Five years ago Victor Davis Hanson penned an anti illegal immigration article that included “Mexifornia” in the title. He later expanded it into a book. Hanson has now written an article where he considers his predictions from his earlier article and pronounces that matters today are much worse than he had imagined they could become by now.
Hanson says that the divide on illegal immigration used to exist between conservatives and liberals and between those parts of the nation impacted and those parts not impacted. Today, however, everywhere is impacted. The divide, he claims, largely breaks along class lines, with the “majority of middle-class and poor whites, Asians, African-Americans, and Hispanics” (legal residents) wanting tight borders and elites and higher income folks much more interested in open borders.
Hanson says that this makes sense. “Because the less well-off eat out less often, use hotels infrequently, and don’t periodically remodel their homes, the advantages to the economy of inexpensive, off-the-books illegal-alien labor again are not so apparent.” He says that this is why high end liberals and conservatives line up to support illegal immigration. They see rewards from it, while the lower end does not. In fact, the lower end folks are likely to see their jobs as threatened by illegal immigration.
Hanson has had a career as a college professor, but he has also run his family vineyard in a rural area of California throughout his career. He complains, “Our farmhouse in the Central Valley has been broken into three times. We used to have an open yard; now it is walled, with steel gates on the driveway. Such anecdotes have become common currency in the American Southwest. Ridiculed by elites as evidence of prejudice, these stories, statistical studies now show, reflect hard fact.”
Here are some of the most poignant quotes from Hanson’s article.
“Every time an alien crosses the border legally, fluent in English and with a high school diploma, the La Raza industry and the corporate farm or construction company alike most likely lose a constituent.”
“This [past] spring Americans witnessed millions of illegal aliens who not only were unapologetic about their illegal status but were demanding that their hosts accommodate their own political grievances, from providing driver’s licenses to full amnesty.”
“While politicians and academics assured the public that illegal aliens came here only to work and would quickly assume an American identity, the public’s own ad hoc and empirical observations of vast problems with crime, illiteracy, and illegitimacy have now been confirmed by hard data.”
Hanson discusses our efforts internationally to combat tribalism. He then asks, “Why—when we are spending blood and treasure abroad to encourage the melting pot and national unity—would anyone wish to contribute to tribalism or foster the roots of such ethnic separatism here in the United States?”
“Billions of dollars spent on our own poor will not improve our poverty statistics when 1 million of the world’s poorest cross our border each year.”
Discussing the harm caused by money that illegal workers send back home, Hanson says that “the greatest social tensions [result] in part because of the familial disruption and social chaos that results when adult males flee and depopulated communities consequently become captive to foreign remittances. ... Mexico cannot afford to lose its second-largest source of hard currency and will do almost anything to ensure its continuance.” He adds that “it is not just that Mexico exports its own citizens, but it does so on the expectation that they are serfs of a sort, who, like the helots of old, surrender much of the earnings of their toil to their distant masters.”
“Of course, the ultimate solution to the illegal immigration debacle is for Mexican society to bring itself up to the levels of affluence found in the United States by embracing market reforms of the sort we have seen in South Korea, Taiwan, and China. But rarely do Mexican supporters of such globalization, or their sympathetic counterparts in the United States, see the proliferation of a Wal-Mart or Starbucks down south in such terms. Rather, to them American consumerism and investment in Mexico suggest only an owed reciprocity of sentiment: Why should Americans get mad about Mexican illegals coming north when our own crass culture, with its blaring neon signs in English, spreads southward? In such morally equivalent arguments, it is never mentioned that Americanization occurs legally and brings capital, while Mexicanization comes about by illegal means and is driven by poverty.”
Hanson grapples with these issues first hand every day. He has studied past immigration waves, and says that the current situation is something far different than the tide of Italian immigrants that came a century ago. He sees our current situation as extremely bad and getting worse.
Anytime someone takes a stand like Hanson’s, some on the other side of the debate will hurl accusations of racism. Some will question why anyone would want to keep other people from getting ahead or from getting out of a bad situation in their native country. But if you read Hanson’s entire article (which is long), that’s not at all what he is talking about. He thinks that our current process of dealing with these people is bad both for us as the host country and for the source countries. He wants solutions that improve the situation for all involved.
For all of Hanson’s bluster about the popularity of his cause, it is interesting to note that almost every single politician that ran in November on a strong anti illegal immigration platform lost the election. Could this be due to the fact that elites control the advertising, campaign, and media channels? Where were all of the people Hanson says want tighter borders? Did they not vote, were they duped by the elite, or do they not exist in the numbers Hanson claims they do?
Illegal immigration is a serious issue. We can’t just wear rose colored glasses and pretend that everything is OK or that matters will improve on their own. We must be compassionate. But the issue must be dealt with.