Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Immigrant Influx in Tennessee

I live in the eastern portion of the state, in a medium-sized town, and I've noticed some changes in the past two or three years.

Every day, more and more, I'm seeing people who look like their nationality is Mexico, or at least south of the Rio Grande. Such folks always have been around, but I've noticed a marked increase in their numbers, recently.

Some examples of this trend:

When I go anywhere--whether it's the mall, Wal-Mart, the grocery store, a restaurant, etc., I see them--and sometimes in large numbers.

One of the local Taco Bells now is populated almost exclusively by Mexican employees.

Signs are going up here and there, written in Spanish, where once no such signs existed.

My wife worked at Cracker Barrel, a few years ago, and almost every individual who worked in the dishroom was a Mexican. Only one of them spoke English, and not very well. The rest verbally could neither communicate with, nor understand, their coworkers.

Now let me make something clear. I am not against legal immigration, if said immigrants want to assimilate with our culture and become loyal to our country and way of life. Neither am I against Mexicans. Not at all.

But based on my own experience in observing the immigration situation in my neck of the woods, I've drawn some conclusions:

1. The sheer number of these people, coupled with the time-frame involved, indicates a high likelihood that many are here illegally.

2. Rather than protesting such changes or showing the merest concern, local businesses embrace the immigrants, asking few if any questions, and catering to their deficiencies.

3. The majority of them that I run across speak either broken English, or zero English. This indicates a disinterest in assimilating with the greater population. (Anecdote: My wife currently works with a woman who immigrated from Mexico. She speaks almost no English, and has exhibited no interest in improving her skill in speaking the language. They have been coworkers for over a year.)

I know there are exceptions, and I've limited my remarks to the region in which I live, but this makes good food for thought about the direction our country is headed.

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