Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Texas, Chapter XIV, Power and Change, Last Chapter!

Finally we get to go to Dallas, also known by Dallasites as Big D, one of my hometowns.  I used to live in North Dallas as the child of a wheeler dealer in the 1970's and 80's.  I learned that money is very very nice.

I have heard a few people (well, two total) tell me that the last chapters of Michener's books aren't as appealing as the earlier chapters because they are about modern history.  This book was published originally in 1985, and I couldn't disagree more.  Having a unbiased description of current events (not that 1985 is even near to being a current time) is very interesting in a time where it seems that every current reporter of events has their own political agenda.

What really struck me in this chapter was the visitation of the Mexican illegal immigrant issue that Texas was experiencing in the 1980's.  This was as issue for the US government to fix via legislation. The words written outlining the issue, and the consequences of ignoring this issue, could be published word for word in our current 2011 paper and still be true!  I found this shocking.

There was discussion of the Simpson-Mazzoli bill, of which a version called the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was passed by congress after this book was published.  The problems have not gone away.  This is what was outlined as the issue, pre-1985!

"Simpson-Mazzoli was an effort ... to staunch the hemorrhaging along the Mexican border.... The bill offered three solutions: halt further illegal entry, grant generous amnesty and penalize American employers who hired illegals.....  opposed it vehemently on the dubious grounds that it would require immigrants... who had later obtained legal status to carry identification cards."

The issues viewed by the extreme radical Mexican-American revolutionary who wants to transform their portion of America into a reclaimed Mexican homeland and the patriot view of retaining American sovereignty are presented.  This is a follow up to the previous chapter's description of illegal immigration hardships and cruelties.   I would recommend purchasing this book just to read the last two chapters!

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