Dan Drezner’s piece strikes me as fair and judicious. That does not, of
course, mean “correct.” I would seriously dispute a number of his points –
for example, that Mexico is redefining itself as a “North American” country.
It seem more likely to me that the cultural gap between us and them is
widening, not narrowing. (The economic gap — 2001 avge annual income: USA
$34,280, Mexico $5,530 — seems to be firmly stuck.)
Drezner’s point about there being different **kinds** of Hispanics also
skates a little too swiftly over the underlying issue there, which is of
course the r-word. Mexican society is highly stratified by race, with the
rulers being tall, European-featured and pale-skinned, while the subsistence
peasants at the bottom are more or less pure-blood Amerindian. The latter
group provides the majority of Mexican immigrants. There is, of course,
nothing wrong with being an Amerindian. The USA, however, has problems with
race. (Does anyone deny that statement?) It seems a little foolish to
import a NEW race problem, at least until we have fixed the old one.
Politics, however, is the art of the possible, and I find it hard to get
excited over these large cultural speculations. I would be very happy just
to see the immigration issue addressed in a serious way by our politicians,
without any moral blackmail about “racism,” “nativism,” and similar
debate-stoppers. In fact, I’d be very happy if the U.S. govt just began to
enforce current immigration law in a whole-hearted way. Is that really too
much to ask? Yes, apparently it is.