Sunday, May 20, 2007


One-sixth of Mexico is already in this country, and half a million more persons of Mexican ancestry enter the U.S. every year. That startling observation in Pat Buchanan’s book, State of Emergency, is followed by this immigration tidbit:

“In the 1990s, people of Mexican ancestry here grew by 7 million, or 50 percent, to 21 million. That 7 million exceeded the number that any nation on earth previously sent to America over four generations. It does not include the 6 million Hispanics who refused to give census takers their nation of origin.”

Elsewhere Buchanan notes that the number of immigrants who came to this country from 1607 to 1960, around 36 million, is smaller than the number who have come, legally and illegally, since that time. Given this demographic tidal wave, local attempts to get a handle on its social consequences are understandable.

What most observers don’t understand, however, is the legislative history that sanctioned this unprecedented influx of immigrants from Mexico and Latin America. That history revolves around the Immigration Act of 1965, a Great Society innovation that changed quotas from ratios reflecting the nation’s existing ethnic makeup to rules favoring immigrants from other nations.

Senator Ted Kennedy, a great proponent of this legislation, argued that immigration levels would remain “substantially the same” and insisted that “the ethnic mix of the country will not be upset.” Predictably, Kennedy tagged opponents of the legislation—probably two-thirds of the country according to a 1965 Harris Poll—as haters.

The actual result of the legislation was not what Kennedy claimed. As Dean Steven Gillon of Oklahoma University noted in 2006, “The U.S. added at least 40 million immigrants after 1965. Before 1965, 95 percent of the new immigrants had come from Europe. After 1965, 95 percent came from the Third World. The 1965 act has transformed American society and had consequences exactly the opposite of what we were promised.”

The immigration debacle of 1965 was followed by another step toward cultural suicide in 1986 when the amnesty extended to three million illegal aliens became a magnet for millions of other laborers who found U.S. wages of five to eight dollars an hour more attractive than the ten dollars a day they earned in Mexico.

During a recent visit to Dallas, Texas, I encountered another local attempt to deal with the nation’s immigration problem. The suburb of Farmers Branch (pop. 28,500) had passed an ordinance by a 2 to 1 popular vote that prohibited landlords from renting to illegal aliens. As Escondido knows, such laws with challengeable enforcement procedures are instantly embroiled in ACLU-sponsored litigation.

I also noticed on my Dallas trip that numerous AM radio stations and several of the area’s TV stations are now Spanish-language—a fact whose full significance can only be grasped by those who take seriously a 2002 Zogby Poll in which 58% of the Mexican citizens interviewed said “the territory of the United States Southwest belongs to Mexico.”

In recent decades U.S. immigration policy has encouraged that assumption.

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