This next article is part of a continuing series on illegal immigration and border control.
May 1, 2006
by Victor Davis Hanson
Tribune Media Services
The thousands of illegal aliens protesting this past month have essentially been telling the American people the following:
"You knew we were illegal when we came here to work in silence. But you said nothing when we were hired at your low-paying jobs. Now when you think there are too many of us, you suddenly change the rules and tell us we alone are the lawbreakers and must leave."
In their hurt and anger, the initial televised marchers carried Mexican flags and shouted about ethnic pride. This only turned off tens of millions of American viewers, who scoffed in response, "If Mexico is so great, why come here in the first place?"
As a result, politically astute advisers to the demonstrations charted a different course. At more recent rallies, protestors have carried red, white and blue banners. And they've voiced a desire to become U.S. citizens.
This change in tactics, however, raises an important question. If American citizens are now to hold the crowds in the streets to their most recent incarnation, will most of the illegal-alien protesters truly wish to become full U.S. citizens with all that entails?
Remember, citizenship is never defined by the applicant, only by the benefactor. In America, it doesn't involve racial or ethnic allegiance. Rather, U.S. citizenship asks immigrants to make linguistic, political and social concessions.
So, imagine an immigration compromise that, in exchange for strict border enforcement, allows the majority of the current 11 million resident illegal aliens to remain here to start their citizenship process. Wouldn't it then be natural to expect these future Americans to understand that U.S. citizenship carries as many responsibilities as rights?
In a country that is increasingly multiethnic and multiracial, it no longer makes sense to rely on bilingual government documents and services for a particular ethnic group. Such duplication is expensive and hampers English immersion. It's also the road to tribalism, whose bitter fruits we know well from the Balkans to Rwanda. Those who now march professing their desire to become Americans must quickly learn the English language, as have hundreds of past immigrant groups.
As American citizens, newcomers must also realize that no nation can remain sovereign without controllable borders. So Americans would hope that they also would support border enforcement of their new country. Employer sanctions, more guards and a barrier will start to end the present unworkable system that led to their own ambiguous status in the first place.
Something is terribly wrong when thousands of skilled engineers and doctors from Canada, India and Mexico cannot easily obtain legal citizenship, while those who cut ahead by the millions and cross the border illegally almost find it de facto.
If we controlled the borders in exchange for allowing current resident illegals to apply for citizenship, future legal and measured immigration from Mexico, while perhaps somewhat greater than from other countries, would cease to be either large or exceptional. The present perpetually replenished pool of aggrieved second-class unlawful residents would soon vanish.
Also gone would be the romance of "Alta California" — the strange notion that demography and the labor market will do what the law cannot and extend Mexico into the southwestern United States. We'd be able to jettison the "the borders crossed us" nonsense that tends to radicalize a shadow underclass and return to the notion that we are all part of a melting-pot society.
So, yes, we need to take our cue from the protestors in the street whose placards and banners at last broadcast their genuine desire to join us as Americans. Let us, the hosts, help resident illegal aliens to meet workable criteria to become citizens, as we ensure an end to the broken system of open borders and labor exploitation.
But let the present aliens only become Americans in the fullest linguistic, cultural and social sense — just as millions from all over the world have done before them.
Those of the left claim that racism fuels the anger over illegal immigration. Those on the right agree — but insist instead that the racism really comes from La Raza separatism on the part of the unassimilated Hispanic community.
Very soon we could learn who in this sad debate has been telling the truth about ethnic chauvinism. If conservatives would not worry over the ethnicity of these new Americans and thus allow most of those already here from Mexico to stay, then the onus will rest with the ethnic activists to urge rapid and full assimilation.
Keep an eye on these for updates...
Advocacy group sues Hazleton, PA over immigration ordinance.
In the latest development in a nationally watched matter, on October 30, 2006, backed by the Hazleton Hispanic Business Association, a businessman and several undocumented individuals filed a lawsuitagainst the town of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, challenging an ordinance that requires landlords who rent to undocumented individuals to pay heavy fines. This lawsuit was the second of its kind to be filed against the town of Hazleton. Previously, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a lawsuit that resulted in a revision of the prior version of the ordinance.Civil Rights Groups Sue Over Rent Law
Dec 26 1:31 PM US/Eastern
By ANABELLE GARAY
Associated Press Writer
DALLAS (AP) --
Two civil rights groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging a new law in a Dallas suburb that outlaws renting apartments to illegal immigrants, alleging the ordinance violates federal law and forces landlords to act as immigration officers.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund filed the suit on behalf of residents and landlords in Farmers Branch, just north of Dallas. It is the third lawsuit brought against the city since the ordinance passed in November.
The lawsuit claims the measure, scheduled to take effect Jan. 12, is so poorly drafted that it excludes even legal immigrants from renting.
"Immigration enforcement must be left to the federal government, not each local municipality," said Lisa Graybill, legal director of the ACLU of Texas. "Otherwise Texas will end up with a patchwork system that is impractical and unenforceable."
Farmers Branch spokesman Tom Bryson said the city will not comment on pending litigation.
On Friday, the owners of three apartment complexes filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to declare the rent law unconstitutional. In another lawsuit filed earlier this month, a Farmers Branch resident alleged that the mayor repeatedly violated the state's open meetings laws to deliberate the ordinances.
The new law calls for property managers or owners to verify the immigration or citizenship status of apartment renters. The City Council also approved resolutions making English the city's official language and allowing authorities to become part of a federal program so they can enforce immigration laws.
Since 1970, Farmers Branch has changed from a small, predominantly white bedroom community with a declining population to a city of almost 28,000 people, about 37 percent of them Hispanic, according to the census.
More than 50 municipalities nationwide have considered, passed or rejected similar laws, but until now that trend hadn't been duplicated in Texas.
Um huh, they want it left in the hands of the federal government, thus insuring that nothing will be done to protect our rights.
It's starting to heat up...