This Land Is ... Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez is a "bestselling American author ... named one of the nation's 25 most influential Hispanics by Time magazine," it says on her blog. She's written a 16-point "open letter to CNN and other mainstream US media outlets." Here are points 1 and 6:
1. The vast majority of Hispanics/Latinos in the U.S. (75 percent of us) were born and raised here, including many of us who have roots here that predate the arrival of the pilgrims. ...
6. You can be a Mexican American and never have had an ancestor come over the US border; vast portions of the United States of today USED TO BE MEXICO or SPAIN. If you failed to learn this in high school, your teachers should be fired.
She also asks why someone waving a Mexican flag is "different than someone waving an Irish flag in Southie or an Italian flag on Columbus Day." But the answer to that question is points 1 and 6. Vast portions of the Unites States of today didn't used to be Ireland or Italy. ... Her Point 13:
Tell us in concrete terms what the risks and dangers are being brought to the US by "illegal" immigrants. Now tell us how these problems, if any, differ from the problems caused by U.S. citizens of all other backgrounds. Be precise. Control for economics and educational background. Can't find any? Thought so.
Again, part of the answer is points 1 and 6. U.S. citizens of "other backgrounds" do not have any colorable claim that they are living in the land of their "roots," land then taken by the U.S.. There's no danger that Koreans on Vermont Avenue will think they have a special pre-1789 entitlement to Koreatown, or desire to reconnect it to its ancient, original status as part of Korea. The more historically valid the Mexican claim that "vast portions" of the Southwest constitute their "homeland," the more dicey it is to allow such a large chunk of immigration to come from Mexico. True, the fabled "reconquista" is hardly a real threat now. But who can guarantee what future generations will think? Irredentism is the source of conflict and killing around the globe. Why should the U.S. be permanently immune? Simple prudence might tell Americans it's best if there's a mix of immigrants and if the vast majority of them can't possibly think they're coming back to their own former land. ... 12:40 A.M. link
S is for Snob! William Kristol sneering at the "demagoguery" of the "Know-Nothing" and "yahoo" opponents of his elaborate legalize-the-illegals strategy reminds me of nothing so much as HHS Secretary Joseph Califano in the Carter years, sneering at the crude--probably racist--demagogues who thought welfare recipients actually should work! Welfare reform had its share of fools--Rep. Mica once notoriously compared recipients to "alligators." That didn't discredit the argument, as Kristol knows. .... P.S.: Who will Kristol blame when this latest grand, risky plan of his--to ensure a Republican majority for generations--goes awry? Donald Rumsfeld? ... P.P.S.: Thomas Frank has argued that the key to the Republicans' victories has actually been their ability to convince voters that they are the unpretentious average Americans while liberal Democrats are the elitist snobs. Looks like there's now an opening for the Dems to turn that one around! Intellectual condescension doesn't seem to be much of a strain for Kristol, does it? It's more convincing than the populism. ... 11:45 P.M.
"A Leg Up": Majority Leader Bill Frist makes time on one of the busier legislative days of his career to talk to Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) and his wife Helen. (You don't need an iPod to listen to the podcast. Low-fi version here.) Frist trashes the McCain-Kennedy approach to immigration:
[McCain-Kennedy] gives what is known as amnesty--generally you're giving the people who broke the law illegally a leg up on the 3 million people who are outside of our country waiting in line today in a legal wayto come into this country.
Right. And why doesn't the vaunted compromise Frist has now endorsed also give at least 7 million people who broke the law a leg up? (See "Deal Would Put Millions on Path to Citizenship"). Actually, it's probably more like 10 out of the 11 million who'd get a leg up, if I read the descriptions of the Hagel/Martinez compromise correctly.** ... Remember, even if they are required to go to the end of the queue, the illegal entrants effectively get to wait in the queue while working here, living here, using our schools, hospitals, roads, civil liberties, police, etc. Who wouldn't want that "leg up"? ... P.S.: There's also the point made by Paul Mirengoff--that the deal provides "the certainty of benefits for illegal aliens with only the promise of future enforcement." ... (Possible compromise: Officially delay the starting date of the benefits in the law until one or two years after enforcement efforts have reached specified goals--fence built, employee identity verification in place, etc.. Of course, that would still raise Latino hopes and put tremendous pander-pressure on the future politicians who'd have to declare that the pre-ordained enforcement standards had been met. On the other hand, it would in theory use those hopes to put pressure on employers and the INS to actually make the enforcement system effective--unlike what happened after the 1986 immigration reform, when the enforcement half of the deal was undermined by the very civil rights and ethnic lobbies now calling for amnesty, and allowed to quickly collapse.)...
**-- 5:00 P.M.Update: "No Illegal Alien Left Behind" On the Senate floor now, Sen. Jeff Sessions is in the process of demonstrating, with surprising authority, that even the "compromise" provisions saying--according to the NYT--that immigrants who've been here "less than two years ... would be required to leave the country" are phony. Sessions claims those immigrants would likely qualify for an expanded number of temporary worker visas. There would be no deterrent "demonstration effect" of a fraction of the 11 million illegals actually having to leave. ... See also John O'Sullivan. ....3:40 P.M.
TODAY IN SLATE
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