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MSNBC’s Reid: Whether You Like It or Not, Immigrants Build America and Make It Run

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MSNBC host Joy Reid argued that immigrants have long fueled the American economy and continue to build the country.

She noted foreign labor powered the cotton industry that propelled the US economy in the 19th century, with enslaved Africans forced to cultivate crops.

Reid said, “These grotesque accusations are part of a rightward shift in America where the majority of our problems are laid at the feet of people Republicans claim have broken into the country like burglars to steal jobs and money from real Americans. What they fail to acknowledge is foreign labor has fueled the American economy for generations.”

After the Civil War, wealth shifted north with the railroad industry employing thousands of Chinese immigrants to build the western portion and Irish immigrants constructing the eastern portion.

“Millions of African men and women kidnapped and transported to this country and forced to become America’s’ most efficient labors were sold by property, bred like cattle with a single task of planting and picking cotton, cultivating rice and other crops, herding cattle and building the grand homes and iconic buildings that define America,” she said.

Irish immigrants also helped develop infrastructure like canals because locals would not accept the low wages they were willing to work for.

Reid concluded that despite some claiming immigrants steal jobs and money, the historical record demonstrates immigration has continuously strengthened America by providing the labor to build up industries and the nation’s infrastructure.

She added, “The profits from cotton alone propelled the U.S. into one of the lead economies in the world by the 19th century and made the south America’s’ most prosperous region until the civil war. After which, the wealth of the country shifted north, to the railroad men and the industrialists. With that came the 15,000 forgotten Chinese migrants who helped build the western portion of America’s’ transcontinental railroad in the late 1800s.”

She added, “In the east, it was roughly 10,000 Irish immigrants who helped build the eastern section of that railroad. Irish immigrants also helped build a number of America’s key canals like the Erie canal, because few locals would work for the low wages that the newly arrived Irish would.”

Reid said, “Whether you like it or not, immigrants continue to build America and make it run.”

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