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Linda Chavez

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With immigration smothering California, it tells us something about the state of American democracy that not a single major candidate for governor ever mentions the issue.

There are minor candidates, like the intrepid Joe Guzzardi,schoolteacher and columnist, who grasp what’s going on in California and don’t hesitate to tell voters about it, but few seem to pay much attention.

One who seems to have paid no attention to much of anything is Linda Chavez, the Republican Party’s Professional Hispanic Female Neo-conservative. In a column in the San Diego Union last week she virtually endorsed the GOP’s favorite musclehead, Arnold Schwarzenegger, at a time that almost all other conservatives were rightly insisting that Arnold is no conservative at all.

Well, OK, Mr., Schwarzenegger did support California’s Proposition 187 back in 1994, the ballot measure that denied public benefits to illegal immigrants and their children, but virtually the only conservative position he is known to have taken is precisely what Miss Chavez tried to explain away.

“I am no fan of ‘Prop. 187′,” she writes. “I spoke out against it at the time and agreed with the opinion of a federal court that declared the measure unconstitutional.” []

The reason it was struck down was the same sort of phony constitutionalism that real conservatives have come to know and despise – Prop 187 would have denied the children of illegal aliens access to public schools in California, and the courts had already decided that such children have a constitutional right to being educated at the taxpayer’s expense.

The truth is that Prop 187 was no more unconstitutional than laws against sodomy or putting the Ten Commandments in a courtroom.

Even so, Prop 187, as Miss Chavez acknowledges, won with some 59 percent of the popular vote in California. It also resuscitated the political career of Gov. Pete Wilson, who campaigned for it, and carried to victory at least five Republican congressional candidates, which helped the party win a congressional majority in 1994.

So what should the Republicans do? Repudiate it, as Miss Chavez and most neo-cons (Bill Kristol, Jack Kemp, William Bennett) at the time demanded, and shut up about immigration control forever.

So much for the neo-con contribution to the GOP majority.

So now, Miss Chavez is back with more advice for her party. Mr. Schwarzenegger, it turns out, was on the board of a group called U.S. English, which believes immigrants should learn the English language. Miss Chavez used to be the group’s president but resigned because its founder wrote what she calls “a private memorandum that was both anti-Hispanic and anti-Catholic.”

“The memo,” she writes, “alleged that the influx of so many Catholic immigrants from Latin America and Asia was going to alter the demographics of the country because of their higher birthrates, so that, in his words, ‘For the first time in history those of us with our pants up will be caught by those with their pants down.’”

So what is either “anti-Catholic” or “anti-Hispanic” about that?

Why is the sentiment expressed false or objectionable?

More importantly, why did Miss Chavez resign from U.S. English because of what was written in a “private memorandum”?

More important still, why does anyone pay any attention at all to this dingbat?

Miss Chavez is worried that California’s voters might actually think Mr. Schwarzenegger supported the memorandum’s views, but she grants him the favor of doubting it.

Since she was president of the organization at the time and resigned because of the memo and Mr. Schwarzenegger was on the advisory board and didn’t resign, she’s probably wrong about that too.

But she does say she met him in 1988 and found him “bright, charming and very committed to the proposition that English is the key to success for immigrants who come to the United States.”

No doubt, but the main reason we should want immigrants to learn English is not because it helps them be successful but because English is the language of the country and a major part of the cultural heritage from which the country and its core population come.

The spread of non-English languages diminishes that identity and heritage. Miss Chavez never seems to grasp that.

Indeed, whatever it is she does grasp is probably not what the Republican Party needs to hear much about.

She misses the point of the single most important issue of the last decade and still doesn’t get either its intrinsic merits or political importance.

She resigns from the leadership of a group because an internal memo expressed ideas both true and important but which she both misunderstood and feared.

The Republican Party, in California and elsewhere, has heard quite enough from the ubiquitous, garrulous and largely useless Miss Chavez[email her].

It would be well advised to pay her no further attention.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Immigration, Linda Chavez 
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If the United States were attacked by foreign terrorists who had managed to sneak into the country legally under our current immigration laws, what’s the first and most obvious thing for the U.S. government to do in response? Aside from retaliation itself, most people would say stop legal immigration, at least until we can figure out how to prevent other terrorists from coming here. To date, it has occurred to no one in the federal government to do so.

Instead we have waged a full-scale and largely successful war halfway around the world against a country that had little or nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks, announced various bizarre internal security measures of dubious legality, nabbed hundreds of suspicious-looking Middle Easterners, almost none of whom may be terrorists and some of whom may not even be Middle Easterners, and forbidden passengers on airplanes to carry toenail clippers. I for one would feel a good deal safer if, in place of this wave of draconian repression, we really did close the borders.

But not only has it occurred to no one to do so, instead the stalwarts of the Open Borders lobby are now, on the eve of victory in Afghanistan, trying to make sure absolutely nothing is done to limit, reduce or control the massive immigration that made the Sept. 11 attacks possible. Last week in the Wall Street Journal, where the Open Borders lobby regularly unbosoms its fatwas, the lobby’s high priestess, Linda Chavez, implored the nation, “Don’t Seal the Borders.”

Miss Chavez, who presumably wants the borders to remain unsealed for reasons other than the cheapness with which she pays her personal domestic help, is willing to crack down on certain categories of immigrants and the countless ways by which they invite themselves into this country. But, she assures us, “Americans won’t be any safer from terrorist attacks by drastically limiting the number of Indian engineering students or Mexican poultry workers.” I wouldn’t necessarily bet we wouldn’t, but of course there are many other reasons why such immigrants shouldn’t be admitted besides obvious concerns about Middle Eastern terrorism.

Miss Chavez says, more or less correctly, that “the best way to stem the flow of illegal aliens altogether would be to create a flexible guest worker program.” Actually, the best way would be to put U.S. troops on the border to stop the invasion taking place there, but failing that, a real guest worker program would be helpful. Miss Chavez also says that such a program cannot just now be implemented, in part due to fear of foreign-born terrorists. That’s true also, but what the administration seems to have in mind is not a real guest worker program so much as an amnesty disguised as a guest worker program.

In all the palaver about the guest worker program, hardly anyone has raised the issue of what would happen to the children of foreign guest workers who happen to be born on U.S. soil. Under current law, every one of the children would be a U.S. citizen, and he or she would eventually be able to import relatives as legal immigrants. If a guest worker program is going to be implemented, that little detail needs to be changed.

You also have to figure out how the Immigration and Naturalization Service would enforce the program—that is, how we would keep track of all the aliens who come here under the program and how we’d make them go home when the time came. If you imagine that there is virtually no way for the INS to do so under current laws and rules, you’re probably right. That’s one reason almost any guest worker program today is really an amnesty for illegal aliens—at least for those who overstay their visas.

As for protecting the nation against terrorism, that’s not what the administration is now talking about. Instead, we’re hearing about a plan, proposed originally by U.S. Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci, for a “security perimeter” around Canada, Mexico and the United States, to be enforced mainly by—guess who? Canada, to its immense credit, is said to be concerned about the implications of the plan for “surrendering Canadian sovereignty.” So should Americans and, for that matter, Mexicans.

What the “security perimeter” protecting three huge countries, two of which are foreign nations, has to do with protecting this nation against foreign terrorists is unclear, but then, as suggested above, so is most of what the U.S. government has done since Sept. 11, not to speak of the phony “guest worker program” that Open Borders eggheads like Miss Chavez are pushing. Wouldn’t we all be a lot safer if the government had simply done what should have been obvious and halted immigration?

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Immigration, Linda Chavez 
Sam Francis
About Sam Francis

Dr. Samuel T. Francis (1947-2005) was a leading paleoconservative columnist and intellectual theorist, serving as an adviser to the presidential campaigns of Patrick Buchanan and as an editorial writer, columnist, and editor at The Washington Times. He received the Distinguished Writing Award for Editorial Writing of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) in both 1989 and 1990, while being a finalist for the National Journalism Award (Walker Stone Prize) for Editorial Writing of the Scripps Howard Foundation those same years. His undergraduate education was at Johns Hopkins and he later earned his Ph.D. in modern history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

His books include The Soviet Strategy of Terror(1981, rev.1985), Power and History: The Political Thought of James Burnham (1984); Beautiful Losers: Essays on the Failure of American Conservatism (1993); Revolution from the Middle: Essays and Articles from Chronicles, 1989–1996 (1997); and Thinkers of Our Time: James Burnham (1999). His published articles or reviews appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, National Review, The Spectator (London), The New American, The Occidental Quarterly, and Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, of which he was political editor and for which he wrote a monthly column, “Principalities and Powers.”