Saturday, August 13, 2005

The next big wave

Alabama's Hispanic population officially is more than 98,000, which is up almost 300 percent over where it was 14 years ago. Unofficially, the population is much higher because many undocumented immigrants aren't included. A UAB professor estimates that the Birmingham area alone has 70,000 Hispanics, more than four times the area's number in the census count.

An interesting thing that Susan of Local Tint notes is that American immigration largely was unregulated until the 1880s, when Congress decided to bar all Chinese for a few generations. That means the ancestors of many white Americans, unlike today's Hispanic immigrants, faced few or no legal obstacles to entering the country. Somehow, despite almost 300 years of uncontrolled immigration to the present-day United States, everything still turned out all right.


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