Without effective control, there goes the border
Conventional wisdom says those whom we call Native Americans or Indians were the first to settle on the American Continent. Not so. When they crossed the land bridge linking Siberia to Alaska, aborigines were already here. And they probably said: “There goes the neighborhood.”
Indeed, that’s what the 17th Century English settlers of our eastern seaboard said when, in the 18th Century, waves of “uncouth” immigrants began to arrive from the borderlands (the Celtic Fringe) between Scotland and England, from Ulster County, Ireland and from the Hebrides Islands west of Scotland.
Dr. Thomas Sowell, in his Black Rednecks and White Liberals, says the Scot-Irish-Celts who settled our Deep South and Appalachia brought with them: an aversion to work, a proneness to violence, a neglect of education, sexual promiscuity, improvidence, drunkenness, a lack of entrepreneurship, reckless searches for excitement, lively music and dance and a style of religious oratory marked by strident rhetoric, unbridled emotions and flamboyant imagery. As a Scot raised in Oklahoma, yours truly will admit to four of those ten traits; however, I refuse to say which four.
It took awhile for the “uncouth” Scot-Irish-Celts to be assimilated into American society and to lose their “there-goes-the-neighborhood” stigma. But, by the early 20th Century, even the prohibition-era bootlegger, Joseph P. Kennedy, was able to become a sober, respectable “lace-curtain” Irishman. That, of course, doesn’t account for Teddy.
So, class, today’s question is: Will the wave of immigrants from across our land border with Mexico be able to assimilate here? Good question. With the exception of Reverend John Winthrop’s church congregation that landed in Massachusetts in 1630, previous waves of immigrants did not expect to risk their lives again on long and dangerous ship travel. It was either succeed in the New World or, well…perish.
But today’s illegal Mexican immigrants know they can pretty much run back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico as they please. So, will they ever, even if “legalized,” conceive of themselves as Americans or will the lack of an effective border always cause them to think of the U.S. as the place where they commute to earn dollars?
Obviously, the Rio Grande is not the Atlantic Ocean; however, a combination of human, physical and electronic resources could create a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico that would, eventually, allow us to know who is here and to know if they just want to be guest workers or if they want to get in line for some kind of resident status or even citizenship. Thus, effective border control is an essential first step that would benefit everyone, to include those illegal immigrants who would like to reside here in some sort of legal status, someday.
The Senate Democrats scuttled their own immigration bill because they would rather have an election issue than a solution. But their bill deserved to fail because itwould have required illegals to turn themselves in to authorities and then offer documentary proof of how many years they have been violating our immigration laws. Those who have broken our immigration laws the longest would have been rewarded with the shortest path to resident status. Right, Amigo, muy loco. But it would have provided a great economic opportunity for those in the document-forgery business.
So, what will happen if we do not get effective control over our southern border? Dr. George Friedman, who operates, arguably, the world best private intelligence service, thinks the southern parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California will remain, politically, as part of the U.S.; however, they will become a cultural and linguistic extension of Mexico. Within a decade or so, Americans will be able to experience the food, music, dance and language of Mexico without leaving the U.S. You won’t need a passport, and you can drink the water.
Dr. Friedman is usually correct, so U.S. citizens in what we may someday come to call "Baja America" may find it will be their Mexican neighbors who are saying: “There goes the neighborhood.”
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2006. William Hamilton.