Of all the pro-immigration arguments, the parallel between Italians and Hispanics is perhaps the most stupid and offensive.
It is true that southern Italian immigrants to the United States were for the most part of a lower socioeconomic class and of traditional Catholic background, and that their descendants have taken longer than some other European-origin groups to move into the mainstream of American life.
Tell me about it. I grew up in Hamilton. Many Italian immigrants across Canada never learned more than a few words of English.
But Italians never formed an aggressive ethnic lobby as Hispanics have done.
Well… in the heady identity politics days of the 1960s, they tried, but it didn’t last long. (And the story would make, as I’ve said many times, a good Martin Scorcese movie.)
Most importantly, Italians never dominated entire cities and regions, swamping American institutions and customs and setting off a mass exodus of Americans from those areas. Indeed, how could they? People of Italian origin have never comprised more than four percent of the U.S. population. Hispanics already comprise over 12 percent of the U.S. population and (if immigration is not stopped) will comprise 25 percent in a few decades. Their growing presence in California, where they now make up over a quarter of the population, could very well lead to the Quebecization of that state in the near future.