A few thoughts, that will probably get me lynched, on the immigration of Mexicans:
Immigration is not something Mexico did to the United States, but something the United States did to itself. Decades ago it changed its laws to favor Latin immigrants, gives immigrant children born in the US citizenship, avidly employs the illegals, forbids police to check their papers, give them social services and schooling, establishes sanctuary cities, and in general does everything but send them engraved invitations. And then expresses surprise when they come.
We hear endlessly that Mexicans are taking the jobs of Americans. Not quite. Reflect that every time a Mexican gets a job, it is because a shiny white noisily patriotic American businessman gives him that job.
I could take you to whole restaurants in the metropolitan area of Washington, DC, where if I yelled, Migra!, the entire staff would disappear out the back door. The owners know perfectly well who they are hiring. Mexicans are easily recognized. They are brown and speak Spanish. Businessmen do not hire them despite their being illegals, but because they are illegals, and therefore cheap.
I always find amusing the claims of love of country and civic responsibility that emanate from businessmen. These frauds will, and do, send American jobs to China, to make a buck. They will, and do, hire Indian programmers to replace more expensive American programmers. They will, and do, sweat children in Indonesian factories to make a buck. And they will hire illegals. If they didn't, there would be no illegals. They come to work. No work, no come.
'Nuther topic: I suspect that not one American in twenty has even heard of the Mexican-American War, and maybe one in a couple of hundred can distinguish between the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and, say, the Treaty of Westphalia. Mexicans know that in that war the US simply grabbed half their country, to include little places like, you know, California. The attitude of Americans, if they were told of this war, predictably would be, Oh. Well, that was some other time, whenever. Tell them to like, get over it. But Mexicans are not over it. Countless towns and cities have a Calle or Avenida Ninos Heroes commemorating the children who marched out, like the cadets of VMI in another example of Washington's aggression, to try to stop the oncoming federals.
Don't expect a lot of sympathy when Mexicans move back into what they regard as theirs in the first place.
Speaking of getting over it, the US will sooner or later will have to entertain the idea of getting over Latin immigration. Allowing the immigration in the first place was a terrible idea, since diversity regularly proves disastrous, but now there is precious little to be done about it. Nativist fantasies notwithstanding, the US is not going to round up thirteen (give or take) million people at gunpoint and force them across the border. If it doesn't do this, few illegals will leave.
I encounter all manner of fury from conservatives at the idea of granting amnesty to the illegals. Rounding them up is the very thing, they figure. How do you round up thirteen million people who don't want to be rounded up?
Perhaps at three a.m. you put a lightning cordon of Marines around a ten-block region and then go house to house, kicking in doors and dragging screaming people out. These you would throw into sealed eighteen-wheelers, drive them to the nearest border, and perhaps literally kick them across. Most of the children would be American citizens, but not Mexican. The idea of deporting a couple of million US citizens to a foreign country is fascinating.
Note that large and growing numbers of Hispanics are American citizens. (Hispanics are people who speak Spanish, which growing numbers of these folk don't, but never mind.) In several states Latinos are a majority. Their children rise through the schools toward voting age. Politicians being politicians, legislatures in these states will find it difficult to deport a group when over half the voting population is of that group. That leaves the feds, who do not seem energized by the matter. Short of a Nazi-style war of extermination or forced depuration, America is going to have a very sizable population of Latino origin.
Adding to the complexity is that the country is far from united in wanting mass deportation. As I understand it, some two-thirds of the US wants illegal immigration ended, which means sealing the border. But this is a very different thing from massive expulsion of those already in the country. Laws of the sort recently passed in Arizona may have some effect, but, again, most will remain.
While few will care, it is of perhaps minor interest that after '48 (the year of both Westphalia and Guadalupe-Hidalgo) a large number of Mexicans, and thus their descendants, became American citizens. These people have been Americans longer than, say, anyone whose ancestors arrived in the great immigrant waves around 1900.
Now, a reasonable question might be, OK, Fred, what would you do? If I had the power, I would seal the border to stop the influx, declare blanket amnesty for those already in the country, and get on with life. Part of getting on would be to encourage assimilation since the last thing the US needs is another indigestible and permanent underclass.
Note (as I have never seen noted) that keeping them illegal forces them into something close to an underclass. If Pablo wants to start a restaurant or auto-bodywork business, he can't, because he will be asked for papers and eventually shut down.
The country seems to be trying to cause what it most doesn't want. Some state or other wants to stop letting the children of illegals attend school. Oh, good. Let's create a population of angry illiterates who can't possibly be assimilated. What could be wiser?
The underlying problem is that no solution, or attempted solution, has enough support to get put into effect. Business wants the labor, politicians eye the vote, polls show young Americans as being much less worried about the whole question than their elders.
Conservatives — those, anyway, who are not profiting by immigration — talk of putting the military along the border, but support seems lacking. On Fox News I see people urging the characteristic American solution: high-tech this and that. Anyone with experience with dispersed guerrillas will see the prospects of success. A lot of liberals think immigration is heart-warming and all.
As is so commonly the case in semi-democracies, whatever might work is politically impossible, and whatever is politically possible won't work.
What now, gang?
May 31, 2010
Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well and A Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Be. His latest book is Curmudgeing Through Paradise: Reports from a Fractal Dung Beetle. Visit his blog.
Copyright © 2010 Fred Reed