The Other Minutemen

You may have seen the Minuteman Project in the news lately. They have been on patrol on the Arizona-Mexico border recently keeping out Mexicans who try to enter the United States illegally. From the reports I've seen, the US Border Patrol is officially against the effort, but some of its members support it.

Where do I start with these clowns? Their 'about' page describes them thus:

    The Minuteman Project

is a grassroots effort to bring Americans to the defense of their homeland, similar to the way the original Minutemen from Massachusetts (and other U. S. colonies) did in the late 1700s. Like them, we want to bring to this effort only what few personal possessions we can our heart, mind and spirit.
This call for volunteers is not a call to arms, but a call to voices seeking a peaceful and respectable resolve to the chaotic neglect by members of our local, state and federal governments charged with applying U.S. immigration law.
It is a call to peacefully assemble at the Arizona-Mexico border to bring national awareness to the decades-long careless disregard of effective U.S. immigration law enforcement. It is a reminder to Americans that our nation was founded as a nation governed by the "rule of law", not by the whims of mobs of ILLEGAL aliens who endlessly stream across U.S. borders.
Accordingly, the men and women volunteering for this mission are those who are willing to sacrifice their time, and the comforts of a cozy home, to muster for something much more important than acquiring more "toys" to play with while their nation is devoured and plundered by the menace of tens of millions of invading illegal aliens.
Future generations will inherit a tangle of rancorous, unassimilated, squabbling cultures with no common bond to hold them together, and a certain guarantee of the death of this nation as a harmonious "melting pot."

The result: political, economic and social mayhem.
Historians will write about how a lax America let its unique and coveted form of government and society sink into a quagmire of mutual acrimony among the various sub-nations that will comprise the new self-destructing America.

The first thing you might notice is the gross misappropriation of classic American values and the heroic early American resistance, and perversion of their ideas of self-determination into anti-immigration. Were the Minutemen trying to expel industrious British workers who were destroying the American economy with their low wage labor? No, they were trying to expel an occupying military force.

The second thing you might think about is what kinds of permits early Americans of all cultures were getting before they set up camp on our side of the ocean. I admit to knowing nothing about American immigration law in the 1700s, but I don't think there was a lot of paperwork involved. The anti-immigration segments of this nation of immigrants surely don't see the irony of the project.

It gets crazy towards the end. Are the United States getting "devoured and plundered by the menace of tens of millions of invading illegal aliens"? Though I live in Atlanta most of the year, I used to live in and still currently have strong ties to El Paso, where the 2000 census indicated 70% of the population speaking Spanish at home. In neither of these places have I noticed any devouring or plundering on any meaningful scale by anyone, legal or otherwise, except for the local governments (which are not havens for illegals as far as I can tell).

Are we facing "a tangle of rancorous, unassimilated, squabbling cultures with no common bond to hold them together"? The only real rancor I sense is from Minuteman Project types. How many Latinos who don't speak Spanish does the average reader know? Further, do these types get angry when they visit proudly Italian North Beach in San Francisco, seeing "Si Parla Italiano" signs? Let's not even get started on Chinatowns, Polish communities in Chicago and Detroit, Eastern European Jews in Brooklyn, the Basques in Idaho, the Vietnamese in Houston, the damn Irish in Boston, and all the other millions and millions of immigrants. If our form of government and society is so coveted that people try to sneak across the border to get to it, what we'd better do is destroy it to save it, right?

It's sad to see this great nation sinking like the Titanic while sinister Pedros and Josés rub their hands furiously and laugh at us decent Native Americans (er, you know, Americans who belong here). They rape our chicken-factory job market and ride off on our horses. Whatever will we do?

It's a tough job forcing your imaginary culture on other people who are just trying to get by. Fortunately, we have the large numbers of retired Anglos in the Minuteman Project to do most of our work for us. That leaves me free to spend time at my favorite Indian, Thai, or Turkish restaurants, to drink in Mexican bars, and to have café cubano at Papi's in peace. God it feels good to be an American.

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On Larry Elder’s show last

On Larry Elder’s show last night Larry said that the minutemen had reduced criminal immigration by 75%!. Or the rate of criminals crossing the border was only 25% of what it had been before the Minuteman Project! Sounds very positive!

Tom: What Waiv

Tom: What Waiv said.

Lonewacko: Statements from various Mexican officials (which are absolutely par for the course -- see statements from various Hungarian officials about ethnic Hungarians in Romania, Russian officials on Russians in ex-USSR states, and countless others) budge my priors approximately not at all.

I'd bet there's a greater chance of English becoming a co-official language of Mexico than of Mexico reabsorbing the territory it lost 1836-1853.

I love the Levy piece that

I love the Levy piece that came up in another thread. So, in that frame work, if we look at 3 value spectrums (liberal vs. communitarian, pluralist vs. rationalist, welfarist vs. market):

I'd bet anyone who scores 2 out of 3 on (liberal, rationalist, market) is going to be pretty accepting of immigration. (Rule of Law issues aside, and that is an important and legit issue.)

Correspondingly, I bet anyone who scores 2 out of 3 on (communitarian, pluralist, welfarist) is going to not be so hot for immigration.

In the second mind-set, government has a strong obligation to promote social cohesion (economically and/or culturally). Large amounts of immigration erode that tribal cohesion, undermining solidarity, fraternity, etc.

Allow me to suggest that you

Allow me to suggest that you reevaluate your citizenship options.

That's not really an answer.

Reabsorption of California,

Reabsorption of California, Texas, and everything more or less in between into Mexico is laughably unlikely, regardless of immigration policy.

Here's a couple links: this, this. I could provide many more on request. Various Mexican officials have explicitly stated that they want to have more control over our immigration policies and a large segment of our population.

However, let’s say it does happen. So what?

Allow me to suggest that you reevaluate your citizenship options.

Then the problem would be

Then the problem would be the welfare state and not inmigration by itself? :idea:

Mike asks me: "Why worry in

Mike asks me: "Why worry in particular about illegal immigrants, many of whom aren’t net tax consumers at all?" And I answer: (1) "Many" isn't "most" or "all." By definition, we can't choose to admit only those illegals who would be net tax payers, so we're stuck with a lot of net tax consumers as well as some who aren't. (2) It's possible to do something about illegal immigrants, because they are illegal, unlike the many net-tax-consuming citizens whom we can't kick out (unfortunately).

These guys aren't nearly the

These guys aren't nearly the whackos they would seem to be at first glance. They are just trying to enforce the law as written, and while that might make them wrong, it doesn't make them the bigots they're painted as. There have been several undercover reporters among their ranks that have attempted to generated dirt by goading members into making racist remarks etc., and they've all failed. The MM don't want to be associtated with any sort of white power groups and have made strides to ensure that. They've courted the oversight of the border patrol and media, because they feel they have nothing to hide. They're really just a bunch of concerned citizens helping to patrol the border. I may not agree with the policy, but I say more citizens should actually do something active, lawful and peaceful instead of whining about the way things aren't. It's better than standing outside the white house with a clever sign.

At least one of them is funny...

Francis, citizens enforcing a bad law should still be held accountable for their actions. When normal citizens get involved, they should be judging the law as well... whether in their decision to try to enforce the law in the outside world or in the courtroom. If they are voluntarily enforcing a bad law then they are not blame free. Lawful != Good.

So, Lonewacko, you have a

So, Lonewacko, you have a very special rationale for opposing immigration (by Mexicans): Immigrants are actually tools of the Mexican oligarchy, who have a plan to make the US southwest part of Mexico again.

Reabsorption of California, Texas, and everything more or less in between into Mexico is laughably unlikely, regardless of immigration policy.

However, let's say it does happen. So what? I suspect Mexico would change more than the the ex-US southwest.

they trying to expel an

they trying to expel an occupying military force

Some people who have a better grasp on history might compare the efforts of the Mexican oligarchy to that of an occupying military force. How many times have you heard someone say that they think the U.S. southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico? Do you think Mexico teaching their schoolchildren that the U.S. southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico might be a bit dangerous from our perspective? AFAIK the Basque homeland is in Europe, and they don't yearn for Aztlan.

El Paso has one of the lowest incomes in the U.S., so there's not much opportunity there for good or ill. Perhaps you should try getting some L.A. or Arizona experience.

It's good that you're able to enjoy fine dining at a variety of wonderful ethnic restaurants and that you're able to enjoy lettuce a few cents cheaper than it would be otherwise.

However, I'd suggest a review of history and an ability to see the bigger, strawman-free picture.

Tom: Your problem is with

Tom: Your problem is with any "net tax consumer" and ultimately the programs they consume. Why worry in particular about illegal immigrants, many of whom aren't net tax consumers at all? See for example the recent NY Times article Illegal Immigrants Are Bolstering Social Security With Billions.

I always thought Friedman's

I always thought Friedman's argument in regards to the issue was interesting:

I have nothing against

I have nothing against illegal immigrants. Really. Their presence in the U.S. is a godsend to us (cheap labor) and to them. (I guess they wouldn't come here and stay here, as most of them seem to do, unless their being here made them better off.) But apparently they do consume "public" services without contributing their "share" of taxes. So, while I gladly pay illegal immigrants for their labor, I don't like the fact that they're also picking my pocket by consuming "public" services that jack up my taxes.

These minute men are

These minute men are equivalent to pro-apartheid activists in 1980s South Africa.

Weren't the British just

Weren't the British just trying to enforce laws upon us?

Solly Chollie, but the

Solly Chollie, but the Minutemen of today are trying to get the government to enforce the law as written -- as they're supposedly pledged to do. If you don't like that, the problem lies in the law, not the enforcers. The law belongs to all of us, not merely those who draw government salaries.

Lance, WV now has an


WV now has an "official language"; English that is.

Note that the Mexican-American war was in large part a war to expand slavery. That's why it is one of the most despicable events in American history.

No way that the English

No way that the English language will ever, ever be co-official in Mexico with Spanish. Their use of Spanish and status as the world's largest hispanohablante country is one of the things they use to differentiate themselves from the USA (for whom there's still a good deal of resentment), and they will never, ever adopt the "gringo" language as their own. You'd more likely see France do this than Mexico (and we all know how much the French love those obnoxious US tourists who go into Paris and loudly bark out orders in heavily accented regional English).

Now, I don't think that there's going to be any Reconquista either, but the cultural and ethnic character of the Southwest is indeed shifting back to what it was before 1848, i.e. chiefly Hispano-Native American. Spanish has been spoken there for centuries and that's never going to change; if anything it's being accentuated these days. The Chicano culture is becoming predominant again, and if anything America might become officially bilingual (or at least de facto so, since we don't have an official language at all these days). Although I don't concur with some of Lonewacko's assertions, he is right at least in that the Mexican War is still bitterly remembered by Mexicans and has never been forgiven. Frankly, it was an at best sketchy war as far as justification-- Manifest Destiny, Lebensraum and all that. Ulysses Grant himself trashed the Mexican War repeatedly in his memoirs. And Polk frankly got too damn greedy; had he taken just 2/3 of the land that he did for the US (Utah, Nevada, much of California) there may not have been as many howls but he took portions that Mexicans really did elementally consider to be part of the fabric of their nation. The treaty in 1848, also, allowed for Spanish language and property rights for Chicanos living there. So the US Southwest will remain "the special case" in immigration and language because of its prior history before incorporation into the USA.

:deal: Peace to Lance, but I


Peace to Lance, but I don't think the American Southwest ever had an Hispanic majority prior to the year 1848. Ray Allen Billington's great book on the western frontier gives the Hispanic population of our Southwest at the time of the Mexican War as a few tens of thousands in New Mexico, a few thousands in California, and very few anywhere else. In the year 1836, the Hispanic population of Texas was about five thousand, compared to about 30,000 North Americans, and at least as many Indians. Spain had claimed the American Southwest for almost three-hundred years when Mexico asserted its independence in the year 1821. Mexico's claim to the region derived from Spain's claim. (In 1846, probably not more than one-half of one percent of Mexican citizens lived in the Southwest, Mexico's population at the time of the Mexican War being about seven million.) Also, a large percentage of the Hispanic settlers of the Southwest originally emigrated from Spain, not from Mexico. Neither were the American aborigines in the Southwest very numerous. I haven't found any estimates for their year 1846 population in our Southwest, but it was likely not much more than 100,000.

Mexico's claim to this huge region was simply a legal fiction when the Mexican War erupted. Spain and Mexico had done little-to-nothing with their claim for three hundred years. Their attitude toward the huge region was like that of the "Dog in the Manger:" they couldn't populate it, but they would use their army to chase away any power which might populate it. For example, they did nothing with Texas until a French explorer accidently planted a colony there around the year 1700. Then they sent in their army to break up the colony, and later sent in Franciscans & Dominicans to convert the Indians. They later repented of the idea as not worth the cost and abandoned even these meager missions.

The region was bound to be dominated either by North Americans, or (a remote but real possibility) by the British, who were at the zenith of their world power and were toying with the idea of making the Republic of Texas a breakwater against the westward expansion of the United States. Alarm at the latter possibility expedited America's decision to admit Texas to the Union. Mexico declared war on the United States because we admitted Texas to the Union. Texas's population zoomed upward after joining the Union. By the 1860 census, Texas's population exceeded 600,000. The Southwest filled very quickly with Americans after the Mexican war.

So the notion that the Southwest was "stolen" from Mexico is largely absurd hoakum. Mexican politicians have always used this lie to explain away the failure of Mexico to match the progress of the United States. It is always disappointing to find that even educated Americans will often parrot this propaganda line of xenophobic Mexican nationalists.