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Patrick Nagel: Music

A Nation Foreign Born

(Patrick Nagel)
November 1, 2017
Patrick Nagel

America has a long tradition of vilifying immigrants. Benjamin Franklin himself railed against German immigrants as the ruin of the Pennsylvania colony. But immigrants are at the core of what has always made America a great nation. The white nativist views of Congressman Steve King of Iowa, Trump, and others has stoked the fear and lies about the current wave of immigration. I drew upon my own family’s history, where my grandparents were no less vilified by the Steve King’s and Trump’s of their day, and found the abiding message of hope for the continuation of the American experiment!

A Nation Foreign Born


My Mother came from Irish they had sailed around the horn

They got to San Francisco horrified to learn

There were no jobs for Irish, they were told not to apply

By the ones who'd come before, and had hatred in their eyes, hatred in their eyes


My father came from German who had sailed across the sea                                                        

The lady in the harbor promised they'd be free                                                                         

They were free to starve in tenements; endure ridicule and scorn                                         

From lofty politicians whose parents were foreign born, it was a nation foreign born


They saw the LIGHT of LIBERTY, they came in WAVES across the SEA

They left their HOMES they held dear, for the FREEdom they'd find HERE


Now the tired and poor keep comin as they always have before                                                    

To lay their burdens at the feet of liberty's burning torch

Now there are those who'd build a wall, who sow the seeds of fear                                          

But if we had always closed our doors, none of us would be here

We were all strangers once round here.


They saw the light…


Though my ancestral blood is foreign from across the rolling sea

There’s American blood in me, American blood in me


They saw the light…