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NUESTRA VOZ DE NORTH TEXAS


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No. 138

 

Illegal immigration: A Brief History
G. Jimenez
Week Ending October 14th

Mexico and Texas have a very long history regarding immigration.  Some people might be surprised to hear there was a time when it was illegal for US citizens to immigrate to Tejas, otherwise known as present day Texas.
In 1821 Texas was a providence of Mexico, also known as Tejas. Initially Tejas held themselves at the same standards as when Spain was in control. Then in 1824 the Constitution of Mexico set up a federal structure that allowed Tejas to join province with Coahuila to form the new state of Coahuila y Tejas. The new state was severely underpopulated with only about 3500 settlers. This posed a problem with the indigenous tribes who often raided the colony. This led to the General Colonization law of 1824, this allowed every head of household despite race or immigration status to settle in Mexico. Most of the settlers were fleeing the aftermath of an economic crisis that happened in the United States. There were also other settlers coming from Europe and other parts of Mexico. The General Colonization Law of 1824 proved to be very successful but relief was short lived as the Mexican government started making changes regarding slave laws.
In 1829, Mexico officially abolished slavery. Stephen F. Austin, knowing the anger this would cause the Anglo colonist attempted to muffle news of the new law. His efforts proved fruitless, news of the new law spread quickly through the colonies. Murmurs of revolt could be heard all through town. The governor of Tejas wrote to the President of Mexico explaining the importance of slavery to the Texas economy and was granted temporary exemption from this new law. However, the next year Mexican President Anastasio Bustamante ordered Tejas to comply with the emancipation proclamation or face military intervention. This did not sit well with Anglo Settlers. After concerns over insolent and insubordinate behavior of US citizens, Mexico implemented the Law of April 6,1820 which outlawed further immigration from the United States to Mexico. This did not stop US citizens from illegally immigrating by the thousands. Colonists were outraged with this new law, and demanded it be repealed at the Convention of 1832. The Mexican government agreed, a decision they would inevitably regret.
By 1834, it was estimated that over 30,000 Anglos lived in Texas compared to only 7,800 Mexicans. Anglos were known to treat Mexicans as if they were foreigners and Mexicans usually responded with the same attitude, and just two years later Mexico lost the Tejas providence.¬† Texian Rebels defeated Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto in less than twenty minutes, the President of Mexico De Santa Ana was captured. Tejas illegally gained their independence as Santa Ana did not have the authorization to “sign over Tejas”. Then, nine years later Texas joined the United Sates.
So, when thinking about immigrants or immigration keep in mind that people have migrated from all over to places around the globe. At one point in time your family could have been fighting for their pursuit of happiness.

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