Tuesday, June 10, 2008

MEXIFORNIA ( a book review)

By Victor Davis Hanson

This is a very important book to read by those in a position do solve the problems our country faces with the flood of illegal immigrants entering every day.
Mr. Hanson has the credentials to explore this subject. He is a life long resident of what was once a small town near Fresno, California. His family owns a small grape orchard and he holds a PhD and teaches Classics at the California State University at Fresno. He grew up with Mexican-Americans. He has them as nephews, nieces, sisters-in-law, and prospective sons-in-law as well as friends and neighbors.
This is not a hate book. It is a rational analysis of all the various factors involved in the process. He does strongly condemn the past and present government of Mexico for its lack of leadership in providing opportunities in Mexico for its citizens who are then forced to risk their lives trying to enter America so that they can better provide for their families left behind. It is estimated that $15 billion is sent back to Mexico every year. This is the greatest source of income even surpassing their oil industry. His research has shown that since 1990 the number of poor Mexican-Americans in America has climbed 52%, half of all births are illegitimate, half of all Hispanics do not graduate from high school, less than 10% nationwide have graduated from college with a bachelors degree.
When young Mexicans arrive they are exploited by all sorts of people including fellow Mexicans. It all starts with the Coyote cost to get here. He states most do hard work for cash at $10/hr. and most of that is sent home. They live frugally. Because they keep their cash on them they are sometimes robbed and there are all sorts of fringe players sucking their money from them. Once they reach the age of 45 the backbreaking work becomes more difficult and they become demoralized. It is no wonder that their children have no interest in following in their footsteps. Their children’s collective lack of a good education often leads to crime as their way out.
He blames much of the education problems to misdirected efforts which detract from learning the basics. Instead many feel good courses are offered which tend to create in their minds a feeling of being exploited and discriminated against; all the while vast sums are being spent but wasted. The single greatest detriment is their lack of knowledge of English. Finally States are beginning to immerse them in learning English which he hopes over time will correct this problem.
He tries to make the distinction between America which is a melting pot and bi-lingual nations. Over our 200+ years of existence many different cultures have entered and been assimilated. Almost always with difficulty and resentment from those already here, but it was done. A bi-lingual society wherever found in the world has difficulty maintaining continuity. Until these Mexican immigrants master the English language they will never really enjoy the benefits of living in America. The other major theme he espouses is the lack of instruction about our history. If they do not learn of the leaders who created our unique form of government and those who fought and died in the many wars to preserve our freedom, how can you expect them to feel apart of it all. In the various ways used to teach them their Mexican heritage, they cling to a fantasy of how wonderful Mexico is when in reality their parents fled from there to create a better life for their children. He singles out La Raza teaching in colleges and universities that California is an utterly racist state and that only thru protest, agitation and violence can changes be made.
He paints a number of scenarios on where all this may end up, most of them unacceptable. The huge increase in illegal immigration has only occurred over the past 30 years. With leadership, it could be restored to the orderly process that was the norm before this time. He is hopeful that this will occur sooner rather than later.
Please understand that I cannot in this short review cover the content of this book. You must take the time yourself. I am positive if you do you will have a clearer understanding of the scope of the problem and possible solutions. We always seem to throw up our hands and give up. That is not the American way, is it?
I always feel compelled to add my own thoughts when reviewing some one else’s work. Europe has open borders between countries that many times are smaller than our States. They do it by verifying legal status when applying for employment. We have the E-verify program which has proved its accuracy. Arizona requires employers to use it. Just this week President Bush signed an executive order making all contractors doing business for the Federal Government to use it as well. It has been reported that 69% of employers nationwide are now using it voluntarily. If this trend continues there will be no work for illegals and they will be forced to return home or fight for menial cash paying jobs. Of course there will be consequences as needed work will not get done. A verifiable guest worker program would fill the gap.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
June 10, 2008

No comments: