Migration is a human thing. As an animal, this is what we do and have done for two hundred thousand years or so. More than 40,000 years ago migrants from Africa made cave paintings in Europe and cave paintings they made in India may be older still. Recorded human history is less than 20,000 years old (if we want to be really generous with the archaeological record). Humans are migrants. It is what we do. All history is the story of us moving about this spinning blue ball. This is known.
Given the scale of human history; borders, fences and other barriers to migration are a very recent development and the idea that you can stop human migration with non-porous borders is a very recent fantasy. There are some who want America to embrace this fantasy. Unsurprisingly, the wingnut plan to create these non-porous barriers is firmly rooted in our mythologies of race. These mythologies make it easy for white or white approved migrants to come and stay with or without documentation, while other migrants face extra hurdles and fear mongering design to turn them into “the enemy”. This is the standard wingnut reaction to migration and immigration from the Know Nothings to the Tea Party, from the Chinese Exclusion Act to border fences. Policies rooted in race-based fears never work and always lead to trouble. And yet, that is the only type of policy today’s conservatives can imagine. The current movement of child migrants of color may strike fear in the hearts of these wingnut cowards, but these kids are not now and never will be a threat to America. They are just humans doing what humans have done for two hundred thousand years: move about the planet.
Without the free flow of migrants around the world since 1492, we would not be here. Since Columbus mistook an island in the Caribbean for India, it is very rare to find an example of violent migrants attacking the people they met on this continent or any other continent with one major exception: European migrants. It turns out that European migrants were extremely violent people.
I’m a descendant of these European migrants and when we came to America we did not assimilate into the existing culture or co-exist with them. Instead, we engaged in active ethnic cleansing–killing or driving off the people who used to live on the land we now call home. When we seized too much land to managed, we
captured imported people and made them into slaves–just to enhance our profits. By the time America was founded in 1776, we looked to the West and followed a rinse. wash, repeat pattern of conquest.
This is what we did in Texas. The Texicans flooded Northern Mexico in the early 1800s. Turns out that they were migrants who did not care about the borders of Mexico or any immigration laws concerning the land they wished to migrate upon. These Texicans demanded that their universal right of migration trumped any and all laws of the Mexican government. When the Mexican government responded with a demand that Mexican law should be respected, the Texicans launched a violent rebellion.
The Alamo was a battle for the rights of the migrant that is now firmly rooted in the mythology of Texas and America. I find it way off the irony charts that today’s white wingnuts embrace the position of the Mexicans who attacked the Alamo as they demand that new migrants respect borders that were created through a migration that refused to respect borders.