Hispanic Racial Consciousness,
They make no secret of wanting your country.
Part I described the deep racial/ethnic loyalties Hispanic Americans retain to their countries of origin, and explained how they have turned their backs on assimilation and expect the United States to accommodate their loyalties and preferences. It concluded by noting that every year several thousand Mexican-Americans go home in coffins to be buried in the country they consider their true home.
If some Mexican-Americans have their way, they will not have to go back to be buried; Mexico will come to them. What is called the Reconquista movement aims to break the Southwest off from the United States and reattach it to Mexico or even establish it as an independent, all-Hispanic nation. In historic terms, it would reverse the territorial consequences of the Mexican-American war. Reconquista is generally promoted by the best-educated Hispanics, many of whom were born in the United States.
Charles Truxillo, a professor of Chicano studies at the University of New Mexico, thinks Republica del NorteX would be a good name for a new Hispanic nation. The Republic of the North would contain all of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas and the southern part of Colorado. Its capital would probably be Los Angeles. The Albuquerque-born Prof. Truxillo says the new nation is “an inevitability,” and should be created “by any means necessary.” He doubts violence will be necessary, however, because shifting demographics will make the transition a natural one. “I may not live to see the Hispanic homeland,” he says, “but by the end of the century my students’ kids will live in it, sovereign and free.”
|Demonstrating for amnesty. Are they Mexican or American?|
Juan Jose Peña, Hispanic activist and vice chairman of the Hispanic Roundtable of New Mexico agrees with Prof. Truxillo, adding, “I’ve studied lots of civilizations. The United States is just like any other empire. It’s not going to live forever. Eventually it will break down because of stresses.”
Armando Navarro, Hispanic activist and professor at the University of California at Riverside is another Reconquista advocate, noting that if current social and demographic trends continue, secession is inevitable. “One could argue that while Mexico lost the war in 1848, it will probably win it in the 21st century, in terms of the numbers,” he explained. “A secessionist movement is not something that you can put away and say it is never going to happen in the United States,” he adds. “Time and history change.”
Xavier Hermosillo, a prominent businessman and leader of a Hispanic activist group in Los Angeles, explained that “we’re taking it [California] back, house by house, block by block.” He adds: “People ought to wake up and smell the refried beans.”
|“We‘re taking California back, house by house, block by block. People ought to wake up and smell the refried beans.”|
Probably the best known Reconquista organization is the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan, better know by its Spanish acronym of MEChA. The word Aztlan in the organization’s name means “the bronze continent,” and is the name activists plan to give the new nation they carve out of the United States. One of its founding documents, El Plan de Aztlan, describes white people as “the brutal ‘gringo’,” and calls for Mexicans to reclaim “the land of their birth” and “declare the independence of our mestizo nation.” The group’s motto is Por la Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada: “For the race, everything. For those outside the race, nothing.” Founded in 1969 at the University of California at Santa Barbara, MEChA now has chapters on nearly every California college campus and in most high schools in the state. It has a considerable presence in other Western states as well. The official symbol of MEChA is an eagle holding an Incan battle axe and a lighted stick of dynamite. The slogan that goes with the symbol, Hasta la victoria, siempre! (Until victory, always!) was a favorite of Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution.
On some campuses, conservatives have called attention to MEChA’s racially divisive message, and Stanford students voted by a narrow margin to withhold university funding from the group. At the University of California at Los Angeles, the campus Republicans tried at least to get the group to denounce the explicitly secessionist El Plan de Aztlan, but it refused. “We will stand by the ‘El Plan de Aztlan’ because it has guided us,” MEChA chairwoman Elizabeth Alamillo explained.
Many Mexican intellectuals eagerly anticipate Reconquista. According to one newspaper report:
“The Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska affirmed today that Mexico is presently recovering the territories lost in the past to the United States, thanks to emigration: ‘The people of the poor, the lice-ridden and the cucarachas [cockroaches] are advancing in the United States, a country that wants to speak Spanish because 33.4 million Hispanics impose their culture.’ Ms. Poniatowska added that ‘this phenomenon … fills me with jubilation, because the Hispanics can have a growing force between Patagonia and Alaska.’”
Even Mexican government spokesmen speak the language of irredentism. At a symposium in Los Angeles on the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which marked the end of the Mexican-American War, the Mexican consul general, Jose Angel Pescador Osuna observed, “Even though I am saying this part serious and part joking, I think we are practicing la Reconquista in California.”
In 2005, Reconquista sentiment got an unusual public airing when 75 billboards appeared in Los Angeles advertising Spanish-language KRCA-TV. The billboards showed two newscasters in front of the downtown skyline, with “Los Angeles, CA” written above them. The “CA” was crossed out, and “Mexico” was stamped over it in bright red letters. Below, it said in Spanish: Tu ciudad. Tu equipo. (Your city. Your team.) Even a few gringos got the message. “The joke here is, ‘We’re taking back California,’” explained Stuart Fischoff, who teaches media psychology at California State University at Los Angeles. “Underneath the joke is part of the truth.”
Part of the great appeal Fidel Castro has long enjoyed in Mexico is his unwavering support for Mexican irredentism. In a 1997 speech in Mexico City, he renewed his call for the United States to return Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico. He said Americans are “terrorized” when Mexicans cross into what is in fact their own territory.
The spirit of conquest need not be limited to the Southwest. Mass immigration, and the unwillingness of native-born Americans to insist on assimilation by newcomers leaves the impression the whole country is up for grabs. Riverside, New Jersey, is one of a handful of American cities that have tried to pass ordinances to discourage hiring or renting to illegal immigrants. Rev. Miguel Rivera, president of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders, noting that legal residency is not required to purchase property in the US, said illegal aliens would retaliate by buying rather than renting. New owners would welcome other illegals, who would eventually dominate through sheer force of numbers. “Riverside is going to be ours,” he said.
The Official Mexican View
It is official Mexican government policy to urge Mexicans living in the United States to remain loyal to Mexico. This policy applies broadly to all naturalized and even US-born citizens of Mexican origin, but government spokesmen direct their strongest efforts towards Mexican-Americans who hold elected office. In 1995, for example, then-president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo himself told a group of Mexican-American politicians, “You’re Mexicans — Mexicans who live north of the border.” Two years later in Chicago, he took the same message to the Hispanic advocacy group, the National Council of La Raza. He “proudly affirmed that the Mexican nation extends beyond the territory enclosed by its borders and that Mexican migrants are an important — a very important — part of this.”
|Elana Poniatowska even wants Alaska.|
The administration of Vicente Fox continued the policy of ensuring that Mexican-Americans remained Mexican. In 2002, his government established the Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (Institute for Mexicans Abroad) to promote “a more comprehensive approach” to promoting Mexican loyalty. A primary function was to invite American elected officials of Mexican origin to Mexico, to deepen their Mexican identity. In October 2003, for example, the Instituto invited 30 American state legislators and mayors for two days in Mexico City, where they met Mexican legislators, ministry officials, scholars, and advocates for immigrants. The institute had plans to bring 400 Mexican-American lawmakers and community leaders on similar trips in 2004.
The Instituto also sends representatives to the United States. Jacob Prado, counselor for Latino affairs at the Mexican Embassy, explained to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials that it was in “Latino officials like yourselves that thousands of immigrants from Mexico find a political voice.” He went on to explain: “Mexico will be better able to achieve its full potential by calling on all members of the Mexican Nation, including those who live abroad, to contribute with their talents, skills and resources.” American elected officials are still “members of the Mexican Nation.”
One Instituto official, Juan Hernández, typifies its approach. Born in the United States, and therefore a US citizen, Mr. Hernández was at one time a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, but makes no secret of where his real loyalties lie. On the web page of the President of Mexico he reported in 2002 that he had “been commissioned to bring a strong and clear message from the President to Mexicans abroad: Mexico is one nation of 123 million citizens — 100 million who live in Mexico and 23 million who live in the United States.” On ABC’s Nightline on June 7, 2001, he was candid about his goals: “I want the third generation, the seventh generation, I want them all to think ‘Mexico first.’” He has also explained that Mexican immigrants are unlike Europeans because they “are going to keep one foot in Mexico” and that they “are not going to assimilate in the sense of dissolving into not being Mexican.”
Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, who later became national security advisor to Vicente Fox, described the basic thinking of all Mexican administrations. In an article in the Mexican newspaper El Siglo de Torreon, he wrote that the Mexican government should work with the “20 million Mexicans” in the United States to advance Mexican “national interests.”
All political factions in Mexico are united in the view that the US-Mexican border is illegitimate, and that Mexicans have the right to cross it any time. Former president Vicente Fox’s official view was that any measures the United States took to catch or deport illegal immigrants were a violation of human rights. Felipe Calderon, who succeeded him in 2006, shared that view, adding, “like many … I have cousins, uncles, in-laws who are undocumented and live in the United States.” Mexican Interior Secretary Santiago Creel once complained, “It’s absurd that (the United States) is spending as much as it’s spending to stop immigration flows that can’t be stopped …” When he took over in 2004 as the man in charge of border relations with the United States, Arturo Gonzalez Cruz explained that his ultimate goal was to see the border disappear entirely.
At the time of the “A Day Without Immigrants” demonstration in May, 2006, Mexicans showed their solidarity by organizing what was to be a massive boycott of American products. Mexican unions, political and community groups, newspaper columnists and a number of government officials issued the call. “Remember, nothing gringo on May 1,” said a typical e-mail message, urging people not to patronize McDonald’s, Burger King, Starbucks, Sears, Krispy Kreme or Wal-Mart. The goal was to pressure Congress into looser border control and amnesty for illegal immigrants.
In 2004, the government distributed millions of free copies of The Guide for the Mexican Migrant, a comic-book-format set of instructions on how to sneak into the United States. It explained what to pack for a desert or river crossing, techniques for surviving extremes of heat or cold, and how to avoid the Border Patrol. Once in the United States, it advised Mexicans to keep their heads down and not attract attention.
Grupo Beta is a government-funded organization set up in the early 1990s to help illegal border-crossers. It maintains hundreds of staging areas just south of the border, marked with blue pennants to indicate that drinking water is available. Mexicans planning a run for the border can flag down its bright orange trucks any time for help. Grupo Beta frequently gives lectures on safety and concealment, typically ending them with the words, “Have a safe trip, and God bless you!”
|GPS will get them here safely.|
The Mexican state of Peubla has gone even further. In late 2006, it announced an innovative program to keep emigrants from getting lost when they cross the border illegally. Jaime Obregon, the coordinator for the Commission for Migrants, said the state would give handheld satellite navigation devices to anyone who registered as a border-crosser. “Our intention is to save lives,” he explained, saying he expected the state to hand out 200,000 devices during the following year.
The view that Mexicans have a natural right to enter the United States explains the vitriol that met American discussions in 2006 about ways to stop illegal crossings, and an eventual Congressional vote to build a wall along certain parts of the Mexican border. President Vicente Fox called the plan for a wall “disgraceful and shameful,” and promised that if it were ever built it would come down like the Berlin Wall. Interior Ministor Santiago Creel boasted that “there is no wall that can stop” Mexicans from crossing into the US. Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez warned that “Mexico is not going to bear, it is not going to permit, and it will not allow a stupid thing like this wall.” He even said he would ask the United Nations to look into the American plan and declare it illegal.
Ordinary Mexicans were just as outraged. “It’s against what we see as part of our life, our culture, our territory,” exclaimed Fernando Robledo of the state of Zacatecas. “Our president should oppose that wall and make them stop it, at all costs,” said 26-year-old Martin Vazquez of Mexico City. Jose Luis Soberanes, head of the Mexican National Human Rights Commission, didn’t think the government was being forceful enough. “I would expect more energetic reactions from our authorities,” he said. “It’s preferable to have a more demanding government, more confrontation with the United States.”
Other Latin American countries were equally outraged. Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein said a wall would be “absolutely intolerable and inhuman.” The foreign ministers of Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic all gathered in Mexico City to denounce the American measures and to coordinate strategy to make sure the border remained open to illegal immigrants.
|‘Guide for the Mexican Migrant:’ Come one, come all.|
Latin American countries, themselves, carefully control their borders, but their governments insist that the United States remain open. In an act of unusual candor, Mexican President Felipe Calderon acknowledged in 2006 that in light of the harsh measures Mexico takes against illegal immigrants from Central America it was inconsistent to complain about American border controls. In 2005, Mexican authorities caught nearly a quarter million illegals, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Mexico probably takes a more forceful and even high-handed interest in domestic American policies than does any other country in the world. Mexican consular officers work closely with Hispanic organizations in the United States to press for amnesty, free medical treatment, welfare benefits, driver’s licenses, and in-state university tuition for illegal aliens. The Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior keeps databases of Mexican activists who can be counted on to pack the galleries of state legislatures and city councils whenever there is a vote that might affect immigrants. Such a crowd was on hand during the California legislature’s debates in 2003 over whether to grant driver’s licenses to illegals. When an assemblyman complained, “This bill paves the way to Aztlan!” everyone in the gallery stood up and applauded. When the city council of Holland, Michigan, debated whether to accept Mexican consular identification cards issued to illegal immigrants, a Mexican official brought a crowd of compatriots. They caused such a disturbance the city council was unable even to deliberate.
As noted above, in May 2006, Hispanics in America mounted massive demonstrations against proposed measures to control immigration. The Mexican legislature issued a declaration of support for the demonstrators, and voted to send a delegation to Los Angeles to show solidarity. These gestures received the overwhelming support of every political party.
|Vicente Fox says …|
Likewise, when California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger denounced a plan to grant temporary driver’s permits to illegal immigrants the assembly of Baja California promptly voted him “persona non grata,” theoretically barring Gov. Schwarzenegger from visiting the neighboring Mexican state.
The Mexican government is careful to see that Mexicans living in America receive every possible benefit available to them. A few welfare programs are closed to illegal immigrants but Food Stamps are not. Some illegal immigrants hesitate to apply for them for fear their status will be discovered and they will be deported. Mexican consul Luis Miguel Ortiz Haro of Santa Ana in Orange County, California, went on Spanish-language television to tell Mexicans it was safe to apply. “This program is not welfare,” he said. “It won’t affect your immigration status.” More than 1,200 people applied for Food Stamps the next day.
No other country so frequently intervenes in the interests of its citizens. In 2000, for example, the Mexican consul in Atlanta urged Hispanics to start a national boycott of any company that does not offer services in Spanish. In San Diego, the Mexican consul officially urged Mexicans who work as janitors to join a class-action lawsuit against California’s supermarket chains. “This lawsuit is important because it involves large numbers of our nationals, and because it insists that their rights be respected regardless of their legal status,” said Luis Cabrera Cuaron. Most Americans have no idea of the extent to which Mexico criticizes and tries to influence American affairs.
Every Mexican institution nurtures unfavorable views of the United States, and immigrants bring with them the sentiments they learned as children. As one American observed:
“I was visiting the Museum of National History in Mexico City where I observed a class of perhaps 40 10-year-old school kids sitting on the ground in front of a huge mosaic map that was labeled ‘Mexico Integral,’ or ‘Greater Mexico.’ Their teacher expounded on how the Norteamericanos stole half of Mexico in 1847 in what the Mexicans refer to as the North American Intervention. The map showed Mexico to include Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, most of Idaho, and Oregon and Washington up to the Alaska panhandle.”
According to one poll, 58 percent of Mexicans believe the southwestern United States rightfully belongs to them, and 57 percent believe they have the right to cross the border without US permission. Mexicans also assume that America is not serious about border control or citizenship. As Jesus Cervantes, director of statistics for Mexico’s Central Bank explained, “There have been amnesties and reforms before, and they will continue to occur periodically.”
The illegal crossing into America is so much a part of the Mexican psyche that in Ixmiquilpan, in the central state of Hidalgo, there is a theme park devoted to reproducing the experience. At $15.00 a head, Mexicans can spend an evening crossing a fake Rio Grande, squishing through mud while a fake people-smuggler in a ski mask shouts “Hurry up! The Border Patrol is coming!” Advertisements for the theme park offer the chance to “Make fun of the Border Patrol!” and to “Cross the Border as an Extreme Sport!”
|… keeping out illegals is ‘disgraceful and shameful.’|
Many Mexicans believe the United States cannot function without them. In a 2004 Mexican film called A Day Without a Mexican: The Gringos Are Going to Weep, all the Hispanics in California suddenly disappear. In just 24 hours, pompous, helpless whites find that schools have closed, grocery shelves are empty, and piles of garbage clog the streets. Martial law is declared. The Hispanics miraculously reappear the next day, and are greeted with hugs and kisses — even by the Border Patrol.
The Mexican view of the United States is a mixture of historic resentment, envy, and contempt for a nation that submits to insult and cannot control its borders. These sentiments start at the top. Near the end of his term, former president Vicente Fox, who frequently boasted of his close friendship with President George W. Bush, explained to Mexicans why they should be thankful for their heritage. “We are already a step ahead, having been born in Mexico,” he said. “Imagine being born in the United States; oof!”
When Mexicans in the United States get in trouble with the law, the usual explanation is that they were corrupted by America. As Jesse Diaz of the League of United Latin American Citizens explained, “They’re picking up those bad habits of cheating, of drinking, and drugs” after they arrive, adding that US popular culture undermines the “conservative Catholic values” they brought with them from Mexico.
This is essentially the average Mexican view. A 2006 Zogby poll gave the following results: 84 percent of Americans said they had a positive view of Mexicans, but only 36 percent of Mexicans had a positive view of Americans. Eighteen percent of Americans thought Mexicans were racist, while 73 percent of Mexicans thought Americans were racist. Forty-two percent of Americans thought Mexicans were honest, but only 16 percent of Mexicans thought Americans were honest.
Mexicans are devoted soccer fans, and sports seem to bring out their true feelings. On February 11, 2004, the American Olympic soccer team played a qualifying match against Mexico in the Mexican town of Guadalahara. The crowd drowned out “The Star Spangled Banner” with their boos, and shouted “Osama! Osama! Osama!” as the US players left the field. This only repeated the treatment the Americans got just a few days earlier when they played a match in Zapopan: hooting down the national anthem, booing when the Americans scored, and shouting “Osama! Osama!” However, that game was not even against Mexico. The Americans were playing Canada.
Why Are We Passive?
With the possible recent exceptions of Iran and North Korea, no other country treats us with such contempt. Government officials openly subvert our policies, ordinary people insult us, and many Mexicans even appear to have designs on part of our territory. Why are we so passive? Why do American universities say nothing when Hispanic faculty and students openly advocate breaking up the United States? Why do no politicians complain when many Hispanics send home hundreds of dollars every month — and then seek medical treatment at taxpayer expense? Why are we silent when Mexicans take US citizenship while openly proclaiming their loyalty to Mexico? Why do most journalists and politicians tacitly agree with the Hispanic view that immigration control is “racist”?
|If the French were to treat us as Mexicans do, there would be universal outrage and immediate countermeasures because we would not be paralyzed by the fear of being called racists.|
Much of the answer lies in the fact that Hispanics are not white, and that most whites are so fearful of being called “racist” they dare not take a stand against any non-white group. Let us imagine that France were sending us millions of poor, uneducated Frenchmen who made no effort to learn English, who celebrated French holidays rather than American holidays, who sent money out of country but demanded free services, who expected ballot papers and school instruction in French, who ignored our immigration laws, who insisted on hiring and college admissions preferences because they offered us “diversity?” What if some of them talked openly about taking over parts of the United States and kicking out the rest of us? Would our press and politicians remain silent?
What if the French government openly encouraged all this? What if it offered French-American elected officials free, loyalty-boosting trips back to France, and encouraged French-Americans everywhere to work and vote for French rather than American interests? What if the French jeered at our national anthem and chanted “Osama, Osama” when our athletes took the field?
Americans would be furious. We would recall our ambassador. We would deport every French illegal, and severely limit further immigration from France. There would be calls to strip naturalized Frenchmen of US citizenship — particularly if they had shown their true loyalties by maintaining French citizenship.
Let us not forget how angry Americans were when France opposed the invasion of Iraq. That affront to our pride was nothing compared to what we have suffered every day for decades at the hands of Mexicans and their government. If the French were to treat us as Mexicans do, there would be universal outrage and immediate countermeasures because we would not be paralyzed by the fear of being called racists.
With Hispanics, however, not only does race make us powerless to resist, race is part of what drives their refusal to assimilate and fuels their contempt for our culture and our interests. Demands, insults and loyalties are ultimately in the name of la raza, and that is what makes them so durable and so dangerous — and makes it impossible for us to respond as any normal, healthy nation would respond to similar provocations.
Another reason for our passivity is the fact that Hispanics are now nearly 15 percent of the population, and their numbers are growing rapidly. Politicians from both parties say they cannot afford to alienate Hispanics because of their increasing power at the ballot box. They do not seem to recognize the danger of currying favor with a voting bloc whose loyalties may not even lie with our own country. American citizens who place foreign interests over those of the United States do not deserve the same political consideration as loyal Americans. What if there were a sharp crisis with Mexico? Is there any doubt which side Mexican-Americans — citizens or not — would take?
It is already nearly impossible to discuss immigration rationally, or even enforce laws that are on the books. If we are already afraid to take measures that would antagonize 15 percent of the population, how likely are we to be able to act in our own interests if Hispanics become 20, 30, or even 40 percent of the population?
The number-one political goal of Hispanics is amnesty for illegal immigrants and yet more Hispanic immigration. If American politicians refuse to set policy according to national needs, if they sacrifice the longer-term interests of America for the short-term political gain of placating Hispanic voters, they will eventually find themselves pushed aside by sheer force of numbers.
Like those of blacks, Hispanic group interests are narrowly defined and do not leave much room for broader, national interests. There is no sign that as Hispanics increase in numbers they are expanding their horizons to include these broader interests.
After decades of accepting sole responsibility for the failure of blacks to become full-fledged Americans, whites should have learned that multiracialism is an endless Calvary of accusations, resentments, demands, failures, and conflicts. It was the worst of folly needlessly to have established yet another minority to tread this bitter and all-too-familiar ground.
More and more Americans recognize that we are, in effect, giving our country away to foreigners who care nothing for us or for our traditions. It is this largely inchoate realization that drives ordinary Americans and even a few in Congress to see that we face a choice that is nothing short of a civilizational crisis: Will we remain part of the West or will we leave to our grandchildren a shapeless, Third-World jumble in which the men and culture of Europe are on their way to oblivion? We still have a choice if only we have the will.