I first met Bruce DeCell in December 2002. Peter Brimelow and I had gathered in New York with stunned 9/11 family members. DeCell is a retired New York police officer whose son-in-law, Mark Petrocelli, was killed at the World Trade Center.
Incredulous at the extent of immigration abuses, the group would soon form 9/11 Families for a Secure America.
DeCell has more reason than most to rejoice that at the stunning victory of Proposition 200—the heroic attempt by grass-roots Arizona effort to stop illegal aliens from picking taxpayers' pockets, voting in elections etc.
In one of life's curious twists, DeCell had a chance October 20th encounter on a New York-bound Metroliner with one of Prop 200's most vocal and powerful foes, Arizona Senator John McCain.
As DeCell recounted the incident to me, he had been in Washington DC to attend the House-Senate Conference Committee meeting to support the immigration provisions recommended by the 9/11 Commission and written into H.R. 10.
On his way home DeCell, to his great surprise, found himself sitting across from McCain, one of the driving forces behind S.2845—the Senate bill that attempted to strip most of the immigration safety measures from H. R. 10. (The stronger version eventually prevailed—another significant victory for immigration reform).
Eventually, DeCell introduced himself to McCain as a 9/11 FSA member. Sensing early where their conversation was headed, McCain cut DeCell off by insisting that H.R. 10 would never pass because it contained provisions not in the 9/11 Commission's report.
"McCain's eyes glazed over as soon as I mentioned H.R. 10," recalled DeCell.
But DeCell was not put off. He challenged McCain to compare the Commission's report—which he had with him—with H.R. 10. McCain refused.
Again, DeCell pressed McCain. DeCell pointed out that that S.2845 does not address the need for tighter border security.
McCain insisted—"three or four times," according to DeCell—that the Senate version would provide ample security.
As for illegal aliens, McCain was adamant that they come only to work at jobs Americans will not take.
For emphasis, Mc Cain added that in his opinion OTM's (Other Than Mexicans) crossing into America from Mexico present no security threat.
Growing increasingly frustrated, DeCell told McCain that S. 2845 failed adequately to address the threat of driver's licenses given to illegal aliens. The 9/11 Commission had emphasized the ease with which terrorists obtained driver's licenses prior to the attacks.
McCain advised DeCell that he had written the driver's license language in the Senate bill. Then, he abruptly ended their conversation.
When the train pulled into the station McCain rose from his seat and turned to DeCell.
"Good-bye. It was nice meeting you," he said.
Replied De Cell: "Shame on you, Senator."
Just a few days later, McCain shifted his focus from gutting H.R. 10 to going on the warpath against Prop 200.
On October 24th, the Arizona Republic published McCain's Op-ed titled "Prop 200 Less than Worthless to Arizona," continuing his assault on the truth about illegal immigration.
Shamelessly describing himself as the "leader" in the "search for solutions" to illegal immigration, Mc Cain complained that Prop 200 would be a costly nuisance to enforce. McCain's answer to illegal immigration crisis is—naturally—amnesty!
Just prior to Election Day, DeCell traveled to Arizona to make radio and television appearances in support of Prop 200.
When the final votes were tallied, I asked DeCell if he felt any special sense of vindication that he had contributed to the victory of Prop 200 and had in the process also prevailed over McCain, the Wall Street Journal, the Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic advocacy groups and the Arizona Republic.
"The Arizona voters have sent a clear message that they are disgusted with illegal aliens ruining the state."
But he went on:
"I can't believe that people vote for McCain. Illegal aliens have made a shambles out of Arizona."
(McCain was re-elected with 77 percent of the vote over his Democratic opponent, Stuart Starkey, an eighth grade mathematics teacher.)
Continuing, DeCell said,
"As I traveled around, I met with ranchers who reported that over the last few years they had caught 9,000 aliens and seized two to three tons of drugs. In Phoenix, all the money transfer stations have bulletproof booths. Aliens can get their photos for matricula consular cards right next to the Mexican consulate office. In ten minutes, we saw about 20 people go into the consulate with their pictures in hand."
Finally, DeCell said that as far as McCain and other Congressional open borders enthusiasts, he considers them all "creeps."
Looking back on his train ride with McCain, De Cell minced no words:
"I don't care if they are rude to me or not. When I get the chance to confront them, I'm not going to pull any punches."
The Prop 200 victory is the biggest triumph grassroots Americans have enjoyed since California's Proposition 187. Immigration reform is coming to America—even if John McCain won't get on the train.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.