Joe`s Immigration Reform Fantasy Comes True—Almost!
February 22, 2008, 04:00 AM
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In my recurring fantasy, I'm on national television debating patriotic immigration reform with a well-known reconquista like Maria Hinojosa, or possibly the Senate's most outspoken pro-open borders advocate, Teddy Kennedy.

That day has yet to come. But in the meantime, something almost as good has happened.

Bill McIntosh, a journalist at Univision, the notorious reconquista Spanish-language TV channel, submitted a list of ten questions to me about former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda's interview with Miami Herald reporter Casey Woods.  Their topic: Castañeda's new book, Ex-Mex. [A Mexican View of U.S. Immigration Debate, Casey Woods. Miami Herald, February 17, 2008]

McIntosh's questions and my replies have been submitted to Univision for possible posting in Spanish on its online website.

Before I start, one note not covered by McIntosh's questions: Woods asked Castañeda why he wrote his book. Replied Castañeda: "I thought it was important that there be a Mexican viewpoint in the U.S. immigration debate"

This is a shaky foundation for Castañeda's tome, since "Mexican viewpoints" on immigration are repeatedly heard throughout the U.S. They often drown out the American perspective.

Ethnic identity groups like La Raza work closely with U.S. Senators in drafting amnesty bills. Newspapers continuously quote local Hispanic open border organizations in their stories, thus providing the immigrant's angle. And the MainStream Media (MSM) editorializes endlessly about why "comprehensive immigration reform" a.k.a. amnesty should be passed.

For Castañeda to claim that the "Mexican voice" is missing in the "U.S. immigration debate" is insulting—as were most of his other comments.

Here's the Q (with lead-ins provided by McIntosh) & A (me)

1. Former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda when interviewed by the Miami Herald concerning his book Ex-Mex and the topic of the historical movement of workers between Mexico and the U.S. remarked that:

"… there are not more people coming from Mexico than before; rather, it is that more people are staying in the United States, which gives the impression there are more, which is, I think, rather new."

Do you think Americans—particularly in Border States like California—are buying this? Are statistics on his side when he says something like this?

A: Castañeda has it half right…more are staying. Why on earth should illegal immigrants return to Mexico when the incentives are all geared to remaining in the U.S.—enroll your child in public school, access to free health care and get a matricula card that will help obtain a mortgage. And, the biggest lure of all, sit tight and hope for an amnesty.

Where Castañeda is wrong is that many more Mexicans are coming. Bear Stearns, a respected investment banking firm, estimates that 20 million illegal aliens live in the U.S. Not all are Mexican but the highest percentage of them is.

Finally, just because a trend is "historical" doesn't mean it should automatically continue."

2. Castañeda claims that Mexicans are now in many more states besides Texas and California—traditional destinations of the past. He refers to the "wall"—presumably the one that Congressman Duncan Hunter of San Diego, California was instrumental in building between California and Mexico—as the reason for this. Castañeda observes: "They [Mexican immigrants] have been boxed in, not walled out, because that's what walls do—they keep people in. People from Mexico have had to move all over the United States, rather than just staying in the traditional gateway states such as California and Texas. Why? Because they are not allowed to come and go anymore, because if you build fences to keep them out, it just keeps them in."

Q: Is the wall doing this?

A: As you can conclude from my previous answer, no one is being kept out. More illegal immigrants arrive in the U.S. every day. And they have spread out to other high growth areas of the country like the southeast. California and Texas have become competitive—if you will—for illegal immigrant workers because there are so many of them.

So the newest arrivals head off for North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee where jobs are (or were prior to the recession) abundant but fewer aliens compete for them.

VDARE.COM gets mail from all over the U.S. from readers noting how the unchecked influx of aliens has negatively impacted their communities."

3. Castañeda claimed that Mexico is just doing America's "dirty work" by rounding up and deporting thousands of Central Americans who venture into Mexico to reach the U.S.

Q: Is this also your take on this strict enforcement of Mexican immigration law or could there be other considerations that are influencing Mexico's deportation of Central Americans who cross into Mexico illegally?

A: I have sisters, nieces and nephews who live in Guatemala. Nothing makes them laugh harder than when they read that Mexico is protesting the "human rights abuses" of its citizens in the U.S. In Guatemala, it's common knowledge that if migrants get caught crossing into Mexico, they'll be beaten, raped and robbed before being kicked back.

Mexico doesn't do any of America's work—"dirty" or otherwise.

4. Castañeda states concerning Mexico's porous southern border and closing it off to Central Americans: "If there is an immigration agreement [between the U.S. and Mexico] then there is incentive for Mexico to seal off its southern border in an honest, secure, humane way".

Q: Is Jorge Castañeda suggesting that Mexico use its own border enforcement with Central America as a bargaining chip with the U.S.?  What do you think of that?

A: Complete and utter nonsense. Why should Mexico have any "bargaining chips" at all? As far as I can see, Mexico benefits exclusively from the status quo and the U.S., save for the business community that exploits cheap alien labor, suffers. In any case, Mexico does only what is good for it. That will be the day when it adopts a policy that helps the U.S.

5. Castañeda thinks immigration isn't a decisive factor for the coming U.S. election. He thinks it's only an issue for marginal groups. He stated: "Obviously, there are extreme groups who want to make immigration a litmus test like abortion or stem-cell research, but it doesn't seem to be working, which is wonderful."

Q: Is Castañeda right or is there another story that isn't getting reported?

A: By "marginal groups" I assume Castañeda is referring to organizations like VDARE.COM that support enforcing immigration law. He views concerned Americans as "extremists." What's Castañeda's take, I wonder, on La Raza's Janet Murguia's venom-filled attack (see it here) on what she referred to as "hate speech?" Does he consider her 'marginal?' She sounds it.

6. Castañeda claims that the U.S. public is following political leadership on immigration reform. He says: "People who are in favor of immigration reform like Sens. John McCain and [Edward] Kennedy have to realize—they have already begun to realize—that if you stand up for it, the American people will go along. You have to face up to the strident extremists."

Q: Are the American people going along with McCain or is this wishful thinking? Were Democrats standing up to the 'strident extremists' or being influenced by them in the past 18 months since the 2006 May Day protests?

A: On immigration, Americans will never go along with McCain—never! From now until the day he is lowered into the ground, McCain—no matter what he might say about having 'gotten the message'—will never have credibility on immigration.

To say that McCain and Kennedy 'stood up' is true—as far as it goes. They may have 'stood up' but they were promptly, repeatedly and thoroughly beaten back in 2006 and 2007.  The American people most decidedly did not nor will they ever, as Castañeda claims, 'go along.'

The Senate, despite its multiple efforts, can't pass any amnesty related bills. And as for the 2006 May Day protests, they were an utter failure that served only to enrage Americans and set back the pro-amnesty crowd. The alien rallies lead directly to their proponents' Senate defeats."

7. Obviously Castañeda doesn't think too much of two former GOP presidential candidates Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo. He re-marked: "Thankfully, the two crazies, [U.S. Rep. Tom] Tancredo and [U.S. Rep. Duncan] Hunter, went nowhere. On the Republican side, Sen. [John] McCain, who has had a progressive attitude on immigration, seems to be doing quite well."

Q: Why did Tancredo and Hunter do so poorly in the 2008 primaries and McCain so well? Doesn't this prove that Castañeda is right to suggest that being progressive on immigration reform could be key to a presidential aspirants' electoral success and that the American public is pro-immigration reform?

A: Castañeda's use of the word 'crazies' reflects poorly on him. Hunter and Tancredo are patriotic Americans responding to the concerns of their constituents.

Hunter is a Vietnam veteran who has served in the Congress for nearly 28 years; Tancredo, a teacher and a member of the Department of Education for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, has served for ten years.

That Hunter and Tancredo didn't do better is a function of how the voting public misunderstands the role of the protest candidate. People say, "Oh, Tancredo/Hunter can't possibly win. I'll vote for X so I don't waste my vote." But then their defeats become inevitable.

Hunter and Tancredo fulfilled their part in bringing immigration to the front and center of the political scene. Remember that in 2000 immigration was hardly mentioned and in 2004 it received only passing attention."

8. You recently wrote that on VDARE.COM that: "McCain won't be President. Amnesty will not pass."

Q: What's your basis for stating this?

A: Eight years of the profoundly unpopular Bush administration makes it hard for any Republican, especially McCain who doesn't have the backing of his party's core conservatives. The public is opposed to the Iraq War but McCain calls for our involvement for 100 more years, if necessary. How will that position, added to his pro-immigration advocacy, help him?

On the other hand, the Democrats are doing all they can to help McCain if they nominate the controversial, untested Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton with her high negatives.

About amnesty, Capitol Hill insiders have told me that the issue is too "toxic" to bring up until 2010 at the earliest.

I can't imagine that the newly-elected president, whoever he may be, will begin his first term by pushing for an amnesty that the public has repeatedly rejected.

9.

Q: If future elections bring strong Democratic majorities to the U.S. House and Senate isn't an immigration amnesty a foregone conclusion?

A: No, it's not. I predict a further deepening of public sentiment against amnesty. No matter who is in the White House, Democrat or Republicans, in the end Congress has to pass amnesty.  Bush tried for eight years to force amnesty down Congressional throats—no sale! And House Democrats like North Carolina's Heath Shuler have introduced strong anti-illegal immigration legislation."

10.

Q: How would you characterize the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico?

A: The political relationship is strictly one-sided…everything for Mexico. Americans and Mexicans would like to see the Mexican government do more for its citizens, something that there's been no evidence of it even trying to do.

Mexican leaders are pompous and self-serving. For more than 85 years, no country in the Western world has been more corrupt than Mexico.

My advice to Felipe Calderón and his predecessor Vicente Fox is to clean up Mexico before coming to the U.S. again to preach to us about how to manage our immigration policies.

Joe Guzzardi [e-mail him] is the Editor of VDARE.COM Letters to the Editor. In addition, he is an English teacher at the Lodi Adult School and has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.