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Immigration, Long an Issue in California

Immigration has long been a hot issue in California, even back to the days of California's Mexican period (1822 to 1846). Pio Pico, last Mexican governor of California, lamented:

"We find ourselves suddenly threatened by hordes of Yankee [American] emigrants, who have already begun to flood into our country and whose progress we cannot arrest….Shall we remain supine while these daring strangers are overrunning our fertile plains and gradually outnumbering and displacing us? Shall these incursions go on unchecked, until we shall become strangers in our own land? We cannot successfully oppose them by our own unaided power; and the swelling tide of immigration renders the odds against us more formidable every day."

Don Pio Pico in later years. Photo by Schumaker, courtesy of Library of Congress.