OpinionColumnistsMike Vogel By Mike Vogel @mikewrite7 Stop the 2016 demagoguery: A Cinco de Mayo pop quiz Donald Trump is shown at a campaign rally on Monday, May 2, 2016, in Carmel, Ind. Democrats were viewing his likely nomination as the GOP presidential candidate with glee, convinced that he will influence congressional races and help them gain seats. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Joe Raedle Updated May 3, 2016 6:25 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, celebrating Mexican traditions, and I’d like to start the festivities early with a pop quiz. Who suggested erecting “a brass wall around the country?” Donald Trump, 2015? Nope. Try John Jay, the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, in the 1750s. Jay was determined to keep out those dangerous Catholics. Sadly, fear and hatred of immigrants is as American as apple pie, pizza and tacos. The current target of this bigotry is Mexicans here illegally. Years ago it was Italians, Jews and other “undesirables.” “No Irish Need Apply!” was a common warning on job and housing notices. The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 barred Asians from entering the United States. Unscrupulous politicians past and present love to play on our fears. As usual, it’s based on lies. Unauthorized Mexican immigration is declining, and Mexican immigrants don’t commit more crimes. According to The Washington Post, data show newer immigrants — including those here illegally — are less likely to commit crime. But in troubling economic times, politicians too often demonize “the other.” Trump promises to build a huge wall on the Mexican border to keep “them” out, while Sen. Ted Cruz threatens to increase deportation. You say you really don’t know any Mexican-Americans? How about Demi Lovato and Eva Longoria? What about Hilda Solis, who served as U.S. secretary of labor under President Barack Obama, or Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico who negotiated the release of American prisoners in Iraq and North Korea? Still, Mexicans continue to be demonized. I recently visited the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side (don’t miss it), and was reminded the nation was built on the backs of immigrants. Their energy and inspiration continue to make us a great nation. It’s time to break the cycle. Show political demagogues trying to appeal to our worst instincts that we know they’re the same types who stirred up hatred against many of our own ancestors. Hardworking Mexican immigrants aren’t a threat to the American way. Political demagogues are. Meanwhile, happy Cinco de Mayo! Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net. By Mike Vogel @mikewrite7 Mike Vogel grew up in Brooklyn and is a lifetime New Yorker. In addition to amNY, his opinion pieces have run in Newsday, The NY Daily News, The NY Post and Metro NY. He is also a produced playwright. His latest play (Second Chance) was produced by Seven Angels Theatre in Connecticut in spring, 2018. In addition, Mike is a songwriter/club performer, and enjoys sports, swimming, Scrabble and other things that begin with the letter "s." Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.