South of the Border

It occurred to me yesterday that as the 9/11 terrorists blew up the World Trade Towers the anti-immigration coalition seems intent on blowing up the Statue of Liberty – at least metaphorically. Its not the first time in our history that we’ve panicked about all those foriegners crossing our borders. There was anti Irish/Catholic sentiment from the potato famine years through the Civil War. There was the Yellow Peril Era and after 1st World War the Red Scare during which we rounded up immigrants with dangerous ideas and shipped them back to Europe.

I heard a sociologist once say that on average a person begins to get uncomfortable with his neighborhood when 7% of the neighbors start coming from somewhere else. In the 1950’s and 60’s fifties whole blocks of white people would buy a house rather than let its owner sell it to a black family. When those neighborhoods were breached “white flight” often ensued.The current rush to build a Berlin Wall on our Mexican border is coming from Southwestern states. The white residents there are getting a worried about all their brown skinned gardeners and nannies. Their solution is to build a wall.

This is the most rational commentary I’ve read yet about the hysteria over the Mexican/American border. Money Quote:

“Apparently, we’ve reached a tipping point of sorts; a perfect storm of post-9/11 security concern, cultural angst, and labor protectionism. Unfortunately, the restrictionists appear to be far more interested in simply doing something than in effectively resolving those concerns. There are, in the end, solutions far more consistent with US values, national security and the free-market wariness of government.”

About the author