Scrooge Was Right! Media Humbug on Needy Illegals Ignores Reality
December 13, 2002, 04:00 AM
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The Christmas spirit is unusually elusive this year. Perhaps I should heed the advice of my aware but uninvolved friends and give up the fight to successfully resolve the National Question.

"Let it go," they urge. "Move to Idaho and take up trout fishing."

Alas, as appealing as that sounds, it is not meant to be. I am mesmerized by, on one hand, the magnitude of the challenge and, on the other hand, the deep hole the U.S. has dug for itself regarding immigration.

As Peter Brimelow likes to say, "It's simply fascinating."

How could I ever drop the good fight when every week some new jaw-dropping item surfaces to spur me on?

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle run their appeals for the down and out. Their charities are named, respectively "The Neediest Cases Fund" and "The Season of Sharing Fund."

Over the years, I've noticed that a significant percentage of these "needy" cases were born outside of the U.S. Naturally, neither newspaper mentions the immigration status of their subjects. But drawing on my deductive powers gleaned from 15 years of immigration analysis, it's not hard to figure it out.

Lo and behold, many are here illegally. And surprise, surprise, some of their straits aren't that dire.

You're already familiar with their stories: they are the Jesus Apodacas of the Denver Post, the "Enriques" of the Los Angeles Times and the Edwin Sabillons of the New York Times.

The new wrinkle is that in addition to supporting these families indirectly with your tax dollars, the Times and the Chronicle would like you to donate to charities that will then give cash assistance directly to them.

Here are a few cases:

"Setting Pride Aside and Stumbling Upon Day Care" by Judy Tong, New York Times.

Miriam and Francisco Ortigoza (most likely entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico in 1990). Ortigoza earns $26,000 annually as a service coordinator for Mid-Island Therapy Associates (a job an American won't do?). But despite being young, healthy and earning a lower middle class income, Ortigoza can't support his family of two toddlers and a mostly non-working (and non-English speaking wife). The oldest child is enrolled in the federally funded Head Start Program. A caseworker with Children's Aid, perceiving other needs in the household, authorized a $200 payment for clothing and $698 for furniture. After reading the story, I'm unclear what the compelling financial crisis is—unless it is Mrs. Ortigoza's "desire to go back to school."

"Escaping into Literature with Some Outside Help" by Kari Haskell, New York Times

Andres Zambrano (illegal, Ecuador) is a 19-year-old junior at Bard College studying literature and writing poetry. He recently won a scholarship from the Children's Aide Society. At a three-week seminar on theater arts this summer, the Neediest Cases Fund picked up Zambrano's $600 room and board. Apparently, Zambrano's "probing mind" hasn't figured out that a part-time job is what thousands of college students rely on when they are short. Nevertheless, the fund encourages future donations to support Zambrano's continued evolution as a poet.

"Healed Hearts, Physical and Spiritual," by Arthur Bovino, N.Y.Times

Nadezhda and Tevy Saksonov (legal from Tajikistan—unless the American Embassy is now putting illegal aliens "on a special plane for sick people"). Although the Saksonovs have a son living in New Jersey, the couple has been on assistance since their arrival in America in 1992. But they hit jackpot—if you will—when Mrs. Saksonova had a heart transplant (a heart no American wants?) and Mr. Saksonova underwent quadruple bypass surgery. (Author's note: without a $250,000 deposit neither you nor I could even get on the list for a heart transplant. The medical care the Saksonova's received is called, according to a Los Angeles nurse, "the multi-million dollar treatment.")

"Single Mom finds struggles worth it because of her son," John Coopman, S. F. Chronicle

Patricia Santillan (illegal from Mexico) came to the U.S. six years ago after "a life she made" (never got married) didn't work out. She and her lover, both non-English speaking, worked menial jobs and lived on the San Francisco streets. A bitter dispute over child custody ensued after Santillan's lover abandoned her. Santillan turned to La Raza for legal assistance. Her association with La Raza evolved into part time work as "a de facto social worker…telling poor families where to go for food, clothing, work or money." (!)

Who knows the true circumstances of these individuals? I certainly don't trust the Times or the Chronicle to tell me. But as described, the stories don't reflect a life and death need for immediate cash assistance.

Let me share my own example of what I consider a deserving case. A few years ago, I wanted to buy walnuts in bulk. I searched the classified ads until I found an address in a nearby town.

When I located the house, I walked to the shed out back. There, an elderly couple sat shelling walnuts. They recognized my picture from the Lodi News-Sentinel and invited me into their house.

On their walls were photographs, medals and citations from World War II. Both had been heroes; he in the Battle of the Bulge and she in the Pacific.

Over the years, I've had dozens of visits in that living room. Once, around Veterans Day, I said, "Well, you must be very proud of what you did for your country."

And in reply the gentleman said, "It just doesn't matter much anymore, does it?"

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.