Kathleen Parker

The truth is, I doubt that most illegal immigrants now in the U.S. are interested in reclaiming conquered lands. Most just want a good job and a decent place to raise a family. But the sight of so many who feel entitled to a piece of the U.S., combined with a sense of encroaching bilingualism, contribute to a spirit of diminishing empathies among even the likeliest of sympathizers.

The idea of "reconquest," meanwhile, is silly. Human populations have been migrating, conquering, surrendering and ceding for 60,000 years or so. We're a rambling sort by nature, apparently, and find national borders annoying obstacles to the wanderlust with which we were, for good or bad, endowed.

Rearranging borders and rewriting history to satisfy grudges or to right wrongs would certainly keep us busy, but where would we draw the last line? In the ashes of human history, most likely. The only unequivocal ending to unhappy history, unfortunately, has no sequel. Only when everyone is dead is no one offended.

Barring the final solution, we might ask this: Do illegal Mexican immigrants really want Texas or Arizona or California without the U.S. economy, or the U.S. social services, or the inspired government instruments that have made this country so attractive to so many?

That's the pinch, isn't it? The country's riches and benefits are not free for the picking - nor are they all necessarily indigenous to the physical territory - but are part of a national package that demands citizenship of its citizenry.

Mexicans are as welcome as any other group of people - and we all came from somewhere else, including the American Indians whose ancestors migrated from elsewhere - but reconquering, alas, requires a military action that could get messy. A simpler, more civilized course involves taking a number, waiting in line, and signing on to the principles of assimilation, without which we will not long be a united states of anything or a worthy destination for immigrants.

Para espanol, meanwhile, Mexico is lovely this time of year.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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