The tumult and tempest arising from the arrival of immigrants and, yes, refugees from Latin America have in their way taken me back to an earlier time in Texas when such new arrivals spawned violent protests and outright hatred.
Republican governors have taken great joy in sending migrants to Democratically held jurisdictions in a ploy to stick it in their ear. You favor welcoming these folks? Here, you can have ’em!
The Vietnam War ended in 1975 and with the end of the shooting in Vietnam thousands of refugees fled from Southeast Asia to the United States. They didn’t want to live under communist rule, so they found their way to the Land of Opportunity.
Many of those refugees settled along the Texas coast, seeking to resume their lives as fishermen and women. They sought to capitalize on the shrimp harvest opportunities. Not everyone welcomed them.
The Ku Klux Klan reared its ugly and evil head, raiding the Vietnamese shrimp fleets, cutting their nets and threatening the newcomers with violence if they didn’t leave the country. There was violence. Klansmen were charged with bringing physical harm and death to the Vietnamese.
Over time, though, the violence subsided. Today, in communities such as Port Arthur — with its substantial Vietnamese-American population — you find the influence of the descendants of those refugees in a most remarkable way. Check out the honor rolls of public high schools and you see plenty of names such as Nguyen, Phang and Lam. Yes, the children and grandchildren of those refugees excel academically and take that excellence with them into successful careers as adults
Do we really want to deny the current refugees — who flee communist tyranny in places such as Nicaragua and Venezuela — the same opportunity to succeed?
Let’s get real.