Unmeltable Ethnic Diversity
There is quite a telling article in today's Loudoun Times about the various "faces" of illegal immigration in our county. I'm not sure what it was intended to convey, but if you read to the end one message comes through loud and clear:
The children of Brigitta and Guillermo Toruno personify the modern-day melting pot. Her father was from Argentina, her mother from Ecuador. Guillermo is from Nicaragua.
Brigitta is a native-born U.S. citizen but identifies herself as Hispanic. "I'll never say just 'I'm American.' It would feel like cutting off roots."
The children were born in Virginia. But ask them where they are from, and they don't say Sterling, or Lansdowne.
Our burgeoning population of illegal immigrants is rubbing many of the legal citizens of Loudoun County the wrong way, which the latest CIS poll indicates parallels opinion throughout the U.S. The problem is not ethnicity: It is the unmeltable ethnicity of the new arrivals. (A reference to Novac's The Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnics - which seemed so astringent in the 70s but today appears rather quaint).
The reason Loudoun's citizens are saying 'enough' is because so many of their new neighbors seem to have no interest in becoming fellow citizens. They seem to have little interest in appropriating the language, history, culture and mores the longtime residents share. This is evident in so many ways. Signage inside a local elementary school with messages in Spanish first and English beneath. Single family homes converted into boarding houses, and front lawns turned into storage areas for commercial equipment and vehicle repair enterprises. Probably the greatest impact is on the business environment.
As T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, noted earlier this year:
Drywall hangers, for example: used to make $18.00 - $20.00 and hour; now the going rate is $8.00 - $10.00 an hour. These are jobs that Americans can't AFFORD to work in because they can't afford to live in substandard living conditions.
On the other hand, people who have no interest in this country can live 15 adult males, unrelated, in a one-bedroom apartment, and send most of their money back home. They're more than willing to take those jobsâ€¦because they're not immigrants: They're migrants. They're only here for the money. They're fiercely nationalistic. They believe that they're still Mexicans, El Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and really have no allegiance to this country. That's a myth. People think that everyone wants to come to the United States to be a citizen. They're just here for the money.
British professor Brian Hamnett - sympathetic to the reconquista of American territory - affirms this interpretation:
Although many such immigrants may aspire to US citizenship and the benefits of US material life, Latin American culture is strong enough to resist absorbtion into prevailing English-language culture and most such immigrants would not wish to forfeit their distinct identities. Accordingly, the late twentieth-century reinforcement of the already existing Latin American historical presence within US-controlled territory has raised the question of cultural and linguistic integration. Along with the Mexican 'border question' is the issue of the status of the Spanish language within the United States in relation to the (at present) unique official status of the English language. This latter issue goes well beyond the question of the Mexican border, since it involves at least Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Central American presence in the United States as well. Mexicans, in view of their own cultural inheritance and the contiguity of the Mexican Republic, have proved to be the strongest group of 'unmeltables' within the United States.
[Brian R. Hamnett, A Concise History of Mexico, Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp 10-11.]
We got a firsthand taste of this at the recent Herndon Town Council meeting where Ana Rochac - wife of local pro-illegal advocate Jorge Rochac - had a Freudian slip of the tongue.
If foreign nationals intend to remain just that, and continue to stream in to the U.S. at a rate of thousands per day, we are in the process of becoming a bicultural society. Mark Steyn observed this is not a fortuitous development:
Bicultural societies are among the least stable in the world, especially once it's no longer quite clear who is the majority and who is the minority...
Dick Lamm, former Democratic governor of Colorado, incorporated this idea into his Eight-point plan to destroy America
First to destroy America, "Turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures..."
More from Steyn:
This is not an "immigration" issue. "Immigration" is when you go into a U.S. government office and there's 100 people filling in paperwork to live in America, and there are a couple of Slovaks, couple of Bangladeshis, couple of New Zealanders, couple of Botswanans, couple of this, couple of that. Assimilation is not in doubt because, if you're a lonely Slovak in Des Moines, it's extremely difficult to stay unassimilated...
But a "worker class" drawn overwhelmingly from a neighboring jurisdiction with another language and ancient claims on your territory and whose people now send so much money back home in the form of "remittances" that it's Mexico's largest source of foreign income (bigger than oil or tourism) is not "immigration" at all, but a vast experiment in societal transformation.
The new arrivals may be intent on transplanting their flag onto our soil and blotting out our cultural heritage and neighborhood customs bit by bit. We who have roots here, conversely, may not wish to see that particular experiment succeed. This country is America, and its citizens call themselves "Americans." The American citizens who want to keep it that way had best begin getting a clear concept of just what constitutes America - so they can explain it to the new arrivals and shout it from the rooftops - if they want to preserve it.
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