[See also: The View From The Activist Front Lines, by Brenda Walker]
I first met journalist Dan Sheehy at a Santa Monica, CA coffee shop in 2002.
Although Sheehy didn't know it at the time, he was about to embark on a fascinating journey into the complex and, for patriotic Americans, often enraging world of immigration policy—U.S. style.
During our initial meeting, I helped Sheehy take his first steps toward understanding illegal immigration's impact on America from a researcher's perspective.
And before his journey ended, Sheehy would become, through a bizarre series of coincidences, the improbable target of a F.B.I. investigation that temporarily turned his life upside down.
During the intervening two years, Sheehy authored his new book Fighting Immigration Anarchy: American Patriots Battle to Save the Nation. (You can also buy it through Amazon.com.)
Sheehy, once an assistant news producer and writer for the NBC-TV affiliate in Baltimore, later a business reporter for Aviation Daily in Washington, D.C. and finally a corporate communications manager, writer, and editor for United Airlines and other companies, was slowly drawn into the subject of immigration. The more he learned, the more he wanted to know.
Despite living in southern California, Sheehy told me that he was slow to awaken to the reality that federal immigration policies are directly responsible for much of the deteriorating quality of life he had observed around him for several years.
But once Sheehy began to grasp immigration's impact, he applied his journalistic skills and understanding of corporate America to get to the heart of the problem.
Sheehy quickly realized how over-immigration is linked to most of society's other ills. His continuing study of immigration eventually led him to the individuals he highlighted in his book.
Recently, I asked Sheehy why he felt compelled to write his book. Was there any single factor that motivated him?
"No, there were several, and they tie together. After 9/11, I began to learn about immigration. Each time I told my well-educated friends—in individual discussions—what I learned, they disagreed with me or even laughed at me. 'Illegal immigration doesn't affect the environment.' 'They're only coming here to work. The people at church tell me they're good people.' 'Aren't we a nation of immigrants?'
"This frustrated me, and I wondered what I could do to make them understand the truth."
Echoing my own findings on how the mainstream media reports on immigration, Sheehy continued,
"I was also frustrated that hardly any of the many letters I wrote to newspaper editors in L.A. and across the country were published.
"In early 2003, I attended a standing-room only meeting of Barb Coe's CCIR in Orange County featuring guest speaker Chris Simcox. It was only my second CCIR meeting. At the Simcox meeting, I stood and watched the faces of scores of regular Americans of all backgrounds. They were concerned and angry.
"I listened to Simcox. I watched the faces. I had never seen anything like this before. I thought, this is what it must have been like in the years leading up to 1776 and then to the Revolutionary War.
"I thought, why hasn't someone written a book about the Americans fighting to save our country from the illegal-alien invasion? This story needs to be told! I understood Barb Coe's words: 'Until the U.S. controls immigration, all else is a moot point, as it will no longer matter.'
"This book was going to be my giant letter to every newspaper editor in America. If they weren't going to publish my letters and write the truth, I was going to write a book. I wanted to expose the media."
The clincher, said Sheehy, was—
"The Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride rally at L.A. City Hall in September 2003. I don't remember exactly when, but a few nights later, or a couple of weeks later, I suddenly got out of bed at 3:30 in the morning and went to my home office and began writing the first chapter. I couldn't stop writing. All of my anger, frustration, and feelings came out. I wrote about what happened to my beloved southern California. That day I made the decision to write the book."
Some who have read Sheehy's book have compared it to John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage because its portrayal of individuals who make a difference.
Sheehy himself must be included in among those who make a difference. He told me that:
"I set aside my life for almost two years—without income—to share what I've learned with others, in hopes of helping to save our nation and our quality of life from ruin. Several times I thought about giving up, but couldn't."
Essential reading within Fighting Immigration Anarchy is Sheehy's epilogue that describes his encounters in July 2004 with the F.B.I. at his family's home in upstate New York and in suburban Washington D.C.
I won't spoil it for you by relating the entire incredible story—apparently the result of a malicious anonymous tip, exacerbated when the F.B.I. saw Sheehy's published criticism of Bush's immigration policy.
Suffice it to say that Sheehy's experience included being asked by the F.B.I. if he had nuclear bombs in the trunk of his car or if he was a "threat to the president of the United States?"
The experience was so unsettling to his family that Sheehy's 87-year-old father asked one of the agents, "Will I ever see my son again?"
Sheehy, a threat to no one, notes with dismay that during the month he was interrogated,
Understandably, Sheehy concludes Fighting Immigration Anarchy by wondering: "What happened to American priorities?"
They have been, Sheehy writes, "totally misplaced."
"Our government leaders," Sheehy concludes, "refuse to control immigration. Instead, they control law-abiding American citizens."
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.