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MEXICO: US border

We have raised the possibility that Texas or California could be a problem if they were predominantly Mexican.. Virginia Abernethy says this situation existed nearly 100 years ago. Today ranchers have united in Project USA to form a border patrol. Here is the beginning of the report she sends: "Nearly one hundred years ago, the southern U.S. border with Mexico was a place of violence, chaos, and political intrigue. A bloody revolution was raging in Mexico, Mexican agitators and partisans were operating out of the United States, and massive illegal immigration from Mexico to Texas was underway. By 1915, a full-scale movement was afoot among Tejanos (Mexican-Americans and Mexican illegal aliens in Texas) to establish an ethnically separate state in the Southwest.

Tensions along the border were high, and racial violence was common. Things boiled over in January 1916 when Pancho Villa, a brutal, undisciplined, semi-literate horse thief, and his "Villistas" pulled 16 American engineers off a train in Mexico and shot them each in the head. In return, outraged Americans formed citizen vigilante groups, and racial violence between Anglos and Latinos intensified. Finally, two months after murdering the American engineers in Mexico, Villistas raided Columbus, New Mexico, massacred 18 Americans, then looted and burned most of the town. The Columbus massacre proved to be a turning point, and prompted an inattentive Washington finally to pay attention to the border. The Texas National Guard was federalized, and U.S. troops were sent after Villa into Mexico itself, where battles with Mexican troops nearly precipitated full-scale war.

Today, three generations later, the conditions on the U.S.-Mexico border are strikingly similar to what they were in the 1910s. There is again massive illegal immigration from Mexico, violence and chaos are the order of the day, political agitators in the United States conspire with factions in Mexico, and a militant Mexican separatist movement has taken root. Can severe ethnic tensions be far behind? Groups like ProjectUSA have long argued that our government's laissez-faire attitude toward immigration and immigration law enforcement is a recipe for disaster; that there is every reason to expect that the wholesale illegal invasion of America will result in violence and ethnic conflict".

Ronald Hilton - 12/5/02