New Immigrants Can`t Rest In Peace In America

One way you can tell where a person believes his real home lies is where he wants to be buried. That was the subtext of the old Virginia state anthem, “Carry me Back to Ole Virginny,” (play) now banned by the Thought Police, a dolorous ballad sung by an ageing ex-slave who misses the place where he grew up.

In the shiny New America being constructed by the Treason Lobby and its allies, there`s no place for such sentiments. But, as it turns out, the New Americans themselves have a place for it—and it`s not here.

A recent article in the New York Times reports that it`s rare for new immigrants to the United States to want to be buried here. Most want their bodies taken back to their home countries and buried there, and for Mexicans, the largest single nationality group among recent immigrants, the sentiment seems to be virtually unanimous.

Father John Grange, a priest who serves a Bronx parish that is 80 percent Mexican, told the Times, “I don`t know of one Mexican family who has purchased a burial plot here.”  Spokesmen for R.G. Ortiz Funeral Homes, a New York chain that provides funeral services (including one-way transportation) for Hispanics, agrees. Perhaps half of the chain`s Puerto Rican customers and three-fourths of the Dominican and Ecuadorian clients want their bodies sent back to their home countries. For Mexicans, it`s closer to 95 percent. [New York Times, June 26, 2003, In Death, Homeward Bound; Most Mexican Immigrants Are Sent Back for Burial by Tripti Lahiri]

Nor are these transient cadavers necessarily those of ageing Mexicans who grew up in the old country, have their roots there, and want to rest forever in its soil. As the Times points out, the New York Mexican population tends to be young—the city`s Planning Department estimates the median age of the 200,000 Mexicans in New York is about 23—and therefore those who die tend to be young as well.  “Even in cases in which the immediate family is here, older relatives, like grandparents or aunts and uncles, ask for the body to be sent back.”

If these figures tell us anything, what they tell is that virtually all Mexicans and most other Latin American immigrants don`t consider the United States to be their home.

They just work here—or hang out, on welfare, dealing drugs, or doing whatever they do. But their real loyalties lie elsewhere—namely in the countries they came from.

And that tells us something else—that the claim of the Open Borders crowd that immigrants assimilate easily was yet another whopper.

Immigrants carry their culture with them and reproduce it where they settle, and for Mexicans and many other Latinos, regardless of where they grew up, their culture includes a national loyalty to their own fatherland and a wish to be buried there.

And it`s not just the desire to be buried in the old sod. It`s also the way Mexicans and other Latinos mourn their dead. A nun working in Father Grange`s parish says “that many people felt a proper funeral was only possible in Mexico,” and “over here, Mexicans cannot celebrate their dead in the same way. There`s no room in an apartment where two or three families live. There`s no time off work. It`s too expensive.”

And, because Mexicans and other immigrants tend to move around a lot, there`s no one in this country they can count on to tend the grave properly.

What sociologists call “folkways of death” among Hispanic immigrants are radically different from those of earlier immigrants. 

“When the Irish came to stay,” Father Grange told the Times, “the first thing they did was buy a grave. For the Mexicans, home is not here yet. In 10 years maybe New York will be home, and they`ll start to bury their dead here.” 

My guess is that in 10 years New York will be a pretty good facsimile of Mexico City. Maybe then they will consider it their home.

When a few immigrants arrive, they probably can and will assimilate, and when their own culture is not radically different from that of their new country, as was the case with the Irish, the Germans, and most other European immigrants of the nineteenth century, there`s no problem that a little time won`t solve. That`s why the Irish immediately bought graves—they came to stay and regarded the new country as the only one they had.

That`s assimilation.

But when millions arrive in what is more accurately called an invasion than immigration, there is and will be a problem, regardless of what kind of culture they carry.

And when the culture is substantially different from that of the host, the problems will continue as long as the immigrants keep coming—a truth the Economic Men of the Open Borders Lobby have never been able to grasp.

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[Sam Francis [email him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection of his columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control. Click here for Sam Francis` website.]