Monday, December 31, 2007

Re: The DMN "Texan of the Year"

I, too, have mixed thoughts about this. A couple of big helps for me were two short books that had their origins at the Manhattan Institutes's City Journal magazine. The first was Mexifornia-a State of Becoming (2003, 150 pp) by Victor Davis Hanson and the second was The Immigration Solution-a Better Plan than Today's (2007, 183 pp) by Hanson, Heather Mac Donald and Steven Malanga.

The gist: got to stop/greatly reduce the illegal traffic and enable/gently force those here illegally to assimilate or return home the way our previous waves of immigrants did. I never knew that during the depression something like half of the earlier immigrants went home because, in great part, due to the depression. Those that stayed were skilled and contributing. Then, after a while, figure out a way to increase the numbers of legal immigrants. While I'm not opposed to certain numbers of unskilled workers, isn't it in our better interest (oh, I'm so selfish) to admit those with skills that can contribute first?

The hard part is the great reduction of illegal traffic. But figures I've seen this year show something like a 20% decrease over 2006 due in part to the slumping housing market. To me this indicates that employer enforcement is critical. If the market can inform those who would be illegal not to bother to come, enforcement can, too.

As for my mixed feelings, I share what I am sure is your concern for these honest folks who want to provide for their families but cannot do so living under a grossly corrupt oligarchy in Mexico. The oligarchs export the natural would-be revolutionaries for a free market economy as evidenced by the comic book published to ease their illegal entry into the U.S. And, let's be clear and honest, that is who we are talking about--Mexicans and Central Americans.

One of my earliest best friends was a Mexican national named Fernando, not an illegal but I only mention him anecdotally lest a reader other than LJ or Michael think me a bigot. I don't know how else to prove my non-racist bona fides but know LJ and Michael would vouch for me. Also, one of the first persons other than family to come to my mother's house after my father died was Ruben, the guy who cuts my mom's lawn. I don't know his legal status but he does not speak English...he brought his young daughter to translate his condolences. He also quickly arranged to cut the lawn and clean up the yard in preparation of receiving visitors around the funeral. I'll be forever grateful for that. When I moved back to Texas from Denver, he sent a team to help me unload my belongings into storage. I'm grateful for that, too. (I gave him a couple of recliners.)

But when one considers that in 1970-Hispanics were 12% of California's population and 16% of its new prison admits and by 1998 they were 30% of the CA population and 42% of new admits (Immigration Solution, p. 102), the cost is staggering.

I'll only cite gangs like Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS 13). Nothing else needs saying.

This doesn't even begin to factor in the costs associated with the "welfare state" and the illegal immigrant population. That is a key difference between the current immigrant and those of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Those previous waves had to sink, swim or rely on relatives or benefactors until they could succeed. Today, they can sink and rely on the American taxpayer to survive (or even thrive when compared to conditions at home).

Hispanic family values are also not what the Republicans would have you believe. Out of wedlock children are highest among Hispanics. In 2003, the number of children born to 1000 unmarried women was:

African-American 66
Asian 22
Hispanic 92
White 18

In 2005, the percentage of all births outside marriage:

African-American 68%
Asian 16%
Hispanic 48%
White 25%

While all those rates are disturbing, only the Hispanic population will triple in the next few decades (Immigration Solution, p. 118). Are we not now beyond the argument that it does not matter if a child has both parents? Nobody made the argument better than Patrick Moynihan in the 60s.

I want these folks to want to become Americans. That is why those images of the "demonstrations" in 2006 were so disturbing. Those along with many ideas of La Raza and similar groups. We bought California for about $15,000,000.00 about two weeks after gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill (word had not yet reached Washington or Mexico City, else Mexico would have insisted on much more). A bad deal for Mexico? Sure, but a hell of a lot better than the sellers of Manhattan got.

I'm all over the place but I believe if we could have a five to ten year hiatus (I haven't really thought about how long it would take), we could go a long way toward assimilating those here and get them well on the way to becoming Americans. Then, reopen the gates. We need immigrants; we need people.

Update: The Corner follows the LJ post lead.

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