Article originally appeared April 5 2006
The issue of illegal immigration, while long roiling beneath the surface of American politics, is now boiling over.
The eruption began with the introduction of House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner’s (R-Wis.) bill HR 4437 to the Senate following its passage by the House last December. The first attempt at real immigration reform since 1986, this commonsense legislation would have made being an illegal immigrant a felony, authorized additional fencing at the border and required all employers to use an electronic verification system to ensure that workers are legal residents.
Yet the Senate supported the bill only after watering it down with a variety of amendments. It may be further weakened by the competing bills being debated in Congress.
But just the idea that the United States might actually seek to control the flood of illegal immigrants over its southern border sent opponents into a frenzy. A coalition of Hispanic, faith, labor and leftist groups, aided by Spanish-language radio personalities, organized massive protests, demonstrations and school walkouts in cities across the nation. In Chicago, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Detroit, Phoenix, Las Vegas, New York City, Sacramento, Watsonville and, perhaps most dramatically, Los Angeles (where protesters were joined by Mayor Antonio Villagarosa, who apparently forgot what country he’s working for), hundreds of thousands of demonstrators demanded nothing less than an end to American sovereignty.
Far from simply opposing Sensenbrenner’s bill, signs, slogans and speeches supported the immediate “legalization” of every single illegal immigrant in the United States. They also eschewed the idea that future illegal immigrants should be obstructed by anything so crass as a border. This invitation to uncontrolled mass immigration presumably includes illegal immigrants not just from Mexico or Latin America but from all over the world.
America is no longer asked to give refuge to the poor, huddled masses but to allow itself to be overrun by them.
Conquest by Demographics
A common theme in the demonstrations and school walkouts was the preponderance of Mexican flags. The irony of demanding American citizenship while holding aloft the flag of a foreign country was not lost on American viewers. The burning and desecration of American flags involved in some cases and all the racist “gringo” rhetoric didn’t help. Mexican flags were hoisted over a California high school, among other locations, adding to the feeling that what was occurring was not merely a democratic protest but an occupation.
Indeed, there’s more than one way to conquer territory, and a demographic takeover is often more effective than a military one. Mexican nationalist sentiment in favor of “reconquista” or reclaiming the southwestern United States, otherwise known as Aztlan, is no longer confined to the fringes. It has now become a popular sentiment, intoned by Hispanic politicians, professors, activists and students.
The fact that it was a common theme in the recent protests points to the effectiveness of years of unchecked political indoctrination in schools and universities by groups such as the National Council of La Raza and MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil de Chicanos de Aztlan). Such are the fruits of eschewing assimilation for multiculturalism.
If the unholy alliance of business interests, labor unions, liberal elements of the Catholic Church and other clergy, Hispanic organizations, civil rights groups and leftist organizations has its way, America as we know it will be a thing of the past.
Such strange bedfellows each have their own interests at heart. Big business wants to retain an unending supply of cheap labor; labor unions and church activists desire increased membership; Hispanic and civil rights organizations want U.S. taxpayers to continue funding illegal immigration and leftist groups seek to undermine American power by any means necessary. Joining the open-borders lobby are Democratic and Republican politicians, playing their part in search of the ever-elusive Hispanic vote, legal or otherwise.
At the forefront of the movement to erase national boundaries is President Bush himself. Having long discarded any fealty to the voters who supported him in 2004, Bush has become part of the problem. That he would make common cause with fellow open-borders proponent Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., whose nomination as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee many conservative Republicans opposed, now makes perfect sense.
Bush’s utter contempt for American citizenship was made apparent during a recent speech at a naturalization ceremony in Washington. Standing in front of a banner reading “Securing the American Dream,” he had the gall to discuss benefits for illegal immigrants. To expect a group of people who made the effort to become legal citizens to be sympathetic to rewarding lawbreakers is beyond comprehension. When the law becomes meaningless, so does citizenship.
This may explain why legal Hispanic immigrants, as well as U.S.-born Hispanics, tend to part ways with their brethren in the open-borders crowd. The Hispanic population in the United States is by no means monolithic, despite the image disseminated by the recent immigration protests.
A popular talking point put forward ad nauseam by Bush in recent weeks is that illegal immigrants do “the jobs Americans won’t do.” This Orwellian phrase has been repeated over and over again by the open-borders lobby, and now has become accepted as truth.
In fact, illegal immigrants do not make up the majority of workers in any occupation, and they comprise less than 5 percent of the U.S. workforce. Far from the claims that the country would simply collapse without illegal immigrants, American workers are quite capable of stepping up to the plate, particularly if employers were willing to pay them decent wages. Indeed, such a shift would almost certainly result in an increase in wages for all Americans.
Amnesty by Any Other Name
None of this information has prevented Bush from pushing his “guest worker proposal,” which, despite his claims to the contrary, is simply amnesty by another means. When illegal immigrants are granted work permits, residency and all the benefits of citizenship, that’s amnesty. Besides, we already have a guest worker plan that puts Americans out of work and depresses wages: the H-1B visa program. Bush’s proposal will simply do more of the same.
One thing’s for sure, amnesties will increase levels of illegal immigration, especially in light of the fact that most of the proposals provide for illegal immigrants’ spouses and families. Since 1986, Congress has passed seven amnesties for illegal aliens, and their population has skyrocketed in that time from approximately 3 million to what some estimate to be as low as 12 million and others as high as 23 million, the majority from Mexico.
Despite this, the Senate Judiciary Committee has been hashing out various immigration reform proposals, some provision for a guest worker plan and/or amnesty being the common denominator. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s (R-Tenn.) bill is an exception, but it is only moderately tougher than the rest and also doubles permanent green cards. Even the John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) plan to require illegal immigrants to return home before applying for work visas involves a temporary worker program. The bills sponsored by Specter and co-sponsored by Sens. John McCain and Ted Kennedy include massive amnesty and guest worker programs. The coming weeks will tell us which version wins out, but either way it’s a losing situation for Americans.
As Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., one of the few steadfast opponents of illegal immigration, put it: “John Q. Citizen doesn’t want … the Senate plan. What they want is clear and simple. They want the government to secure the border.”
“We need a fence” has indeed become the mantra of many of those pushing for border security. Only when the border is secured can the country turn its attention to the 12 million illegal immigrants already in the United States and the millions more heading our way.
Unfortunately, Tancredo and the handful of House Republicans who have joined him in opposing amnesty are merely voices in the wilderness. The fact that Tancredo has been receiving death threats for years certainly does not bode well for future immigration reformers. Neither does the fact that such politicians represent the views held by the majority of Americans and are still being ignored by their colleagues.
At the heart of the illegal immigration crisis is the dysfunctional relationship between the United States and Mexico. As if distributing a form of international welfare, the United States continues to foot the bill while Mexico does nothing whatsoever to improve its situation. The Mexican government has come to rely on the exportation of its poor in order to stay in power. Instead of meeting the needs of its citizens, Mexico’s government has encouraged them to populate the United States.
As Rodolfo Garcia Zamora, an economist and immigration expert at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas, told the Contra Costa Times: “For the governing class, immigrants become the solution. They leave. They reduce the political and social pressure … they can only hope that everybody leaves and sends home collective remittances.”
All of this is unnecessary, since Mexico is a country rich in natural resources and with its fair share of billionaires. It is simply being governed corruptly and ineffectively. If only all the protesters filling the streets of America demanding citizenship would bring the same level of energy and commitment to pushing Mexico’s dead-end government to do its job! But as long as the safety valve of the United States exists, Mexican government and society will have no impetus to change.
This is exactly why the Mexican government took out full-page ads in American newspapers supporting Bush’s guest worker proposal. The ad campaign included platitudes about Mexican responsibility in addressing illegal immigration, but talk is cheap. When Mexican President Vicente Fox said that the Senate vote would be “the first step towards legalization for everyone” who works in the United States, he made his true intentions clear. Other Latin American leaders have joined in the chorus for a guest worker program, going so far as to sign a joint declaration on the matter during a meeting in Guatemala last month.
In response, Bush has been nothing if not fawning, promising that a “comprehensive bill,” including a guest worker program, would end up on his desk. His utter obeisance has created a backlash among Republicans unlike any seen before in his presidency. Across the board, polls show that most Americans disagree with Bush’s handling of illegal immigration.
That’s why when Bush scornfully labeled the Minuteman Project Civil Defense Corps volunteers “vigilantes” last year, he did more for their reputation than any advertisement. They have been met with praise by supporters and violent opposition by critics ever since. And now thousands of Minuteman volunteers will conduct border observation operations in all four border states through April.
A government can ignore the will of the people only so long before they decide to take matters into their own hands. While illegal immigrants and their supporters are planning a nationwide workers strike in May, some Americans may be looking toward a tax revolt come April 17.
Trading Sovereignty for Globalism
The government’s apparent dereliction of duty may be ascribed to a long-term goal of transnationalism or globalism. Bush certainly has his eyes set on such a future.
It was during a 2005 North American Summit with Fox and Paul Martin, then prime minister of Canada, at his Crawford ranch that Bush signed on for a brave new borderless world. According to a Council on Foreign Relations document, a five-year plan involved the “establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community” with a common “outer security perimeter.” As reported at the time by Phyllis Schlafly, “the CFR document lays ‘the groundwork for the freer flow of people within North America,’” or rather, “a space in which trade, capital, and people flow freely.” Last weekend’s meeting of the Trilateral Summit in Cancun likely furthered this goal.
While this might sound a bit conspiratorial, it’s hard to deny that everything is leading inexorably in that direction. The disregard for border security, the influx of illegal immigrants in numbers unprecedented in history, free trade agreements and increasing foreign ownership are fast producing a transnational hub where once a country stood.
Today, we find ourselves facing a future unlike any previous generation’s. It’s a future in which America as a sovereign nation could cease to exist.
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