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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 1970

    Immigration then and Now

    This is the article that got pulled from The "Free" Republic. has an interesting article about immigrant communities in the United States, and particularly in New York City, one hundred years ago. Germans didn't assimilate and drank too hard. Irish, Italians, Poles, Jews, and others were often seen as sub-white.

    And now, New York's foreign born population has reached thirty-eight percent, or roughly the same percentage as a hundred years ago. The article compares nativist anger of then and now and tells us that some day the immigrants will assimilate just as their predecessors did.

    It's a short, but fascinating article that makes some interesting points. However, there are several key details that the article either does not address or glosses over.

    1. It's not just New York City anymore

    New York was the largest gateway for immigrants since at least 1850. Immigrants also made for other large cities in lesser numbers where they could live in ethnic enclaves. As they assimilated, they would gradually spread to more modest sized cities, and then disperse throughout the
    country. Large cities still have their ethnic enclaves, but modern transportation, lower levels of racism and discrimination have combined with the sheer scale of modern immigration to allow immigrant communities to boom across a vast swath of the country. Even interior, traditionally culturally conservative states like Tennessee, Utah, and Nebraska all have rapidly increasing immigrant populations.

    2. Certain ethnicities were excluded

    Chinese and Japanese immigrants were barred from coming to the United States.

    As the Japanese and Chinese have subsequently proven, both here and in Asia, there is nothing intellectually or culturally that would have prevented them from moving into the mainstream in the United States. Indeed, the mainland Chinese have moved disproportionately into economically
    dominant fields when they have moved to Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other countries.

    However, the goal was to maintain the European nature of the United States and even though the Eastern Europeans and Jews (and even the Irish) were seen as somewhat less than white, their similarity in appearance and often customs made long-term assimilation easier for the native born population to stomach.

    Modern Americans are more tolerant of differences then their ancestors, but the tendency to congregate with others who look alike and to marry within those sharing the same religious or ethnic background remains strong. These tendencies only fade slowly from generation to generation. The greater the difference in culture, language, and race, the longer this assimilation will take.

    3. The country took a pause.

    After admitting millions of immigrants, a nativist backlash finally brought immigration almost to a halt in the 1920s. As this decade was followed by the Great Depression, immigration didn't resume again until after World War II ended in 1945. Two decades without new waves of immigration gave the foreign-born population a chance to decrease as a percentage of the nation's population. The immigrants of the early twentieth century slowly digested into the mainstream of the United States.

    In contrast, there has been no pause since the country abolished national origin quotas in 1965, but a steadily increasing pace of immigration that has increased regardless of war or recession.

    4. Assimilation took decades, when it happened.

    Italians, as the article pointed out, took decades to rise from poverty in this country. They had come from an impoverished segment of European society, largely rural and with lower educational achievements than other minorities. The writer points to similarities between modern Hispanics and Italians.

    There is an even more notable failure in our melting pot ideal. Only touched upon briefly in the article were the hundreds of thousands of blacks who immigrated internally from oppressive conditions in the south. While roughly half of American blacks are middle class and above, rising
    all the way to the pinnacle of political and media elites in this country, there remains a large, seemingly permanent underclass of blacks who are disproportionately urban, impoverished, and underducated. This failure, regardless of where blame lies, proves that the country is not infinitely
    capable of absorbing immigrants.

    5. Todays immigrants are overwhelmingly from one group of people and
    from a lesser extent, from one country. That country is next door.

    Even today, the immigrant population of New York City remains more diverse than the nation's immigrant population. There are other communities in the country where the immigrants from China or Portugal or Russia may dominate, but they are dwarfed by a rising tide of Hispanic,
    mostly Mexican immigrants. A hundred years ago there were Italian, Polish, Yiddish, and German communities to assimilate. Today there is Spanish and more Spanish.

    There are as many as twenty million Mexicans alone in this country. Large portions of Southern California are Spanish speaking. Miami is in a similar situation. In the case of the southwest of the United States, these states are directly in the path of millions of immigrants. Entire towns deep into the interior are transforming themselves almost overnight into Hispanic enclaves. So long as Mexico remains relatively poor compared to the United States and immigration laws remain lax, Spanish speakers will continue to pour into this country.

  2. #2
    Senior Member JuniusJnr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Oh, but there is a HUGE difference. The Poles, the Italians, the Germans and the others you mentioned didn't threaten to take over the country. Those Aztlan signs and LaReconquista chants have a very sinister meaning.

    The people who crossed oceans to get here came because they wanted to be here-- because they wanted to be Americans.

    The people strutting across the Mexican border like banty roosters have no desire whatsoever to be Americans. Don't forget that part.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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