But it’s a false comparison between, say, Muslim immigrants who settle in Rotterdam and refuse to integrate with Dutch society, and Mexican immigrants who go to Catholic mass and long to become American citizens. The former pose a real challenge to a society’s stability, but the latter can be sucessfully assimiliated if policymakers want to assimilate them. ~Dave Weigel

Following the Powell Doctrine (Enoch, not Colin), I would observe that the most crucial problem with mass Mexican and Latin American immigration of the kind we have been having for the past two decades is the sheer number of immigrants.  Immigration in large numbers prevents the kind of social pressure necessary to make assimilation succeed; if the number of immigrants is too great, assimilation breaks down because the native society’s acceptance is no longer nearly as necessary for the immigrants to make their own way.  

Two other main problems, both of which others have pointed out time and again, are the proximity of the home country of these immigrants–which weakens whatever assimilation they do embrace and reinforces their old national identity–and the unwillingness of many of them to adopt the habits of the natives.  I understand why they would retain the culture of their ancestors, and I respect that piety; what I do not understand is why we should want them to transplant that culture to our soil or why we expect their ancestral culture to have no political and social consequences. 

A fourth, but very relevant point is the question of the political traditions of the countries from which these immigrants are coming: most Latin American countries have inconstant, shaky histories of representative government and democratic practise or they have had long traditions of fraudulent one-party rule dressed up as democratic government, and this is certainly true of Mexico. 

Fifth, the vast majority of the people coming from the south may be Catholics, but it is a kind of Catholicism entirely unlike the Catholicism of the Americanised ethnics of the last 150 years, and they come from those populations in Latin America with the most superficial acquaintance with European culture.  How well will millions of these people adapt to our European culture?  How accommodating will their version of Catholicism be to American habits and political life?  Besides that, how accommodating will their admittedly very left-wing politics be to the American political system? 

You may not have to worry about caudillos overthrowing democracy, but you may have very real reasons to worry about future American Lopez Obradors, Evo Moraleses and legions of homegrown Chavistas.  Saying this is not intended to be a scare tactic, but simply an acknowledgement that the democratic expression of Latin American Indios has been for racial identity politics, socialist or quasi-socialist political economy and authoritarian populism, and these people have opted for these things because they believe them to be in their self-interest.  That self-interest does not change because they have shifted to another country. 

“Democracy” of some sort or other may do splendidly in our future New Mexico writ large, but it will be an abusive, illiberal democracy that ignores the rule of law, fosters corruption and organises itself through a padron system.  Every dysfunctional aspect of modern New Mexican politics will be set free to misrule the Southwest and it will be even more dysfunctional than New Mexico has ever been at its worst.  If that is the sort of future people wish for the Southwestern United States and beyond, be my guest and let things continue as they are going.