To the astonishment and delight of the news media, Saturday saw an unprecedented protest by an estimated 500,000 illegal aliens and their advocates in Los Angeles. Smaller rallies were held in cities across the country, opposing efforts to secure the border and finally crack down on illegal entry into America by millions of unscreened foreigners. Apparently, the protests prove what a “divisive” issue illegal immigration is. To me, they simply prove that criminals dislike the prospect of increased law enforcement.
But that’s not all the protests prove. They also prove how ridiculously out of control our federal government has let the problem get. Which is worse — that a half million immigration criminals and their descendants and sympathizers can be found in a single American city, or that the current immigration enforcement system is such a joke that the half million have nothing to fear from openly entering the public streets and arguing against legislation currently before Congress?
It’s as if thieves thought they could form a union to lobby for fewer cops.
Sadly, many in Congress will actually consider their demands. You know, just like Mexico would consider the wishes of any American criminals in their country for profit.
But mostly the throngs showed how poorly we are assimilating the unprecedented numbers of migrants we have received in this generation. The need to limit immigration to numbers that can be properly assimilated has always been one of the main arguments against tolerating illegal immigration, and this weekend’s pro-illegal-immigration protests did much, ironically, to support that argument.
Many of the symptoms of failure to assimilate were obvious. The colossal crowd, allegedly gathered to tout their pursuit of the “American Dream”, held signs in Spanish, waved mostly Mexican flags, and chanted “Mexico! Mexico!” and “Si se puede!” (Yes we can!). Which is, it seems, an answer to the formerly rhetorical question, “Can the whole world sneak into America?” There was also the predictable invocation of race and ethnicity that is supposed to obligate American Hispanics to side with the illegal aliens, at least in the nationalistic eyes of the illegals themselves.
But there was a subtler symptom of how unassimilated the protesters were: the quintessentially foreign form of the protest itself.
Due to its size, the protest shocked the American media. A wave of 500,000 people pouring through Los Angeles is one of the largest protests in the history of the whole country. Thus, the protests have been reported as an extraordinary reaction to events in American politics. But they are not extraordinary at all. They are just the typical way that governments are influenced in many Latin American nations.
What the protests truly represent is the colonization of America by the Latin style of politics. Rally, demonstration, march and protest are the tools of the politically dispossessed. They carry with them the intrinsic threat that is always associated with the gathering of large crowds in acts of political demonstration. And they are standard fair in the lopsided politics of many foreign nations, including Mexico.
Consider the following recent examples, all from the BBC World service coverage of Mexico:
April 24, 2005: “Hundreds of thousands of people have marched through Mexico City in support of the capital’s embattled mayor…”
September 13, 2001: “Union leaders in Mexico say they expect thousands of people to take to the streets on Thursday in protest at plans to impose taxes on some foods and medicines.”
March 17, 2006: “Most of the demonstrations in Mexico City remained peaceful, however, with the violence blamed on a small number of radical youths.”
March 19, 1999: “Tens of thousands of demonstrators brought the centre of Mexico City to a standstill on Thursday in a protest against government economic policies.”
June 28, 2004: “Mexican President Vicente Fox has said his government has failed to defeat violent crime, after a protest in Mexico City by over 250,000 people.”
November 28, 2003: “Tens of thousands of people have marched through Mexico City to protest against energy and tax reforms…”
January 31, 2003: “Thousands of farmers gathered in the Mexican capital to demand their government renegotiate a regional trade pact…”
August 28, 1999: “Thousands of demonstrators have taken part in a march in Mexico City to protest against government plans to allow private investment in the state-owned electric power industry.”
Viewed in this light, one can see that the protests are not unusual at all — for a Latin American nation. And it is an unassimilated colony of Latin America that twenty years of corrupt government inaction on illegal immigration has built in Los Angeles and Phoenix and Chicago and Houston and dozens of other cities and towns across America, both large and small.
For demographic reasons, the examples I gave above were drawn exclusively from Mexico, but similar patterns of political protest as the default means of lobbying government can be found in Venezuela, Peru, Uruguay, and other Latin American nations. They are standard fare, and institutionalized in the culture of the region.
In the United States, we write letters to the editor and vote and debate. In the Latin world, people march and rally and muster their numbers before the eyes of government.
What we saw this weekend was not extraordinary. It is the new normal. It is the predictable and unimpeded flow of the political culture of Latin America into the United States.
And unless we address the gaping hole in our border, enforce our laws, deport illegal entrants, and again assimilate legitimate immigrants into our unique culture, you can count on the United States becoming more Latin American, and less American, every day.