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Jewish World Review June 11, 2001 / 21 Sivan 5761

Don Feder

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TIME says viva los border jumpers -- "WELCOME to Amexica," reads the cover of the June 11 Time Magazine. "The border is vanishing before our eyes, creating a new world for all of us." Viva diversity -- not to mention poverty, rising government expenditures and loss of national identity.

More than 4,600 illegals cross our southern border every day, Time tells us. It approvingly quotes a border resident who insists, "Trying to stop this migration is like trying to stop a wave with a Dixie cup."

Thanks in part to the human deluge, "Salsa is more popular than ketchup; Salma Hayek is bigger than Madonna -- and the border is everywhere," the magazine exalts. "One day soon it may seem a little backward for someone in the U.S. not to speak some Spanish." Ole! And wouldn't it be nice if all of the aliens here spoke more than a little English.

Time reflects the mindset of America's elites on immigration from Mexico: The tide is unstoppable; they're taking jobs Americans don't want; diversity means ethnic cuisine and celebrity glamour, and no downside.

Mexican President Vicente Fox is delighted to send us his surplus population, and the social problems that go with them. His government has even proposed providing survival kits (food, medicine, etc.) to help illegals cope with the perils of border jumping.

Understandably, America is a mecca for this nation of 100 million. The average American worker earns more in an hour than his Mexican counterpart makes in a day. Jobs, health care, education and just about everything else here is vastly superior to what's available there. Per capita gross national product in the United States is $29,240, compared with $7,450 in Mexico.

Almost 60 percent of Mexicans have no more than a primary-school education. Those who emigrate compete for jobs with our poorest citizens. Due to this competition, real wages for the 10 million Americans who lack a high-school diploma declined 7.2 percent in the '90s.

Nearly 80 percent of Mexicans settle in four border states. Among all immigrant households, 33.9 percent use a major welfare program. As illegals operate in the shadow economy, most pay no taxes. However, they do make a substantial contribution to the costs of everything from education to law enforcement.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates there are now 400,000 Mexicans living illegally in Arizona, up from 115,000 five years ago. Hispanics now account for two-thirds of all students in the Phoenix school system. The city spends $49 million annually on health care for these uninvited guests.

Porous borders pose more than an economic problem. Last week, Antonio Villaraigosa, the son of Mexican immigrants, lost the race for mayor of Los Angeles.

A May 31 Los Angeles Times story noted that as a student, Villaraigosa led the UCLA chapter of a militant Hispanic group called MEChA, which advocates returning California and the Southwestern United States to Mexico. During the campaign, when asked by a reporter for KFI radio if he still adhered to the group's anti-American goals, the former speaker of the California Assembly refused to answer.

Villaraigosa's election would have marked a milestone in the ongoing transformation of our largest city. In 1998, when the Mexican national soccer team played the United States at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the audience booed our national anthem and pelted the American team with trash as it left the field.

The idea that it's impossible for Washington to control our southern border is surrender propaganda from immigration defeatists. At any one time, no more than 1,800 Border Patrol agents guard a perimeter that's 3,000 miles long.

To deal with an illegal population estimated at 11 million, the INS has 300 agents charged with enforcement beyond the borders. The agency's entire annual budget ($4.8 billion) is less than a third of what the federal and state governments spent on bilingual education in 1997.

For Time's editors, illegal immigration means gardeners, domestics and an opportunity to demonstrate their virtue by embracing the downtrodden at little cost to themselves. For the average American, it means higher taxes, (in some cases) job competition and the gradual loss of what many still cherish.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.

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© 2001, Creators Syndicate