Yeah, I know Kevin Drum beat me to it, but it’s true. Either Mickey Kaus ate a bad fish taco, or he’s seen way too many showings of El Cid on AMC. Either way, his excuse for supporting immigration “reform” isn’t one step short of Howard Hughes, it’s marching right alongside him, if not leading the parade.
Again, part of the answer is points 1 and 6. U.S. citizens of “other backgrounds” do not have any colorable claim that they are living in the land of their “roots,” land then taken by the U.S.. There’s no danger that Koreans on Vermont Avenue will think they have a special pre-1789 entitlement to Koreatown, or desire to reconnect it to its ancient, original status as part of Korea. The more historically valid the Mexican claim that “vast portions” of the Southwest constitute their “homeland,” the more dicey it is to allow such a large chunk of immigration to come from Mexico. True, the fabled “reconquista” is hardly a real threat now. But who can guarantee what future generations will think? Irredentism is the source of conflict and killing around the globe. Why should the U.S. be permanently immune? Simple prudence might tell Americans it’s best if there’s a mix of immigrants and if the vast majority of them can’t possibly think they’re coming back to their own former land. …
The reason Alisa posted her list, and the reason that so many folks have taken to the streets over the past couple of weeks, is precisely because of addlepated notions like the kind babbled by Kaus, and racist insinuations like the kind spewed by Rep. Tom Tancredo. Latinos aren’t going anywhere, especially when the only place they could go is–you guessed it!–the U.S..
Moreover, you don’t see Kaus advancing the same theory of “irredentism” when talking about, say, the Loyalist descendants of the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. It’s simply daft, you’d respond. And I would agree, even though Canada and the U.S. share a far longer border than the U.S. and Mexico. Of course, there doesn’t currently exist a similar migratory crisis between Canada and the U.S, so any such debate is purely hypothetical.
That’s not the case between Mexico and the U.S., however. And Kaus’ myopic little rant is not just insulting, it’s galling. You see, and it’s not for lack of a better word, the U.S. did steal the southwest quarter of its current territory under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. Yeah, money was exchanged, and a sale was consummated; but it was the kind of monetary exchange and sale that a mugging victim engages in while getting rolled by an armed robber.
It’s not enough that the U.S. stole the land, though. Over a century later, folks like Kaus, Tancredo, and Jim Gilchrist (the founder of the Minutemen) want to benefit from the backbreaking work that Mexican and other Latino immigrants do–the kind of work that virtually no one else in our society will do–and then shuck these folks off to the side , without so much as the thanks of a grateful nation.
Now, on top of that, Kaus wants our claims to simply fade into oblivion and rendered illegitimate, simply because they give him a case of the vapors? Really? I mean, it must be because Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado, whose family has inhabited southwest Colorado for, oh, five hundred years, must be getting ready to lead the nueva reconquista any day now.
Some things beggar belief. Kaus, you owe me and every other Latino American, many of us having bled and toiled for the very land you claim to so piously love, a simple apology.
crossposted at Soapblox Colorado