Perspective

El Gringo y El Mexicano

America has not been a nation for well over a century.  She is more like an Indian stew: Never taken off the fire, the mess of wild carrots and fish is gradually transformed by the daily addition of squirrels and squash, birds and deer, and the odd bit of human body.  By the end of a month, the burgoo has gone through so many transformations as to be unrecognizable.  In the same way, a largely Anglo-American Protestant nation was transformed first by Northern Europeans; then, by Southern and Eastern European Catholics and Jews; and, in the latest phase, by Latinos, principally Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Central Americans, and, above all, Mexicans.

No one knows how many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans live here.  In the roundest of numbers, there are perhaps 15 million Mexican immigrants, a third of them illegal, and perhaps 15 million U.S. citizens of Mexican origin or descent, for a total of some 30 million.  There are at least ten million more people from other parts of Latin America.  As a percentage of the American population, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans have overtaken African-Americans as the dominant minority group, and, if the current rates of immigration are permitted to continue, the Mexican and Latino proportion of the population figure could double in ten years.  Given the differential in birthrates between non-Mexican native-born Americans and Mexican-Americans, the United States may be...

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