William F. Buckley
Victor Davis Hanson of the Hoover Institution is the author of "Mexifornia: A State of Becoming," and he writes (in the current issue of National Review) to make points not often heard in the immigration debate. There are class divisions here. Affluent Americans, who tend to be hospitable to the amnesty/open borders argument, are simply unseeing about other matters.

Hanson cites various places in California as examples of towns located in America, but whose ethos and day-to-day experiences are Mexican. Fresno, Bakersfield and such-like towns are "de facto apartheid communities," he writes, where illegal aliens commute to their jobs in construction, landscaping and service industries in the affluent neighborhoods nearby. "Most who are served," he writes, "have never set foot in the poor towns of their help a few miles away, and have little interest in whether English is spoken or municipal coffers are perennially empty."

There are two directions to go in class-mobile America. The first is stasis -- what greeted post-Civil War blacks for a hundred years. Otherwise there is the upward mobility that has lifted wave after wave of immigrants. Here today we have a Hispanic population that sends nearly one-half its earnings home to desperately poor relatives. These remittances have the effect of postponing year after year the capitalization that makes possible better housing, better education, and moves to places where work opportunities are greater.

Several questions of vital interest need to be pondered. When will the liberal interventionists looking about for a new class to sponsor ring in with affirmative action for Mexican illegals? Whip up the kind of concern shown for blacks in the past 50 years? Granted, there is the emotional factor, here missing. The great effort made to help American blacks was reasonably fueled by the historical indebtedness felt for a people who had been uprooted from another continent and brought here to serve as slaves in the land of the free.

The Mexican illegal has no properly formulated brief against the America he entered athwart American laws. He might curse his relative burden: He came into a land where they speak another language. That disadvantage translates into lower-paying jobs requiring only manual skills, and his immobility stems from the need to send money home for relatives to eke out life in a country straitened by the impositions of left-welfarism.


William F. Buckley

William F. Buckley, Jr. is editor-at-large of National Review, the prolific author of Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography.

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