Friday, July 20, 2007


The idiot promos for a new network game show, this one hosted by Drew Carey, at least contain one thought-provoking question: “What percentage of Americans said they would notify the police if they saw a Mexican citizen sneaking into the U.S.?”

As it happens, I suspect that a family near my residence, one sporting a Mexican flag in their window and exhibiting no proficiency in English, may be “undocumented.” But the truth of the matter is, I don’t know.

Moreover, I’d be reluctant to ring up the ICE hotline—even if such a number existed and I were confident that the adults lacked papers. After all, several young kids run around in the yard behind the wire fence that’s often employed as a clothesline.

Furthermore, it’s not like anyone is hiding in the bushes, fouling the water, or accosting unsuspecting travelers. Indeed, the vehicle that graces the driveway is a late-model SUV.
In short, even if these folks are “unauthorized,” they aren’t exactly skulking “in the shadows.” So one would think the authorities, if they were interested, could enforce the law. And if police are forbidden from enforcing immigration laws, why notify them?

A more revealing question for Carey’s show might be this one: “How many Americans said they would hire an illegal immigrant to do work for them?” The problem with this question, however, is that one usually doesn’t know who is and who isn’t illegal. The default policy for many householders (not business owners) thus becomes “Don’t ask, don’t tell”—or tacit amnesty.

One effect of this attitude is apparent when I’m walking around Oceanside’s Buddy Todd Park. On weekends the place is packed, and the sights are overwhelmingly those of young families or of groups of kids at birthday parties—pure Americana, but with piñatas and lots of Spanish voices and Mexican music.

This vision of happy domesticity prompted my recollection of a dour statement that William Bennett once made in defense of immigrants generally—namely, that he was more afraid of what America (via its pop-culture) might do to immigrants than what immigrants would do to America.

As is true of most true statements, Bennett’s comment addresses only half the story. The other half is that America has never had millions and millions of immigrants come to this country, illegally, from a neighboring country—a country with a different language that also harbors profound historical grievances against the U.S.

Moreover, this migration comes when many Americans (and most “rights” groups) are apt to view this country, with historian Howard Zinn, as a perpetrator of injustice and not as a beacon of liberty.

In such a setting, these assimilation questions posed by Pat Buchanan seem more urgent than Drew Carey’s law enforcement query: “How many Americans, forced to work in Mexico, would become loyal Mexicans in a decade rather than remain Americans in exile? Why do we think Mexicans are any less attached to the land of their birth?”

The key phrase here is “forced to work.”

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