By Mark Ross, Contributing Writer
I’ve never been a serious hawk on the immigration issue. However, I side with the right on two important aspects: We need to control our borders in order to maintain our national identity. And, the immigrants who come here through proper channels need to become Americans… not remain as foreigners in enclaves.
My mother told the story of her mother who had no English. Her sister, Aunt Sadie, told her to go into the store and point at what she wanted. When she was finished she was to say “Dod’l do.” I knew grandma as someone who spoke English… but with an accent. All of my grandparents were immigrants. Thomas Sowell, in Ethnic America, said that silent movies were ideal for the America of the 1890s to 1920s. The audiences often had limited English and were better entertained by the histrionic gesticulation typical of the genre. The Warner Brothers got their start running a nickelodeon and their Mamma played the piano for the sound track.
A major fallacy is that America was built on the backs of cheap labor. Our economic juggernaut was built, instead, on capital. Machines are continually being developed to reduce the cost and improve the quality of productive tasks. The United Farm Workers once staged a major protest at UC Davis because they were developing technologies to reduce the human drudgery involved in farming. I’m not big on drudgery. The less of it the better. Migrant workers come to our agricultural areas because they work so cheaply that technology is not a suitable replacement. In some cases it’s borderline. Should some cockamamie union try to push up the labor cost… the steam hammer will replace John Henry.
What Americans don’t appreciate about the infiltration of our nation by people from the South… is that Europe has an even bigger problem with Arabs and Turks. Personally, I’d much rather have Mexicans.
The Arabs and Turks swarming over Europe are the products of an economic diaspora, just like the Mexicans and Central Americans coming into the United States. The difference between the two situations is that Mexicans are much, much more like the rest of Americans than are the Moslems who are radically changing the demographics of Europe.
A critique I could lodge against the political aspect of Mexican migration into the U.S. concerns the irredentist scheme to reclaim California and perhaps other border states as being rightly Mexican property. This is typified by the La Raza organization to which our latest Supreme Court nominee is alleged to belong. Most Mexicans don’t give a rat’s patootie for this notion… just the leftist, college indoctrinated “community activists.” But, perhaps a thumbnail historical recital can help put the contemporary situation into perspective:
Mexico was the administrative center for all of Spanish America. California was very difficult for the Spanish to administer because of its remoteness. To reach California by sea… from Spain or Vera Cruz was extremely difficult. By land… well, the same. It was easier to reach China. As a result, there were never more than a few Spanish/Mexican inhabitants of California (Harper‘s Monthly in 1876, put the number at about 3,000).
Meanwhile, Spanish strategists were alarmed at the possibility of Russian encroachment heading south from Alaska. A Spanish general named Galvez (for whom Galveston, Texas is named) enlisted an ambitious Franciscan named Junipero Serra to build a string of missions along the Pacific coast to serve as outposts of Spanish empire… and to block any Russian expansion into Spanish territory. The Ruskies got as far down the coast as Fort Ross in Sonoma County. Beyond which was “mission country.”
In more modern times, immigration from Mexico into the U.S. started anew during the Mexican Civil War, ca. 1910. Along with chips and salsa they brought marijuana… without which there may never have been a “Jazz Age.”
That was sort of towards the tail end of the great immigration period in American history. At various times Tsarist Russia and Australia were competing with us for fugitive Europeans. After a while we were no longer “under populated.” Immigration quotas were put in place… but all along, with a nod and a wink, we’ve kept Mexico from boiling over by absorbing their wealth creation shortfall. They’re better at creating people than they are at creating wealth. It doesn’t have to be. Mexico is oil rich and it’s bicoastal… like us. These are terrific commercial and strategic qualities.
But Mexico is deteriorating. It’s always been corrupt… but now chiefs of police are being assassinated routinely. Off-duty police are doing kidnappings for ransom. Revolutionaries from old movies are seizing towns like Chiapas. The middle class is hunkering down into guarded enclaves. I’d leave.
America has always had a vested interest in a stable Mexico. But sacrificing our national identity is too high a price to pay. Allowing unfettered “off the books” immigration is not a long term solution… it reinforces the corruption and chaos that is pushing the people across the border.