"In 376 a large band of Gothic refugees arrived at the Empire's Danube frontier, asking for asylum. In a complete break with established Roman policy, they were allowed in, unsubdued. They revolted, and within two years had defeated and killed the emperor Valens -- the one who had received them -- along with two-thirds of his army, at the battle of Hadrianople."
So writes Oxford's Peter Heather in "Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians," who is convinced that Valens' welcoming of the Goths was the decision that sealed the fate of the empire.
As recent headlines tell us of 5 million more immigrants having arrived in America in the last five years, we see now, no longer as through a glass darkly, how America ends.
There are 36 million immigrants here, a number almost equal to all who ever came from Jamestown in 1607 to JFK. We are host to more illegal aliens, 12 million, than all the Jews, English and Irish who came over 400 years.
In George W. Bush's tenure, 6 million intruders have been caught on our Southern border breaking in. One in 12 had a criminal record. Behind them, waiting to see if Bush will grant amnesty or secure the border, are the world's 4 billion to 5 billion people whose average income is less than that of Mexico.
Last year, 155,000 OTMs ("other than Mexicans"), triple the number of 2003, from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia were caught. Four of five never appeared in court. They vanished into our midst.
These numbers are astronomical by any historical standard, and the mindset of many newcomers is not that of the Ellis Island generation. On May 1, almost a million Hispanics marched under Mexican flags through Los Angeles to demand the rights of U.S. citizenship for all illegals. Aerial shots revealed huge signs reading, "This is Our Land," and, "Chicano Power" In Mexico City, PAN party members marched beside communists and Subcommandante Marcos in solidarity with their kinsmen in America.
"With all due respect to Uncle Sam," declaimed one Mexican TV reporter, "this shows that Los Angeles has never stopped being ours."
Added the respected Mexican pundit Sergio Sarmiento, if Mexicans "have begun the reconquista of the territory that the United States took by force from Mexico between 1835 and 1848, they have been able to do this thanks to the fact that the Americans themselves have permitted it."
And so we have. In 1994, Californians sought to slow the invasion with Proposition 187, restricting welfare to U.S. citizens and legal aliens. After 187 won in a landslide, a federal judge threw it out. "Art" Torres, chairman of the California Democratic Party, exulted, "187 was the last gasp of white America in California."
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