Linda Chavez fishing for a red herring

Recently, nationally syndicated conservative columnist, Linda Chavez, wrote a column in which she began:
"Some people just don't like Mexicans - or anyone else from south of the border. They think Latinos are freeloaders and welfare cheats who are too lazy to learn English. They think Latinos have too many babies, and that Latino kids will dumb down our schools. They think Latinos are dirty, diseased, indolent and more prone to criminal behavior. They think Latinos are just too different from us ever to become real Americans."
In her effort to impute anti-Latino motives to a segment of the population, Ms. Chavez is merely stating the views that "some people" have for every race or nationality that is different from theirs. "Some" blacks don't like whites and vice-versa; "some" Italians don't like the Irish and vice-versa. Suggesting that Americans are upset about illegal immigration because "some" people have prejudiced views about Mexicans is one of the biggest red herring excuses of all time.

I submit that the overwhelming majority of Americans have no more animosity for Mexicans than they would have for any other group that was refusing to obey our laws by sneaking across the border en masse and clogging the system by demanding free services. With estimates ranging from 12 to 20 million illegal aliens in our country, the citizens are totally justified in being alarmed, and they would be just as alarmed if the invaders came from Norway, Ethiopia or the Planet Mars.

To accuse the legal residents of a country of being xenophobic because they are against having aliens invade them is a perfect example of blaming the victim. Since this is about breaking and entering, I'll use the burglary example. A guy forces his way into your home and begins stuffing your valuables in a sack. You call the police and have him arrested. At the arraignment, the burglar claims that you only took action against him because of his color. To use such distorted reasoning would mean that we could only arrest white burglars for breaking into homes owned by whites.

Ms. Chavez, in her column, makes it appear that the only reason Americans are upset about the invasion is because of their preconceived views of the invaders. That is utter nonsense! She completely disregards something called the rule of law. In her attempt to reinforce her claim, she writes:

"No amount of hard, empirical evidence to the contrary, and no amount of reasoned argument or appeals to decency and fairness, will convince this small group of Americans - fewer than 10 percent of the general population, at most - otherwise."

Okay, I've already conceded that as much as 10 percent of any population is inflicted with the disease of bigotry, so, what's her point? 

As much as I respect Ms. Chavez for her writings over the years and her advocacy of conservative principles, I find her to be a victim of her own bias on this issue. In a follow up column she refers to her Mexican roots going back 300 years, "from whence the last member of my family trekked north in 1701." She has plenty of reasons to be proud of her heritage as well as her success in this great experiment called democracy.

However, one can't help thinking that her distorted view of the immigration imbroglio is a thinly veiled attempt at justifying the invasion because, subconsciously, she feels she has a kinship with the invaders. My Irish ancestors went through Hell to get their piece of the American pie. I suppose, if millions of invaders from the Old Sod were sneaking into this country, I'd feel a gentle tug at my heartstrings. Yet, I don't think I'd become so mawkish that I'd fail to see the danger inherent in such puerile compassion.

Furthermore, I doubt that I'd resort to the tired old hackneyed, knee-jerk exhortations about xenophobia, racism, sexism and other assorted isms that have become the inevitable excuse for every criminal act that seeks justification and exculpation for the offender. I think it's accurate to say that we are all proud of our ancestry. But our pride should not cloud our judgment when it comes to the security of the country that we, and our families, call home. People who break into our country are no better than those who break into our homes.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob.
Recently, nationally syndicated conservative columnist, Linda Chavez, wrote a column in which she began:
"Some people just don't like Mexicans - or anyone else from south of the border. They think Latinos are freeloaders and welfare cheats who are too lazy to learn English. They think Latinos have too many babies, and that Latino kids will dumb down our schools. They think Latinos are dirty, diseased, indolent and more prone to criminal behavior. They think Latinos are just too different from us ever to become real Americans."
In her effort to impute anti-Latino motives to a segment of the population, Ms. Chavez is merely stating the views that "some people" have for every race or nationality that is different from theirs. "Some" blacks don't like whites and vice-versa; "some" Italians don't like the Irish and vice-versa. Suggesting that Americans are upset about illegal immigration because "some" people have prejudiced views about Mexicans is one of the biggest red herring excuses of all time.

I submit that the overwhelming majority of Americans have no more animosity for Mexicans than they would have for any other group that was refusing to obey our laws by sneaking across the border en masse and clogging the system by demanding free services. With estimates ranging from 12 to 20 million illegal aliens in our country, the citizens are totally justified in being alarmed, and they would be just as alarmed if the invaders came from Norway, Ethiopia or the Planet Mars.

To accuse the legal residents of a country of being xenophobic because they are against having aliens invade them is a perfect example of blaming the victim. Since this is about breaking and entering, I'll use the burglary example. A guy forces his way into your home and begins stuffing your valuables in a sack. You call the police and have him arrested. At the arraignment, the burglar claims that you only took action against him because of his color. To use such distorted reasoning would mean that we could only arrest white burglars for breaking into homes owned by whites.

Ms. Chavez, in her column, makes it appear that the only reason Americans are upset about the invasion is because of their preconceived views of the invaders. That is utter nonsense! She completely disregards something called the rule of law. In her attempt to reinforce her claim, she writes:

"No amount of hard, empirical evidence to the contrary, and no amount of reasoned argument or appeals to decency and fairness, will convince this small group of Americans - fewer than 10 percent of the general population, at most - otherwise."

Okay, I've already conceded that as much as 10 percent of any population is inflicted with the disease of bigotry, so, what's her point? 

As much as I respect Ms. Chavez for her writings over the years and her advocacy of conservative principles, I find her to be a victim of her own bias on this issue. In a follow up column she refers to her Mexican roots going back 300 years, "from whence the last member of my family trekked north in 1701." She has plenty of reasons to be proud of her heritage as well as her success in this great experiment called democracy.

However, one can't help thinking that her distorted view of the immigration imbroglio is a thinly veiled attempt at justifying the invasion because, subconsciously, she feels she has a kinship with the invaders. My Irish ancestors went through Hell to get their piece of the American pie. I suppose, if millions of invaders from the Old Sod were sneaking into this country, I'd feel a gentle tug at my heartstrings. Yet, I don't think I'd become so mawkish that I'd fail to see the danger inherent in such puerile compassion.

Furthermore, I doubt that I'd resort to the tired old hackneyed, knee-jerk exhortations about xenophobia, racism, sexism and other assorted isms that have become the inevitable excuse for every criminal act that seeks justification and exculpation for the offender. I think it's accurate to say that we are all proud of our ancestry. But our pride should not cloud our judgment when it comes to the security of the country that we, and our families, call home. People who break into our country are no better than those who break into our homes.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob.