Recently, our revered Joe Guzzardi reported that we are now (September 15-October 15) celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month—in the process stepping on Italian American Heritage Month (September 15-October 15).
My immediate question was "is he serious?" Joe assured me it was true, so I moved on to "why."
I decided to search for a listing of other organizations that have a claim to the months of September or October. I was irritated and embarrassed to discover that we also have:
This quirky happenchance led me to explore the possibility of a new and, well, corollary awareness month.
National Hispanic Crime Prevention Month sounds good to me.
First I had to figure out what "Hispanic" means.
The word "Hispanic" has always sounded like a semantic smokescreen created to avoid any stigma associated with "Mexican". The same type of public relations strategy also changed Black Panthers to "activists." (No, I am not comparing the two).
I looked to the U.S. Census bureau for the official definition of "Hispanic."
"The term Hispanic, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, refers to Spanish-speaking people in the United States of any race."
Hmmm. My friend is half Russian, half Chinese born in Manila, Philippines. Fluent in Spanish, she resides, legally, in Portland, Oregon. By definition, she is Hispanic.
Trust me, her mom would be offended by this; then express regret that her daughter didn't apply to Harvard.
The official definition was too vague to design a control group, so I searched the statistics of origin for "Hispanics" living in the U.S.
I failed every statistics course I took. But this doesn't sound good.
So there are roughly 40 million Hispanics living in the United States. This is more than the seven largest Mexican States combined.
As for crime prevention, I decided to search only the crimes committed by Mexican Illegal Aliens—not Mexicans in general (see Hispanics).
There were a gazillion hits but, wait for it...the two words "illegal aliens" showed the first seven results to be news stories of recent, and I mean within the last month, crimes by illegal aliens.
That's pretty striking when you consider that Internet search engines list results by relevance.
The spin efforts of the happy-face illegal-immigrant apologists who dominate mainstream media (think Ruben Navarrette) are being undermined by reality. The template successful-illegal-alien anecdotage has been replaced with the real story of American law-enforcement failure.
Here are just a few:
Wait a minute. The Ruben Navarrettes of today have long been painting an entirely different picture of illegal border-crossers. You know, the oppressed family of five (or twelve) seeking a new life in America.
Well, that picture might be a bit tarnished by this statistic from the latest Arizona border report:
"Since the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1, 2003) through Sept. 8 the Tucson Sector has arrested 12,535 illegal aliens with criminal records in the United States. Of that number, 175 were for Sexual Offenses. Of the criminal aliens arrested, 605 of them had active warrants out for their arrest." U.S. Border Patrol arrests two sexual predators in two days Eloy(AZ), Enterprise September 16, 2004
So this is what I have for the "awareness" part of National Hispanic Crime Prevention Month:
Close the border and round up the illegal aliens currently in the United States and deport them. (And by deport I mean actually take them into Mexico before releasing them. Releasing them in San Diego just means that the ex-INS relocated them to a nice beach community.)
Utilize our military resources to guard the borders. (I like the idea of attack dogs trained to smell and devour sexual predators as well, but I shouldn't' be greedy).
Hispanic heritage and their contribution to American culture might be something worth celebrating, I don't know. I'm too concerned with what they have contributed American culture by way of crime—starting with their first: the crime of illegal entry.
Hispanics should realize (and some of them do) that illegal immigration harms Hispanic heritage.
If they support the effort to remedy this problem, they won't need a Hispanic Heritage awareness month.
They will easily be recognized as Americans...of Hispanic descent, of course.
Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.