Date: Wed, 26 Oct 1994 16:55:11 -0500

[Co-moderator's note: This digest of news about Proposition 187 is reprinted courtesy of Nicaragua Solidarity Network , 339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012 <nicanet@blythe.org>.]



CALIFORNIANS PROTEST ANTI-IMMIGRANT MEASURE

On Oct. 16 some 70,000 protesters marched from East Los Angeles to City Hall to protest a California ballot initiative that would deny medical care, education and other public services to undocumented immigrants. Protesters say Proposition 187-which would require teachers and doctors to turn suspected "illegals" over to the government-is racist, mean-spirited, anti-immigrant and unconstitutional. The bill has broad popular support in California; politicians who oppose it, rather than citing humanitarian reasons, argue that the bill would be overturned by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional after a costly legal battle. Mexico's foreign minister said he found the proposal "racist and xenophobic" and warned that it could put at risk the improved trade and economic relations with the US brought about by NAFTA. Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari expressed similar sentiments. Californians will vote on the measure on Nov. 8. [El Diario-La Prensa 10/21/94 & 10/23/94 from Notimex; Financial Times 10/21/94; New York Times 10/17/94, 10/22/94]





Date: Mon, 31 Oct 1994 08:05:25 -0600

[Thanks to Richard Jensen, co-moderator of H-Ethnic and exec. dir. of H-Net, for this informative post:]

From: IN%"por@gibbs.oit.unc.edu" 28-OCT-1994 11:01:35.08

I am responding to memo from RS inquiring about Prop 187. The Politics Department at UC Irvine hosted a debate on Wed night between experts for/ against the proposition, including Phil Romero, the governor's chief economist. A couple of highpoints from this discussion:

1) Both advocates and opponents agreed that California has a problem with unregulation immigration. There are 500,000 to a couple million illegal immigrants in California, depending on the source.

2) Federal policy makes the problem difficult for the state to manage at its level. Immigration and border issues are federal; and the federal government mandates social benefits for immigrants (but doesn't fund these). Thus the official state line is that the federal government should be held responsible, but this is something the majority of congress hasn't accepted.

3) Prop 187 is a populist response to the frustration arising from the problem. Like many of our past propositions, it uses a blunt instrument to deal with a complex problem, and thus potentially creates greater problems. As the campaign has progressed, the early public support for the proposition has dropped significantly (see LA Times posting on POR of their most recent survey). Undoubtedly some supporters are motivated by racial factors, but it is more a measure of public frustration and alienation. For instance, the proposition gains significant support among Hispanics. The prop will likely pass, but opposition is growing (witness statements by Bennet, Kemp and Feinstein in past week). Supporters are now saying it is really a pressure tactic to get Washington to act, since the courts will halt it s enforcement.

Obviously the politics is more complex than a 3 paragraph summary, but this may add some perspective to the press coverage.

RDalton, UCI







Date: Mon, 31 Oct 1994 20:58:07 -0600

[Michael Lichter <lichter@NICCO.SSCNET.UCLA.EDU> writes:]

To respond really quickly re. Prop 187.

1. Not all opponents agree that there is a problem with "unregulated" immigration in the same sense as UC Irvine's "experts", who presumably argue that the undocumented are bad for the state budget and take away jobs from natives. That current immigration policy does not recognize the historical linkages between the Southwest and parts of Mexico, and deal forthrightly with the dependence of certain segments of regional business on Mexican labor is a problem. Remember that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo guaranteed free flow of persons between the U.S. and Mexico. Also, remember that a large proportion of the recent (amnesty ineligible) undocumented are refugees from war in Central America who might have been recognized as such had the U.S. not been funding the wars.

2. Prop 187 is a populist response to IMMIGRATION, not the undocumented per se. The "frustration" among the mainly middle class supporters of the measure are responses to the state economy and feelings of being culturally overwhelmed, the former having nothing to do with immigration and the latter related to all immigration, the bulk of which is not undocumented. It IS nativism. And, when it passes, as I'm afraid it will, Prop. 187's message will not be "send more money!", it will be "close the doors!"

3. I don't know exactly how to characterise support for the measure among Latinos, but they do have a different relationship to the issue than other Californians. While evidence of job comptetion between natives and immigrants is extremely limited, Latino immigrants ARE likely to compete with each other. This doesn't explain support among the native-born, but fear of this competition does help.

Michael





Date: Tue, 1 Nov 1994 12:49:00 -0600

[T. G. Holford <holford@VNET.IBM.COM> writes:]

One of the arguments that keeps getting raised in the Proposition 187 campaigns is that "we're a nation of immigrants" and that 187 is "anti-immigrant". I think this obscures an important distinction: there are immigrants who assimilate and there are immigrants who reject assimilation.

People of European origins are still among the largest ethnic groups in California. The immigration experience of most of those of European descent was marked by an acceptance to a greater or lesser degree of 'assimilation' into a larger American society. Americans of German descent (incented by two spasms of war-induced anti-German hysteria) were particularly remarkable in there rapid immersion into the American fabric.

In contrast, there are ethnic groups whose cultures are particularly resistant to 'assimilation.' Their demonstrated idea of 'coming to America' is to take up residence and erect barriers to fence off their cultural patterns from the influences of the larger American society.

A particular (but not unique) example is the implementation of 'bi-lingual' education in California public schools. Notwithstanding the stated intentions of the program (to make immigrant children 'bi-lingual',) the consequence of 'bi-lingual education' programs has been to establish 'reservations' within the public schools where immigrant children can supposedly learn in a "culturally supportive environment" while transitioning to an English-speaking one. In reality, children spend their entire education careers in 'bi-lingual' programs, never become proficient in English at all, and remain under the domination of what might be delicately described as 'ethnic Chauvinists'.

To the larger, assimilated ethnic groups, the notion of 'immigration' has implicit within it the idea of 'assimilation', as well. When the larger society observes people of a different culture, repudiating the cultural significance of national borders, establishing 'encampments', and erecting barriers to frustrate cultural diffusion, this does not square with the idea of 'immigration', but looks rather more like 'invasion'.

In the context of the immigration experience of many ethnically European peoples in California, the argument that Proposition is anti-immigrant simply doesn't resonate, because the perceived behavior of the 'resident aliens' isn't consistent with the notion of 'immigration'.

This also, in my mind, explains to some extent the substantial support among Hispanics for Prop 187. Many Hispanics are traditional and conservative and fundamentally embrace the larger societal understanding of 'immigration' and it's underlying assimilation dynamic.

T. G. Holford





Date: Wed, 2 Nov 1994 11:14:34 -0600

[Tom Hollowak <THOLLOWAK%UBMAIL.dnet@UBE.UBALT.EDU> writes:]

It's a nice theory but it doesn't hold up historically. In Baltimore the German Community was the largest ethnic group a they had the political clout to have bi-lingual public schools, newspapers and political loan campaigns all in the german language. The death-knell was being on the losing side of the Great War. Unlike the Slavic immigrants whose children could only have a bilingual education at parochial schools which they supported in addition to public schools (including the German language schools). When the Poles, Czechs, Ukrainians united to have an interperter in city departments which immigrants had to deal with (courts, utilities, etc.) the City Council rejected their petitions (including the German-Americans) as a waste of taxpayers money. Yes a large number of immigrants assimilated, but the melting pot is wishful thinking.







Date: Wed, 2 Nov 1994 11:51:41 -0600

[Jim Bergquist <BERGQUIST@UCIS.VILL.EDU> writes:]

T. G. Holford in his message shows a notable lack of awareness of the course of immigration history-particularly when he criticizes recent immigrant groups as resistant to American life and cites Germans as an example of "rapid immersion."

Just over a century ago, there wre major assaults in some states on the practice of allowing Germans and other foreign-language groups to have schools (either parochial or public) where instruction was in the foreign language, either entirely or in part. Illinois and Wisconsin were examples; there were major efforts to pass state laws forbidding such schools. These efforts led to major political upheavals (most of the affected immigrants could vote), and eventually most of the foreign-language instruction remained, at least until World War I. (our Noble Leader of H-Net, Richard Jensen, has written about some of these controversies).

The arguments cited then for such restrictive laws were essentially the same as Mr. Holford gives us: fear of the separateness o fimmigrant communities, and the presumption that they would never assimilate. Yet the did assimilate, and were doing so long before World War I repression forced the issue.

Outcries over impenetrable "reservations" or "encampments" (Mr. Holford's terms) of foreigners unwilling to acceptAmerican life have been heard throughout our history, from the Pennsylvania Germans of the 18th century to the Chinese, Germans, Jews and others of later times. Yet all have yielded to the inducements and pressures of the dominant culture.

I wonder sometimes whether the current fears that the story of recent ethnic groups will be "different" is jsut because we see the "differences" of race. When there are identifiable racial differences, we tend to perceive the separate group as "still there" but we do not say that about white ethnic groups we can no longer so readily identify.

Jim Bergquist (History), Villanova Univ.

BERGQUIST@ucis.vill.edu







Date: Thu, 3 Nov 1994 07:27:57 -0600

[Stan Nadel <stn627f@nic.smsu.edu> writes:]

Jim Berquist and others have already pointed out the historical weakness of Holford's assumptions about the rapid assimilation of German and other immigrants. Holford would do well to read the classic work by John Hawgood, _The Tragedy of German-America_. Then, he and others of his persuasion could look at Billings' _Protestant Crusade_, Higham's _Strangers in the Land_, and Soloman's _Ancestors and Immigrants_ for some classic works on nativist reaction to the very immigrants Holford is so quick to identify as acceptable-the parallels to his own diatibe might give him pause if he were open to argument. His notable insistance on "Europeans" and refusal to even consider the "model minority" experience of Japanese-Americans suggests, however, that the racist assumptions behind his remarks (and behind prop 187 as well) will ensure that he and other later day nativists will remain impervious to argument.

If Murray and Hernstein can get a sympathetic response in the major American media (including the _New York Times_) to their recycled version of Madison Grant's _The Passing of the Great Race_, we should hardly be surprised to find bilge such as Holford's overflowing into our academic discourse. Not very long ago it was the Holocaust deniers who were trying to join the Holocaust history list and now we get Nativists on the Ethnic history list.

In the debate over the admissability of the deniers, I argued that they should be allowed to join, but that it would be the moderators' responsibility to screen their submissions so the rest of us wouldn't have our time wasted by garbage messages. I hate to call for censorship, but I don't think that messages like Holford's should be posted- not because of their offensive nature, but because their evident ignorance makes them inappropriate for a scholarly list. Murray needs to be taken seriously and refuted, Holford should simply be ignored (in this context).

Stan Nadel

Gypsy Scholar

"Have Books, Will Travel

History Dept.

Southwest Missouri State U.







Date: Thu, 3 Nov 1994 17:56:59 -0600

[T. G. Holford <holford@VNET.IBM.COM> writes:]

[In a prior communication,] Stan Nadel writes:

>Holford would do well to read the classic work by John Hawgood, _The Tragedy of German-America_.

Thanks. I'll investigate, but I hope your not singularizing its point of view suggesting that it is "THE classic."

> ...that the racist assumptions behind his remarks (and behind prop 187 as well) will ensure that he and other later day nativists will remain impervious to argument.

I reject the suggestion that my assumptions or those of any supporter (or opponent) of Prop. 187 are necessarily racist. Such a suggestion is really a reflection upon the suggester:

"To a person with only a hammer, all problems look like nails."

To a person whose only ethic is race, all motivations

are presumed to be racist.

>I hate to call for censorship, but...

Then don't.

Proposition 187 is a highly controversial issue. Ethnic identity, and ethnic perspectives are germane to the controversy, but there is legitimate debate over what is the central issue or set of issues: IS it race, or is it legality, quality or life, taxes, unequal distribution of the cost burden, or changing cultural identity?

An important and AUTHENTIC perspective in the minds of many persons of European heritage is the belief that "if I can assimilate, why can't they?". Any historical assessment of Proposition 187 that does not recognize and account for this perspective will be substantially incomplete.

T. G. Holford





Date: Thu, 3 Nov 1994 17:58:45 -0600

[David L. Elliott writes:]

While I disagree 100% with Holford, if Holford possesses the credentials to subscribe to h-ethnic, then his position should be aired. Nadel's call for censorship by h-ethnic moderator should not be followed.

----------------------------------------------------------------

David L. Elliott BITNET: DELLIOTT@SNYESCVA.BITNET

Center for Distance Learning INTERNET:DELLIOTT@sescva.esc.edu

SUNY Empire State College

2 Union Avenue

Saratoga Springs, New York 12866

518/587-2100 ext. 300 (voice)

518/587-5404 (fax)

------------------------------------------------------------------







Date: Fri, 4 Nov 1994 09:12:38 -0600

[Michael Lichter <lichter@NICCO.SSCNET.UCLA.EDU> writes:]

[Quotation of T. J. Holford's H-Ethnic post of Nov. 3 deleted...]

It is authentic in the sense that it is widely held. It was also a widely held belief back during the early part of this century that those dirty, uncouth, <fill in the blank> Italians, Irish, Jews, etc. will never assimilate, and this fear was part of the movement that virtually cut off immigration in the 1920s.

It is also worth noting that for non-whites "assimilation" has been and continues to be blocked by racism, and some of the barriers were enthroned by law until recently (and some such laws still exist, on the books but inactive).

Anyway, this last message illustrates my point that for the backers of Prop. 187, the referendum is not about money and it's not even about the undocumented: it's about immigration in general. And it drawns upon a core of disdain of and (cultural, political, personal) fear of the poor, brown masses who do so much of the state's dirty work, a core that I find it very difficult not to call "racist".

Michael







Date: Fri, 4 Nov 1994 10:39:56 -0600

[Jim Bergquist writes:]

In earlier communications both Stan Nadel and I, as well as others, disagreed with T. G. Holford's views about immigrant communities. Stan Nadel went on to question the acceptability of Mr. Holford's remarks on H-Ethnic. I do not agree with Nadel's views on that, and would dissociate myself from them. Mr. Holford's views are in fact fairly widely held by a lot of people, and his remarks are certainly within the bounds of acceptable academic discourse (I give a very wide latitude to such discourse).

Jim Bergquist (History), Villanova U.

BERGQUIST@ucis.vill.edu







Date: Fri, 4 Nov 1994 15:56:27 -0600

[David L. Elliott writes:]

[Quotation of T.G. Holford's Nov. 3 posting deleted, JB]

Systematic racial discimination prevents ethnic groups who would like to assimilate from doing so. Of course the whole issue is far more complex than that, including why some peoples might _not_ want to assimilate-like peoples who were already _here_: American Indians, Mexicans. Recall that large parts of what is now the Southwestern United States (Aztlan) were once the northern part of Mexico, until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo (1848) which ended the Mexican-American War. This was not the United States's finest hour. And the peoples of Mexican heritage continue to experience oppression and discrimination to this very day. The final irony is that a great many people of Mexican descent _have_ "assimilated" though when someone's physical appearance differs from the dominant group, especially when the groups have a political legacy associated with violence, the "assimilation" process may be delayed. In some cases it may be resisted. That's why many people today advocate for a "cultural pluralism." We cannot undo the wrongs of the past; but we can prevent them from being continued. The California proposition is a step back into the first half of the 19th century and it is an example of institutional racism.

----------------------------------------------------------------

David L. Elliott BITNET: DELLIOTT@SNYESCVA.BITNET

Center for Distance Learning INTERNET:DELLIOTT@sescva.esc.edu

SUNY Empire State College

2 Union Avenue

Saratoga Springs, New York 12866

518/587-2100 ext. 300 (voice)

518/587-5404 (fax)

------------------------------------------------------------------





Date: Fri, 4 Nov 1994 16:01:38 -0600

[Naoko Shibusawa <shib@merle.acns.nwu.edu> writes:]

>An important and AUTHENTIC perspective in the minds of many persons of >European heritage is the belief that "if I can assimilate, why can't >they?".

I thought it was pretty obvious that race constituted a major barrier to assimilation. Having a Asian heritage in particular marks one, rightly or wrongly, as a newcomer. This is why today even third-generation Asian Americans receive compliments on speaking "English so well."

The Issei (Japanese American immigrants) who learned English and tried to assimilate into American communities in the first half of this century did so in vain; most white Americans would not welcome them in their society or in their homes except as servants. Try as they might to "Americanize" and adopt the values of their new country, the Issei could never change the slant of their eyes nor the color of their faces. The 1790 Naturalization Law prevented them from gaining citizenship as "nonwhites." And in 1922, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that Japanese immigrants and all other non-European & non-African immigrants were "aliens ineligible for citizenship." Ozawa, the subject of this case, was so committed to the idea of "Americanization" that he wouldn't even allow Japanese to be spoken in his home. Now here's a classic case of a nonwhite *prevented* from assimilating.

Issues about to what degree immigrants can [or should?] maintain cultural heritages from their native lands are complex. But being mistreated or rejected because of one's non-European ancestry is an "important and AUTHENTIC perspective" which shouldn't be forgotten in seeking answers about assimilation.

P.S. I agree with David Elliot; I don't think this list should be censored, either. What I, and probably others, took for granted was obvious among "educated" people obviously was not.







Date: Sat, 5 Nov 1994 07:36:11 -0600

[Richard Jensen writes:]

I'm sorry to see that Stan Nadel used words like "racist" "nativist" and "bilge" in his response to Holford's comments. Let's not have name-calling on the H-ETHNIC, please.

"racist" and "nativist" when used as epithets for other contributors are ugly words that have not been successfully used to further the scholarly discussion on h-ethnic.)

I don't fully agree with Holford but he has indeed made some telling points that we ought to be discussing. The basic issue as he says is whether or not government policy in the US (federal and state) should allow/encourage immigrants to set up separate subcultures. Anybody reading about the divisiveness in Yugoslavia, say-or Canada or Belgium-should realize this is a problem in the world today. Furthermore it is a major theme in American ethnic history, and the usual national decision has been "no."

For example, the US did NOT allow the Mormons, or the Germans, or the Japanese to establish separate subcultures inside the US. On the other hand, there was-depending very much on on the locale-a large degree of toleration for Chinatowns, many of which flourish right now.

The German case in the US was a very complex one, involving millions of people over several hundred years. A great variety of options were explored, some of which received highly negative responses from the political system. The final decision-made in fact by the German Americans themselves AFTER world war I-was in favor of full assimilation. Germans have virtually "disappeared" as an ethnic group (even though some of their distinctive denominations, such as the Missouri Synod, are still separate.)

Now both Nadel and Holford know the German story-and I think both should have the freedom of H-ETHNIC to draw the policy implications they feel they see here for the more recent ethnic groups.

The political debate in 1994 focuses less on ethnic subculture and rather more on border control. The US has a very elaborate system of immigrant controls, with major changes taking place in the 1920s, the 1940s, the 1960s, and the 1980s. I think it's fair to say that it works poorly, and I would add that I have not seen any reforms that I think would help much. The Proposition 187 furor in California is one response to the failure of border controls (the invasion of Haiti a few weeks ago was another.) (Speaking strictly for myself, I oppose both Prop 187 and the invasion of Haiti.) Does historical discussion have a role to play in the current debate? Yes, I believe it does, if we behave ourselves and rely on the traditional courtesies of scholars.

H-Net policy is very firm: flames are not allowed on any H-Net lists.

Richard Jensen

comoderator of H-ETHNIC







Date: Sat, 5 Nov 1994 07:37:23 -0600

[Walter Kawamoto <kawamotw@UCS.ORST.EDU> writes:]

This discussion is getting good.

My two cents.

1. Any discussion of ultimately leads into an assimilation/pluralism debate. I would like to point out that diversity programs/multicultural education/political correctness at their best, reject this debate. The overall goal, from my perspective, is a dialectic combination of both in which we all live and work together while respecting each other's differences.

2. It often comes down to a matter of choice for me. The reason many ethnic minority groups have a hard time with the subject of assimillation is that they were never given the choice to assimillate the way most Euro-Americans did. Western culture was forced down either by Indian boarding schools or the slave master's whip. The case of Japanese-Americans who even wished to assimillate when they first arrived and were not allowed is another example of how choice was denied to an ethnic minority group.

3. Finally. "Invasion"? Come on. Something about "...He who is without sin cast the first stone." comes to mind.

Walter T. Kawamoto







Date: Sun, 6 Nov 1994 08:02:12 -0600

[Rudy Vecoli <vecol001@maroon.tc.umn.edu> writes:]

I agree with the various criticisms of T.G. Holford's message, particularly its mistaken contrast of previous with current immigrants.

To the other suggestions, I would recommend Joshua Fishman, et al,

LANGUAGE LOYALTY IN AMERICA, which demonstrates that various European and French Canadian immigrant groups clung tenaciously to their languages and cultures. Assimilation and acculturation were not on the whole readily embraced by immigrants. It was a slow and painful process for many and one which was often resisted. However, I disagree with Stan Nadel that messages which some of us think are misinformed or wrong-headed should be banned from the network. I believe in the power of education. Heaven help us, if we can not educate those with whom we disagree.

Rudolph J. Vecoli

Professor of History and Director ph: 612-627-4208

Immigration History Research Center fax: 612-727-4190

826 Berry Street e-mail: vecol001@maroon.tc.umn.edu

University of Minnestoa

St. Paul, MN 55114-1087









NEWS: Prop 187: dead heat

Date: Sun, 6 Nov 1994 08:02:17 -0600

4-NOV-1994 Support for anti-immigration measure drops sharply

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuter) - Support for California's proposed anti-immigration measure has dropped dramatically in the last week before the Nov. 8 election and the outcome may now be too close to call, a poll found Friday. The poll published in the San Francisco Examiner found that 45 percent of those polled would vote for the so-called "Save our State" measure, while 44 percent would vote against, with 11 percent undecided. The controversial measure, formally called Proposition 187, would cut off welfare, education and non-emergency health care to California's estimated 1.6 million illegal immigrants. Support for the measure has dropped sharply from the last Examiner poll in October when 55 percent of voters were in favor and 35 against. The Examiner, still publishing despite a strike by many of its workers, said that if the trend holds through election day, Proposition 187 "will go down to the wire in a too-close-to-call finale." The poll, carried out by Political/Media Research Inc. of Washington, also found Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, who is running for re-election, leading Democratic challenger Kathleen Brown 48 percent to 44 percent. Wilson strongly supports Proposition 187 while Brown opposes it. The survey of 815 registered California voters was carried out Tuesday and Wednesday and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. The Examiner quoted pollster Del Ali as saying the dramatic decline in support for the anti-immigration measure meant passage was "clearly in doubt." He said that undecided voters tended to break more heavily into the "no" column on Election Day. However, he said supporters might be hiding their real views from pollsters because the measure has been tagged "politically incorrect."

Illegal immigration is the hottest issue in California's election, with many voters supporting tougher measures to counter illegal immigration into the state, much of it from Latin America. Proposition 187 initially attracted strong voter support, but backing has dwindled as opponents highlighted the possible drawbacks of the measure. President Clinton and leading Republicans Jack Kemp and William Bennett have spoken out against the initiative. Opponents say the measure would create a police state mentality, that it is unconstitutional and would be tied up in court for years. The illegal immigration issue has also dogged California's Senate campaign with both Republican Michael Huffington, a supporter of the proposition, and Democratic incumbent Dianne Feinstein, an opponent of the measure, facing allegations they have employed illegal immigrants in the past. More than 500 students walked out of classes Friday and marched through San Jose in the latest of numerous protests against the initiative.

--





NEWS: Political dimension of Prop 187

Date: Mon, 7 Nov 1994 09:42:18 -0600

Thanks to co-moderator Richard Jensen <CAMPBELLD@LYNX.APSU.EDU> for this

posting:]

WALL STREET JOURNAL (J) 10/28/94

By Paul A. Gigot

"His act of stupidity has knocked him right out of the presidential race," howls Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. The dyspeptic California Republican is referring to Jack Kemp, who has spoken out against that state's Proposition 187, which would deny public education and some other nonemergency public services to illegal immigrants. But some of us remember 1978, when another national conservative opposed another popular California proposition, which would have barred gay teachers from classrooms. "To march to the drums of the homosexuals has irrevocably damaged him nationally," howled the proposal's sponsor, GOP state Sen. John Briggs. He was referring to Ronald Reagan.

Republicans are now damning Jack Kemp's betrayal, which was aided by that other GOP socialist, Bill Bennett. But as the Gipper knew, sometimes the purest act of loyalty is disagreement. The pair have done Republicans a service by flashing caution on an issue that could easily careen into nativism. Conservatives have a point that Mr. Kemp is keeping some odd company in opposing 187. The liberals now praising Mr. Kemp's courage care less about defending immigrants than they do about preserving the welfare state. But those same conservatives know that 187's main cheerleader is Gov. Pete Wilson, who also doesn't mind the welfare state. Meanwhile, Mr. Kemp has plenty of company on the principled right.

Entrepreneur Ron Unz, who won 34% of the vote in a primary against Mr. Wilson, began the GOP fight against 187. He lobbied strategist Bill Kristol, who was joined by the Cato Institute's contrarian libertarian, Stephen Moore, in convincing Mr. Bennett. Steve Merksamer, chief of staff to former Gov. George Deukmejian, counseled Mr. Kemp to speak up.

A few candidates in California have also spoken with silence. Neither Matt Fong, the Chinese-American running for treasurer, nor Attorney General Dan Lungren, a future candidate for governor, has surfed on the 187 wave.

Conservative opponents don't argue, as liberal moralists do, that 187's supporters are bigots. Support for 187 is even understandable as a populist scream against a political class that refuses to repair a fraying social contract. But this public anger is aimed less at immigrants than at a welfare state that offers them something for nothing. Even Mr. Wilson may now sense this distinction, because he's dropped the harsh tone of his earlier immigration ads. His new one this week declares that "American citizenship is a treasure beyond measure. But now the rules are being broken. . . . Pete Wilson has had the courage to say enough is enough and to stand up for Californians who work hard, pay taxes and obey the laws."

Yet Mr. Wilson seems to be using the immigration issue precisely to avoid challenging the size and scope of government. He sure didn't cut much in his first term. California public employees have multiplied by some 8,000 to 268,500, despite a loss of 428,000 private-sector jobs. And state spending has climbed by $4 billion to $55.4 billion, despite cries of austerity. And while California's taxes are among the nation's highest, Mr. Wilson is that rare GOP candidate this year who isn't running on tax cuts. Instead the former marine, a divining rod of American anxiety, has changed the subject to crime and immigration. Those hot buttons have won back conservatives and Reagan Democrats, who might have turned away if his challenger, Democrat Kathleen Brown, were a tax-cutter like Christie Whitman.

Mr. Wilson is lucky he isn't pressed about who really is responsible for immigration costs. Illegal immigration is much less a burden in Texas, which sustains a much less generous welfare state. One 1985 study found that 85% of all refugees in California were on welfare within three years. But in Texas fewer than 20% were. Of course it's easier to campaign against illegal immigrants, who don't vote, than against welfare lobbies and teachers unions, which surely do. One benefit of 187 is that it would force a reconsideration of a 1982 Supreme Court decision that infringed on a state's ability to restrict entitlements. But that must be balanced against the signal 187 would send to both parties. Already Mr. Wilson has endorsed an immigration "I.D. card," which would expand police powers while still being vulnerable to fraud. Others want to repeat the 1920s and stop even legal immigration, a major U.S. economic advantage.

"I see the party on a slippery slope," says Mr. Kemp, "where there could be a 1996 platform plank from xenophobes and protectionists for a Fortress America." It's a sign of our cynical age that by standing on principle Mr. Kemp is widely assumed to be taking himself out of the 1996 presidential race. Is that true? "No," Mr. Kemp replies. "This is just the thing to get me to run and fight for the future of my party."

---





Date: Mon, 7 Nov 1994 09:38:33 -0600

[mae ngai writes:]

1) historically there is much evidence to suggest that immigrants have "clung" to their native identities roughly to the extent that american institutions and "opinion" have opposed their inclusion in society as full and equal citizens.

2) another aspect of immigration not addressed by this discussion is the intervention of american business in third world countries which distorts those economies and creates conditions for emigration. increased immigration from mexico is the result of economic and social dislocation caused in large part by the maquiladorization of the border. saskia sassen's work, which was mentioned in another posting, is relevant here- see *the mobility of capital and labor* (cambridge 1988). migration flows cannot be "stopped" with punative legislation in the host country if that country's corporations are complicit, if not largely responsible, in the impoverishment of third world nations. (sassen shows that migration is not caused by poverty per se, but poverty combined with socio-economic dislocations and specific cultural links to the receiving nation that are established by the presence of american multinational firms.) One of the great ironies of NAFTA is that it opens the border for the flow of capital out of the U.S. and creates conditions for americans to oppose the concommitant flow of people into the U.S.

3) nativism such that we see today in california in prop 187 is not just in response to increased immigration but the economic squeeze felt by "native" workers, eg the closing of so many aerospace plants.

4) education and debate yes; censorship no. though i would disagree that using words like racism and nativism are outside the bounds of debate.

mae ngai

dept of history

columbia univ

mn53@columbia.edu







Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 10:18:01 -0600

[Brian Gratton writes:]

The discussion of Proposition 187 on H-ETHNIC has been a good illustration of the rarely-achieved value of listservs; the contributions have been useful and informative. The dialogue has been fascinating in part because the contemporary debate resonates so clearly in American immigration history. That history has been called on, especially to criticize those who defend the proposition as being just another manifestation of irrational nativism, regularly and reprehensibly seen in every crisis over immigration. It seems to me that the same history reveals the critics as familiar characters as well, defending immigrants from perhaps as irrational and certainly as emotional a standpoint, and proclaiming their position to be the correct one for a good American to take. Like several of the commentators, I prefer that we first separate out some of the logical foundations for this debate...both in history and in California today.

1. There is growing evidence that immigrants are a net cost to citizens in California. This may be a product of the economic crisis there, and immigrants may have made positive contributions with cheap labor and low use of services in boom times. But right now, it looks like they cost a lot. California citizens have a right not to want to pay this bill, especially for illegal immigrants. While the Federal Government insists it has jurisdiction over immigration, it has not been able to control Mexican and Latin-American immigration, which is novel and distinct from other types because of the porousness of the Mexican border.

2. In the short-term, workers are injured by heavy immigration if they compete with immigrants for jobs and wages; as a result, through most of American history, labor unions and much of the working class have opposed unlimited immigration, and with good and rational cause, not simply because they were racist or nativist.

3. Conversely, employers relish immigration, legal or illegal, and have been the main force in American history keeping the gates open. This, particularly in places like California, has not been because they were not racist, but because immigrants reduced their labor costs and improved their ability to undermine unions.

4. The Latino community is decidedly mixed on immigration; anyone well read in Mexican-American literature, or who has lived in the Southwest and in this ethnic community, knows there are often vehement antagonisms between native-born Mexican-Americans and immigrant Mexicans. As well there should be, since, even though the tone of antagonistic Mexican-Americans often appears nativistic, the real objection lies in the rational reasons given above. Like all ethnic groups in history, however, and as witnessed in California today, many Latinos retain ties to Mexico Lindo, and to the culture which immigrants represent. In addition, they recognize that laws like 187 may become indiscriminate in application, and all Latinos will bear the consequences.

In conclusion, the enthusiasm for 187, certainly flagging, is not simply some vicious populism (those movements we like when they fit our world view, and dislike when they don't). It represents a reaction to real problems in California, in the Southwest, and in the United States that deserve respectful attention. Until the nation-state expires (as some commentators on H-ETHNIC seem secretly to desire), countries and their citizens have a right to and will exercise control over their borders. Their reasons, like most everybody's, are rational and irrational.

Brian Gratton

Department of History

Arizona State University

Tempe, AZ 85287-2501

602-965-4463 Message: 965-5778

FAX: 602-965-0310

BITNET: ATBXG@ASUACAD or BRIAN.GRATTON@ASU.EDU

INTERNET: ATBXG@ASUVM.INRE.ASU.EDU





Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 10:36:09 -0600

[David Beriss writes:]

I will be voting against 187 tomorrow, because it is bad policy, because it does not address any real problems and because it strokes the racists among us. That said, I think it is important to note that the tone that Mae Ngai comments are rather too romantic for good political analysis. She writes:

>Another aspect of immigration not addressed by this discussion is the intervention of american business in third world countries which distorts those economies and creates conditions for emigration.

Distorts? How can you distort an economy? Is there a "natural" state of economic affairs that would obtain in Mexico under circumstances in which American firms did not operate there? If Ngai wants to suggest that we and they could organize our economic relations differently (and that this may impact migration patterns), she should say so. But distort? Gimme a break.

>immigration from mexico is the result of economic and social dislocation caused in large part by the maquiladorization of the border.

Without US multinationals Mexicans would all be economically and socially "located", happy as peas in a pod, and they would presumably stay in that pod rather than coming here. First off, I am sure Mexicans can also be seen as agents, rather than as hapless victims. Maybe they might come anyhow. Second, its a world system out there: we don't get to choose between pristine or not, at least not anywhere I have heard of. Maybe we should try to work our analysis in terms that don't try to suggest we can.

>migration flows cannot be "stopped" with punative legislation in the host country if that country's corporations are complicit, if not largely responsible, in the impoverishment of third world nations.

Complicit? Would "punative" legislation work if they were not complict? And the impoverishment thing. I presume that at some point in the past everyone was happy and content in some land of the Jolly Green Giant, and then along came Pillsbury and everyone was impoverished. Is that an accurate view of world history? Sorry about the continuing pea metaphor.

I think that Ngai's analysis takes us as far off the central issues of the current immigration debate as those analyses that blame immigrants for being "unassimilable". Among those issues, here in southern California, are a rapidly changing economy (dislocation here, but who ever said working at Hughes was like a state of nature?) that has left many jobless and without clear futures, and an increasing sense of cultural change. One result is that people turn on immigrants and minorities in search of scapegoats. 187 clearly does not help address these issues. But I don't think denouncing the capitalist world system really helps much either.

David Beriss

David I. Beriss

Department of French and Italian

University of Southern California

THH126

Los Angeles, CA 90089

phone: (213) 740-3171 or 3700 (office) fax: (213) 746-7297

(213) 664-4284 (home)

internet: beriss@mizar.usc.edu

=====================================================================







NEWS: Protest in Calif. and Mexico to Prop 187

Author: Josef Barton <texbart@merle.acns.nwu.edu>

Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 13:30:41 -0600

[Co-moderator's note: These press summaries are posted from WEEKLY

NEWS UPDATE ON THE AMERICAS, #249, NOVEMBER 6, 1994, pubished

by NICARAGUA SOLIDARITY NETWORK <nicanet@blythe.org>.]

1) CALIFORNIA TEENAGERS RISE UP AGAINST ANTI-IMMIGRANT MEASURE

More than 10,000 mainly Latino teenagers across southern California walked out of class on Nov. 2 to protest the anti-immigrant ballot measure Proposition 187, which would deny health care and education to undocumented immigrants and their children. California middle school, high school and college students have held walkouts against the measure almost daily since Oct. 28, when 8,000 youths walked out of school in protest [see Update #248]. Although virtually all of the student protest marches have been peaceful, images of Latino teenagers throwing rocks at cars and shopping center windows in Compton on Nov. 2 dominated local television coverage of the events. Twelve people were arrested in the Compton incident. The protests seem to have been very loosely organized by student groups, and were not endorsed by the formal anti-187 campaigns. [Los Angeles Times 11/3/94; Washington Post 11/5/94] Some student leaders of the anti-187 campaigns even argued against the walkouts and prepared a list of 10 suggestions

of alternative actions against Proposition 187, such as helping with voter registration drives. [El Diario-La Prensa (NY) 11/2/94 from Notimex] Students also protested in the northern California city of Berkeley. [ED-LP 11/3/94 from AP] On Nov. 2, more than 1,000 teachers of California primary and secondary schools signed sworn statements promising that they will refuse to ask students about their immigration status if Proposition 187 passes. [ED-LP 11/3/94 from Notimex] Several hospitals and medical associations have also threatened noncompliance if the measure is passed in the Nov. 8 elections.

[Financial Times (UK) 11/4/94]

2) SUPPORT FOR ANTI-IMMIGRANT MEASURE FALLS, MEXICANS BOYCOTT US

Support for Proposition 187 has been dropping consistently in the polls in recent weeks. Two new television polls released Nov. 2 and 3 show the initiative ahead by 49% to 42% and 48% to 38%.

[Financial Times 11/4/94] The drop is partly due to massive organizing among California's communities of color, particularly the Latino and Asian communities. The New York Times reports that a month ago, 50% of California's "Hispanic-Americans" supported Proposition 187; now only one in five backs it. [NYT 11/1/94] A poll released during the week of Nov. 1 by the Southwest Voter Research Institute found that 57% of "Hispanic-Americans" oppose the measure and only 15% support it. The rest are undecided.

[FT 11/4/94] Opposition to the measure has also grown on the Mexican side of the border: on Oct. 12, angry Tijuana residents held a shopping boycott called "Operation Dignity," which drastically cut sales in neighboring San Ysidro, California. Organizations in several Mexican states followed up the boycott with a two-day trade embargo starting on Oct. 29 along the US border. [San Francisco Bay Guardian 11/2/94] On Oct. 29, the boycott reduced the flow of automobiles from Tijuana into the US by 70%, according to the Baja California government office of Human Rights and Citizen Protection; San Ysidro's International Chamber of Commerce reported a 60% drop in sales. In Nogales, Sonora, boycott coordinator Josefina Guerrero said the protest cut border traffic into Arizona by 50%. Leaflets promoting the boycott were also distributed at border checkpoints in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua (on the border with El Paso, Texas) and Mexicali (on the California border). In Tamaulipas state, protests were held in the border cities of Reynosa, Camargo and Mier. [La Jornada (Mexico) 10/30/94] The boycott organizers threatened to expand the protest if the anti-immigrant campaigns continue. [NAFTA and Inter-American Trade Monitor 10/31/94] The boycott is aimed not only at Proposition 187, but also at "Operation Gatekeeper," a border crackdown by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) that began on Oct. 1 and involves

the deployment of 200 border patrol agents complete with helicopters, boats and computerized data bases. [NAFTA and Inter-American Trade Monitor (published by the Institute forAgriculture and Trade Policy) vol. 1, #23, 10/31/94]

[On Oct. 4, Grupo Beta, a plainclothes Mexican border police unit, filed complaints through diplomatic channels about three incidents of physical and verbal abuse that allegedly ocurred in the first few days of Operation Gatekeeper. [LA Times 10/5/94] A chart published along with an opinion article opposing

Proposition 187 in the Wall Street Journal shows that the number of California Border Patrol guards is expected to rise to 1,119 in fiscal year 1995 (from 566 in FY1992); California criminal alien deportations will go up to an estimated 15,030 in FY1995 (from 7,662 in FY1992); and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) budget has gone from $1.46 billion in FY1992 to $2.03 billion in FY1995. [WSJ 10/27/94]] Mexican foreign minister Manuel Tello has warned that Mexico's relations with the US "will undoubtedly be affected" if Proposition 187 is approved. [Inter Press Service 10/25/94] If the measure passes, the Mexican government says it will file a "friend of the court" brief in any suit appealing the measure's constitutionality. [San Francisco Bay Guardian 11/2/94] The proposition's ban on education for undocumented children would challenge a 1982 US Supreme Court decision requiring public schools to educate children regardless of their immigration status. [WP 11/5/94] The Mexican government has also mentioned the possibility of a retaliatory immigration crackdown on the estimated 200,000 US citizens said to be living and working illegally in Mexico, especially the thousands living on the Baja

California peninsula south of Tijuana. [SF Bay Guardian 11/2/94] Opposition to Proposition 187 was also expressed by Guatemalan president Ramiro de Leon Carpio and by Costa Rican president Jose Maria Figueres. [ED-LP 10/31/94 from Notimex] Even rightwing Salvadoran president Armando Calderon Sol spoke out against Proposition 187, saying that California governor Pete Wilson-who has made his support for the measure a key issue in his campaign for reelection-"is violating the human rights of California's immigrants." [LA Times 10/29/94] Thousands of Central Americans live in California.







Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 13:50:57 -0600

[Alana J. Erickson writes:]

On Tue, 8 Nov 1994, Brian Gratton wrote:

> 2. In the short-term, workers are injured by heavy immigration if they compete with immigrants for jobs and wages; as a result, through most of American history, labor unions and much of the working class have opposed unlimited immigration, and with good and rational cause, not simply because they were racist or nativist.

> 3. Conversely, employers relish immigration, legal or illegal, and have been the main force in American history keeping the gates open. This, particularly in places like California, has not been because they were not racist, but because immigrants reduced their labor costs and improved their ability to undermine unions.

In our changing economy, do either of these positions make sense? Or do we really want people to compete over low-level, unskilled jobs instead of training U.S. citizens to take on more skilled work?

Alana J. Erickson

aje4@columbia.edu









Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 17:41:22 -0600

[Mae Ngai writes:]

> [David Beriss writes:] > > > I think that Ngai's analysis takes us as far off the central issues of the current immigration debate as those analyses that blame immigrants for being "unassimilable". Among those issues, here in southern California, are a rapidly changing economy (dislocation here, but who ever said working at Hughes was like a state of nature?) that has left many jobless and without clear futures, and an increasing sense of cultural change. One result is that people turn on immigrants and minorities in search of scapegoats. 187 clearly does not help address these issues. But I don't think denouncing the capitalist world system really helps much either.

The issue of the alleged "unassimiability" of immigrants is not disconnected to the global economy. My point was precisely that the outflow of capital is connected to the inflow of people, and that the scapegoating of immigrants by unemployed (native) american workers was a misdirected response to these processes. Beriss says I deny Mexicans "agency"-yet he fails to recognize that capital-i.e. green giant, pillsbury, and hughes-has agency. Beriss says I'm "romantic" for "denouncing the capitalist world system" (his words, not mine). I say he's living in a cave if he thinks that system is without inequities, dependency and poverty and that these problems having nothing to do with international migration flows.

Mae Ngai

History Dept.

Columbia Univ.

mn53@columbia.edu





Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 17:41:28 -0600

[Jan S. Rosin writes:]

One other very important issue that has not been brought up clearly in the Proposition 187 debate in California is the problem of division of responsibility within our federal system. National policy deals with the control of legal or illegal immigration, but in many cases state and local government entitities must deal with the consequences of that federal policy. To add to the complexity of the situation, federal law mandates services that must be paid for on the state and local levels. I think that much of the resentment within the California population stems from this issue rather than simply from racism.

This issue is of great concern in several states. The federal government is now being sued by several immigrant rich states for the expenses of federally mandated services which have been paid for by local and state coffers. I would be interested to know if there was ever a similar federal issue involved in earlier efforts at immigration restriction in American history.

Jan S. Rosin

University of Houston

histp@jetson.uh.edu









Date: Wed, 9 Nov 1994 12:29:39 -0600

[mae ngai writes:]

I agree with Brian Gratton on the need for a "rational" and historically grounded discussion of immigration policy-but question the validity of certain "facts" he presents as evidence of a "rational" (and therefore not nativist) policy both historically and today.

> 1. There is growing evidence that immigrants are a net cost to citizens in California. This may be a product of the economic

There is also much evidence that suggests that immigrants pay far more in taxes than they use in services. This is *especially* true for illegal immigrants who often are too fearful to apply for foodstamps or other entitlements.

> 2. In the short-term, workers are injured by heavy immigration if they compete with immigrants for jobs and wages;

this is complicated but as a broad argument it is untrue. most

native-born americans do not want the jobs that are filled by immigrants

* hotel maids and dishwashers, sewing machine operators, electronixs assemblers, farm workers, janitors, domestics. even in professional areas, immigrants (who come in under strict quotas determined by job market needs) are used to fill the lower rungs of professions which american born and trained professionals do not want , as in nursing (night shift in public hospital wards).

>as a result, through most of American history, labor unions and much of the working class have opposed unlimited immigration, and with good and rational cause, not simply because they were racist or nativist.

labor unions who *believed* their jobs were undercut by immigrants thought they had "good and rational cause" but this doesn't mean immigrants were the cause of their job troubles nor that they weren't racist or nativist. In california during the 1870s immigrant labor was used by manufacturers in newly deskilled jobs that threatened the crafts, eg cigarmaking. the craft unions attacked the chinese as a misguided effort to stop craft degradation by the industry. in the late 19th and early 20th century, employers often used black workers as strikebreakers. many white workers also believed their wages would be undercut by black workers. is this a "good and rational cause" for unions which adopted racially exclusive policies? or the violence perpetrated against chinese and black workers??

it's also untrue that "through most of American history" most of the working class opposed unlimited immigration. In fact until the 1920s the working class comprised immigrants and their children ; the history of the working class during the 19th century is one of ongoing ethnic recomposition due to immigration.

With the exception of chinese exclusion, enacted in 1882, there was practically unlimited immigration until 1924 (restrictions were for paupers, the mentally insane, prostitutes, and anarchists). Organized labor did not agitate for restriction until the early 20th century. See Herbert Gutman, John Higham, Gwendolyn Mink, Alexander Saxton.

mae ngai

dept of history

columbia university

mn53@columbia.edu









Date: Thu, 10 Nov 1994 07:22:24 -0600

[David Beriss writes:]

>[Mae Ngai writes:]

>The issue of the alleged "unassimiability" of immigrants is not disconnected to the global economy. My point was precisely that the outflow of capital is connected to the inflow of people, and that the scapegoating of immigrants by unemployed (native) american workers was a misdirected response to these processes. Beriss says I deny Mexicans "agency"-yet he fails to recognize that capital-i.e. green giant, pillsbury, and hughes-has agency. Beriss says I'm "romantic" for "denouncing the capitalist world system" (his words, not mine). I say he's living in a cave if he thinks that system is without inequities, dependency and poverty and that these problems having nothing to do with international migration flows.

So here I am reading shadows off the wall of my cave.

My point is that its largely irrelevant to good analysis to denounce the world system for inequities, dependency and poverty. Of course one may want to engage those things as part of a political project. But inequities do not explain anything in analytical terms. Claiming that their very existence necessarily means something reveals, I am sorry to repeat this, a belief on the part of the researcher that somewhere far far away or long ago, there was a world in which there were no inequities, dependency or poverty and, thus (I guess), no migration. I still fail to see why Mae Ngai thinks migration is a bad thing. Or why she needs to have an opinion one way or the other (as a historian, at least).

As for analysis, it seems to me that Ngai is interested in a very different aspect of migration than I - she is interested in the flows of labor (and it appears that to her that is really all people are, labor) and capital. And I am interested in finding out why people choose to respond to economic and social problems here with racist rhetoric and policy. Why does the language of 187 resonate? Why has this sort of thing often been an American reaction to economic problems? Why is migration an easy political target? While economic history of the sort Ngai proposes may provide a context within which we can understand how people come to be here, it doesn't explain at all why migration becomes an issue. I don't think we can deduce from the outflow of capital that people will necessarily choose to hate immigrants. I mean, why don't they choose to hate the outflowing capital?

From my nicely appointed cave,

David Beriss

=====================================================================

David I. Beriss

Department of French and Italian

University of Southern California

THH126

Los Angeles, CA 90089

phone: (213) 740-3171 or 3700 (office) fax: (213) 746-7297

(213) 664-4284 (home)

internet: beriss@mizar.usc.edu

=====================================================================





Date: Fri, 11 Nov 1994 09:16:55 -0600

[Co-moderator's note: The focus of the thread begun by the exchange between T. J. Holford and Stan Nadel has shifted away from California and Prop 187, toward an effort to gain some conceptual resources. Hence the new heading.

My apologies to Aristide Zolberg for appropriating his title. JB]

*****************************************************************************

[Michael Lichter <lichter@NICCO.SSCNET.UCLA.EDU> writes:]

> [David Beriss wrote:]

> My point is that its largely irrelevant to good analysis to denounce the world system for inequities, dependency and poverty.

I don't want to get into what constitutes "good analysis". But. I cannot see how noting that international migration streams and international flows of capital are inter-related is, unless it's just wrong, "bad" analysis. Perhaps David mistakes the tone for the message.

The evidence says the following:

1. As capitalist development disrupts prior agricultural arrangements (as capitalist agriculture takes over peoples' lands, as land values rise, as cheaper locally and externally produced products destroy the livelihoods of small farmers), the rural population is driven into the cities, where job creation is usually out-paced by this migration. Where it is possible, international migration results (think of the massive outflows of people from Europe during the 19th and early 20th centuries in this vein).

2. The penetration of international capital into a national economy tends to retard internal development, both by destroying local firms through competition and suppressing the development of the necessary infrastructure for the growth of domestic capital. Since international capital provides relatively few jobs and retards domestic job growth, it

exacerbates the rural-urban migration problem, and spurs international migration. Furthermore, foreign capital helps focus immigration flows by providing initial linkages and unintentionally advertising and providing information on its "home" country.

So what? U.S.-based capital is deeply involved in every country (almost) sending immigrants here. U.S. political tinkering is being just about every refugee flow (e.g. Vietnamese, Cambodians, Cubans). The U.S. profits from the developing world, and the U.S. role in producing potential immigrants around the globe is large.

The implications for immigration policy? It depends on the basis for our policy. If the basis is "what's good for America", then we probably want to limit immigration, although it's not clear that the current limits are too high (especially since we first have to specify what "good for America" means precisely). If the basis is "what is our responsibility to the world," given our role in the world, we would probably loosen up immigration restrictions to the true extent of our ability to accomodate newcomers.

For a more coherent discussion of these issues, I recommend [Zolberg, Aristide R. 1989. "The Next Waves: Migration Theory for a Changing World." International Migration Review 23 (3): 403-430.] Besides giving an overview of the recent literature on immigration, she provides an interesting discussion of the ethical implications of different positions on immigration.

Anyway, I think it's fine and admirable that David wants to study why Americans have often turned to immigrants as scapegoats for bad economic times. I don't think he needs to ridicule others who are interested in related but distinct issues.

Michael







Date: Sun, 13 Nov 1994 10:11:25 -0600

[David I. Beriss writes:]

Mae Ngai argued several notes ago that multinational capital, in the form of US firms, supported by US gov't policies, have "distorted" the Mexican economy and displaced and dislocated Mexican workers, who show up here. Similarly dislocated and displaced US workers get pissed off, whence anti-immigrant sentiment. I am oversimplifying, but I think that that is the basic argument.

I objected to the tone of her argument, which she apparently interpreted as my objecting to the substance. She was not altogether wrong about this.

Michael Lichter has now weighed in with an objection to my objection and a discussion of the effects of multinational capital on migration. He argues that we can separate the tone from the substance in this debate. I must disagree, at least to a certain extent.

It seems to me that one of the most striking features of politics in the US today is the right's nostalgia for a wonderbread past that never was. Analyses that suggest that previous waves of immigration assimilated with ease are usually engaging in this sort of nostalgia. As the recent elections demonstrate, this resonates strongly with voters in the US. I like to think that few of the members of this list would believe these analyses are supported by evidence or that they constitute good social science.

I would suggest that Ngai deployed a similar nostalgia, only from the left. Arguing that multinational capital "distorts" economies, that corporations are "complicit" is to suggest that things are different from how that ought to be, once were, etc. I don't think that the evidence supports this view either.

Lichter's description of possible push and pull factors for migration is less nostalgic. I certainly never wanted to suggest that the study of such transnational processes should be dismissed. On the contrary, understanding them provides an important framework for further analysis of immigration and ethnic politics. But knowledge of such frameworks cannot explain policy choices (unless you think policy makers are really making their decisions based on some pure reading of the data) nor can they explain the politics of immigration. Some attention needs to be paid to how the processes are given meaning and how and why people choose to act on those meanings. Frameworks provide tools for actors to draw on, but they do not explain how or why people act on them.

When analyses are framed in terms of either right-wing or left-wing nostalgia, they become part of these research problems. That is, essentially, what I have been arguing. On the research level, one might want to know why different forms of nostalgia are generated and why some seem to resonate more effectively than others. However, I think we should be careful to separate our own analyses from that nostalgia. If we don't - and some of us have not - we cannot easily distinguish the tone from the message in our analyses. Try it on the right: would you argue that we can distinguish Pat Buchanan's nativist "analyses" from the tone in which they are presented? Such a distinction doesn't work on the left either. And we cannot decide not to study some of these assertions as part of the research problem simply because they have been made as social science rather than political commentary. After all, isn't that what someone like Charles Murray would like us to do?

My apologies if anyone feels I have ridiculed their research interests. That was not my intent. On the other hand, if anyone feels I was poking fun at notions of a Rousseauist past prior to the advent of multinational capital, well, yes, its true, I was. I get tired of hearing claims about economies being baldly asserted on the right (belief in market forces as nature's or God's intent for humanity) or the left (happy natives living in primitive communism) as if they were reality rather than ideology. Humor seems a good response. Sorry if anyone is offended.

David

=====================================================================

David I. Beriss

Department of French and Italian

University of Southern California

THH126

Los Angeles, CA 90089

phone: (213) 740-3171 or 3700 (office) fax: (213) 746-7297

(213) 664-4284 (home)

internet: beriss@mizar.usc.edu

=====================================================================





Date: Nov 09, 1994 14:57:45

From: John Allswang 04-10-91 <jallswa%calstatela.edu@KSUVM.KSU.EDU>

The view from California: Huffington's apparent loss has to be reassuring to observers of any party, given the incredible amount of money (maybe it will reach $30 million) he spent. Is that the ultimate corruption, paying off oneself to reach office?

The passage of Prop 187 (the anti-illegal immigrant measure) is actually quite consistent with the history of California initiatives. From the alien land law in 1920, through the repeal of fair housing in the 1960s, and now denial of social sevices to illegal immigrants (with other measures in between), there has been a consistent fear-of-minorities factor in initative formulation and voting in California. It does not correlate clearly with times of economic stress, although that may still be an important factor. In any event, Californians have rather consistently acted against minorities in the initiative process as well as in other ways.

Does anyone have a deja vu feeling relative to exactly 100 years ago.

Will 1994 be the new 1894--ending a period of non-party dominance with a new Republican coalition? Will Dan Quayle be this cycle's McKinley! And if so, what will happen to him in 2001? And Bob Dole as Elihu Root? Newt Gingrich as Joe Cannon? The possibilities are endless. History can be fun (but only for historians).

John Allswang

California State Univ., Los Angeles







Date: Sun, 13 Nov 1994 14:32:12 -0600

[Kenneth Waltzer <21409MGR@MSU.EDU> writes:]

Thanks to John Allswang for putting Prop 187 in historical perspective. Can anyone probe the parallels and differences between Prop 187 and earlier effort in California in the 1930s to repatriate large numbers of Mexican Americans? I would think that would be instructive.





Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 08:09:11 -0600

[Thanks to co-moderator Richard Jensen for forwarding his absorbing analysis

of the California vote for Wilson and Prop 187.]

Donald B. Connelly

<dconnell%lonestar.jpl.utsa.edu@KSUVM.KSU.EDU> asked on

H-POL:

Can GOP make inroads in African-American, Hispanic, and Asian middleclass? That was why some GOP opposed CA Prop 187.

Richard Jensen replies:

The CLASS dimension of ethnicity sometimes works to GOP advantage, as it did in California this year. In the governor's race Wilson took 46% of the Asian vote, and 23% of the Latino vote. A MAJORITY of 1st-generation immigrants voted for him.

As far as proposition 187 is concerned, it had strong support among blacks (47% yes) and Asians (47% yes). Indeed, 23% of Latinos voted for it. 54% of first generation immigrants voted in favor of 187.

It's long been a factor in ethnic history that recent immigrants are the ones most economically threatened by further immigration. As both the supporters and the opponents of 187 noted, illegal immigrants are coming to California for jobs. Whose jobs?--the jobs now held by people who most resemble them.

* If the number of such jobs is expanding rapidly, then of course everyone is in good shape and the competition does not hurt much. But when the job market is tight, the competition is real enough. Jobs are, of course, only one dimension of the problem. Opponents of 187 made the mistake of saying, "Not to worry, the jobs at risk are ones that ordinary Americans refuse to take."

Richard Jensen

U of Illinois-Chicago [campbelld@lynx.apsu.edu]









Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 10:16:01 -0600

[Joe Rodriguez <joerod@CSD.UWM.EDU> writes:]

Comparing Prop. 187 to the 1930s repatriation is instructive. While Mexicans today criticize and protest 187, Lazaro Cardenas, the Mexican president during the Depression encouraged Mexicans to return to Mexico, and even distributed land, tools, and animals to the repatriados who would set up farms in northern Mexico. The program was not totally successful and many Mexicans who returned were disappointed. But Cardenas wanted to demonstrate to other potential emigres that they should remain in Mexico and that the US had failed to provide opportunities for Mexican workers.

I think a useful way of looking at Prop. 187 is to consider how diplomacy and international economics affects our immigration laws and vice versa. A comparison with the Japanese situation in the early 1900s is instructive. Japan was a mighty industrial power with a large army and reacted strongly against the anti-Japanese movement in California, which resulted in the Gentleman's Agreement allowing Japan to save face by voluntarily restricting the emigration of Japanese laborers to the US.

Today,

US-Mexican economies are increasingly more intertwined which means that Mexico has more leverage and so its leaders are speaking out against 187. I would expect the Clinton administration will soon make some overture to Mexico to try to smooth over relations. Once again Califonria's hostility towards immigration is throwing a monkey wrench in the nation's international economic relations.

Joe Rodriguez

UW-Milwaukee