Labor 101: Anti-Immigrant Hostility Is Anti-Worker

The Working Stiff Journal Vol. 2 #8, October 1999 by Jackie Dana Negative stereotypes have always plagued immigrant workers, and many people have tried to deny immigrants access to employment, housing, and other opportunities U.S. citizens take for granted. In the nineteenth century, many immigrants, particularly working-class Irish, were portrayed as dirty, stupid, and lazy. Newspaper cartoons portrayed Irishmen as looking like apes, and it was acceptable to openly discriminate against them. Many window signs advertising work noted, “No Irish Need Apply.” Throughout Texas, Mexicans and immigrants from other countries south of the U.S. border have faced the same anti-immigrant hostility. In contrast to the Irish experience, however, such attitudes have not diminished after well over a century. Austin recently witnessed such attitudes with the relocation of the day labor site. Before the First Workers site opened its doors, several residents of the surrounding neighborhood protested at Austin City Council meetings and sent letters to local papers. On opening day, … Read more…