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Immigration's Rotten Borough dynamic...
[Helpful VDARE note: "Rotten Boroughs" were districts returning
members to the British House of Commons, prior to the
democratic Great Reform Act of 1833, despite having
few or even no inhabitants.
As a practical matter, they were in the gift of
local magnates. Well,
Fred Siegel has an excellent book
on ethnic politics in American cities - The
New York, D.C., L.A., and the Fate of
America's Big Cities
He points out that in Los Angles,
where between 40 and 50 percent of the population is
foreign born, the
small percentage of the population who are actually
citizens control the vote.
This means that while a recent
immigrant from El Salvador would like to send his
children to a school where they can learn English, he
doesn't get a vote. A Mexican-American schoolteacher
would like to keep her bilingual education job, which
will actually have the effect of keeping the
Salvadorean's children in poverty.
But the schoolteacher will be
able to send her kids to private school.
[P. 147, hardback]
Most Latino pols in L.A. are classic ethnic operatives - with a twist. What's different is most represent "rotten boroughs," districts where, because of recent immigration and the youth of the average Latino, the percentage of voters in the total population is tiny. This means that the real voting base is that small fraction of the population already eligible to vote and sometimes directly dependant on government employment programs. In practice this means that Latino-elected officials, like county commissioner Gloria Molina and City Councilman Richard Alarcon, support the failed bilingual education programs for the same patronage reasons they oppose charter school reform. Their support is based on getting their group's cut of the local government and social service jobs.February 23, 2001