Amnesty and Historical Guilt: the Mexican-American War

Aren't many illegal immigrants just retaking land that was stolen from Mexico? A recent CBS report suggested exactly that. Several historians I spoke with are concerned by the notion that amnesty is justified by the Mexican-American War (1846-48), and rightly so. Land, race, nation, and historical grievance are powerful forces that pro-amnesty Republicans have utterly failed to take seriously. Some Mexicans see the American southwest as land stolen from them, and that attitude is not conducive to assimilation. To see this attitude at work, consider the CBS report on the Mexican-American War, which concluded with a statement that troubled several historians. Speaking to CBS about that war, Yale historian Amy Greenberg said, "A lot of [American] people live in land that was taken from Mexico in this war and they're not aware of that." She added, "I believe a lot of the immigration debate that's going on now operates in a vacuum where people are not realizing that in fact...(Read Full Article)

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