In Memoriam: California Coalition For Immigration Reform's Barbara Coe
Print Friendly and PDF

From California comes the very sad news that Barbara Coe, President of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform has died—of lung cancer, I am particularly distressed to hear.

Barbara Coe was one of a group of California patriots who came together in the early 1990s because they saw the danger posed by mass illegal and legal immigration—and realized that the political Establishment, liberal and "conservative," intended to do absolutely nothing about it.

Her own radicalization stemmed from watching a destitute friend enter a low-cost nursing home, where she believed poor care from the non-English speaking staff hastened his death—just one more aspect of post-1965 immigration policy's immiseration of the American working class, nowhere more dramatic than in the lost paradise of Southern California. She and Glenn Spencer of American Patrol kindly put on a speaking event during my 1995 Alien Nation book tour and she made many appearances.

It was not Barbara's fault that the combination of the Leftist managerial state and the terminal cowardice and stupidity of the California GOP have frustrated her efforts—so far. God's blessings upon her, and upon all of her comrades.

As I wrote for the American Conservative back in 2006, commenting on her appearance in Dan Sheehy's book Fighting Immigration Anarchy: American Patriots Battle to Save the Nation:

[B]ack in 1993 Barbara Coe of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform was fired by the Anaheim Police Department, where she managed the Crime Analysis Unit, because she persisted in drawing to the attention of her superiors the dramatic increase in immigrant crime. Coe is a veteran of many subsequent demonstrations and the object of violence and death threats, which law enforcement officials never seem to be able do anything about. Her group has repeatedly put up billboards criticizing illegal immigration, which are invariably taken down by cowardly landlords after threats of violence.

Instrumental in the victory of California's Proposition 187, which would have cut off taxpayer subsidies to illegal immigrants and which was sabotaged by Democratic Governor Gray Davis' refusal to defend it in court, she has been involved in several subsequent efforts to get anti-immigration measures on the ballot, all falling short of the required signature total partly because of the opposition, also cowardly, of California's Republican organizations. (Although Proposition 187 was what got the last Republican governor, Peter Wilson, re-elected in 1994.) Coe did, however, play a role in the recall of Gray Davis.

Coe was 70 when Sheehy interviewed her, and at work on another ballot initiative. (She's been in the headlines more recently because a Republican campaign staffer apparently used forged CCIR letterhead in a mailing warning Hispanic immigrants not to vote illegally. Typical of current debate, this drew more outrage than the fact that Hispanic immigrants notoriously do in fact vote illegally.)

Her life of obscure sacrifice is not one that appeals to many professional politicians, and even less to their media groupies. Nevertheless, it is the cumulative effect of many such lives that ultimately creates an irresistible political movement. Saint Petersburg, notoriously, is built on the bones of the thousands of serfs who labored to reclaim the land from swamp.

Print Friendly and PDF