An "Invasion of Illegal Aliens": The Oldest Immigration Fear That Shifts Transport to America



Mary Gomez, 22, is carrying his son David Moise, 1, as the killer caravan of Central American migrants hoping to reach the US border from Juchitan, Oaxaca, Mexico, on Thursday, November 1, 2018 / Rodrigo Abd)

Sprint from the Mexican border directly to the opposite traffic at Interstate 5 in California, zigzagging their way around the cars approaching San Diego's port of entry.

"They keep coming," the narrator said over the ominous music. "Two million illegal immigrants in California".

The video comes from "Border Under Siege", a 1992 public relations film produced by US Border Patrol. But on the television screens of millions of Californians, it was a re-election campaign in 1994 for Governor Pete Wilson, who had just sued the federal government for failing to stop a "invasion" of undocumented migrants under the Constitution's Invasion Clause: Article IV, Section 4, requiring the federal government to protect states from the invasion. Wilson conducted one of the most anti-immigrant campaigns of his time, seeking to exempt all social services from unrecognized migrants by Proposal 187.

But his military "invasion" transfer, fueling the belief that California was literally "under siege", was an old use.

It is one of the oldest and most persistent disguises against immigration in the history of the country, working to resist Irish Catholics, Asians, Latins, Germans, Jews, and almost everyone except the white Protestants of English descent now live in America. The nation is constantly facing a supposed "invasion" by many immigrant strikes, said Leo P. Chavez, professor of social sciences at the University of California, Irvine and author of The Latino Threat: Building Immigrants, Citizens and the Nation. "

The recent use of President Trump's "invasion" metaphor to describe the caravan of thousands of Central Americans seeking asylum now approaching the southern border is just the latest iteration.

"It's like an invasion," he said during his comments on the caravan on Thursday. "They have crossed the border of Mexico violently, you saw that two days ago, these are tough people in many cases, many young men, strong men, and many men we may not want in our country."

The rhetorical tool, Chavez said, "quenches the real characteristics of those who want to come to the United States," instead of creating the image of a single army "directed at destroying our way of life."

"People need to realize that Trump has not invented this rhetoric," Chavez said. "He is able to use it effectively".

The strategy of shaping immigration as an invasion can be traced back to the 1850s when the party of the Protestant majority Know Nothing, the original party America First, rallied against Catholic immigrants. Believing that they were being controlled by the Pope and therefore incompatible with American freedoms, the well-known Nothings accused the Catholic immigrants "going and compensating for the accuracy of regular soldiers with the Popish drum fountain."

Then they were the Asians. In a court ruling of 1889 on the Chinese Exclusion Act, Supreme Court Judge Stephen J. Field summed up the attitudes of California's politicians towards Chinese workers: "Their immigration has reached numbers approaching the character of an eastern invasion and posed a threat to our culture. the dissatisfaction with this cause was not limited to any political party or any class or nationality but was almost universal. "

The fear of immigrants was not limited to the unpublished US working class. "The Migration Restrictions Association, founded by the new trainees at Harvard Boston Brahmins in 1894," wrote Charles Hirschman in a 2006 study, "backed a literacy test to slow down the tide of emigration. reduced migration from southern and eastern Europe, which sent a "worrying number of illiterates, criminals, criminals and madmen that threatened American character and citizenship."

But for Latino migrants, these negative attitudes toward their immigration did not increase until the early 1970s, when illegal immigration began to increase at the southern border, as demographers Douglas S. Massey and Karen A. Pren of his immigration work Princeton University of Mexico a 2012 document dealing with immigration.

Employees under the authority of President Gerald Ford were particularly eager to warn of an "illegal alien invasion," as though America was struggling for a continuation of the "World War" of H.G. Wells.

Leonard Chapman, then Commissioner for Immigration and Naturalization, wrote an article in Reader's Digest in 1976 describing an imminent national crisis called "Illegal Aliens: Time to Call Halt!"

"When I became Commissioner in 1973, we were out-manned, with no budget, and we faced a growing, implicit invasion of illegal aliens." Despite our best efforts, the problem – crucial then – now threatens to become a national disaster, "Chapman wrote.

CIA director William Colby then believed the situation was so pressing that if Mexican immigrants did not stop, they would create a "Quebec-Spanish-speaking Quebec" in the South West United States, according to the book "Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal alien" and construction of the US-Mexico border. "

"The most obvious threat," Colby said, "is that … there will be 120 million Mexicans by the end of the century. [The Border Patrol] they will not have enough spheres to stop them. "

Chavez, Professor UC Irvine, said fears about Mexican immigration and non-spiteful immigration generally spread as a result of evolving demographics following changes in immigration law in the mid-1960s. US immigration policies in the coming years – rhetorical talks of politicians – was a response to what became known as "the brown of America," he said.

Congress adopted the Immigration and Citizenship Act in 1965, which replaced what was seen as a system of racist quotas that has been restricting for decades the migration of African, Asian and Eastern Europeans into a system that allocates equal annual visas to countries around the world. But it was the first time that the countries of the western hemisphere and Latin America were subject to any immigration quota. And around the same time, Congress canceled the Bracero program, which allowed temporary mobile workers to come and cross the border for farm work, making about 450,000 less legal visas per year for Mexicans.

The result, Chavez said, was that while the same number of peoples from Latin America wanted to come to work, the vast majority suddenly deprived a readily available legal choice. The annual total of people crossing the border illegally from Mexico increased from less than 25,000 in 1958 to more than 450,000 since 1978, according to US Department of Homeland Security.

Chavez said Trump's rhetoric did not match reality. The trapee often describes a crisis at the border, requiring a wall and troops. However, data from the Department of Homeland Security show illegal crossings to be historically low, according to data from the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.

But the caravan presents a different challenge. Trump has stated that it can deploy up to 15,000 border army members to meet more than 5,000 men, women and children traveling for 21 days from Central America. The president said he intends to take executive action next week, seeking to stop the "abuse" of the asylum system and to restrict the entry of immigrants, promising to limit themselves to "mass scene scenes".

Asked by reporters on Thursday whether his scheduled caravan response is legal, Trump said: "Oh, that's perfectly legitimate, no, that's legitimate, we stop at the border, it's an invasion, and nobody is questioning it."