Most of the statistics here are sourced from Lazar Treschan’s policy brief “Latino youth in New York city – School, work, and income trends for New York’s largest group of growing people” and other government and population statistics.
Latinos are a growing populace in America, with a political identity that is as mixed as the ethnic sub-groups which make the Latino and Hispanic communities. Hispanic and Latin Americans have been crucial to the ongoing processes of America from colonization till today. Throughout these times Hispanics and Latin Americans have had shifting prospects in terms of livelihood, citizenship, defense, and growing families in the Americas.
Rewind to the mid 19th century. What resources the Spanish had previously capitalized on, Anglo Americans adopted in the Southwest after the Mexican American war and acquisition of New Mexico and Arizona territories. The Mexican population of the territories which Mexico ceded to the United States was only about 116,000 but that population would fluctuate over time. The American cattle industry was bolstered by the acquisition of Mexican land, workers, and cattle ranching techniques. The Anglo-American cowboy copied much of his entire get-up from the Mexican “vaqueros”.
In terms of raw metals, mines in Arizona alone produced $3 billion worth from 1838 to 1940, the laborers of which were a Mexican majority. The Mexican laborers in the mines were either native to the territory or migrant workers from across the border recruited by labor contractors. Mexican workers from Chihuahua would go to Arizona and then return back to their farms during harvest time. With all of this coming and going, Mexican impact in the region must have been much greater than early figures have suggested. A half century later Latinos would be incorporated into American and European life with events such a the construction of the Suez and Panama canals, and various other industrial and corporate endeavors such as transit lines and corporate banana republics.
The California gold rush had made business interests desire quicker routes to the Pacific Coast. Sailing four months from New york to San Francisco around Cape Horn proved to be annoying for those interests. Companies vied for control over the sea and land routes through Central America; railroad lines connected the ship lines along the eastern and pacific coasts through Panama, Columbia, and Nicaragua. Steamship, railroad, courier services, and fruit and sugar plantations all started to arise in Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. The will to make profit would relocate and claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans. Some of the banana plantations grew to become the first firms of the Standard Fruit Company, which is now the popular brand “Dole.” There are tales of horrible treatment and lack of any consideration or representation for the workers in these plantation communities.
Global corporate activity relocates people and internationalizes and privatizes business. Borders are ignored and countries are rendered dependent on their dominators – like modern mercantilism.
Further ahead, the Treaty of Paris after the Spanish-American War ceded Cuba and Puerto Rico, and parts of the West Indies, Guam, and the Philippines over to the Unites States. Puerto Rico became increasingly more of interest and the Foraker Act declared the island of Puerto Rico a US territory. One of the things the Foraker Act did was devalue the Puerto Rican Peso and replace it with the dollar. This allowed US sugar companies to have an easier time buying out Puerto Rican lands, and turn many independent Puerto Rican coffee farmers into the growing agricultural labor force.
Many Puerto Ricans left Puerto Rico to work in American companies. From 1900 to 1901 5,000 Puerto Ricans were sent to Hawaii to work in the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association. The majority of those workers settled on Oahu, where they founded the first major Puerto Rican community outside Puerto Rico.
Americans did the same to island of Cuba, rushing to the island to buy out whatever they could including the whole island. Companies came to Cuba building railroads, until the “Ten Years War” started in 1868 which made Americans and some native Cubans flee. The companies came back right after the war, however, and thereafter America dominated Cuba’s railroad and sugar production with 94% of sugar exports going to the United States.
The Cuban adjustment act of 1966 helped some 20,000 Cubans immigrate to the US annually before 1980, when hundreds of thousands of “Mariels” came to Miami. Mariels were black Cubans who didn’t receive too much recognition by anyone. Later on in 1994 some thousands more Cubans came on raft boats, hence the name “the rafters.”
In 2006 the Department of Homeland Security initiated a program to legally allow Cuban medical professionals to come to the US. It has been said that Miami is flooded with Cuban medical professionals. Miami is also a hot-spot for Nicaraguans, with about 100,000 by 2008.
Many Latin Americans came to America from the times of the colonies till today for various reasons. With American involvement in World War II, sponsored labor positions started to arise in the domestic US to fill the positions that were now empty. The Bracero Program had brought thousands of Mexicans to various regions in the US by 1945. Mexicans are known to populate nearly every region of the US, likely due to their location and reasons to seek better opportunity. Mexicans tend to move to areas with large numbers of jobs in construction, stock, and retail.
By the 1990s the Mexican economy experienced a devaluation of the Peso, and the NAFTA made it hard for Mexican farmers to compete with American producers. By 2010 Mexicans accounted for about 2/3 of the total Hispanic population, and about 60% of undocumented immigrants in the US.
After Trujillo of the Dominican Republic was assassinated in 1961, Dominican immigrants poured into the US, largely New York City. Dominicans even outnumbered Italians as the largest foreign-born group in New York in 1990, although they were still 2nd to Puerto Ricans in terms of the largest Hispanic group in New York City. After 1990 Dominicans started to appear in places like Providence, Rhode Island. Similar to Mexicans and other Latinos, many Dominicans did not intend to stay in the US permanently, and siphoned money back home or saved up to go back home. Many Mexican immigrants take this approach today.
More than 500 Dominican major league baseball players were sent to the US from 2001 to 2006. Less than one fourth of Dominican immigrants graduated high school and only 4% held a college degree by the year 2000.
Latinos today and final thoughts
Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Dominicans are the largest three Latino populations in New York City. Like most people, Latinos tend to move to areas where they feel safe, and at home. Where they don’t stand out as people who seem “un-American.”
Lazar Treschan’s report on Latino youth in New York City showed that people aged sixteen to twenty-four that identify as Hispanic are New York City’s largest ethnic group, with Puerto Ricans being the most disadvantaged. The Community Service Society report tells us that young Puerto Ricans males are less likely to attend school or become employed than other Latino groups. The statistics show that Dominican youth have the lowest proportion of youth with a high school diploma, with Puerto Rican youth being second behind.
I think the problem that Puerto Ricans are facing in America is just a problem that all Americans regardless of race are facing. All Puerto Ricans are citizens and most can speak English. The lot of Puerto Rican youth is born inside New York City. Statistics also show that Puerto Ricans are the highest percentage of higher income earners in the Latino demographic in New York City. The cost of living in Puerto Rico is not drastically cheaper unlike many other Latin American countries.
Mexicans are in a totally different ballpark than Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, or any other Latino ethnicity. Many Mexicans siphon money and resources back to Mexico where living is generally cheaper. Mexicans are more likely to get jobs than any other Latino demographic. Although Mexican immigrant school attainment rates and english speaking rates are low, Mexicans don’t really seem to need help in those areas to achieve job opportunities.
If illegal immigration were to be approached in any sort of impactful way, there should be effort made to reform countries on both sides of the borders. There are problems in America and Mexico that are costing Americans and Mexicans their livelihood and their lives quite literally. I’m sure that Mexicans would love to reform Mexico’s problems and enrich their country through providing for their own communities. Americans would also love to do this. Unfortunately as time goes by this is becoming less of a possibility for all people.
America’s jobs should be for American citizens including all outsourced jobs which should be brought back to America. Mexico’s jobs should be for Mexican citizens. The power structure (TPTB) desires the destruction of borders, excess/illegal immigration, relocation of people and outsourcing of jobs.
Here’s some stats:
- There are about 50 million Latinos currently in the US, 60% of which are Mexican.
- Roughly 20% of Mexican immigrants in this country are not citizens yet hold jobs, receive benefits, and start families.
- Undocumented immigrants cost the united states 100 billion per year, roundabout.
- 20% of about 30,000,000 Mexicans is 6,000,000.
My Latino studies professor said a “myth” regarding illegal immigration is that illegal Latinos “take our jobs” and it is certainly not a myth. Some people say that these jobs are taken because they are jobs Americans don’t want. That is false. Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities would – contrary to popular belief – like to have these jobs; however employers will not cease to hire (illegal) immigrants or outsource jobs so in turn the problems with the job market will not cease.
Many (illegal) immigrants siphon money to family or their home country while getting help in the US and are likely to work for extended periods of time before finally moving back home. When they do move back home, another (illegal) immigrant will fill in the essentially never-vacant job position through a network of personal referrals.
Immigration plays into political polarization because Democrats side with the immigrants and Republicans side with the employers; thus yielding the opposite effect of progress within communities. Illegal immigrants are unwitting cogs in the wheel of the struggle for decent jobs and living wages in America as well as their home countries, especially places like Mexico.
Why are we labeled as “anti-American” or “racist” or “intolerant” if we want to correct America’s border issues and bring back American jobs?
We need to solve the issues that are causing…
- drug gang/cartel violence
- excess illegal immigration
- loss of jobs and livelihood for all countries
I have nothing against immigrants, I just wish all of our countries could be reformed