Derogatory slang term for Italian immigrants. Meaning, With Out Papers. An immigrant without papers. In the current U.S. press, this person is called an Illegal alien. What is the difference between the current persons without documents ( Wops) and the traditional immigrants of Italian, Irish, Finnish, German, and other immigrant groups?
The difference is changes in the U.S. immigration law. These laws began to change after 1900. They were further racialized in the 1920’s. The 1960’s Civil Rights Act made racial discrimination in immigration law.
The current WOPs seek the same opportunities to earn a living and to feed their families as earlier immigrants.
Instead of calling them “illegal aliens” I recommend use of WOP.