A funny thing happened on the way to this column. I learned that we're deeper in the quicksand than we realize.
I set out to write about how the matricula consular, the Mexican government ID card carried by Mexican immigrants who are otherwise "undocumented" (illegal in American) has taken the country by storm. Institutions are tripping over each other to provide services to anyone who holds this bogus piece of plastic in his hand. Banks, municipal governments and police departments (!) are among those who wholeheartedly endorse the latest craze in circumventing U.S. immigration laws.
Now we have "The Son of the Matricula Consular Card." The Chicago Tribune has reported (July 25) that the Guatemalan and Polish illegal communities want to know if Chicago will accept their phony ID's, too?
As I was mentally writing my column, I thought it would be interesting to learn which country had the second most consular offices in the U.S. I knew that no country had more than the 43 reported by Mexico on its website.
But Ms. Patricia Jackson of the Office of Protocol, United States Department of State told me that Mexico has 65 consular offices. No matter how many times I called (twice in two separate weeks) and regardless of how I phrased the question, the answer remained the same: 65. [VDARE.COM note: Here's the State Department's web version of the list, not updated recently.]
Ms. Jackson allows that some of the offices may be annexes and others may have closed (although they are required to report closings). But current, official State Department records show Mexico with 65 consular offices.
In other words, 22 more offices are cranking out matricula consular cards or providing information about how to obtain them.
In addition to the 65 busy offices, many Mexican consulates have set up sub-stations, mostly churches, to assist in their mission. As I was digesting the impact of Ms. Jackson's somber statistics, more bad news reached me via the New York Times. On July 31, reporter Lynette Clemetson in her story "Latino Population Growth is Widespread, Study Says" reaffirmed what we already knew from the U.S. Census 2000 and from the Center for Immigration Studies: Hispanic population numbers are soaring not only in hubs like New York, Los Angeles and Miami but also in cities like Nashville, TN.; Providence, R.I.; Salt Lake City and West Palm Beach, FL. that had virtually no Latinos 20 years ago.
The study, conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, described some cities as having experienced "hypergrowth." Atlanta and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. had Hispanic population increases of 1,000% in two decades.
The vast majority of this new Hispanic wave is certainly here illegally.
Reeling from the one-two punches of 50% more Mexican consular offices and 1,000% increase in Hispanics in Atlanta, I couldn't get to a neutral corner before another blow landed.
On August 1, New York Times (why can't I break the bad habit of reading the Times?) reporter Stephen Kinzer wrote "Mexico's Cultural Diplomacy Aims to Win Hearts in U.S."
For at least the next two years and perhaps much longer advises Kinzer,
"…Mexican art shows will be at American museums without interruption…This new wave of cultural generosity supports the politics of Vicente Fox who favors closer relations between the U.S. and Mexico." Since President Fox took office, "the principal object of Mexico's cultural largesse has been the U.S."
Chimes in Ignacio Duran, cultural Minister at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C.,
"Mexico considers this a very effective instrument. People who appreciate the culture of a country begin to identify with that country."
According to Kinzer's story, "scores" of cultural programs are planned across the U.S. throughout 2003-2004. They are sponsored and paid for, at least in part, by the Mexican government.
A festival at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, which will run for four weeks next spring, will be 50% underwritten by Mexico.
In addition to road shows "in keeping with the image Mexico now wants to promote," the Mexican government maintains "four large cultural institutes in the U. S. that are in almost constant activity."
While Mexico exports its culture to the U.S., we have stopped promoting ourselves internationally. According to Stanley Zuckerman, former public affairs officer at the American Embassy in Mexico, the U.S. Information Agency has been absorbed into the State Department and saddled with a restrictive budget.
In an August 8, Letter to the Editor of the New York Times, "Promoting Our Culture," Zuckerman recalled that the largest display of American art sent abroad was a collection of our 90 greatest artists exhibited at the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.
Zuckerman finds it "ironic" that Mexico has become aggressive in marketing its culture while the U.S. has withdrawn from the practice.
The overall picture is profoundly disturbing. We have the President of the U.S., the House Democratic leader, 100 U. S. Senators and 50 governors making fools of themselves fawning over Mexico.
Forgive me for thinking - this week at least - that I just might live to see "La Reconquista" completed in my lifetime.
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.