That immigrant debate is so yesterday's problem

When I was a kid, I was called a dumb Pollock hundreds of times. Being Polish then and being Latino now is very similar and I think the result will be similar. My grandfather never really mastered English; my father spoke English as a second language he learned in school. My connections to the old country are just nostalgic and my kids don’t care at all. Latinos will blend into America, adding to our culture. When that happens they will be just another part, much like Germans, who are still America’s largest ethnic group, although nobody notices anymore. Remember when they talked about “hyphenated American” a century ago, they often meant Germans.

Birth rates in most Latino origin countries, especially Mexico, are dropping fast. This immigrant trend is over, just as the Germans, Italian and others just dropped off rather abruptly and unexpectedly.

Within the next few years, the debate will move from trying to keep immigrants out to encouraging them to come for our labor needs. But by then, immigrant streams will shift from South of the border.

All this debate about letting people in or keeping them out is being overtaken by events. We can pass whatever laws we want, but the Latino immigration wave is finished and assimilation has begun in earnest. Latinos have changed America and their descendents will continue to do so, just as others have, just as everyone does because change is constant.

The chief danger that exists to the happy assimilation is if we continue to identify "Hispanics" as a group and create special rights or burdens. End affirmative action now, and things will get better faster for all involved. But even if we do maintain some of those benighted policies, things will improve only a little slower.

Posted by Christine & John at June 20, 2013 7:31 AM
Comments
Comment #367575

It think it’s far more interesting to watch how badly Democrats want illegal aliens to become citizens. I wounder why that is? Could it be they’re concerned about those people? Doubtful. Could it be they think they’ll vote for Democrats? Likely.

The irony in all of this is the Democrats’ mistaken belief that they own the hispanic vote. It’s as if they think hispanics all vote as one and don’t think for themselves as individuals. Then again, that’s Democrats for you. Individualism is soooo 1776. It’s not like our country was founded on individual liberty. That’s just silly talk from those old white men who signed the Declaration of Dependance and wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

It will be quite funny to watch a charismatic Republican sweep the hispanic vote because, here’s the shocker, there are hispanic people who are conservative! I think I heard once that there are hispanic people who are Catholic. I’m sure those Catholics don’t appreciate Democrats continually stepping and insulting their religious preferences.

As a libertarian, I say welcome to my friends from south of the border. I’ve met many and like them precisely because they’re conservative, hardworking, family oriented and religious. They’re a breath of fresh air and everyone I met want to live in country that respects individual liberties. They fled their countries precisely because their countries trampled on their rights.

There are many parallels between the despotic socialistic regimes in the South American and the Democratic party. All it will take is a charismatic candidate to point that out and Democrats will lose the hispanic vote. Why would hispanics vote for the party that will turn the United States into the country they fled from?

Posted by: Joseph at June 23, 2013 7:35 PM
Comment #367576

Sorry for all the typos above. Typos and WatchBlog go together like Congress and incompetence.

Posted by: Joseph at June 23, 2013 7:39 PM
Comment #367577

Declaration of Dependance haha. That’s a good one. It actually kind of fits. It’s just call it satire and not a typo :)

Posted by: Joseph at June 23, 2013 7:41 PM
Comment #367578

C&J,
The article takes the long view, and suggests we should not worry, since today’s immigrants will eventually be assimilated, and in the meantime, the immigration rate has slowed.

That fails to address the underlying problem, namely, that a large population of illegal immigrants currently lives in the US. It also fails to address the various problems that come with having a large population living under the radar.

When conservatives can look at this predominantly latino populations and say:

‘Hey! There are a lot of great people who seek opportunity. They want to find jobs and support their families and chase the American dream. Something must be wrong with out laws! There has been a terrible mistake! How can we help these people become Americans immediately?’

When that day comes, conservatives will be able to successfully address the immigration policy.

Unfortunately, that is not what is happening. Conservatives say:

‘Those people are illegal. They are a bunch of takers who want to live on welfare and Obamacare. They don’t even speak English. We need to convince them to “self-deport.” And we need bigger fences at the border with Mexico so that more of those people don’t come here in the name of ‘security.’

And when conservatives say that, latinos hear the underlying message loud and clear. Conservative Republicans are hateful bigots, and profoundly opposed to them.

So! Stupider conservatives can continue to pretend it doesn’t really matter, since what really counts is appealing to the hateful base. They can continue to pretend the fact that 72% of latinos voted against them in 2012, and 70% of Asians, and 94% of blacks, and 55% of women, and virtually everyone in the LGBT community, but reality has a notoriously liberal bias.

Joseph,
Latinos are neither conservatives nor libertarians. They actually poll to the left of the Occupied movements. There is a good reason conservative Republicans hate them and want them to ‘self-deport,’ as Mitt Romney so memorably put it.
You write: “As a libertarian, I say welcome to my friends from south of the border. I’ve met many and like them precisely because they’re conservative, hardworking, family oriented and religious. They’re a breath of fresh air and everyone I met want to live in country that respects individual liberties.”

Well said. I’ve worked with them. They are wonderful people, and they will become a part of the next great generation of Americans. It can’t happen too soon.

Posted by: phx8 at June 23, 2013 8:02 PM
Comment #367579

phx8

I do indeed take longer views. In the longer view, party affiliations change and or don’t matter. Democrats used to be the party of less centralization and freer trade. Republicans used to be isolationists. Democrats used to oppose immigration … the list goes on.

My main requirements are that we rely on market mechanisms and government doesn’t bother me too much. I was okay with Clinton, mostly.

I dislike the way Democrats have become the party of special groups, such at Latinos, blacks etc. I believe in Americans, not separate groups. But I see this identity politics waning and becoming less relevant. Hispanics will not be a voting block within ten or twenty years.

We also see evolution. Immigrant groups like Poles or Italians used to be ethnics and Democratic. Nobody in my neighborhood or among my relatives would ever have voted Republican in 1960; today our generation of these same guys mostly does.

But I do indeed take the long view. The Hispanic wave is finished. It will take a little while to work through, but they will be like the even larger wave of Germans, or Italians, Poles etc. The third generation of Hispanics is losing their language, just as we did.

It is very hard to maintain fluency in a second language and English is an immensely powerful force. I live down in Brazil these days where the television is full of advertisements promising to teach English. Billboards are say the same things and English language schools are popping up even in small towns. The government Brazil want to reach out to 7 million young people in the next four years to get their English up to full-fluency. They don’t do this for love of us, but rather because every intelligent person knows that English is a key to success, even in non-English speaking places. How much more essential in the U.S.?

BTW - Brazilians are not Hispanic and don’t much like being put in the group. South America is mostly a Portuguese speaking continent with a fringe of places that speak Spanish, English, French and Dutch.

Posted by: CJ at June 23, 2013 9:10 PM
Comment #367581

This longer term view from “The Economist”

“But the Mexican wave has ebbed. Between 1995 and 2000 some 3m Mexicans moved to the United States, vastly outnumbering the 700,000 or so who returned to Mexico. Yet in 2005-10 the number of newcomers slumped to 1.4m, whereas that of returners increased to a matching 1.4m, according to estimates by the Pew Hispanic Centre, a Washington, DC, think-tank. It thinks that now there are probably more people departing than arriving. La Migra has noted the same trend. In 2000 the Border Patrol foiled 1.6m attempts to cross the frontier. Last year the figure was just 286,000, the lowest for 40 years. The world’s biggest migration has gone into reverse.

“Back and forth

“Mass migration from Mexico to the United States is a fairly recent phenomenon. Only 40 years ago the United States had more immigrants from Canada, Germany and Italy than from Mexico. ….”

Posted by: CJ at June 23, 2013 9:28 PM
Comment #367582

An uncommon approach to immigration, IMO, C&J. I would tend to agree with your postulation on the future of immigration if one chose to ignore the consequences.

One might ponder what we might look like had we adopted a full blown ‘open borders’ policy back in the 30’s-40’s. History books might make no reference to the ‘law west of the Pecos’, the muslim thing might be settled by now and, any old houses that Paula Dean would have classified as ‘ante-bellum’ would have been struck from the landscape, etc.

More recently, had the NAU been fully implemented we wouldn’t have spent all those tax dollars on border security. No doubt that whatever we do at the border over the next few years, the fences will come down over time as the NAU is shoe horned in. Lot of pesos down the tube.

I do agree that cultural blending is the end result, no matter our yearnings. Yak herders, Nigerian ebos and Filipino negritos will soon come to look like, well, you and me. National Geographic will/is going the way of print media, etc.

Where I have a problem is with the economics associated with immigration. But, taking the long view, not the end of the world if most folks make $5/8 an hour. Autos, housing, all things will float to address the market.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 23, 2013 9:29 PM
Comment #367584

Roy

Not many Mexicans came to the U.S. in the 1930s. They didn’t want to. Now the wave is over.

I do worry a little about “American culture”. Ours is a very successful permutation. Mexico is less successful and so is most of the world. I would not want us to become “more like them.” They should want to be more like us. Of course, we all should move forward to a better future.

Posted by: CJ at June 23, 2013 10:25 PM
Comment #367590

As some have mentioned above, living in Texas I too have Hispanic friends and neighbors. With one exception, all are here legally.

We often discuss legal versus illegal entry into the U.S. and citizenship. None of my Hispanic friends favor legalization of those here illegally. They view it as unfair and a repudiation of what they accomplished legally.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 24, 2013 3:17 PM
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