In 2018 some 80 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. That was an increase of 8.7 million people over the previous year, and the world’s forcibly displaced population remained at a record high. This includes:
We are living in a time where we have created a hierarchy of distinctions regarding people in need but fail to see the commonality in all our shared human experiences. We are falling short of our ideals, but we all can contribute in small ways to help make up the difference.
Most estimates put the population of Ireland in the early 1800's at just over 8 million and that nearly 2/3rds of the population either died or fled the country between 1840 and 1880. To this day the population has never recovered. We'll leave the topic of English malice or neglect for another time but the context is relevant. Regardless, the result was that in the 1840s, they comprised nearly half of all immigrants to the United States with approximately 4.5 million Irish arriving between 1820 and 1930. To put that in perspective the 1860 U.S. census was 31 million with about 4.5 million of them African American.
According to Pew Research review of census data, meaning legal and illegal residents, currently Mexico is the top country of the U.S. immigrant population. In 2018, roughly 11.2 million immigrants living in the U.S. were from Mexico, accounting for 25% of all U.S. immigrants. The next largest origin groups were those from China (6%), India (6%), the Philippines (4%) and El Salvador (3%) at a time when the total US population is 331 million. The percentage of all foreign born people living in the United States in 1890 was 15%. Today that number is roughly 12%. The lowest recorded point was 1965 at 7%. It is also important to note that these recent arrivals statistically have significantly higher levels of skills and education than the arriving Irish refugees of the 1800s.
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"