The Hispanic wave that didn't (and won't) matter
Trump famously insulted Mexicans and was supposed to feel the Hispanic wrath in this election. Yet Trump managed to get a higher % of the Hispanic vote than Romney. Analysts are missing a big point. I was recently walking around my old neighborhood. It is still an area of immigrants, although today the Poles and Italians are replaced by Hispanics. BUT the feel is the same. Men are trying to get into small businesses, kids trying to adapt. Like the Poles, Italians, Irish and others before, Hispanics are becoming just another part of the white working class.
Back in the 1960s, "ethnic America" voted Democrat. Today, most of their kids are Republican. Demographics may be destiny, but you cannot count on how it will work.
Republican strategy should NOT be to pander to Hispanics, but rather to work toward policies favored and favoring people who work for a living, start small businesses, want to do best for their families and generally have traditional social values. Increasingly, this will mean Hispanics too.
My wife's sister is married to a Hispanic guy. Their kids, my kids' cousins, are no different from other cousins. My son is engaged to a Hispanic woman. If they produce grandchildren, they will just be ordinary Americans. The assimilation process is well underway.
It used to be a big deal to be Polish, Italian or Irish. Today, nobody much cares beyond buying shirts that say "Kiss me. I'm ..."
And if Democrats think that the Hispanic wave will save them, I have two facts of hard reality. First, Hispanics are no longer coming to the U.S. in great numbers. Birth rates have dropped south of the border. It is all finished except the shouting. And, second, those Hispanics here are becoming more like those white working class folks that voted from Reagan and Trump.
Tacos and enchiladas are becoming as America as pizza, hot dogs and chop suey. America wins.
Posted by Christine & John at November 18, 2016 10:37 AM
As long as Republicans insist on deporting Mexican immigrants, that community will never be subsumed into the white working class.
Obama has been the deporter in chief. But beyond that, they are deporting illegals. Those becoming American white working class are not the one going.
Don’t underestimate how people close to a “problem” can have very unexpected reactions. My brother in law, my son’s fiancee and his boss (who is from Peru) are not proponents of illegal immigration. They are here legally. They feel little solidarity with those coming illegally.
Consider “the poor.” Who hates the poor the most? The relatively poor working class. They want to make sure they are differentiated from the poor, since they are close. And since they are close, they also see how the poor behave.
That is why the white working class goes for Trump, among others.
As Hispanics go into the second and third generation, they have as much connection to Mexico as I do to Poland or Germany. I have some nostalgic connection, but those places are no longer what they were when my ancestors left and it does not influence my votes.
Most Latino Americans are not from Peru. There is a high degree of familial overlap between legal and illegal immigrants from Mexico. The legal ones will not take kindly when their brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers are deported.
As Hispanics go into the second and third generation, they have as much connection to Mexico as I do to Poland or Germany.
You are right, IF we stop deporting their families.
I am not in favor of mass deportation. Recall that Obama is been a good deporter.
But consider the aspect of time. Let me take a hypothetical example from my own group, so as not to be accused of bias. Please ignore the wars etc. I know it is a big deal, but we can leave it out.
Janusz Kowalski and his brother Anton come to the USA in 1900. Jan is 10 years old; Anton is 8. For reason of luck and choices, Anton becomes a U.S. citizen. Jan does not.
20 years later, Anton & Jan are involved in a minor crime. Anton gets a warning; Jan is deported.
Anton gets married and has kid in the U.S. Jan does the same in Poland. Anton and Jan write letters to each other and stay in touch. The letter become fewer.
Anton’s kids are aware of their uncle and cousins in Poland, but they do not pay much attention.
Anton’s kids marry Americans from various nationalities and have kids of their own.
The grandchildren have “heard” that they have relatives in Poland, but they could not find them easily. Eventually one of them goes to Poland to visit the family in the old country. He is really glad he is American and cannot really understand what his cousins are saying.
Hispanics are becoming American. My sister-in-law’s kids understand less Spanish than I do. This is how it works. Three generations in America destroy ethnic ties absent additional input. The inputs have stopped.
Your example of Janusz and Anton does not apply today. Technology has changed and Mexico is much closer to the US than Poland.
If we were to imagine brothers Juan and Antonio who come to the USA in 2000 in otherwise identical circumstances. In 2020, Juan is deported and Antonio remains. Antonio happens to live in San Diego and Juan lives in Tijuana. You see, it is unrealistic to assume that they would remain mere pen pals in that circumstance. Rather, there would be frequent cross-border visits and the familial connections would remain strong. Juan might attempt to cross the border illegally again and again. Antonio might face harassment from immigration law enforcement despite being a legal American just because of his appearance.
The whole thing is very messy as long as we target the Hispanic community when it comes to immigration law. If we adopted immigration reform as envisioned by the gang of eight, then Antonio would probably feel more comfortable moving further away from his brother (perhaps to Milwaukee) and Juan would be able to obtain a permit to come work in the United States legally. Then, we would get the result you predict. Honestly, I think you will be proven right in the long run because the anti-immigrant fervor within the GOP will die down eventually.
Anti-immigrant fervor Warren? Please cite sources proving your contention. Perhaps you meant to write anti-illegal immigrant.
Melania Trump is an illegal immigrant and there is no fervor to deport her.
Melania Trump is an illegal immigrant and there is no fervor to deport her.
Posted by: Warren Porter at November 18, 2016 5:48 PM
OH, MY. How about a protest sit-in, sit-out, cry session or protest march with looting and burning stuff optional?
He even used present tense to make that claim. Oh, well.
Weary, it seems Warren has gone all goofy when it comes to illegal immigration.
Perhaps Warren will share with us the number of illegal aliens enrolled at his school and who is paying for their expenses.
People don’t even keep close contact with second cousins over state lines. In a short time, the American cousins will come to look down on the Mexican ones and the Mexican cousins will come to resent their American relatives. That is how humans are.
You have heard of the Dunbar number? It is the maximum number of people that you can care about or know.
It works in lots of things. A span of control is 7-12. When you get more than that, you cannot really keep track. Your circle of real concern is not much larger. And when you get more than 150, you just cannot keep track. Mostly you know people that are near you. Those are the people you care about and the people your kids marry. Hispanics can try to keep track with family in Mexico, but they will not succeed. Most will not even try very hard. They will become Americans, and that is better.
As long as the immigration system is fixed, you are right. Immigrants will settle and become Americans. Others will remain in Mexico and fade into distant memory. But as long as the cycle of illegal entry and forced deportation continues, Mexican Americans will continue to be bathed in their homeland’s culture instead of quickly assimilating to the American one. Mind you, assimilation will still happen, but it will take longer.
The Hispanic wave is done. Soon a shortage will develop among illegal Mexicans. It has already in some agricultural areas. They stopping coming in 2008 and given the declining birthrates, the numbers will never come back.
In a few years, the kids of Mexicans will be complaining about immigrants from someplace else, complaining that they newcomers don’t blend in and learn English, as their ancestors did.