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Dear H-ethnic readers, It is not enough to debate immigration under the old paradigm of "assimilation" and "integration". I am quite familiar with it, we are having the same debate here in Germany. However, the process of immigration is never exclusively one of a group abandoning their cultural roots and morphing into a society that changes very little. Today, any US-American can go out and buy just about anything on a Sunday. You can also go dancing, attend a concert, a play, visit a football, basketball, soccer or baseball game, you can also participate in some outdoor activity, a festival or you can go somewhere to just have a drink. About 150 years ago this behavior was frowned upon by most Americans. When German immigrants arrived in great numbers during the 1850s, these Germans wanted to stage parades, events and ceremonies on Sundays. They wanted to sing, dance and drink beer. Americans were shocked. What followed was a huge conflict between Anglo-Americans and German immigrants that centered on the question of what constituted an acceptable activity on a Sunday. Attending church or a religious concert was certainly fine, but what about all these other activities that the Germans enjoyed? Anglo-Americans and Germans debated that in newspapers and journals. There were brawls, street-fighting, there were even deaths. In the end, this process led to an America that was quite different from the America that existed before the arrival of the Germans. And this is the same with all immigrants. Their story is not only about integration and assimilation, but also on finding their way in an unfamiliar country, retaining their roots while also carving out a space that they can call their own. This process is never easy for immigrants. It is always fraught with a sense of loss, of uncertainty and a sense of being second-class citizens. To understand this, you have to accept that immigrants are quite peculiar. I did research on the German Forty-Eighters, a group of intellectual republicans that were determined to make their voice heard. They at least partially succeeded. They cast their lot with political party, the Republican Party, that was undoubtedly more nativist than the other major party at that time: the Democratic Party. Why? Because, the Forty-Eighters hated slavery and wanted to abolish it, so they picked allies that did not like foreigners all that much, but that had a common enemy: slavery and slaveholders. For these reasons, I think you have to take immigrant discourse very seriously. Immigrants have their own debates that most non-immigrants know little about. They are not a unified group, but divided by religious affiliation, regionalisms, personal background and political ideology. They also differ quite profoundly from established political alignments. If you want to debate if Latinos are "culturally conservative", you have to define what you mean by conservative. They are certainly not conservative in the sense of evangelical Americans. If Republicans wish that every Latino is a closeted Ted Cruz, they are going to be disappointed. If they engage with Latinos, they will for instance find out that while Latinos value their family a great deal, their family values differ quite a lot from those of conservative Republicans. I am not the first one to point this out. If Republicans want to win over Latinos, they have to display openness and acceptance. Immigrants are very attentive listeners. They will listen, but they will demand something in exchange. It is always the same. Immigrants transform their host country and a party that aims to add a fashionable brownish complexion, will find out that this comes as a price. Skin cancer. Or rather: a transformation. Or simply put: if the Republican Party manages to win over a greater number of Latino voters, it is not any longer the same Republican Party. Just as the Republican Party of the 1850s was not the same Republican Party when it opened its ranks to anti-slavery German immigrants. Best regards, Dr. Daniel Nagel Assistant Lecturer University of Mannheim, Germany --30-- --