With Immigration, Compassion Must Prevail

President Donald Trump may not realize it, but he may be afflicted with an inherent belief in “othering," a sort of logic that dehumanizes or devalues opposed people.

On March 26, 1865, my great-grandfather, John Christian Baumann, his pregnant wife and four children arrived at the Ellis Island immigration center in New York Harbor from the Kingdom of Württemberg in Germany.

Less than a mile away, the Statue of Liberty greeted them after their two-week voyage on the North German Lloyd steam/sail ship, America.

Yiannis Gabriel defines “othering” as “the process of casting a group, an individual or an object into the role of the ‘other’ and establishing one’s own identity through opposition to and, frequently, vilification of this Other.” Trump may not realize it, but he may be afflicted with an inherent belief in “othering.”Fast-forward 75 years to a Bauman family reunion in Catonsville, Maryland, a suburb of the then heavily German-American city of Baltimore. A gregarious little Bobby is being questioned by his German immigrant great-aunt, Annie Witkopf.

“Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” asks my smiling, elderly, white-haired Großtante.

After translation, I reply in youthful innocence: “The only German word I know is one my father says a lot — scheisse.”

“Mein Gott im Himmel!” says great-aunt Annie,so shocked she drops her cane. “Never use that word!”


Now, a variation of this same multimillennial-old Proto-Germanic scatological word has gained international notoriety, uttered by a frustrated President Donald Trump meeting with lawmakers last week.

When discussing immigration from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, Trump, himself the grandson of German immigrants from Kallstadt, demanded to know: “Why are we having all these people from s—hole countries come here?”

The Answer

Perhaps one good answer to the president’s grandiloquent question can be found in the oft-repeated sonnet of Emma Lazarus inscribed on a bronze plaque attached to the Statue of Liberty in 1903:

Yiannis Gabriel defines “othering” as “the process of casting a group, an individual or an object into the role of the ‘other’ and establishing one’s own identity through opposition to and, frequently, vilification of this Other.” Trump may not realize it, but he may be afflicted with an inherent belief in “othering.”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-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!


Trump may not realize it, but he may be afflicted with an inherent belief in “othering.”

Yiannis Gabriel, Ph.D., is a Greek-British sociologist affiliated with the U.K.’s University of Bath who has written extensively on the social concept of “othering,” and its victims and perpetrators.

He defines “othering” as “the process of casting a group, an individual or an object into the role of the ‘other’ and establishing one’s own identity through opposition to and, frequently, vilification of this Other.”

Greeks describing non-Greeks as “barbarians” is a typical example of nationalistic othering. The New York Times recently reported that the Amish in upstate New York refer to all non-Amish people as “English,” a mild form of othering.

Othering exceeds scapegoating and denigration because it denies for the Other characteristics enjoyed by your own group. Thus racial, religious or sexual minorities and other nationalities can be exploited, oppressed and even killed by denying their essential humanity.

Othering occurred in history when civilizations without previous contact confronted each other, as when colonizing Europeans viewed the Americas as populated by savages. It occurs between closely associated groups, as witnessed by the EU states’ rejection of Middle Eastern refugees, the related radical Muslim jihad and the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Myanmar.

Neighborhood Improvement

It is much more explosive when the othering is between groups that know each other and have lived in close proximity. Repercussions can run from petty antagonism to civil war, expulsion, exclusion and genocide of the foreign, the deviant or the stranger. This sort of “othering logic” dehumanizes or devalues opposed people as primitive, uncivilized and inferior.

Because of the closeness physically, the group is portrayed as a major threat to one’s own identity and pride, as happened to millions of Jews in Germany and Europe; as happened to Native Americans; and as now may happen to thousands of Haitians, Salvadorans and young Dreamers.

It should be possible to transcend “othering” with a genuine understanding of others using reason and compassion based on common humanity — but will that happen?

That depends on whether we still believe that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Yours for liberty,

Thanksgiving: A Time for Heartfelt Thanks

Bob Bauman, JD

Legal Counsel, Banyan Hill Publishing

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  • Carol

    you must be democRATS! LYI’ POC who Spew the Prevaication of TURDY_DURBIN the “insider” of DNC CRAP w/ PPL like the False-“god” G.SOROS! …..

  • Crusty

    It is worth noting that there is an immigration-fueled ‘cultural Jihad’ ongoing, as well as a campaign by democrats to import social dependents because they will vote left and keep democrats in power. Australia requires that you bring in a needed skill, a business, or $ 1 million in investment capital.

  • adrian mungiu

    Please refund the remainder of fees paid to your organization. I paid for useful information regarding investments, not superficial and uneducated ideas about your social concerns.

  • I was glad to read that your grandparents came to this great country legally as did my parents and myself. The pendulum had swung to an extreme over the past 15 years or so and American’s are fed up with the abuses by businesses and politicians in not following the many laws on the books, or as otherwise referred to as “The Rule of Law”, when it comes to illegal immigration. American’s are compassionate people, but are sick of politicians and those in power being above the law for their own personal gain or their affiliated party’s gain. Spare us your lecture and see what you may do to bring justice to the many crimes committed by those who have abused the good graces of the American public.

  • Bryan Watari

    Why did my investment subscription have to get political? Just because our President and many Americans believe that securing our border is important doesn’t mean we’re uncompassionate towards immigrants. Quite the contrary. I welcome all people to America, as long as they come in legally and they want to be Americans. Why is that so hard for the left to understand?

  • Linda Ramsey

    In 1865, this was a much different country. But even then, it was expected that you would CONTRIBUTE to the country you were coming to–with your brain, your body, your heart. People felt honored to come here to the land of opportunity and they wanted to become Americans. But it seems that now, many (not all, but far too many) are coming here for a welfare check, or to join other family members who may not even have had a chance to assimilate to our culture–if they even wanted to–and so we have enclaves of “others” who choose to be “other”. We need to slow down the flow of immigrants from everywhere, if we are to save our values, our heritage, our sovereignty and our ability to help others. We must be compassionate within the boundaries of preserving what has been given to us: our American spirit, our liberty, and our Rule of Law. We must respect ourselves in order to respect others. This cannot happen when votes are given away in exchange for a monthly check, or when borders are open to those who oppose us. We must insist on welcoming those who WANT to be Americans, who would value our way of life and assimilate into it.

  • Scott Rebik

    App so f****** lutely the Mexican people that I have come in contact with a lot of them don’t care about assimilating into our culture that’s why I’m all for sending them back to their wonderful Mexico that they so love

  • Scott Rebik


  • crazylady

    I could not agree with you more Linda Ramsey!!

  • Asce Real

    This article is another brain twisted article who is trying to suggest the wrong type of compassion. Compassion will not prevail if the law is broken. People who are not here legally have broken the law. And those people who abides by the same law can get angry and insulted to some people that are “excused” to abide by the same law. This can lead to riots, demonstrations, frustrations and hopelessness on the present system. Compassion exist only when hope exists and with certain Order of things. For If there is no order and “Rule of Law” does not exists….conflict and killings can happen such in cases in Europe, Africa and Saudi Arabia. And this article is trying to suggest….after all the MSM’s crying for racism and inequality of the present administration and raising everyone’s anxiety level high now this article is suggesting to have compassion? Also your common humanity is not common to everyone. Everyone has their own version of it…so you need a Rule of Law to guide people how to proceed with the “correct” humanity. This article is made to confuse the weak and ill minded. Why did Banyan Hill allowed such article published tell’s you the overall objective of the publisher. Stop this subscription for me.

  • Linda Brown

    I would like to thank Bob Bauman for the courage associated with posting this controversial letter on immigration. To really “hear” “it requires empathizing with those who obviously have already been cast as “other” by many. The often cited reality is that everyone in this nation participating in this experiment, with the exception of Native Americans are immigrants. That should make the empathy easier to conjure up. One respondent indicated that there are “enclaves of others who choose to be “other”. If we accept the validity of the concept of otherness used in Bauman’s letter, “casting an individual or group in the role of other …denies their essential humanity” and this is the case with or without putting other in quotes. It is unlikely that one would choose to be cast as other, thus denying their own essential humanity. In addition many political scientists have argued that it is our ethnic diversity that is largely responsible for much of our cultural and economic vitality. If that is true slowing down the flow of immigrants” too significantly may conversely alter rather than save our “values, heritage and sovereignty”. To be honest I must also admit my own biases. As one politically left of center, I was pleasantly surprised that one in the right leaning investor class as, I perceived Banyan Hill associates to be, could so forcefully articulate a perspective based on compassion and not the bottom line. My humblest apologies.

  • Reece Stratton

    I have multiple points to make:
    1. I agree with the sentiments in the article. Thank’s for the perspective, Mr. Bauman.
    2. I disagree with the false assumption held by many that immigrants don’t assimilate into America today. America is a melting pot of cultures under constitutional governance. Bringing one’s culture here, working, and paying taxes IS assimilating.
    3. People read the various financial articles in here but I believe they don’t buy every stock or ETF recommended. They buy what they are convicted to buy and leave the rest alone. So I think it’s absurd for people to assert that there is no place for an article like this which they do not necessarily agree with- just because they pay for a subscription. If you don’t agree, then read it and move on just like you do with a stock recommendation you are not convicted to purchase for yourself. I pay for subscriptions too and don’t agree with everything concluded in every article. But I don’t whine about it like a big baby.
    4. Immigration has an impact on America’s economy. America’s economy has an impact on the financial markets. Banyan Hill provides information and recommendation on the financial markets. So it’s absolutely bogus to suggest that the subject of immigration is out of bounds for a financial website. It’s going to take immigrants like the ones from countries Trump is disparaging to pay the taxes from which older people’s social security paychecks will be issued. Compassion must prevail BECAUSE social security and America’s economy depends on it. Thus the topic is IN BOUNDS.

  • C3PO

    What does this drivel have to do with investing? Keep your bleeding heart, whiny thoughts to yourself.

  • William Braudis

    Mr. Stratton, it is obvious that you and Mr. Bauman did not put your brain into gear before you assembled your Article and comment. What you and others who agree with this garbage seemly can not get in to your small brains is that there is a written document that clearly list the steps that ONE MUST FOLLOW in order to LEGALLY enter the UNITED STATES. Your Children, regardless if you brought them across the border like you, illegally, or had children while illegally in the United States, you all must go back to your own Country. All of you illegal immigrants sneaking into the UNITED STATES took up space of good people who had done what should be done to legally enter the UNITED STATES. Illegal immigrants are a financial burden upon all U.S., Tax Payers.

  • Cthunt

    Mr Bauman,
    Thank you for the great article. I didn’t understand from your article that you were supporting illegal immigrants – as at least one other respondent chose to assume. It sounded like you were referring to the ongoing debate about whom we do allow to legally immigrate to the US. I whole heartedly agree with another response that points out unless citizens are of Native American descent, than they are part of the others that came to this country to work hard for a better life and as such should be able to open their hearts and support legal immigration even from poor countries, as all men are created equally. There are many stories of poor immigrants, working very hard and rising up in this country. Immigrants from poor countries do not have this opportunity in their country and many that do come here are very grateful, patriotic and do work hard. Some of those immigrants from poorer countries, do some of the lowest paid and most physically demanding jobs here- jobs that many Americans do not want, like cleaning including hospitals and nursing homes. Illegal immigrants do not qualify for welfare and legal immigrants can’t qualify for 5 years after immigrating. A narrow exception is illegal immigrants with US born children can sometimes qualify for SNAP ( food assistance) and the amount of assistance given doesn’t give anyone a ride on easy street especially since their amounts are only based on the child. I think it is very hard for people to open their minds and have compassion partly because they see good paying jobs disappearing and the value of their money going down. Many people want someone to blame and think blaming them will change their circumstances. It won’t .

  • Sandro C.

    As a LEGAL immigrant myself, I don’t see the fact that a country wants to determine who and when someone can enter their country and take up citizenship, as a dehumanizing event. No one that I know looks upon anyone in this world as sub-human. We merely advocate that immigration be conducted in an orderly, sensible, practical, purposeful and law abiding way. If you honestly believe Trump (along with his supporters) are simply “othering” illegal foreigners, I believe you’ve allowed yourself to be persuaded by the emotional arguments of the open door policy advocates, rather than the rational arguments of those that think a controlled system is more sensible and humane. With respects to the term “s-holes”, I won’t delve into that for my point, but I would like to say the term is used often in the American culture and it is used to describe not so attractive places. Let’s not conflate that with a description of people as I don’t think that was the President’s viewpoint (whether or not he actually said it, which seems to be in much doubt).

    Nevertheless, I was moved to respond to your article because based upon your viewpoint, I should be thinking of myself as being in the “othering” category. After all, I am a first generation Italian immigrant. But in all honesty, I don’t, and never have. So I am left to consider, why don’t I see the immigration issue as you do? Why am I able to differentiate the necessities of a good, fair and controlled legal immigration system, with an uncontrolled system that has damaging effects to both the immigrant and the nation which they enter. I can’t help but think of the fact that allowing illegal immigrants into this country is the more inhumane act. Think of the risks they take to enter. Think of the human trafficking side effects. Imagine the illegal that has to live in the black market, unable to establish legal residency, get credit, mortgage homes, get term loans, establish a stock account and take advantage of your great services, etc. They will never rise to the level of great status in the workplace, such as a renowned surgeon, CEO of a company, business owner themselves, or so many of the many other opportunities afforded to the legal resident or citizen. Why do we condemn them to such a hidden life. To me, that’s much less compassionate then bringing them in legally, not to mention the criminal elements that also enter when a border is so lucid.

    But back to the essence of the immigrant, and your point of dehumanized categorizations. Like most, if not all immigrants, I’m sure my parents motivation was just like any other. Looking at it from the viewpoint of the immigrant, no immigrant WANTS to leave their homeland. But they do so out of need and a genuine pursuit of a better life. In my parents case, they never felt it was their “right” to simply enter the US illegally, take up residence, and then demand that they be allowed to stay. Rather, they respected the process, filed the applications, went through a legal system, and were honored to be let in. My father was a trained stone mason and presumably the United States had a need for such skilled workers. I can affirm this by stating my father worked from the first days of his arrival. He obviously paid payroll taxes, contributed to the Social Security system, and was able to establish credit, buy a house, purchase cars, establish bank accounts, start a business, employ many others, establish retirement accounts, and other personal investment accounts. Had they not gained entry into the United States for them and my three brothers, I imagine we would have made the best life they could have in our home country of Italy, or perhaps sought migration to another country, as so many Italians did (England, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, etc.). The United States was not the only choice of course, just as it isn’t today.

    As it is, when they were granted permission they came to this country looking for opportunity, and not social benefits. They raised us to respect the laws of our new land. They taught us to assimilate and embrace the American culture. We learn to speak the language. We watched and played baseball, basketball and football. We celebrated Independence day, Memorial day, Labor day, and Thanksgiving day with enthusiasm. We eagerly and enthusiastically learned the history of this great land, good and bad. Of course we were proud of our heritage, and we were happy to share it with all our new friends and neighbors, but we never had a negative viewpoint of the country that was providing us this great new opportunity. We would NEVER think of marching down main street in a protest waving an Italian flag demanding special treatment for Italians who came in illegally or wanted to come in illegally. For whatever reason, we loved this new land from the first days. We saw this as a land able to provide us a living our homeland simply could not. Even though one might think of Italy as a Western culture, much like the United States, I can assure the opportunity of growth and financial independence that exists in the United States, does not exist in Italy. Take this investment service as an example. I guarantee you, you wouldn’t do so well selling your subscriptions to investors of the Italian stock exchange.

    The point is, my parents, three brothers and I never felt we were owed anything by the citizens of the United States, and we certainly never felt like we were “others” in a negative light. Rather we thought of our new American neighbors as our hosts, and we were their invited guests. Because we were respectful guests, we were always treated with respect. We were never made to feel sub-human or less than any other person. Quite the opposite. We felt embraced, welcomed and loved from the early days. We were so quickly absorbed into this great land that we voluntarily became citizens of this great country when we each turned of age. Today I consider myself an American first, an Italian second, even though I was born in Italy. My brothers the same.

    Love and compassion is a mutual and personal human exchange. You can’t barge into someone’s house, sit yourself down at the table, and demand to be fed. But you can knock, make a polite request, be a respectful guest, and say thank you when you are taken in and fed. If you are going to stay, then you owe it to your host to respect the laws of their house and not demand they conduct themselves to your liking. That, to me, is rude and disrespectful and would make the visitor the offender, and not the host.

    America will lose itself if is unable to put rational thought into all of it’s issues of governance. If we are in need of more labor and skills available only from foreigners, then by all means, let them in, legally. Teach them the customs of manners of your home, America. Teach them the history of freedom and free markets unique to the United States experiment. Teach them the ideas put forth but the builders of this house, the principal of self government rather than dependency on the state. By doing so it will ensure that they carry forward the ideas that made this country. If they are allowed to come into this country and use it for its benefits, but not learn to love the reasons why those benefits exist, they will be ill prepared and unwilling to defend it for generations to come. That is the price of unbridled illegal immigration. That is what we who love this country dearly and believe in a legal immigration system, are fighting for. We are NOT, and never will, look upon those wishing to come here as “others.” But we will judge their qualifications for entry based upon how they seek that entry. We will always pray for them and their homelands, that they too may live in peace and prosperity, without ever having to leave their homelands at all. That, I believe, is true compassion. That is the way we see people, simply as people, born of a different land perhaps, but not as merely some “othering.”

    With respect,

    PS – Perhaps we should concern ourselves with the “othering” classifications that we are transmitting on ourselves? Alt right, bigots, racists, xenophobes, etc. All these terms are forms of “othering,” are they not? Maybe we could adopt your general lesson and learn to think a little differently of one other? That would go a long way to healing the deep divide that has inflicted our country!

  • nickspm

    Some diversity is good. However, allowing many parts of the US to become third-world dumping grounds has been a big mistake. Ideally the people that come here should be able to contribute to the country without too much help.

    Bring in people with some money, some qualifications, or some academic talent by all means. It really doesn’t matter whether they are yellow, black, brown or purple—dare I say—white. However, when US citizens have to pay benefits to immigrant families that don’t have a pot to p*** in—when there are already homeless Americans here that we can’t feed—well it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.

  • Reece Stratton

    Mr. Braudis,

    The discussion over immigration from “which nations” and that it must be compassionate is about LEGAL immigration. Since you addressed your comments to me I must ask where you came up with the conclusion that my stance on “which nations” and on compassion was talking about how ILLEGAL immigration should be handled?

    Perhaps read WELL before addressing a specific someone with commentary about what they cannot get into their “small brain” so that such commentary actually ends up having to do with what the specific someone actually said and then it might at least give the appearance of a brain not too small to read English and understand the actual words contained therein. I wish you well in your pursuit of reading comprehension.

  • Not So Fast

    Assuming of course that they are tax payers!!

  • Frances Rolater

    There is a factual error, I believe, in Bauman’s article. His ancestors could not have come through Ellis Island in 1865, since it did not open until 1892. So, I think he must have meant 1895. Immigration has a huge impact on the economy. Before Ellis Island opened, the US basically took in all comers, except for a restriction on the Chinese. They were originally brought in to do very tough work on the railroads and in mining, but they were such hard workers, that there was fear that they would take jobs away from others who had already arrived. So, for the most part, if your ancestors came in before 1892 “legally”, it meant that they simply arrived here. Period. One of the very largest groups to migrate here were the Irish. who were mostly desperate and impoverished, at least in part, by the Famine. They took literally any work they could find, especially work that nobody else wanted to do. The other very large group were the Germans, who were more prone to be farmers, and also made their positive contributions. We can look back now and see how immigration has improved and strengthened our country. Many people misunderstand, and assume that people coming in from Mexico can simply go somewhere and sign up to be legal. That is not true. However, what is true is that there have been, and continue to be, jobs available for them to do that are unpopular with local permanent populations. That’s why they come. Without them, roofs could not be replaced, hotel rooms would not get cleaned, yards would not get mowed in 100 degree weather, and houses don’t get built or painted. So, knowing that, why can we not put together a system that allows those workers to be here, have a tax identification number and pay taxes on their wages? How hard can that be? Well – it would take some political spine to get it done. But other tax payers might appreciate it.

  • Fogarty

    Thank you for this thoughtful article. I am reminded of the “Ship of Fools” film that chronicled 900 German Jews trying to escape the Nazis in 1939. They came to America on a ship, but the U.S., in fear of immigrants, refused to admit them. I am also reminded of the Nassen Passport, a passport issued by the UN in the early 1900s to citizens being persecuted in their own country and were rescued by Dr. Nassen;20 countries agreed to accept this passport;and finally I am reminded of a co-worker from El Salvador who has been here for decades but still owns a home there;he was afraid to go back to sell it, he had to find an attorney there and stay in a hotel,because the gangs there beat&rob anyone who comes from the U.S.. My point is, there are many ways to look at immigrants, with discrimination or with how can I help, it depends on how we define ourselves. I am glad to read and know you are a humanitarian and look forward to following your writings and recommendations. Thank you.

  • Steve

    Law before compassion. Otherwise, the law is meaningless because compassions vary. Europe is ‘dead country walking’ due to their so-called compassion! Almost the entire city counsel in Brussels are Muslim. London has a Muslim mayor and there are weeds planted everywhere. People are being practically forced to give up their property rights in Germany to house Muslims! There are no-go zones in England, Sweden, France, and Germany. Wait until you see these countries in another 10 years! They will be Muslim and in shambles! That is compassion for you!

  • Ernest Gallegos

    It’s all about power folks. No one will vote Democrat except imported gov’t teet suckers, Repubs love cheap labor. I have been a very conservative R since about 12. I have witnessed the lunacy of both parties. Trump exposed RINO’s in the Republican party. The current immigration debate is waaay overdue. I would not give so called Dreamers citizenship at all, reluctantly maybe green card over time, deport all criminals. I would make it a FELONY to higher an illegal after immigration is fixed, e-verify in place, and a Hoover Dam type wall built. We have to take care of AMERICAN CITIZENS FIRST. 7 billion people including Terrorists would love to come here folks.