THE INTERSTATE – Just look at this line of cars. Bumper to bumper. Surfboards tied to the roofs, marijuana plants sticking out of the trunk. Californians, here they come. There is a surge of Left Coast (pardon the cliché) folks moving to Texas, more than from any other state. The Census Bureau reports that more than 363,000 Californians moved to Texas over the past five years. Just in 2010, almost 70,000 of them arrived here. It is not clear how many Texans moved to the Golden State; mostly high school football players like Heisman candidate Andrew Luck (Houston to Stanford).
So you have trouble getting a parking place? Long lines to see your parole officer? I’ll bet you have to wait hours at the ER. That’s because not only Californians are arriving, but so are immigrants from every other state along with the rest of the world. As of the 2010 Census, there were 25,145,561 people living in our state, up 4.3 million since the last Census in 2000. That is a 21 percent increase (I’m rounding off these figures) in 10 years which is more than twice the national population increase of 9.7 percent. For total population growth, it is as though between 2000 and 2010 every man, woman and child in both Los Angeles and San Francisco moved here, and sometimes I think they have.
This is counting not only the immigrants but new-borns, because Texans love to reproduce. Our birthrate is significantly higher than the national rate: 13 per 1,000 people for the nation compared to 15.4 per 1,000 for Texas. Our state’s Hispanic births accounted for nearly half (49 percent) of the state’s 386,096 births last year. Today Hispanics make up 38 percent of the state’s population. The Texas State Data Center projects that by 2040 Hispanics will account for over 50 percent of all Texans, while one-third of the population will be Anglo. Blacks are expected to make up 9 percent of Texas’ population in 2040, and other races (not Anglo, black or Hispanic) are expected to grow to almost 6 percent. Oh, and Texans are younger than the rest of the nation — our average age is below the national average.
This army of newcomers from out of state shows up in different ways. For example, at pro sporting events you’ll see as many fans rooting for the Dodgers or the Bears or the Knicks as you will find cheering for the Texas team. The Dodgers ARE the home team. Ever notice all the LSU and OU bumper stickers and front-yard flags reading Ole Miss, USC and Cornell? Then there are those parents from Ohio or Michigan who don’t want their children saying “Ma’m” and “Sir” to their elders. It’s a Texas thing (or thang), but others feel using such titles is demeaning. And many of these Pilgrims just off the Conestoga can’t understand why their children have to study Texas history in school. “We didn’t have to study New Jersey’s history.” The comebacks for such a statement are too numerous to list, but do you get the idea the Border Patrol is watching the wrong river?
Incidentally, we have not yet mentioned the rest of the world which is trekking to the Not-So-Lonely Star State. An example: among Houston ISD students 84 different languages are spoekn. Almost one out of every four Houstonians is foreign born. No wonder the Bayou City has 87 foreign consulates. Where are these newcomers ssetting up shop? Mostly to the Houston area, the Metroplex and the I-35 corridor (Georgetown-Austin-San Antonio). No one moves to Pampa. Would. You?
It would be tempting to say, “I’m on board, so raise the gangplank.” But all studies show the vast migration here is going to continue. This, obviously, begs the question to our Yankee put-down artists and eastern media elite: If we’re so bad, why does everyone else want to join us? They’re voting with their feet.
So our new immigrants and new babies are here and will stay here. This means we need more schools, more roads and bridges, more of everything, and more taxes to pay for them. It means our air will only get dirtier, so will our water, which we’re already lacking. And it means our Texas state anti-pollution agencies will have to come up with even more excuses as to why they’re in the pocket of the gods of smog. The good news is that we’re getting four more members of Congress. The bad news is that we’re getting four more members of Congress. The ones we have now are quite embarrassing enough without adding to their number.
GTT of course, is not new. Four Irishmen signed the Texas Declaration of Independence (we had our own), and 100 were listed in the rolls of San Jacinto, comprising one-seventh of the total Texan force in that battle. Eleven Irishmen died at the battle of the Alamo and 14 were among those with James W. Fannin at the Goliad Massacre. Until after 1877, German-speaking Texans outnumbered both Hispanics and Anglos.
At the Alamo the defenders came from 20 states and six countries. There were only 11 native Texians in the mission, all of them Tejanos, while 22 of the defenders just appeared, and to this day no one knows where they were born. At San Jacinto, the Texas Army came from 24 states, 11 countries, and Texas. Again, the only native Texians were 30 Hispanics from San Antonio. (Remember, Anglos were the original illegal immigrants.)
A witness the morning before the battle described the Texas Army: “A scene singularly wild and picturesque presented itself to our view. Around 20 or 30 campfires stood as many groups of men: English, Irish, Scots, Mexicans, French, Germans, Italians, Poles, Yankees, all unwashed and unshaved, their long hair and beards and mustaches matted, their clothes in tatters and plastered with mud. A more savage-looking band could scarcely have been assembled.” Our Californians should feel right at home.
Ashby carpetbags at email@example.com