating workforce of entire departments, professions, industries, to replace with cheaper more maliable workers.
        And that doesn’t fly, in any nation.
        Around the globe people are discovering the voids in the selective history we all are being taught. US is no exception.

        • Reply
          Lyric Kinard
          March 31, 2023 at 3:04 pm

          I’ve come down to the choice that compassion and openness always are the best answer. I’ve seen other countries welcome immigrants – some of those immigrants have been my own relatives. It isn’t easy for the country or the immigrants but I truly believe everyone’s lives can be enriched because of it. There is no “us vs. them.”

          Countries have labor shortages that immigrants are willing to fill. People want to live where they aren’t in danger of violence or simply where they need better opportunities. I’m OK with that. In fact, I have ancestors from pre-revolution all the way to the generation right before mine that came here and were able to make lives for themselves. Most came for economic reasons. Again – I’m OK with that.

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