We At Home

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” Franklin D. Roosevelt


Surely, America would be a much better land for all if more people across the country thought like the 32nd President of the United States of America, Franklin D. Roosevelt. If more people realized the historical significance of Mexico when it comes to United States history; it would be understood that Hispanic-Americans and the likes thereof are already at home.

Especially considering that the Library of Congress documents, “The first Mexicans to become part of the United States never crossed any border. Instead, the border crossed them.” The Library explains, “Spanish-speaking people have lived in North America since the Spaniards colonized Mexico in the sixteenth century, and Mexicans have always played a crucial role in the continent’s culture and history. Mexican culture brought many firsts to North America: The first Thanksgiving took place in either New Mexico or El Paso; the first university in North America was founded in Mexico City; the first printing press on the continent arrived in Mexico in 1538, more than a century before printing came to New England.”

Furthermore, former United States President, Theodore Roosevelt once said, “In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American.”  

    The truth is most immigrants who come to America, truly are in search of a better life for themselves and their families. It is evident that individuals of Mexican descent try desperately to assimilate within American culture. Many take up low paying jobs and pay taxes and strive to assimilate to the best of their ability. However, there is still the lingering hostility displayed by the likes of people in power like, Donald Trump who refuses to see the benefits of embracing the Brown culture.

Over the years, Hispanic-Americans have faced great difficulty in the states, by simply attempting to achieve the American dream. But many do not realize the great link between America and Mexico. In fact, if it was not for Mexico, there are certain states within the country that wouldn’t even exist. Pedro Garza contributed an opinion piece in Forbes providing a brief history about the two nations. In his op-ed entitled, “Mexicans Didn’t Immigrate to America – We’ve Always Been Here, “he traces his own roots back to a community west of McAllen, Texas known as La Grulla. An excerpt from his article reveals the following.

“In the early 1800s, with a passion for expansionism fueled by Manifest Destiny, the United States craved a passage to the Pacific Ocean — and by extension, the shipping routes to Asia. But Mexico inconveniently stood in the way. So, the United States invaded. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the two-year Mexican-American War in 1848 and ceded present-day Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming to the United States. The United States realized its ‘destiny’ and secured its pathway to the Pacific. But it also inherited the hundreds of thousands of Native Americans and millions of Mexicans who had long lived on that land. It was an immigration problem of the U.S. government’s own making.”

“The U.S. Army responded to Native Americans with involuntary removals and reservations. From 1864 to 1866, nearly 10,000 Navajo and Apache people were forced to walk 450 miles to a camp in eastern New Mexico. The reservation didn’t have adequate shelter or food. Over 2,300 Navajo and Apache died before the Army allowed survivors to move back home. Dealing with the much larger group of Mexicans — many of them landowners, office-holders, entrepreneurs, lawyers, bankers and members of the clergy — was more complex. The government couldn’t consign them to reservations.

Their customs, language, traditions, values, culture, food and communities all became part of who we are as a nation — whether the U.S. government liked it or not. But the U.S. government still did its best to make its newest citizens foreigners in their own land and unwelcome in their own country. Congress passed the Homestead Act in 1862, allowing Americans to apply for Western land in exchange for farming on it — taking land that belonged to Mexicans. Later, during the Great Depression, the United States deported almost 2 million Mexicans. More than half of them were U.S. citizens.”

He goes on to inform that since that time individuals of Latin descent have attained, “$1.5 trillion in purchasing power and Latino-owned businesses were responsible for 86% of small business growth from 2007 to 2012.” So, people can continue to talk all they want, but the truth is Mexican-Americans are already at home and no wall or border will ever be able to hinder. Because we at home!