The Corner

Texifornia or Mexas

Most convoluted, yet oddly plausible, explanation yet for the difference in

attitudes towards illegal Mexican immigration between California (angry) and

Texas (insouciant). I am paraphrasing from a reader e-mail: “Most of Texas,

certainly eastern Texas, looks the same, and none of it looks anything like

the Garden of Eden. If your town is filling up with people you don’t like,

you move to another town 40 miles away, and hardly notice the difference.

In California, for example, you have this lush coastal strip, backed by,

frankly, desert. Californians who feel obliged to move fear they are being

expelled from Paradise…”

I must say, though, the difference in welfare provision between the two

states seems to me the most convincing explanation. The fact of the welfare

state makes a huge difference to immigration past and present. In the Great

Wave of 1881-1924, large numbers of immigrants — lazy, incompetenet, or

unlucky — found they couldn’t hack it in the USA and went home. Their

present-day equivalents mostly would not–they’d go on welfare instead…

Though, it seems, they’d find it easier to do so in California than in

Mexico.

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