A major difference between then and now is that there were no government-assisted programs of the kind now available.
Early Canadian immigrants, no matter their personal histories, had to make it on their own.
Illegal Mexican immigrants do as well, but with some state and/or federal governmental assistance.
We may live in a different world, but resentment is ever present. Illegals are Illegals, and collectively their presence has become a politically divisive reality.
They are eligible for some services — children, after all, have to attend school. People get sick. Someone has to pay for it, and according to those authorities whose responsibilities are to keep track of such matters, the major part of the burden impacts on state and local levels.
In the unregulated past, people fended for themselves because there was nothing even approaching what’s available by way of aid today.
All of that was “back when” and we live in a totally different world that appears to be on fast forward to what we know not.
What we do know is what divides us, and certainly what to do about the lack of immigration control is of major political consequence.
We can’t turn back the clock. We did do something about the northern border of the United States that slowed down migration from that source, but it was Canada that really resolved it by way of its own success.
We can build a fence, but like it or not, Mexico must do as Canada did. We won’t be able to take the fences down until Mexico does the same.
Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and staff columnist. His e-mail address is email@example.com.