One common critique of immigration and multiculturalism is that it will cause Balkanization in the United States. Usually, the evidence that purportedly shows Balkanization in America is underwhelming. Real Balkanization, in the Balkans, quickly led to terrorism, civil war, genocide, and some of the uglier nationalist movement of recent centuries. By comparison, there is hardly any ethnic separatist nationalist terrorism in the United States inspired by immigrant groups or their descendants.
The best example of ethnic separatism from a migrant group is terrorism caused by Puerto Rican socialist-inspired nationalists who demanded independence for their island. From 1970 onwards, Puerto Rican terrorist groups like the United Force for Armed Independence (FALN), Armed Forces of the Popular Resistance (FARP), People’s Revolutionary Commandos (CRP), Patriotic Anti-Annexation Committee (COPAAN), Organization of Volunteers of the Revolution of Puerto Rico (OVRP), the Macheteros, and others carried out 232 attacks, killed 15 people, and injured 115 (Chart 1).
The most notorious and brutal of the FALN’s terrorist attacks was the bombing of Fraunces Tavern on January 24, 1975, that killed four innocent people and injured about 50 others. Eventually, many FALN members were apprehended as Bryan Burroughs expertly documents in his Days of Rage and the rest of the violent nationalist movement petered out. According to the RAND Corporation and the University of Maryland Global Terrorism Databases (through 2014), the last reported attack by Puerto Rican nationalists was on that island in 1998. Their datasets exclude the attempt on President Truman’s life in 1950 and the armed attack on the House of Representatives in 1954.