People come to America because it is attractive for their livelihood, or perhaps as an investment in their children’s future, and hopefully because they want to be a part of the dream. While the primary goal is to enjoy the benefits of living in the United States, every immigrant adds the seasoning of their own country’s origins to the American melting pot. Their values, language, behaviors, dress, and food become a cultural version of the Heisenberg effect.
As would be expected, the influences of immigrants on the American culture swing from magnificent to horrific. First-generation immigrants have contributed the science of Albert Einstein, the culinary delights of Daniel Boulud, and the entrepreneurial spirit of Elon Musk. Some not-so-amusing immigrants have also attempted to introduce culturally defensible rape, religious intolerance, and honor killings.
Up until the 1970s, American leadership seemed to understand that maintaining well-gauged immigration levels from all other nations would result in receiving valuable newcomers who took on more cultural influence than they brought from the old country. The usual result was beneficial perspectives that challenged tradition in a healthy way while exhorting Americans to appreciate and protect the rare freedoms given us by our founding fathers.
The most recent census reveals that over half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million people between 2000 and 2010 are from Hispanic origins. The majority of these residents are reported as having Mexican, Puerto Rican or Cuban origins. This pace of immigration and births from a distinguishable culture offers opportunities of both advantage and caution for the perpetuation of America’s greatness.
Not surprisingly, three-fourths of the Hispanic population increase during the 2000 to 2010 decade are of Mexican origin. Not only is Mexico geographically close, it is also an internal mess. People relocate to the U.S. from Mexico for two primary reasons; to work for much higher wages and to escape the fearful existence of a nation oppressed by drug cartels and corrupt government officials at all levels. An evocative video recently flourished through social media to encourage Mexico’s presidential candidates to clean up the country’s act. The fulfillment of President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto’s campaign promises is yet to be seen.
The bad news for America is that many of the immigrants from Mexico and points south see the United States as a place to relieve their anxiety through government services. While commonly hard-working and humble, these folks are easy marks for the Democratic Party. The relentless class-warfare rhetoric of Barack Obama is validation to the Mexican, Central American, and South American immigrant that heavy taxes on “the rich” will have little impact on America’s livelihood while improving their station significantly. The damage done to the country’s economic engine and the self-worth of these new dependents is cumulatively enormous. And the harm that comes from rewarding the hucksters of the Democratic Party with their votes is to invoke the recurring nightmare from which these newcomers just awoke (See Fast and Furious).
The good news is that the value systems held by people of Mexican origins is vastly more reflected in the Republican Party. And, they love their children. This culture does not arrive with intentions of imposing disturbing religious practices on unbelievers. They are predominantly pro-life, respectful of women, and hard working; everything that the Republican Party Platform promotes and the Democratic Party Platform opposes.
Puerto Ricans comprise nine percent of the Hispanic population growth, according to the U.S. Census. And, as a component of its commonwealth relationship with the United States, being born in Puerto Rico means automatic U.S. citizenship. The bad news here is that the U.S. Federal Government has been practicing dependency development on the island for many, many years. After giving our Puerto Rican friends a much needed fish, there never was a program to teach them to fish. Puerto Rico holds by far the highest percentage of any American segment of people on welfare, medicare and food stamps. It is difficult for the Republican Party to convince a segment of the electorate to vote against a program that the Democrats got them hooked on decades earlier.
But the same good news applies with Puerto Ricans as does Mexicans. With an 85% association with the Catholic Church, Puerto Ricans are socially very conservative. While only those Puerto Ricans residing in one of the 50 states gets a vote in the congressional and presidential elections, they would find a better match with GOP values, except on the topic of wealth redistribution.
American residents of Cuban descent made up four percent of the population growth identified as Hispanic in the first ten years of this young millennium. In contrast to their Mexican and Puerto Rican counterparts, this unique and impressive segment of America is naturally inclined to associate with the Republican Party. To better understand the influence on their political leanings, I contacted an old high school classmate of mine.
Miguel “Mickey” Escasena and I proudly attended Colegio San Antonio Abad together, Class of 1973. We both met our wives as teenagers while living in Puerto Rico and I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Mickey and his wife, Lili this week about their life perspective. Both Mickey’s and Lili’s families fled their homes in Cuba in 1960s. They lived in Puerto Rico until attending college in the U.S. and have settled in Miami, Florida.
For Cubans, political philosophy is not so much socioeconomic. They do not wonder about how they fit in with multi-generational Americans. Cubans comfortably retain their heritage while identifying with the freedoms proclaimed for every human in the Declaration of Independence. The history of their nation is a present and raw memory. The unforgettable statement by Lili Escasena in our conversation was, “Exiles tend to be very passionate about why we left.”
In spite of his self-glorifications, Fidel Castro has been term-limited by the Creator Himself. Voices like Marco Rubio are rising to replace the unnatural oppression of Castro's communism with the natural law of Liberty. And voices like Mickey and Lili Escasena’s are wisely advising that e pluribus unum for American Hispanics can not be realized by a liberal Democratic Party.