[Previously by Lincoln Kahn: Diversity Is Strength! It's Also…The Mexican Mafia]
Victor Toro, who has spent the last two decades promoting the rights of illegal aliens in the Bronx, New York, was arrested on July 6th.
Guess what? It turns out that Toro himself was never legally in the United States. He now faces deportation. His shocked supporters have organized numerous rallies and fundraisers to pay attorneys' fees and they've persuaded The New York Times to run a sympathetic account of his plight. [Longtime Advocate for Immigrants Now Faces Deportation, By Anthony Ramirez, New York Times, July 11, 2007]
Where is Toro from and how did he get here?
In the early 1970's Toro was one of the three founders of a Chilean political party called the MIR, or the Movement of the Revolutionary Left. Yes, Toro was an avowed Communist and fervent admirer of Fidel Castro who sought the overthrow of his country's elected democratic government. He stood even further out on the left than Salvador Allende.
Toro was forced into exile when Augusto Pinochet came to power in a coup, restored order and rebuilt the economy. In the years that followed, Toro claims, he drifted about Europe.
At some point, though, he wound up living in Cuba. It was there, in 1980, that his daughter was born.
But, like so many extremists, it seems that Toro was in favor of the revolution in principle but eager to enjoy the fruits of capitalism in practice. So he moved to the U.S. and set up a storefront organization promoting radical agitation in the Bronx. His presence in the Bronx, of course, not only violated U.S. immigration laws, but was also almost certainly a violation of the McCarran-Walter Act, which barred political undesirables from entering the country.(McCarran-Walter was repealed by the Immigration Act Of 1990, after Toro settled in the US.)
In the years that followed Toro concerned himself with promoting far-left causes in the U.S. and leading marches and rallies against Pinochet. He also worked to help illegals and received substantial grant aid to subsidize his work. An internet search shows receipt of at least one disbursement of $50,000 alone.
Throughout this time though, it appears that he did not bother to master English. Consequently, when Toro (who refused my repeated requests for an interview) spoke to the Newspaper of Record and posed for photos, his Cuban-born daughter had to do the translating for him.
The Times then returned the courtesy by not asking why Toro needed a translator after more than two decades in the U.S. Similarly, reporter Anthony Ramirez failed to ask what Toro had been doing in Cuba and neglected to inform the paper's readers of his involvement in those expressly pro-Castro Communist political activities in Chile, something which could easily have learned by Googling.
Toro was picked up by U.S. authorities during a routine search for illegals as he boarded an Amtrak train near the Canadian border in Rochester, New York. Of course, he could have been caught at any time prior to this if the INS and police simply had bothered to ask for the papers of this non-English speaker before.
Notable, too, is the (all too routine) handling of the case: Toro did not contest the accusation of being an illegal, but he was released by a judge on his own recognizance and could disappear once again at any time—with the aid of the many illegals he's assisted in the past.
Toro is currently out on bail, but this hasn't stopped him from taking time out from his preparations for court to appear alongside Cindy Sheehan as a speaker two weeks ago at a New York anti-war rally.
Regardless, Toro's case brings up a larger issue: the large number of immigrants in America with openly anti-democratic political views. Of late, the media focus on radical aliens has shifted towards Islamists who seek to create a world dominated by their faith and ruled through sharia. But the problem of far-Left agitators and spies appearing on our shores, if an older problem, is a continuing one with deep roots.
Going back to the early 1900s, the arrival of Communist aliens was one of the main reasons for the immigration restrictions of the Progressive Era.
Justly so. Consider this very brief list of foreign-born America-haters and their accomplishments in undermining faith in our society.
Our tradition of representative government flows out of the unique history of the American nation. We are foolish to assume that foreigners from the many parts of the globe all come here with a common affection and regard for it.
Lincoln Kahn (email him) is a New York-based writer