During the Bush years, the open-borders movement won over bleeding hearts in the White House but alienated the American public with radical displays of La Raza ("The Race") militancy, desecrated American flags and Che Guevara shirt-wearing, fist-thrusting marches across the country.
Left-wing public relations consultants taught the amnesty mob to tone it down, turn the flags right-side up and stop threatening Reconquista. But the phony red-white-and-blue dye job didn't last. The movement's true extremist, entitled roots can't be concealed for long.
On Monday, leading illegal-alien journalist turned activist Jose Antonio Vargas engaged in a foolish stunt that will backfire on him and his allies in the media and Hollywood and on Capitol Hill. An openly defiant law-breaker who proudly calls himself "the most privileged undocumented immigrant in the country," Vargas traveled to Texas with a film crew to commune with illegal aliens surging across the border.
But on his way out of the Rio Grande Valley, the former Washington Post reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner was detained at the McAllen, Texas, airport by Customs and Border Patrol. He was attempting to clear security and board a flight without legally required U.S. identification.
No surprise: Vargas initially made it past the buffoons at the TSA.
The media-savvy amnesty agitator telegraphed the stunt beforehand in a piece for Politico. He hyped sympathetic coverage from the liberal Huffington Post. He tweeted a photo of his Philippine passport and a pocket Constitution, which he audaciously presented to authorities in lieu of valid ID.
And then Vargas' publicity minions captured and tweeted the exact moment when he was handcuffed, looking shocked and aggrieved that federal law enforcement officers would actually -- gasp! -- enforce the law.
An illegal-alien Icarus, Vargas had been riding high after movie theaters and CNN aired his biographical, pro-illegal immigration documentary. His amnesty activism is backed by the progressive Tides Center, a project of George Soros and former ACORN chief organizer Drummond Pike. To his elite friends in the no-borders industry, he's a "hero."
Journalists, celebrities and politicians immediately swallowed the propaganda bait, rallying to their privileged pal's side. "#DontDeportJose," they all cried in an orchestrated Twitter campaign.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of law-abiding people from around the world are waiting patiently for their backlogged visa and green card applications to be reviewed.
Vargas' outraged reporter friends don't have much sympathy for those would-be Americans. Or for the Americans who've dedicated their lives to protecting homeland security and upholding our laws. Vargas' enablers jumped to condemn the CBP employees in McAllen for doing their jobs and demanded that he be freed from "unfair" and "out of hand" detention, as one hysterical Roll Call reporter put it.
Unfair and out of hand?
As I've noted previously, Vargas came here from the Philippines as a child, but knowingly broke multiple laws as an adult in order to stay in the country. After being supplied with a fake passport with a fake name, a fake green card and a bogus Social Security number, he committed perjury repeatedly on federal I-9 employment eligibility forms. In 2002, while pursuing his journalism career goals, an immigration lawyer told him he needed to accept the consequences of his law-breaking and return to his native Philippines. He ignored the counsel and instead used a friend's address to obtain an Oregon driver's license under false pretenses. It gave him an eight-year golden ticket to travel by car, board trains and airplanes, work at prestigious newspapers, and even gain access to the White House -- where crack Secret Service agents allowed him to attend a state dinner using his bogus Social Security number.
The Vargas stunt will backfire because it is a smug and emblematic middle finger to everyone outside the D.C.-Manhattan bubble who believes in following the rules. As legal immigrant Asoka Samarasinghe wrote to me on Monday, "Michelle, this guy is a slap to the face of all us legal immigrants and citizens."
As for "due process," celebrity illegal alien Vargas will undoubtedly get more bites at the immigration court and federal appeals apple than law-abiding citizens will ever enjoy (see Zeituni Onyango).
But the sob-story violins play on. Democratic New York Mayor Bill de Blasio sanctimoniously tweeted Monday afternoon: "I stand in solidarity with journalist and advocate (Vargas). He exemplifies what America is about."
Only if "America" means protecting leftist elitists from the consequences of their reckless, arrogant actions.