Wednesday, March 3, 2004
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Challenging the Hispanic Challenge
Here's a link to Samuel Huntington's essay "The Hispanic Challenge"; you can purchase and advance copy of Who We Are here. If you study political science and don't have either Political Order in Changing Societies or The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, you should. The quotations in Clash in the essay come from pages 150 and 136 respectively.
For a lovely biographical essay of Huntington, you could do far worse than Robert D. Kaplan's December 2001 Atlantic Monthly essay.
For an excellent, dispassionate look at how the 19th century version of globalization affected the United States, see Kevin O'Rourke and Jeffrey Williamson's Globalization and History
David Brooks' New York Times column from last Tuesday on Huntington provided the 60% figure on English-speaking habits among third-generation Hispanic Americans.
I've disagreed with Huntington before -- see my review of The Clash of Civilizations in The Washington Quarterly here.
The Franklin and Schlesinger quotes come from Schlesinger's July 1921 American Journal of Sociology fascinating essay, "The Significance of Immigration in American History." Some of you can access this on JSTOR. Frankin is quoted on p. 74; Schlesinger's quote comes from p. 83 of the article.
The Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research at the University of Albany is doing fascinating things with Census data on Hispanics. The report that's directly quoted can be found here, but check out this one on how race factors into the equation as well. I am exceedingly grateful to Robert Tagorda for posting about it.
For an economic analysis of the immigration question, chapter 15 of Kenneth Dam's The Rules of the Global Game is an excellent starting point.
Final effort towards full disclosure -- Huntington, in addition to founding Foreign Policy, also founded the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. During the 1996-97 academic year, I was fortunate enough to be a post-doctoral fellow at that institute.posted by Dan on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM
There was a crazy old Yale prof named Serge Lang who used to bang his fist on the table and rail about SAMUEL P. HUNTINGTON! every night in the dining hall.
I think he wrote a widely-used Calculus textbook, but his political writings were absolutely insane.
That said, it looks to me like, all credentials aside, Sam H. is just afraid of brown people.posted by: praktike on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
Skimming through some data collected by the Mumford Center, it appears that blacks continue to be the most segregated community, especially when income is factored in. Segregation between hispanics, whites and asian goes down as households become more affluent. I will bet that if one looked at education, income, religion and ethnic group, the last would be the least important indicator, except for blacks. Mexicans are not the problem; poor & under-educated immigrants are the problem. That's a more tractable issue.
I'm a 2nd gen. Indian and I've noticed that recent Indian immigrants to Chicago tend to balkanize themselves from other groups. However, most of their American-born children have, to their parents' irritation, assimilated to American culture. The degree of assimilation tends to match their parents' education and income (higher = more assimilated). I suspect Hispanics are the same and government can help them. But if we've failed to help blacks, can we do any better with Hispanics?
Failure to admit differences between different nationalities of the same general ethnic group merits a failing grade for undergraduates. There are profound differences, for assimilation in the U.S., between Hispanics from Central America (mostly poor AmerIndians) and those from Mexico. Mexico itself has an illegal immigrant, and assimilation, problem on its southern border due to poor AmerIndian immigrants from Central America.
I wonder why Huntington made such an elementary mistake.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
I agree with most of Dan's points but I still don't think that Huntington has been proven wrong on the core of his argument, which is that Hispanic immigration will change the nation and make it a bilingual country.
It is clear to me that Hispanics are changing and continue to change the US. After all so did all the previous waves of immigrants. Is that good or bad? It will depend on your point of view.
The risk of a 'split' nation, at least at some levels, is very real IMHO. But it will take time to see if it happens or if assimilation works as it did in the past.
Clearly there is a number of immigrants or a level of immigration beyond which assimilation no longer happens. Suppose that next year 400 million Chinese moved to the US. Nobody would argue that they would assimilate.
Yes, 400 million is an exaggeration. I don't know what the right number is, only that it exists. This might be the kind of thing that an economist or political scientist could try to model.posted by: GT on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
"That said, it looks to me like, all credentials aside, Sam H. is just afraid of brown people."
It looks to me like, all "practike" credentials aside, if he/she has any, "prakt" is a race hate monger.posted by: Mik on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
“Spanish-language competence, University of New Mexico professor F. Chris Garcia has stated, is “the one thing every Hispanic takes pride in, wants to protect and promote.”
“We don't want a monolingual society.” Similarly, Duke University literature professor (and Chilean immigrant) Ariel Dorfman asks, “Will this country speak two languages or merely one?”And his answer, of course, is that it should speak two.”
I remain unimpressed by Samuel P. Huntington’s thoughts on the problems of Mexican assimilation into American life. This is a very mediocre article. He only indirectly and with much hesitation deals with the grief caused by the Anglo-radical leftist morons of the 1960s. This is the number one reason for these troubles. I sense that Huntington is trying to have it both ways. He is willing to hint about the idiocy of the politically correct academics---but he seems reluctant to get into a kick ass confrontation with them. Thus, he's mostly wasting our time. Victor Davis Hanson is vastly more insightful. I will purchase a copy of Huntington’s soon to be released book, but I also highly recommend Hanson’s Mexifornia.posted by: David Thomson on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
"That said, it looks to me like, all credentials aside, Sam H. is just afraid of brown people."
The above comment says it all. I am utterly convinced that we wouldn’t be having these current difficulties with the Mexican immigrants were they “white.” The politically correct leftist deemed it racist if we made any serious attempts to assimilate these people into our diverse American culture.
“But if we've failed to help blacks, can we do any better with Hispanics?”
Once again, many of the troubles endured by American blacks are due to the radical 1960s white liberals. They were turned into self pitying victims. The blacks, especially those living in large city ghettos, were encouraged to “get whitey” and “confront the evil capitalist system.” Every hear of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton?
Harvard University disgraced itself by cowardly abandoning Edward Banfield to the politically correct wolves. This single act of betrayal by the school sent a signal to the campus radicals that they would not pay a significant price for their outrageous behavior. Harvard University needs to apologize to Banfield’s surviving family. It’s the least that it should do.posted by: David Thomson on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
I'm a race hate monger? News to me.
I was making the point that Huntington is constructing an elaborate argument that really boils down to xenophobia. Sorry if my comments were misinterpreted.posted by: praktike on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
Thank you Dr Drezner for the excellent and interesting links and book suggestions. This series of posts is very interesting in connection with you soft power posts of a couple of months ago.
“The above comment says it all. I am utterly convinced that we wouldn’t be having these current difficulties with the Mexican immigrants were they “white.” The politically correct leftist deemed it racist if we made any serious attempts to assimilate these people into our diverse American culture.”
Interestingly, the Mumford Center distinguishes between white, black and “Hispanic” Hispanics. One of Huntington’s primary examples of non-assimilation is the “white” Hispanics in the city of Miami. So I suspect that, again, it is not quite as simple as a “politically correct leftist viewpoint”.
“U.S. officials estimated that between 1870 and 1914, 30 percent of immigrants emigrated back to the country they came from. Among Italians, the rate approached 50 percent because young Italian men went back and forth between the new world and the old country in search of work.”
I also found this point from your TNR piece interesting. As an analogy, google “send money to mexico” and you get 1,620,000 hits. I would suspect this is a first generation phenomenon.
At the risk of offending the “macroculturalists” among us with another bit of anecdotal evidence, my psychologist friend recently got a call from a Hispanic man who wanted help in changing his “controlling personality”. He said, “I will do anything to save my marriage.” Apparently, his Hispanic wife has told him she doesn’t have to take it anymore.
"One of Huntington’s primary examples of non-assimilation is the “white” Hispanics in the city of Miami."
If so, then Sam is clearly talking non-sense. I am very familiar with Miami and its Cuban-Americans. Virtually all 2nd generation Cuban-Americans speak perfect English, do not dream of ever going back to Cuba, even if Castro vanished today, and the 3rd generation barely speak any Spanish. The Miami export-import and finance sector has had to hire non-Cubans to fill in positions where Spanish was required because most young Cuban-American's Spanish fluency was too poor !posted by: ch2 on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
“So I suspect that, again, it is not quite as simple as a “politically correct leftist viewpoint”.”
Oh, but it is. You are just being nit picky. The politically correct liberals rarely, if ever, think of Hispanics as “white.” No, they are the “brown” folks---and it is supposedly racist to encourage them to become more American. After all, our nation is allegedly run by the white dominated capitalist class.
“Among Italians, the rate approached 50 percent because young Italian men went back and forth between the new world and the old country in search of work.”
Italians (and my ancestors, the Germans) were never told to remain outside the American culture. On the contrary, they were encouraged to Americanize as quickly as possible. That is the central difference between those immigrants of the past and the darker complexioned ones of today.posted by: David Thomson on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
“I am very familiar with Miami and its Cuban-Americans. Virtually all 2nd generation Cuban-Americans speak perfect English, do not dream of ever going back to Cuba, even if Castro vanished today, and the 3rd generation barely speak any Spanish.”
These Cuban Americans also often vote Republican. They never swallowed this political correct nonsense that they should shum Americanization. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Mexican immigrants.posted by: David Thomson on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
Allow me to speak for myself--I wrote my senior political science thesis about Hispanic voting patterns, so I'm well aware of how the demographics break down.posted by: praktike on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
Just read it.posted by: TexasToast on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
One potentially big difference between the current wave of immigrants (from Mexico and to a lesser extent China) and previous waves is that today is the first time we are getting immigrants from places where anti-Americanism is an engrained part of the political culture. First generation immigrants in the past may have had initially stronger loyalties to their country of origin, but they had at worst neutral feelings toward America. And I dont think this anti-Americanism can be blamed on Anglo radical academics, rather its a key message of the PRI and CCP.posted by: wallace stevens on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
"These Cuban Americans also often vote Republican. They never swallowed this political correct nonsense that they should shum Americanization. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Mexican immigrants."
But that wasn't my point.
Of course, there may be evidence that 2nd or 3rd generation Mexican-Americans are just as "patriotic" as other American groups. I've never noticed anything that would contradict that idea.posted by: wallace stevens on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
Well part of the whole problem with the debate is that we don't know exactly how many we have, from where they come from, or what exactly they're doing. Frankly I welcome the immigration from the point of view of population growth and demographics, but let's face it even the Census Bureau uses an estimate that Greenspan has recently suggested is throwing off the Household survey numbers.
The first thing we need to do is get some real data and set up some process and expectations. A bilingual nation is not acceptable. The Germans, Poles, Italians, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, etc. don't get special dispensations regarding their own language as a national standard. Yeah, sure some areas have bilingual signs, but that's local rules. Also there is limited political patience with the current abuses of the system, as witnessed by the California backlash against issuing driver's licenses and the thud!!! of Bush43's immigration program.
Huntington may well be wrong about Cuban-Americans, whom the oldman has felt to integrate quite well generally and wouldn't even include in the typical "Hispanic" category ... or Puerto Ricans who have lived as not-quite-a-state and done okay for themselves ... tying this to "Hispanics" is a problem because the category itself contains wide and diverse ethnic groups that have very little in common.
Let's be clear. Mexico poses a unique problem in American immigration. If we cut the crap out, and started looking for some real facts, maybe we could really get down to the bottom of what needs to be done!posted by: Oldman on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
I thought we were supposed be commenting on Dan's essay, not Huntington's?
"Indeed, Huntington is correct to point out that Mexican immigrants are poorer and less well educated than either native-born Americans or other immigrant groups. But that's an economic argument that is irrelevant to Huntington's core thesis, which takes as its focus questions of culture and identity."
- excellent point. The FP article is not about fear of brown people. It's about American culture. I think Sam is right to identify the changes, but wrong to believe endangering our national identity.
- I note with interest that Dan doesn't directly address that point. He shows that Sam's conclusions about Hispanic assimliation and the unique nature of Hispanic immigration are incorrect. He notes that Huntington has once again contradicted himself. But Dan doesn't answer the money question: is Huntington right when he says that America will may shift from a mostly Anglo-protestant (with the ethics, the history, and the cultural imperatives that secular, english Christianity bequeathed us) to a more Hispanic, conservative culture?
- Dan suggests instead "But raising the specter of a Mexican-induced American identity crisis distracts far more than it informs." I can't argue with the distraction bit, but I still think it's an interesting question. Esp. given the current social liberal/conservative divided in national politics.
"immigration situation is far from perfect. Illegal immigration remains an unsolved problem. The official U.S. immigration policy of prioritizing family reunification over educational attainment makes little economic sense, and is worthy of further debate. Huntington is correct to highlight the educational deficit of Mexican immigrants as a first step to addressing the problem."
I think Dan is trying to say that we should be handing out visas to better educated Central and Southern Americans. I'm not sure how the US can alleviate educational deficit of potential illegal Mexican immigrants...other than to suggest we should promote education in other countries. Alas, we seem to have a serious problem promoting it in this country, so I'm a little unsure of where Dan is going with this. Dan, are you suggesting better education in Hispanic countries will lead to less illegal immigration?
Anyway nice, reasoned response. Hopefully Sam will listen to your criticism and address it like he did the CoC criticism back in the 1990s.
posted by: Carolina on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
“Let's be clear. Mexico poses a unique problem in American immigration. If we cut the crap out, and started looking for some real facts, maybe we could really get down to the bottom of what needs to be done!”
There’s no deep mystery to solve. This is not brain surgery. We merely need to marginalize the radical multiculturalists who are hostile to American values. They are the number one reason why Mexicans more slowly assimilate than many other ethnic groups. Have we already forgotten Cruz Bustamante, the former lieutenant governor of California, and his relationship to MECha? Read for yourself:
“"We do not recognize capricious frontiers on the bronze continent. Brotherhood unites us, and love for our brothers makes us a people whose time has come and who struggles against the foreigner 'gabacho' who exploits our riches and destroys our culture. With our heart in our hands and our hands in the soil, we declare the independence of our mestizo nation. We are a bronze people with a bronze culture."posted by: David Thomson on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
"We merely need to marginalize the radical multiculturalists who are hostile to American values. They are the number one reason why Mexicans more slowly assimilate than many other ethnic groups."
Time out. Y'know ethnic pride (to throw around a fancy term I, second generation American, learned in college) isn't a crime. Lots of assimilated groups like, the Irish, the Jewish, the Chinese, the Basque, the what-ever in this county have ethnic pride. Those who want to assimliate, assimiliate. Those who don't tend to be left behind economically and socially...pretty impossible to be sucessful here and not be assimilated.
Why people don't assimliate - good question. Is it hostility to American values? What are American values? Last time I checked, tea t 4 o'clock and command of the King's English weren't values. Can you explain this?
Hungtington couched it in terms of secular, lockian Anglo-Saxon protestant (complete with Protestant Ethic) lifestyles. I'm not in complete agreement with him. What values are radical multiculturalists hostile towards?
I think you're confusing anger with the United States with hatred of American values. Huntington might argue they're one and the same, but I'm not sure it's American values that folks like Mecha have issue with. I think it's our prosperity...and our multiculturalism. Pluralism always seems to scare the small minded.
"I'm not sure it's American values that folks like Mecha have issue with. I think it's our prosperity...and our multiculturalism."
Who is this much maligned Mecha ?posted by: ch2 on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
"Check, Please."posted by: Tommy G on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
I found the Anglo Protestant assumption Huntington made a bit jarring. While there are still places in America that recall Gentleman's Agreement they are not the seats of power nor the Establishment of the country in any sense. Huntington is of an age and knowledge to know the difference between the Establishment of the '50's and today's. That he could call this an Anglo Protestant country today indicates that he has lost touch with one of those time periods.
Likewise, Drezner's coment about Alba and Victor's third generation domestic home language research relates to the grand children of immigrants who came to the U. S. when there was no multiculturalism, no bi-lingual education, public schools were still actively assimilationist, and a harsher reception was given to immigrants. I remember the PSAs that ran every January telling resident aliens to report to the INS or Post office for some sort of check-in and card renewal.
Mexican imigrants are unique in our experience in that their own government is encouraging them to emigrate while maintaining their former citizenship and right to vote, all levels of American governments are doing a minimal amount to assimilate them, and they have a revanchist claim to U. S. teritory that some of them take very seriously. While many will end up assimilating just as has every other imigrant group, it is not a given that all will nor that the process will be painless.
Carolina says: "Those who want to assimliate, assimiliate. Those who don't tend to be left behind economically and socially...pretty impossible to be sucessful here and not be assimilated." The later is the group of Huntington's concern. And rightly so.posted by: Richard A. Heddleson on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
"Poor Mexico" exclaimed dictator Porfirio Diaz, "so far from God and so close to the United States!" That says it all. The entire border is a huge Zone of Distortion warped by the looming proximity of the Giant to the North. I felt it as far south as Los Mochis, Durango and Chihuahua, and did not feel entirely free of it until I got to Guanajuato and Queretaro.
--- Quotation from a reviewer of Frontera Dreams: A Hector Belascoaran Shayne Detective Novel
When in 1994 Californians voted to enact Proposition 187, which among other niceties intended to deprive undocumented immigrants of their rights to basic health and education benefits, none of the politicians never imagined the backlash that such a measure would provoke. Mexicans, who had never bothered before to pursue their legal rights as US citizens started to apply in droves for citizenship papers, and in the process altered the political landscape of California forever.
--- Quotation from an ad for “The New Americans”
This famous quotation from former President Porfirio Diaz comes to mind when contemplating the fallout of the September 11 attacks on Mexico. There will be detrimental impacts both on the nation's economy and on its global political standing. In economic terms, Mexico will continue to follow the American decline, since it is dependent on the US for nearly 90% of its export sales. Politically, Mexico slid from its status as a privileged geopolitical partner to a 2nd or 3rd tier power in the halls of Washington, all in a matter of weeks. Mexico began 2001 with a highly optimistic outlook. The year will end with negative growth, a weakened forecast for 2002, and diminished influence in the global community.
--- Quotation from a November, 2001 Economic outlook report
Perhaps they would rather stay Mexican if they could just have a job?
Got in one.
"Perhaps they would rather stay Mexican if they could just have a job?"
Mexican elites are exporting causers of change. The elites would rather not change. They have power. Change means they might lose power.
The only effective way for us to reduce immigration from Mexico will be to change Mexican politics. Our government understandably doesn't want to go there at the momemt.
BTW, my father as an about to retire California Democratic politician (appointive) was salivating in 1994 over then Governor Pete Wilson's endorsement of the various anti-immigrant initiatives. After the election he spent two weeks in D.C. plotting with Leon Panetta on how the Clinton Administration and Democratic National Committee could use all that to kill the California GOP. The Clintonians threw money at the INS in California to naturalize Mexican immigrants, while the DNC targeted money at registering them all as Democrats.
Pop and Panetta were successful beyond their wildest dreams. This was Pop's "last hurrah". He gloated at me about it during the 1994 campaign and hasn't let me forget about it since.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
TexasToast and Tom Holsinger repeat falsehood about Proposition 187. Establishment media, Dems and open-borders like WSJ, Weekly Std, Karl Rove and neo-conservative cabal state that Wilson and GOP support for 187 killed California GOP. To pick a minor problem with this first: while GOP rank and file were wildly enthusiastic about 187, GOP elite were against it. Wilson was an exception, he was trailing badly in Gov race and opportunistically picked 187 to run with.
Since 187 CA GOP elite ignores the issue of illegals, while general electorate (GOP, independants and many blue-color Dems) vote against immigration every chance they get.
Since 187, a Proposition to outlaw bilingual ed passed by a huge margin despite the fact that it was outspent 1:20.
Gray Davis was recalled because he gave driving licenses to illegals. All pols indicate that for people who voted for recall number one issue was illegal immigrant licenses.
Yes Ca turned left and Dem since 187, yet a lot of Ca Dems and independents would deport illegals in a flash. Cowardly GOP would rather loose elections than be called racist by NYT and LAT, they will keep on ignoring the winning issue.posted by: Mik on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
I don't think there's too much mystery on what would stop massive mexican immigration to the United States. It would be a general equalization of living standards in Mexico and the US.
Or us moving all our troops in Iraq and deploying them all along the border from Brownsville to San Diego.
Take your pick. But otherwise, you'll be fighting something about as futile as the drug war.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
Denial is a river in California too.
Tell us about the great success of the California GOP after 1994. Tell us how many statewide offices the GOP won in the 1998 election (1). And in 2002 (0.0000). That we're back up to (1) is not because people here vote Republican - they just couldn't stand Gray Davis.
There is a reason for that. It happened because of suicidal idiocy of the California GOP in honking off Mexican immigrants in 1994, followed by exploitation of this by my father and Leon Panetta.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
Just a note, but the 1 GOP statewide office holder in California also happened to support 187. It's clear that his support for 187 didn't hurt his campaign.posted by: h0mi on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
"Who is this much maligned Mecha ?"
All I know about Mecha is what I read on the web during the California re-call race and heard from my family. Their philosophy is a lot like that of the Nation of Islam. Well, minus the spaceship thing.
"MEChA helps Chicano students maintain cultural values and ideals while pursuing their educational goals...organization started by Chicanos and Latinos in 1964, known as the Chicano Student Union" Other groups like Mecha are La Raza. You might think of them as the mex-american skull and bones - but with a clearer political and social goals.
Mecha is apparently a Mexican-American group that believes everything west of the Mississippi that was controlled by Spain before 1850 should belong to a better future mestizo country in which people can have the same living standard of the US and still chow down on some Menudo at a fancy restaurant.
They use the term "bronze" rather than brown to describe their skin color, refer to the Mestizo (a mix of Indian and Spanish blood) as their racial background. They tend to wear t-shirts that say "Aztlan", the name they've given to this mestizo Eden. They are mostly lower middle class educated mexican-americans who are tired of the taco, indian and other jokes that they get from white Americans. I've seen their materials at Mexican-american street fairs. They're definitely more common in schools on the West Coast, then the MidWest. They seem to have gained national adherents sometime in the 1990s. When I went to schoool, they didn't appear to be on my campus or in Chicago. By the time I graduated, i was starting to see their stuff at rodeos and books fairs.
Mecha tends to attrach Mexicans of mostly Spanish background. There's a bit of old, unrelenting racism in Mexico having do with skin color and facial features. Mestizos tend to look less indian and more spanish. For example, my uncle some central mexican "indian" features with a spanish nose. He's also short. My dad (whose father was different), is tall with more european features. Both are Mestizo, but on the sliding Mexican scale (as it was explained to me by my cousins), dad is higher up on the racial mix. In anycase, the indio population is usually too busy trying to make a living to worry about empire buidling. Some native Americans might work with the group, but I doubt they'd be willing to submerge their cultural identity for that of La Raza.
As my dad explains it, Mecha and groups like them are a bunch of jumped up California radicals with a political agenda that is tied to their ability to gain political power. Of course, my dad, the very assimliated Mexican American, thinks that terms the 60s promoted like chicano are a slur against Mexicans who have embraced America. I can't really argue with him. Having experienced racism from my chicano brethern, I'm not too keen on Aztlan.
They're successionist, racist, and claim to promote militancy. They might be Marxist, but given the highly successful rich people who donate to their cause, I think that's just a political ploy.
So in closing, you can look them up on the web, read their really squirrelly manifesto, and sleep content that many Americans of mexican descent think they're wackos.
Carolinaposted by: Carolina on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
Tom & TT -
I think you're wrong, in part.
"Perhaps they would rather stay Mexican if they could just have a job?"
Mexicans are coming here and getting educated...and not going back to Mexico.
It's more than political power (although it matters to). Let's be honest - the American way of life is pretty attractive, and I'd pick a nice suburban home with lots of room and stuff in a clean, safe neighborhood over Mexico city or its suburbs any day. Here we have a lot of basic freedoms, an amazing economy, little bribery of public officals, and real streets. For some Mexican immigrants, that matters alot.
Dear Appalled Moderate,
I think you are onto something. It's been something the oldman has pondered for a long time. Mexico has had a 150+ year history of corruption and bureaucratically enforced poverty. Part of their solution, has been to use immigration as a pressure valve to reduce dissident opinion. You don't like things in Mexico? Go north! And send some money home to mama and papa!
The only way to square this circle is to take a massive forward modernization effort with Mexico. Backed up by military coordination if necessary. We can no longer afford to have Mexico as the poor, backward, languishing neighbor down south. The economic prosperity and national security of Americans depends upon bringing Mexico into the 21st Century - actually the latter 20th Century would be a large improvement. ;-)
So yes, I think changing the legal and structural environment down south of the border is the only way to fix the problem long term - though in the sort term many things can be done. It would take massive economic, legal, diplomatic, and concerted political pressure to make it happen. However, I am confident that we could do so. We don't want to run things down south of the border, but we do want them to clean up their act - and for their sakes and ours we had better do so -quickly!!!posted by: Oldman on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
Thanks for your analysis,Carolina.
Tommy G, I'll contribute my own humorous line too:
Why oh why does every neo-con have to bring up the Franklin quote on German immigration? I mean, after two centuries, can't we move on?
Or rather, let's look at the historical situation. In fact, Franklin was right. There are to this day unassimilated Germans in our country whose roots go back to Franklin's day. They are known as the Amish. It's a darn good thing that the Napoleonic wars gave us a rest from that German immigration (or rather, Palatinate immigration, there was no Germany).
Then let's look at the second, huge wave of German immigration in the 1830's - 40's. Their descendents deed indeed cause a little Kulturkampf. The German interior of our nation was less then pleased about getting into war with Germany the first time, and had to be actively surpressed. (That hotdog your eating is really a hamburger.) Only after two wars with Germany and a drastic decline in German immigration did the country fully assimilate most of them (excepting of course the Amish).
Now, what other variables come into play? Germany is a distant, Mexico is close. Germany has no historic claims to territory in the US, Mexico does. German immigration was happening at a time that the native-born population was increasing rapidly on its own, Mexican immigration is coming at a time when Americans have (wisely) decided to limit the size of their families. Germans came to a country with an open frontier and were able to settle the land after the Scots-Irish were done killing the Indians. Mexicans come to a country with no frontier and decent places to live fast filling up. And finally, I will violate the taboo and bring up race. Germans are just about as close to Anglo-Saxons as you can get -- heck, they are Anglo-Saxons. Mexico is a racially stratisfied country with Amerinds (of which we are getting more) on the bottom and unassimilated for 500 years. The average Mexican mestizo is racially very different that an average Euro-American. Does this matter? Evidence seems to be accumulating that it does.
Finally, to whoever buys this first 'New Nation' stuff, I recommend a close reading of Federalist Two. The whole reason for the Union in the first place was that we were one people, descended from the same ancestors, professing the same religion, sharing the same language and customs. Old stock Americans worked very hard to keep it that way, from immigration restriction to Americanization programs to the Temperance movement. They were right.posted by: Mitchell Young on 03.03.04 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
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