It’s as old as America itself…the fight against immigrants. A hundred fifty years ago we were screaming about the Irish and Chinese, then the Italians and Jews. Seventy years ago- it was Japanese…twenty five years, the Pakistanis, and Indians. And these groups came here legally. Legal or illegal has nothing to do with it. America, for all it’s “Give me your tired, your poor” and ‘melting pot’ rhetoric, has always been a nation of “Now that my people are here, it’s time to shut the door behind us and not let anyone else in.”
People say the difference is the added element of crime, but it’s not true. Italians, Irish and Jews were criminal mobs like the Mafia, Westies and the Purple Gang and Murder Inc. They were Micks and Guineas, Kikes, Krauts and Pollacks. Indians were Dots and Wogs, Asians were Nips or Chinks. Today’s Mexican/Hispanic population are Wets or Spics. Every new ethnic population was hated because they threatened to change the fundamental nature of American society with their criminal activity and funny accents. They were the wrong religion, the wrong color. They were just wrong.
We used to encourage immigration, theoretically at least. We held ourselves up as a shining example of freedom and equality, the place where anyone can grow up to President. We had lots of open land and we needed a supply of settlers and workers to exploit it. Of course, back then, we hadn’t yet passed laws protecting the rights of people we didn’t like. Ah, the good old days…happy times.
And after awhile, we got used to them. They moved from manual labor jobs to running restaurants, laundry’s, and small shops. Their kids learned English. They became American. Nowadays, no one looks down on someone who’s of Italian, Irish, Polish or German descent though we still joke about Indian doctors, Irish cops, Black athletes and Jewish lawyers. We eat their foods, mourn the loss of good Italian shoe repair places and Chinese laundry’s. They’ve moved up, you see. Now they’re insurance and real estate sales-people, run companies and work in every other ‘good’ job there is. Like every ethnic group before them, starting with English debtors, they’ve earned their spot.
Now, this is all mostly an East Coast perspective. That’s where Europeans mostly came to and you still find an awareness of people’s European heritage. Cities still have Irish, Italian and Jewish neighborhoods. They’re changing of course, morphing into Puerto Rican, Indian and Middle Eastern communities. People, once they get comfortable and wealthy enough, move up and out of their enclaves. Their children make the transition to being Americans.
In California, there are more Indians and Asians, which makes geographic sense, plus thousands of Mexican laborers who cut lawns, dig dirt, unload trucks, wash dishes. A lot of them stay and a lot go back home. That’s the big difference I guess…not having to cross an Ocean and make that final, irrevocable cut from their homeland. They can drive, or even walk, back and forth. And since we, following the centuries old pattern of hating new comers and ‘foreigners’, don’t make them feel particularly welcome, they do go back home, or at least keep a constant contact with the old homeland. There’s a large portion of the Hispanic population that’s fluid in a way that Asians and Europeans never were.
But if we could truly block the border, really cut it off, then say, ‘Look, if you want to leave you can, but if you choose to stay, you’re here for good’, in twenty years Hispanics would be just as completely ‘American’ as the rest of us and we’d be bitching about finding good help and how you can’t find a decent Mexican restaurant anymore. Because Mexican kids would by then have become American kids and won’t want to pick fucking tomatoes or mow lawns.
And if ‘Real Americans’ stopped using coke and pot, the criminal element would stop trying to cross the border because, what’s the point? Of course, we wouldn’t have anyone left to pick our fucking tomatoes or mow our lawns, at least until we could find another group of poor immigrants to bitch about while we exploit them and that barrel’s getting pretty low.
The immigration issues of today are just a continuation of a centuries long pattern with one difference- the Hispanic’s ability to come and go. But this has been happening in the West ever since Whites got here, especially since this was Mexico, before we took it away from them, at least. Still, just as the East has always had Blacks, the West has always had Mexicans, two beaten classes. You can add American Indians too. Between Slavery and Jim Crow we kept the Blacks down till the 1960’s, but their time of assimilating has already begun and the Indians are finally making millions by running our casinos; now it’s the poorer Hispanic’s turn.
Hispanics are both one of the lowest classes yet have also reached extraordinary heights. Ken Salazar, George Lopez, Jessica Alba, Joan Baez, Bob Menendez, Lee Trevino and Eva Longoria, plus thousands of others in sports, politics, entertainment and business, are all of Mexican descent. They haven’t taken our jobs from us, they’ve created places for themselves far exceeding what most of the Whites who bitch about them will ever attain. And at nearly 15% of the legal population, they ain’t going away. It’s just the weirdness of seeing expanding Hispanic enclaves in West Virginia, Maine and Minnesota that’s freaking people out. And the drug thing.
But that still comes down to us ‘Real Americans’ and our love of getting fucked up on pot and coke. If we didn’t buy their drugs, no criminals would cross the border, just as when there’s no work, fewer laborers come back and forth. If we can fix our problems here, we’ll fix the problem there. So if you’re gonna bitch, at least bitch about the right thing.