Once upon a time in America, citizens grew weary and disenchanted with the proslavery Democrats and the antislavery Republicans. Thus, the Know-Nothing party was born and flourished in the 1850's. Oh, don't let the name fool you. They knew plenty. Members just dutifully remained quiet when asked about their nativist organizations. After the secret Order of the Star-Spangled Banner formed in New York City in 1849, lodges formed in nearly every major city in the United States. Members of the Order were largely lower middle class or skilled workmen. See if any of this sounds even remotely familiar.
Give us your poor, your tired and your weak
At the time, native-born Protestant Americans were threatened by the steady stream of immigrants, primarily Irish Catholics in the East and Germans in the Midwest. The party's platform used nativist rhetoric and pandered to popularize fears about immigrants. The Know-Nothings claimed that due to Catholic's allegiance to the Pope, they would not be loyal Americans. In fact, there was strong resentment towards those who practice their faith, particularly towards Roman Catholics.
On August 6, 1855, this resentment reached a fevered pitch when a group of Catholics were met by local activists who threatened to stop them at the voting polls in Louisville, Kentucky. Eventually, a riot ensued and resulted in 22 people getting killed with many injured. The 1856, 1857 and 1858 Baltimore mayoral elections were all marred by proven accusations of ballot-rigging and acts of violence. In Maine, the Know-Nothings were associated with the tarring and feathering of a Catholic priest in the town of Ellsworth in 1851. In 1854, they were also associated with the burning of a Catholic church in Bath.
Movements come and go
The Know-Nothing party "movement" pressed diligently to curb #Immigration and naturalization but with little success. The party fell apart around 1856. Today, it is the Muslims and Mexicans most notably under the radar of #Donald Trump's campaign. Will history have to remind us again that we are all immigrants? And as for the fear of non-citizens committing crimes, criminals can come from all backgrounds, race, creed or color. Citizen or not.