Now nearly two-thirds Latino and foreign-born, [Langley Park, Md.] has the aesthetics of suburban sprawl and the aura of Central America. Laundromats double as money-transfer stores. Jobless men drink and sleep in the sun. There is no city government, few community leaders, and little community.
– New York Times, April 18, 2009
To describe the discourse concerning the mass inflow of foreigners that has taken place over the last 29 years "the immigration debate" is to use a misnomer. What has taken place since the 1980 U.S. census is nothing less than a mass migration of the sort that irretrievably transformed historical civilizations everywhere from Hellenic Greece to Moorish Spain. In 1980, the number of Hispanics living in the United States was 14.6 million. In 2008, it was 45.5 million. Hispanics now account for 15 percent of the total population, and because they are the fastest-growing population segment, the census bureau expects their numbers to increase by a further 67 million by 2050.
Those are the official statistics, although given that past projections have repeatedly underestimated Hispanic population growth, they are probably underestimate the full scale of the migration. Nevertheless, anyone who suggests that an additional 67 million Hispanics are less than a cause for national celebration will be attacked for a wide variety of reasons, all of them spurious. Of course, Hispanics are far from the only group to immigrate to the United States, but due to its remarkable size, the Hispanic migration merits a particular focus.
As the recent Wall Street implosion has demonstrated, the selection of a conceptual model is extremely important because it is the mechanism of the model that will largely determine the course of one's future decisions and actions. A flawed risk model is one of the primary reasons AIG found itself into such catastrophic circumstances; the conceptual model created by a professor at the Yale School of Management took into account only one of the three major risk factors faced by AIG's credit default swaps. Unsurprisingly, this model eventually failed when confronted with real world conditions, to cataclysmic effect.
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The conceptual model underlying bipartisan support for the ongoing Hispanic migration is the Ellis Island concept of "the melting pot." The idea is that when immigrants enter America, their values, thought processes, traditions and identities are subsumed, initially transforming them and their descendants from Irish to Irish-American, then from Irish-American to American, essentially indistinguishable from any other American of any other national heritage. The long-term success of the 7 million-strong Irish migration from 1600 to 1920 is often cited as evidence that America is capable of absorbing vast immigrant populations without difficulty or significantly altering its national character.
However, there are three problems with attempting to apply the Irish model to the Hispanic migration. The first problem is that the Hispanic migration, both actual and potential, is significantly larger in scale. At no time did the Irish ever account for 15 percent of the total U.S. population; even if the entire remaining population of Ireland had migrated to America en masse in 1900, the Irish would still have made up less than 11 percent of the U.S. population. The second problem is that Ireland did not share a border with the United States, so there are no structural barriers limiting the size of the migration. In the place of the Atlantic Ocean there are an insignificant number of ineffective border guards.
The third, and most serious problem, is that the Irish example is the historical anomaly. Most population migrations have a massively transforming effect on the host culture. Greece was never the same after the Dorian migration. Rome was never the same after the Germanic and Gothic migrations. England was never the same after the Danish migrations. Spain was never the same after the Moorish invasion. Moreover, with a few exceptions, such migrations have tended to indicate that the society receiving them is approaching the end of its lifespan. What follows may be better or it may be worse, but it is never the same.
Ultimately, the pro-immigration model rests on a very dubious foundation that an individual's mere physical presence within America's borders is sufficient to transform him. But America is more than simple geography, as the fact that very few modern Americans wear feathered headbands, count coup, hunt bison, or live in wigwams should suffice to demonstrate. Latin culture is by no means an inherently bad thing, but Latin culture is very different from Anglo-American culture in a wide variety of ways, and it is not necessarily compatible with many of the political and societal patterns that most white Americans, both liberal or conservative, take for granted. And the less informed people are about the ongoing transformation of their society, the more likely it is to lead to serious conflict in the future.
As Steve Sailer recently demonstrated, the subprime mortgage crisis was likely the first example of the great migration playing a significant role in an American economic event. Langley Park serves as a fair warning of what America is likely to become over the next 50 years. That future America will not be Mexico North, but neither is it likely to be the wealthy, middle-class, democratic superpower it was in the 20th century.