County historian will discuss treatment of immigrants in 19th Century America during GCC lecture

Staff Reports Posted 16 November 2017 at 6:50 pm

BATAVIA – Orleans County Historian Matt Ballard will give a presentation on Dec. 6 at Genesee Community College in Batavia as part of the college’s “Historical Horizons Lecture Series.”

Ballard will discuss, “Fear of the Unknown: Creating the Illegal Immigrant in 19th Century America.” His presentation will be at 7 p.m. in the Conable Technology Building, Room T102.

The theme of immigration to the United States is a relative topic in current events, but the establishment of the “illegal immigrant” only dates back to the turn of the 20th century. In the earliest years of immigration, Europeans were accepted without restriction, but an influx of new immigrants during the latter half of the 19th century raised concerns about potential impacts on American society.

Uncertainty and unfounded fears created excessive restrictions focused on limiting access to specific ethnic/racial groups, religious groups, the disabled, the infirmed, and those likely to become a “public charge.”

Ballard wrote about the resilience of immigrants in a June 24, 2017 column in the Orleans Hub. Click here to read it.

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