Dan Sheehy's book is such a fascinating balance between the personal and the political that it is remarkable no one else has thought of writing it before.
Instead of relying on copious eye-glazing statistics to make its point, as many immigration books do, Fighting Immigration Anarchy focuses on American citizen-activists who have made a difference in the struggle to maintain U.S. borders and sovereignty.
Many who have read the book have noted its similarity in design to John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage.
Sheehy's book is well researched and filled with timely information, with extensive reference notes backing up his positions.
I must declare my own connection with this project.
I met Dan a little before he decided to write the book. Besides being an interested opinion provider throughout the process, I worked as an editor on the book because I strongly believe in the concept.
A "people" book about immigration is a terrific idea, and corresponds with my own sense that individual stories are more compelling than an array of factoids.
Sheehy's balance of the personal narratives supplemented by hard facts makes it downright painless to absorb immigration complexities as he seamlessly blends the two elements.
People familiar with the issue of immigration moderation will recognize the names of the activists profiled: Terry Anderson, Roy Beck, Barbara Coe, Joe Guzzardi, Glenn Spencer, and Rep. Tom Tancredo. Their struggles are the backbone of the book, with the need-to-know information interwoven within the engaging human stories.
Sheehy lives in Los Angeles and has experienced firsthand the unprecedented Mexicanization of that city. An excerpt from his book describes how he saw the idyllic American community of his childhood turned into the capital of Aztlan.
For Sheehy, the shock and outrage never wore off.
Many Americans glumly ask themselves, "What can one little person do against the powerful forces that want unrestricted illegal immigration?" Fighting Immigration Anarchy offers many answers, such as start an immigration reduction group (Barbara Coe), utilize the Internet to organize grassroots voters to lobby Congress (Roy Beck) or get on the radio (Terry Anderson).
The message throughout Sheehy's book is that ordinary people with the grit to save the country can do extraordinary things.
VDARE.COM readers will be happy to see a chapter devoted to columnist Joe Guzzardi that particularly concentrates on his 2003 close-the-borders campaign to become the California governor, back in the wild and wooly recall election.
(You may remember that Gov. Gray Davis pushed voters already unhappy about the state budget deficit over the edge with his enthusiastic signature on a bill granting drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. The response was a historic legal ejection of a sitting governor that occurred only a few months after his re-election. How sweet it was.)
As he does with his other major subjects, Sheehy uses Guzzardi's unique campaign to inform readers about California's open-borders devolution while telling an entertaining yarn about a modern-day Mr. Smith who wants to go to Sacramento.
For background, Sheehy recounted the recent history of California's immigration blunders starting with the Proposition 187 debacle. Prop. 187 had passed with a substantial 59 percent majority. It would have discontinued many public benefits to illegal aliens.
Davis' unlawful 1999 scuttling of Proposition 187 set California's budget trajectory off a cliff. The state is still reeling today. Assemblyman Ray Haynes recently stated, "Our budget deficit today is, by and large, created by covering services for illegal immigrants."
A Governor Guzzardi would have steered California away from the budget precipice by tough enforcement, instead of the girly-man measures advanced by the current Governator. But it's tough to win in a campaign against a movie star. Ask Jimmy Carter.
In addition to the election, we learn about Joe's varied past history as a Renaissance man from his early finance career at Merrill Lynch and his small-venture start-up company to running his own restaurants. His later adventures as an ESL teacher in Lodi began in 1988 and have been the fodder for many a diverse Vdare.com column.
Another plus is the 38-page chapter written about Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado. Sheehy has written the longest essay published so far about the possible 2008 Presidential candidate.
Readers will appreciate a cohesive portrait of Tancredo's background and beliefs. The story of how the one-time civics teacher ran for public office is a familiar tale of awakening to the unpleasant truth that the once admirable goal of moderate levels of immigration has created a destructive force surging out of control.
Sheehy also thoroughly covers Rep. Tancredo's reflections about multiculturalism .
A particularly enjoyable aspect of Fighting Immigration Anarchy is how the voices of the individual patriots come alive on the pages.
Readers hear at length the ideas of the subjects expressed in their own words. The feeling of getting acquainted with some remarkable people is a rewarding sensation.
For example, many long quotes from Rep. Tancredo's Special Order speeches are included along with his personal responses to Sheehy's questions.
Some might quibble with the book's California emphasis. Three of the major subjects now reside in the state and one, Glenn Spencer, moved from California to Arizona in 2002. Many of the state's important battles are covered in detail, including Proposition 187 and the Save Our State initiative.
But the truth is that the rest of the country should be paying far more attention to how rapidly California has been Mexicanized. The political and cultural conflict created by California's speedy descent from paradise to third world should be a wake-up call for all Americans.
Finally, the book manages an artful balance between sounding the alarm that the hour is late, while demonstrating on every page that resolute citizens can and are fighting back - and winning.