Consider that South Dakota only exists because thousands of undocumented immigrants from Europe used the Homestead Act from 1860 to 1920 to steal land from Native Americans without compensation or reparations.
This kind of exclusive attitude from a leader weakens the sense of shared citizenship among all, creating divisions between residents who are deemed to belong and those who are not.
Official inclusion by the national bureaucracy is a starting point for building national identity in all citizens, particularly with a large influx of migrants, but the legacy of decades or centuries of injustice persists socially, economically and politically.
The frontline in Europe’s war against migrants is the Mediterranean Sea, patrolled by Italian warships tasked with intercepting small EU-bound vessels and forcing them instead to ports in Libya on the north African coast.
One such warship, the Caprera, was singled out for praise by Italy’s anti-migrant interior minister for “defending our security”, after it intercepted more than 80 migrant boats, carrying more than 7,000 people.
“Honour!” he tweeted, posting a photo of himself with the crew in 2018.
However, during an inspection of the Caprera that same year, police discovered more than 700,000 contraband cigarettes and large numbers of other smuggled goods imported by the crew from Libya to be sold for profit in Italy.
On further investigation, the smuggling enterprise turned out to involve several other military ships.
“I felt like Dante descending into the inferno,” said Lt Col Gabriele Gargano, the police officer who led the investigation.
The case highlights a central absurdity around today’s attitude to migration.
Immigration controls are regarded as essential – but for people, not stuff.
Huge effort goes into enabling the cross-border migration of goods, services and money.
Every year more than 11bn tonnes of stuff is shipped around the world – the equivalent of 1.5 tonnes per person a year – whereas humans, who are key to all this economic activity, are unable to move freely.
Industrialised nations with big demographic challenges and important labour shortages are blocked from employing migrants who are desperate for jobs.