This week, my sister visited me. She decided to take a bus here from San Antonio. She took a different bus line (vs Greyhound) She emailed me the address to the Bus Station however it was the wrong address. I mapsco´d it. I drove to the wrong address and I wound up smack dab in the middle of “Amexico.” (As some ANTIs would term it.)
I had never been to this part of Dallas before. All the colorful shops had signs and music in Spanish. When I stopped and asked for directions, all the store employees spoke Spanish, not English. This section of town reminded me of my visits to Tijuana or Piedras Negras, Mexico. Not traditional Mexico, but not the USA either, focused on sell, sell, sell to the new arrivals.
I eventually found a young man who spoke Spanglish and he sent me to the right address. It was about 40 blocks away.
Getting lost got me thinking. This section of town was very different than my suburb or San Antonio. San Antonio, southside, is an older section of town. Many people call it the Mexican section, however, there is a big difference between Southside SA and the Dallas section I visited. Sure it is colorful and musical, but South San Antonio is primarily comprised of Mexican Americans. Everyone speaks English and Spanish. The store signs are in English with some Spanish. The Mexican restaurants are Tex-Mex, not old Mexico (I don´t like the taste of old Mexico food) . In South SA, the teenagers listen to Rap Music, pants hang low, cell phone and Ipod in hand, just like other American teenagers.
In the Dallas section of town, it was clear, these folks were recent arrivals, at least within the last 10 years. They were very poor, not the long timers of the USA. I am not sure they were Mexican. They may have been Central or South Americans, very new arrivals. Now don´t get me wrong. I have been to similar sections of town in other cities, just not in Dallas.
When I asked for directions, it seemed to me they were shying away from me acting as if I was the alien or perhaps La Migre.
I can easily tell the difference between Mexican Americans and new arrivals from south of the border. Mexican Americans are very much American. We talk loud. We swagger a bit. We talk with our hands. Our women are very outspoken, almost cocky, not at all shy. In other words, WE ARE JUST LIKE YOU! ASSIMILATED!! My old friend Lupita would laugh at me for saying all this. She always said I was a Gringo.
Since this happened last Tuesday, I have been thinking about this every day. Please allow me to explain the immigration issue keeping this "enclave view" in mind.
Since Reagan´s so called Amnesty, we have had an extremely high rate of illegal immigration, particularly over the last 10 years. Obviously the immigration laws have gone unenforced. We went from 3M to 12M in that time. I believe these numbers.
It is AMERICAN MERCHANTS who have set up these little enclaves to cater to the new arrivals. Don´t kid yourself and think these business owners are illegal immigrants. These mini enclaves are polka dotted throughout many cities.
These Enclaves are totally different than the Hispanic American neighborhoods many of us are accustomed to. We have towns like Miami, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, San Diego and LA. They are populated with our 40M Hispanic legal citizens of all ethnicities (e.g. Mexican American, Cuban American, Puerto Rican, etc.)
The problem most ANTIs have is, they see these enclaves and they mix them up and combine them with the traditional Hispanic neighborhoods and believe them to be the same. They are not.
When the ANTIs confuse the two and confront citizens angrily (as some do) the Hispanic citizens react and become angry as well. That is where the majority of the disagreements between ANTI and PRO is based.
If we are serious about resolving Immigration issues or illegal immigration, we do need to stop the anger and begin real discussion and develop some agreed upon form of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR).
CIR should include:
1. Secure Borders. New illegal immigration stops and there is no longer a need for these growing enclaves.
2. Employer Sanctions
3. Bring the 12M out of the shadows and assist in their assimilation (Enhanced Assimilation)
Reduced New Immigration (legal and illegal)
Let´s all stop the anger and discuss this civilly. We can make a difference.