Several weeks ago, Washington experienced one of its many manufactured minor brouhahas when Rep. Tom Tancredo referred to Miami, Florida, as a “Third World” city. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and others responded sharply, apparently taking umbrage with Tancredo’s demographic and economic assessment of the city that sometimes bills itself as “The Capital of Latin America” (which does sound much better than “The Capital of Third World America,” I suppose).
Less notice was taken however, when Texas State Rep. Pete Gallego (Democrat, Alpine) observed last week that “by the year 2025, if we keep doing what we’re doing now, Texas will have the economy of a Third Word country.” No furor erupted. Although I’m sure that in 2025, if any non-Democrat observes that Gallego’s prophecy has come true, an indignant furor will then erupt over his/her having the temerity to note the transition.
Gallego’s comments were fair though, and occurred in response to the predictions of the State Demographer, Steve Murdoch, as cited in the San Antonio Express-News. Murdoch’s forecasts indicate, in short, that within 25 years Texas will likely consist of an aging “Anglo”* population, educated but retired and dependent upon state social services and thus a net drain on the economy, juxtaposed with a majority Hispanic population, young and largely uneducated, and thus unable to contribute much to the economy.
By 2030, 16 to 20% of the state’s population will be over 65 and most of these will be Anglo. Hispanics could represent as much as 53% of the population, with Anglos declining to only 30% –an overwhelming and sudden demographic change primarily driven by immigration, most of which has been illegal. In 1980, by contrast, Anglos were 66% of the population, while Hispanics were only 21%, with many Hispanics having roots in the state going back several generations and being as well assimilated as any other ethnic group.
The tsunami of illegal immigration that has remade Texas in a single generation has been disproportionately drawn from the poorest and least educated part of Central America’s population. The results have been predictable: such a large and sudden influx has not been assimilated and is thus now recapitulating its poverty and lack of education in a second and third generation.
In 2000, most of Texas’ adult Hispanic population consisted of high school dropouts and fewer than 20% had attended college. Only 10% had completed a college degree. It was the implications of these numbers that prompted Gallego to declare that Texas was well on its way to being a Third World economy by 2025. “I have a son who will be 21 in 2025,” Gallego added “and that’s just not the kind of Texas I want to turn over to him.”
But why anyone expected that the state could replace its native population, wholesale and in a single generation, with the population of a Third World Country and somehow avoid becoming a Third World Country is a little beyond me. Perhaps they thought that America’s success was in the drinking water and did not need to be transmitted from one generation to the next in the form of a common culture, language and history as it has been for the last two centuries?
Or perhaps America’s leaders were just too busy kissing Third World Butts and soliciting donations from cheap labor proponents to give much thought to what Texas might look like in 2025.
Either way, the question now presents itself: what can we do to avoid entire regions of the United States becoming Third World economies of peonage and patronage?
Clearly, we must curtail new illegal immigration so that future immigration is kept at a level that is amenable to natural assimilation. This will not be done, however, since it would mean addressing the two root causes of today’s illegal immigration stampede.
The first of these is government’s corrupt tolerance of the employment of illegal aliens. Tolerance of corrupt business practices has encouraged the rapid growth of businesses that have illegal labor as part of their primary business plan. This growth, in turn, has increased the pressure on government to tolerate such corruption. This cycle of corruption has now passed a tipping point. The most influential voices calling for amnesty are business lobbyists seeking the legitimization of their clients’ currently criminal, but un-prosecuted, behavior.
The second root cause of today’s predicament is the 1986 amnesty of illegal aliens. It was only after this amnesty that our illegal immigration problem mushroomed to its current proportions. In 1986, America had a relatively minor problem with illegal immigration, which we naively thought large at that time. The solution proposed then, identical to that proposed today, was to legalize the immigration criminals already in the country and then concentrate resources on preventing new illegal immigration. So a path to citizenship was granted to 3,000,000 illegal aliens.
Far from solving the problem, the amnesty caused the criminal flow across the border to increase. Today, we have somewhere between 15,000,000 and 30,000,000 illegal aliens living anonymously in our underground economy. Why? The promised enforcement of the border never followed the amnesty. And the amnesty itself sent out a message to all the Third World’s poor: just get to America any way you can and they will let you stay. You can lie your way in, sneak your way in, bribe your way in, overstay a visa, or just walk across the border in broad daylight and America will make you legal, give you full benefits and declare you a citizen.
Illegal immigration will never be contained until the message of 1986 is reversed. But that would mean getting serious about removing those who break into the country. Until we do that, the incentive will remain: just get here and you will never be made to leave. Indeed, President Bush and Speaker Pelosi are about to repeat the mistake and issue a second amnesty some five to 10 times as large as the first. Predictably, illegal immigration will continue and increase again when thus rewarded.
In addition to curtailing future illegal immigration we would, if we were serious about avoiding being assimilated into the Third World, make assimilation into our culture of the current unprecedented wave of children of immigrants (nearly all of whom are citizens) into an official policy.
Multiculturalism and Spanish-only “bilingualism” would have to go. But again, this is an area where a tipping point has likely been reached. Illegal aliens voting illegally, amnestied former aliens voting legally, legal immigrants of the La Raza bent, and the citizen children of illegal aliens now form a sizeable voting bloc to which most politicians feel a need to pander in as many languages as their speechwriters can mangle.
In short, the future of Texas (and Florida and California) looks a lot like Brazil: an educated and corrupt ruling class alternately lording over and cowering from a large and politically influential underclass, kept impoverished by self-perpetuating cultural shortcomings.
In the Third World, this dichotomy has led to increasing statism as men like Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Luis “Lula” Da Silva and Andres Manuel Lopez “El Gore” Obrador promise the demographically vibrant underclass that they will secure for them the “unfair” wealth of the demographically decadent ruling class. Texas will be lucky if all it gets is the economy of a Third World Country. Demographics suggest that it might also get the politics of a Third World Country.
But Texas won’t be lonely in the new Third World of 2025. Bush and Pelosi now offer to do for all America what they have done for Texas and California, –and Miami too, for that matter.