DENVER - As with most hotly contested debates, the political fight over who has a "right" to be in America will be partly about who controls the language; not Spanish vs. English, but honesty vs. political correctness.
The "boycott" and demonstrations by people of Hispanic origin and others for "immigrant rights" and the blurring of distinctions between those who are obeying the law and those who are not are important elements in the rhetorical and image war.
Supporters of the boycott characterized last Monday as "A Day Without Immigrants". In fact, it was about whether people who break American laws - either by sneaking in over the U.S. border, or by not renewing their expired visas and work permits, which temporarily allowed them to come here - have a right to stay.
In Denver, where police estimated 75,000 marched, Melanie Lugo was quoted as saying, "We are the backbone of what America is, legal or illegal, it doesn't matter." It matters a great deal, because a nation that cannot, or will not, control its borders is a nation that will no longer be able to retain its character and reason for being.
The Denver Post interviewed Casey Kool, 22, a Dutch citizen, who is applying for U.S. citizenship. "So many people are cutting (in) the line," said Kool, who is three years into his efforts to gain citizenship. He hopes to become a commercial airline pilot. Kool said he has spent $10,000 in legal fees so far in his quest. "Obviously, the United States is a land of immigrants," he said, "but everyone should take a number and do it the legal way." That is the attitude that appeals to most Americans, but not to "immigration rights" activists.
Leftist groups see this invasion (defined as "to encroach upon" in contrast to immigration, defined as "to enter and usually become established") as a source of new votes for their causes, which have not fared well with the present population. "Today we march, tomorrow we vote" was a sign seen in Denver and elsewhere. That sign exposed the primary motivation of the leftists.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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