That immigrant tide |

That immigrant tide

Matt Zalaznick

In a choice between hordes of illegal immigrants and amber waves of racism, America’s better off with aliens looking for a better life. What’s with the anti-immigration movement, anyway? Is it full of racists, xenophobes or patriots? Maybe slightly racist xenophobes convinced they’re acting patriotically? Some of the right-wing rhetoric is clearly bigoted. One hears reverberations of America’s racist legacy, and too many echoes of a past in which citizens of color, as well as newcomers trying to escape miserable conditions abroad were treated shamefully and brutally for no good reason. And too many of us are the descendants of immigrants legal and illegal – too may owe our prosperity and freedom to liberal immigration policies – to stomach statements like the following by Greeley resident Joy Breuer: “I don’t think Greeley will be anything but a Mexican town within five years if we don’t do anything. And an illegal town, too.” The Greeley Tribune, which printed Breuer’s statement in a story about a Colorado Republican Party hearing on illegal immigration, described Breuer as a counselor who has a personal ministry. Breuer also said “Greeley is going down the tubes” because illegal immigrants there are becoming a gang in themselves and will cause “bloody warfare” if Anglos stand up. Certainly, some illegal aliens commit crimes and deal drugs, but so do priests, high-ranking politicians and celebrities. Right here in Eagle County, an American citizen is accused of killing a hard-working Mexican immigrant (a wife and mother) over whether a campsite was messy. Maybe any citizens convicted of murdering a law-abiding illegal immigrant should have to swap citizenship with the victim’s surviving family.And why does Joy Breuer think Anglos have to “stand up?” Who is threatening Anglos? And so what if Greeley becomes predominantly Mexican? What so wonderful about “Anglo” Greeley, anyway? What’s so wonderful about “white America?” The Mexicans who move in will become Americanized, and Greeley will become Mexicanized. The culture of the United States depends on this constant blending and reblending process. But many Americans are not getting much leadership from elected officials. Right here in Colorado, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo has worked hard to spread cultural animosity. He’s famous for threatening to bomb Muslim holy sites in response to future terrorist attacks. Lately, he’s been complaining America has been engulfed by a “cult of multiculturalism.” Well, consider some members of this “cult of multiculturalism”: Albert Einstein, Sidney Poitier, Colin Powell, Carlos Santana. That’s a list of good-for-nothings who have been a strain on the nation, right? How about pizza, burritos and egg rolls? What kind of name is Tancredo anyway that makes him and his world view paragons of Americana? Was there a Tancredo on the Mayflower? Was there ever a Chief Sitting Tancredo? His Web site says he’s the grandson of an Italian immigrant!Tancredo has also said that America’s schools and media are “designed to debase and degrade Western civilization” and that adults and children are no longer proud to be Americans. Well, being upset with your country or your civilization doesn’t mean you hate it – and lots of people in lots of parts of this country (the Gulf Coast, the inner city) and in many walks of life (military families, the middle and lower classes) have good reasons to be upset with their country at the moment. If illegal immigration is such an existential threat to America, why don’t those goofy Minutemen – instead of drinking beer and playing war on the border – lobby W. and Congress to do more to improve the conditions in the Third World nations that these immigrants are fleeing in droves? Why doesn’t Tancredo complain about the USA being one of the stingiest prosperous nation on the planet? Why doesn’t he criticize W. for offering help to African AIDS patients that has so many strings attached it’s almost useless.For all the complaining and fretting and doomsaying, the anti-immigration movement sure isn’t doing much to convince would-be immigrants to stay at home. City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14620, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado

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