Her sister Alejandra was the first to leave. In Los Angeles, she and her husband were barely able to make ends meet. As in Mexico, "there was little work and it's poorly paid," she said.Eight years ago, she and her family moved to Kentucky, where a friend said there was more work and were fewer Mexican immigrants bidding down the wages for unskilled jobs. ...
Today, the Magdalenos in Lexington earn more than they did in Los Angeles, in a city where the cost of living is lower. Kentucky is now their promised land, and they talk about California the way they used to talk about Mexico.
"What we weren't able to do in many years in California," Alejandra said, "we've done quickly here."We're in a state where there's nothing but Americans. The
police control the streets. It's clean, no gangs. California now resembles Mexico — everyone thinks like in Mexico. California's broken."
I recently bought a house on the western end of a small town outside of Kansas City that straddles rural farmland and suburbia. It's surrounded on three sides by open fields and farmland. Long bike rides become sojourns into a nineteenth century midwest. A friend is having a house built in the same neighborhood. Everything that makes the area so magical is being threatened by an onslaught of people moving into the area (the population having increased over 50% since the 2000 Census was taken). Surveying the plot a few days ago, he remarked on how he wished construction in the area would cease. And he's having a new house built! I, sharing his sentiment, am only slightly less guilty, as my house is a couple of years old and had a previous owner. I recall my parents telling how where they live now was out in the boonies when they were children, but now sits smack in the middle of the KC suburbs on the Kansas side.
The unskilled immigrants in Kentucky are prospering in the bluegrass state because there is not (yet) a large contingent of them (only 2% of the state's residents are foreign-born), just as recent arrivals from south of the border used to face better prospects in California than they do today, having to compete with a slew of other unskilled laborers undercutting one another's wages. Tomorrow there'll be stories about immigrants starting out in Kentucky and moving to South Dakota to take advantage of the higher wages, better infrastructure, and safer streets an area comprised only of Americans provides.
Implicit in all of this is the decline in the quality of life of working and middle class natives. As California's finances are strained, prison system is overcrowded, wages are depressed, and educational system and IQ are truncated, these natives are fleeing in droves back to the US, desperately trying to escape from an expanding Mexico.
The question to ask is why? When less endowed natives are facing a plethora of challenges from globalization, mechanization, the destruction of the nuclear family, and America's coming entitlement crises, why pile on them by keeping open the floodgates to anti-merit immigrants who add virtually nothing to the national economy (and what they do contribute is almost solely in the form of lower labor costs, not innovation, which is key in the US remaining competitive internationally) and bring a host of undesirable externalities?
I too would head north if in their shoes, just as I moved to a place with a small town ambience and in the process took away slightly from that rurality of that environment. Now, I, too want fewer people like myself to move in. Similarly, the GOP should heed the concerns of the Magdalenos by halting the unskilled Hispanic immigration that threatens their quality of life just as it does so many natives instead of trying to out-pander the Democrats at the expense of their base.