Posted by Todd (126.96.36.199) on May 08, 2000 at 15:32:53:
In Reply to: With Out Passport nt posted by Todd on May 08, 2000 at 15:24:54:
Didn't mean that to be an NT post.
The interesting question for which I've never been able to find an answer is why this expression ended up being applied to Italians.
Very few Italians entered the US as 'illegal aliens'. During the late 1800's/early 1900's (the peak of the Italian immigration wave), there basically were no quotas for European immigrants, thereby obviating the incentive for Italians (and others) to try illegal entry.
The only even remote explanation that I've ever seen is this:
WOP began as a childish taunt, not unlike "Your mother wears combat boots". Facts and relevance played no part. Continued use caused the term to be adopted in general.
If anyone has a better explanation, I'd love to hear it...been searching for years.
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