In the burgeoning debate over what is euphemistically being denoted Immigration Reform and is, in practical terms, what might as well be called the Latino Influx Control Act, the predictable and lamentable obfuscation of the issue is now in full bloom. Parts of the Senate version of the bill fairly cry out for ridicule. One, if I understand it, is that although the United States is now to legitimize 11 million illegals, those who would sign up for temporary worker status have no possibility of gaining citizenship (pg 81 of the Bill, search "INELIGIBLE TO CHANGE NONIMMIGRANT CLASSIFICATION"). The provision is to establish a program for people who have no intention of seeking citizenship, but seems to be an awkward way of dealing with the push-pull of status.
Another crass and smart ploy by the pro-illegals is the framing of the issue as one of huddled masses yearning to breathe free. On the weekend shows the illegals were constantly portrayed as no different from Italians or Poles who came ashore in past generations. The implication, or in the outright slander by Katrina vanden Heuvel against Tom Tancredo (who, to be fair, can get a but srill at times), is that we who would like to see immigrants play by the rules set are certainly racists. The Mexicans are not white, you see, so that's all that needs pointed to. End of discussion.
However, it is perplexing when reporters either knowingly shield their subjects, or are too lazy to do some background in this case. On a drive home Sunday evening, I listened NPR's All Things Considered and a story from Debbie Elliot about how "immigrants" marched in LA and how this was a civil rights issue rather than one of legality. The report included an interview with Cecilia Munoz of the National Council of La Raza. For those who have no Spanish, La Raza means "The Race."
NCLR has been characterized as the gentle face of a movement that wishes to retake territory won from Mexico by the United States. For some background on the La Raza movement, including MECha, look here. I am not accusing NCLR of wanting a Reconquista of much of the Southwest US. However, Ms Munoz was never asked about the movement, even to give her the chance to set the record straight. What's more, the word "illegal" was used as an abstract, and dismissed by Munoz.
In this day it is unthinkable that we would give such legitimacy to a group that called itself "The White People." Instead, we get the impression from these profiles that La Raza, MECha and Nation of Aztlan, (and its outlet, Aztlan) are just Latino Knights of Columbus. In fact, many on the left have pointed out that there are many Italian flags waving on Columbus Day, or Irish Flags on St Patty's, so what is the difference?
We are different, don't you see. We are called racists because we want to know that those marching with their Mexican flags will certainly honor their heritage and homeland, but forsake attachment to that homeland for their new country, just as Italian and Irish and all other immigrant groups have done.
But the movement has some nasty history. Read this and decide if it is racist (or anti-Semitic) or not. By the way the formulation "Alta California" is no mistake. This is a portion of the US that the movement wants back.
Now, it would be stupid and truly racist to lump every Latino (or even a majority) looking for citizenship as secretly plotting to take over California. But movements like these serve no purpose except to taint an entire group of people, and the group must make efforts to neutralize the radical elements. This is why, for instance, anti-war demonstrations have fizzled. The Che and ANSWER crowd were allowed into the fold and ended up killing whatever level-headedness existed.
When we see 500,000 people in the streets of LA rallying for special rights no other segment of society has ever been given, and when we hear that those very people are "the backbone of our economy" most Americans will recognize that that's mostly a load of dung.
I can't imagine another giant group of lawbreakers openly marching for the right to break the law and being allowed to get away with it. Maybe it's the shear numbers that discourage enforcement. After all, how does one arrest 11 million people? So we are now left to deal with a situation of our own making, in which the government of Mexico was a willing and aggressive accomplice.
But to characerize those who want a sane, workable and legal path for immigrants as racist, and those illegals now in the US as worthy of new rights doesn't answer the problem.