Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Illegal Hispanic Immigration Is Undermining American Values

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Illegal Hispanic Immigration Is Undermining American Values

Article excerpt

Illegal immigration is causing an influx of Hispanics who don't embrace American values.

Walking the sandy beachfront in this ultra-affluent city, I chanced upon two Hispanic men rummaging through the trash. Startled at the sight, I stared momentarily. One of them yelled at me, "You look now, but in 50 years we will own all this!" Given the tsunami of illegal immigration and the prolific Hispanic birthrate, I responded, "I believe you will."

US Census statistics suggest the scavenging man was right. California, now about 37 percent Latino, is expected to be majority Hispanic by 2042. A quarter of all Americans will probably be Latino in 40 years.

This trend has worrisome aspects. Imagine a huge, growing Hispanic underclass in America with a grudge, a burning sense of having been victimized by the "gringos."

I witnessed this grudge up close a few years ago at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. Hispanic students challenged me, claiming any restriction of illegal immigration across the US southern border with Mexico is a violation of Latinos' human rights.

Me: "Would you try to reenter Spain without a passport?

Students: "Of course not."

Me: "What about France, or Britain?"

Students: "No."

Yet many of these illegal Latino immigrants suffer the illusion they are divinely entitled to colonize the US - and not just the states bordering Mexico, but Chicago and the East Coast as well.

Some Hispanics talk openly of a reconquista, an effort to reclaim the American Southwest that once belonged to Mexico.

Historically, this concept is wide of the mark. Most Hispanic ancestors of immigrants owned no land. Their forebears were serfs of the Roman Catholic Church, once the largest landholder in Latin America and the world. Other ancestors labored as landless peons for Spanish colonial landlords who were later relieved of their lands by 19th-century Anglo-Americans.

Historical entitlement is but one of the myths surrounding illegal Hispanic immigration. Gringos have their own fables, such as ultimate assimilation into a greater English-speaking society.

Professor Lawrence Harrison of Tufts University in Medford, Mass., notes that "In California, fourth- and fifth-generation Mexican immigrants are still speaking only Spanish and resisting assimilation." He says there are serious cultural barriers to the old melting-pot concept. "Words like compromise and dissent, crucial concepts to American democracy, have radically different meanings in Spanish." Dissent, for example, translates into "heresy. …

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