Rockwall Herald Banner – re:Immigration from Sydney Vail 2/20

“We are a nation of immigrants.” We always have been. No people should know this better than Texans. Some people living in Texas today haven’t taken a Texas History class, otherwise they might know that there were “GTT” signs left in the old Union by some of our early pioneers which meant: “Gone to Texas.” Like America itself, it has been a place for second chances, a place for starting over.

Many new arrivals in future Texas were land poor and would do better under Stephen F. Austin’s land grant, or later on, the Homestead Act. Some came as slaves or tenant farmers. Today people can buy more house for the buck, have a back yard and a two-car garage, and they couldn’t keep up with that where they had lived, at least not in retirement. Some of our earliest Anglos and Scots Irish were fleeing debt collectors, on the “lamb from the law,” including at least one who fought at the Alamo. If you want to pursue this, The Handbook of Texas is a superior resource and it is online. Any good search engine will take you there. Great search system on the site.

Before the Texas Revolution, we shouldn’t be surprised that the family of Jose Antonio Navarro lived in San Antonio, among the c. 20,000 total Texas inhabitants in 1830. The Corsican/Hispanic descendant helped write the Texas Declaration of Independence, worked for the annexation of Texas to the United States in 1845, and opposed restricting voting to whites as “odious” and “ridiculous.” His lifetime had so many chapters, it reads like a novel. (Don’t short yourself. “Google him”!) And the people we now call Hispano or Mexican American were here first. Oh, Wait, the Native American tribes preceded them! The earlier residents were “careless” with their “Immigration Policy.”

Our Rio Grande border has always been porous. The two sides have traded and interacted, and crossed with impunity in many historical eras. In this last year people in the McAllen and Brownsville area were having an economic conference, “staging” their communities for placement of factories and companies with new job opportunities. Japanese investors who had already shown interest were present. Abruptly, Governor Rick Perry was also there: He was riding in a gunboat, to show the importance of fortifying the Border against desperadoes, coming to bring terror. They Were Children migrating for a better life. The next morning, the hotel guests and likely investors could watch television news about the incident to promote yet another run for President, if they didn’t see it on the news or from their windows the night before! “Loco en la Cabeza”

Now Mayors of the region are calling for the Texas National Guard to withdraw and for settling the immigration controversy because it is hurting their people. Business and tourism are suffering there. Texas State officials say it will take several years to get an added 250 DPS officers deployed there, possibly 2019. Guard members aren’t used to lengthy deployment and need relief to be with their families and to be at their jobs.

The United States-and Texas, a State in the Union- repeatedly missed the opportunity to invest in economic development For Mexico and the rest of Latin America, while making money for themselves. This was the topic of a Student Conference on National Affairs at Texas A&M-College Station in 1962. Nobel Prize Laureate Gunnar Myrdal’s projection was presented to doctoral students at UT Austin in the early 1970s. In his writings Myrdal gave the opinion that failure to invest would haunt us if we didn’t do it. Guess what! (But investments need to be in Sustainable Energy forms today.)

In the Texas Panhandle in my lifetime, farmers, dairy owners, and the parents of an animal veterinarian that I knew, benefited from the Bracero Program until1964 (Green Cards after that). Mexicans provided CHEAP LABOR. Laborers returned to the Rio when work was finished. GO HOME. I’ve walked through the German prison camp barracks in early winter near Hereford, Texas where workers were temporarily housed for $10 a week, in units cut into fourths per barracks. The season they were used the most was for picking cotton. Each unit had a bare light bulb strung from the ceiling and no plumbing. One could see through the cracks between the boards. Fortunes have been made on the backs of Mexican laborers in the last century plus, as they frame builders’ houses, tar their roofs and the roads to those developments. An example: the late Bob Perry, homebuilder, of Houston, a megabucks donor to Republicans, springs to mind. This type of building may have happened in Rockwall. I’ve seen the road workers and smelled the tar from roofs in the heat of summer, especially.

President George W. Bush and former Governor Rick Perry have had compassion for these people and their children. Rick Perry understood how much Texas would lose if Dreamers couldn’t attend our Colleges on Instate Tuition prices. Changing this will cost a lot more money down the road, and risk the inventions, medical discoveries they might have found. They won’t be able to pay for their care in county hospitals. Citizen tax payers will get that bill, too. And if you think education for brown or black children is too expensive, we might contemplate how expensive not educating them will be. How will they earn a living?

What is the bottom line? Texas will be throwing away an estimated $8.2 billion dollars over the next ten years, if President Barack Obama’s common sense actions to fix our broken immigration system aren’t adopted.

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1 Comment on "Rockwall Herald Banner – re:Immigration from Sydney Vail 2/20"

  • Steve Jacobd says

    Good article. Good survey of the subject.