Who's Afraid of Mexicans?

People who never encounter them.
Kerry reports at Reason that state and local tough-on-immigration laws come primarily from places next to no one immigrates to.

In a report to be published by the American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) in September, [San Diego State sociologist Jill] Esbenshade finds that almost 80 percent of the localities where ordinances have been discussed had below the national average of Latino population share in 2000.

I found this contrast especially illuminating:

Meanwhile, Missouri’s newly deputized immigration enforcers have claimed the right to detain even immigrants who would not otherwise be arrested. As Gov. Blunt fills the state's detention centers, he might ponder the last time the state experienced an “unnatural influx” of migrants. In the first half of the 20th century, another politically unpopular group—Southern blacks—flooded into Missouri, bringing culture and identity, barbeque and blues. School kids learn to call that the “Great Migration”; politicians refer to today’s “immigration crisis.”

Yesterday's cultural synthesis is today's cultural amnesia, I guess. Which reminds me that I keep forgetting to visit Kansas City's American Jazz Museum.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center

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