Sunday, April 09, 2006

Immigration reform impact on Elgin

The Courier's editorial page has been consistently against immigration. In a previous editorial, Mike Bailey went as far as blaming immigrants for the closing of stores like Spiess and Ackemann's in the downtown. This argument, which doesn't take account of the rise of highways, automobiles and shopping malls, is of course, a little bid odd. I won't discuss it here.

Today, Dave Gathman takes his turn.
Only now are so many people coming in speaking the same tongue that some expect the right to have Spanish-language street signs and Spanish-language ballots and Spanish-language tax returns. (source: Elgin Courier)
The language issue is more or less a red herring. Children of immigrants rarely speak their parents' language as well as English, and their own children are unlikely to speak anything but English. So yes, there will be Spanish speakers, but it's a temporary phenomenon.
When Latinos form a majority in California and Texas — and they already accounted for a third of the people in each by the 2000 census, plus 42 percent of New Mexico — could our future hold a second war of succession? (source: Elgin Courier)
A little bit sensational, don't you think?

The immigration issue is complex, and I'm not sure what the right policy is. I'm an immigrant myself and sympathetic to the dream many Mexican immigrants have to become genuine, legal Americans. At the same time, I recognize the challenges and the stress that heavy, rapid immigration places on local schools and public services.

What we should keep in mind though is that housing prices in Elgin are largely driven by Mexican immigrants. If undocumented Mexicans are forced out of Elgin, housing prices are likely to collapse. They have been driving the price of real estate by pushing up from the bottom of the market.

It's only because immigrants have been paying inflated prices for Elgin's least-expensive housing, that sellers have made enough to trade up to bigger, more expensive homes on the far west side, or (gasp) Huntley, etc.

Yes, I think Ed Schock's dreamy "Far West" plans may not come into being if the immigrants leave. But then again, his Far West plans always had the character of a reaction to immigration...How can we forget the words he famously uttered a while back...But since he apologized, I won't mention them.


Blogger JasonSpalding said...

Cheap labor at all costs? We have seen in France what happens.

6:37 PM  
Blogger The Elginite said...

Hi, thanks for the comment.

Presumably by France, you're referring to the muslim riots that occurred several months ago. The difference between our country and France is that our's is a country that is based, more or less, on ideas. What it takes to be American is a love of country, and deep respect and attachment to the principles of the Founding, as described in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Just about every other country in the world is ethnocentric, and if you don't belong to the dominant ethnic group of, say, France, you'll always be more or less marginalized. America doesn't have a perfect record, but it's always tried to make everybody here--regardess of color or religion--American.

10:25 PM  

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