American Renaissance, June 2005
The British parliamentary elections of May 5 show that the country has doubts about the wisdom of mass immigration. The Tories, led by Michael Howard, campaigned to set quotas on immigrants, establish a border police, and process asylum seekers offshore. Campaign posters said, “It’s not racist to impose limits on immigration.” Polls showed overwhelming support for Tory immigration proposals, while the electorate backed Labour on most other questions. [Tory Election Poster Sparks Complaints of Racism from Students and Teachers, Richard Garner, Independent (London), Feb. 7, 2005. Dominic Casciani, Election Issues: Immigration, BBC, April 4, 2005.]
Even as they accused the Tories of practicing “the politics of fear,” Labour also pushed restrictions. The party promised to introduce a point system to ensure that non-European immigrants all have special skills. Temporary workers would have to post bond to ensure they would go home at the end of their term, and employers would be fined for hiring illegals. Labour promised more detention of failed asylum-seekers and greater efforts to expel them. Also, the government would try to return even recognized refugees to their home countries once the danger of persecution had passed. Towards the end of the campaign, Labour promised to add 600 border guards, a clear imitation of the Tory border police proposal. [Clarke Unveils Immigration Plan, BBC News, Feb. 7, 2005.Philippe Naughton, Blair Attacks ‘One-Issue’ Tories Over Immigration Tactics, Times (London), April 22, 2005.]
The vote returned Labour to power with 356 seats but the Tories gained 33 seats. Labour lost to other parties as well, and saw its majority in the 646-member Parliament drop from 167 to just 66. Some Labour MPs think Mr. Blair should take responsibility for this setback and step down as leader. [Glenn Frankel and Dan Balz, Facing Roadblocks, Blair Quietly Begins Third Term, Washington Post, May 7, 2005, p. A10.]
Although the British National Party, led by Nick Griffin, did not win any seats in parliament, results were encouraging. In the last elections in 2001, the BNP fielded candidates in 22 constituencies, but this year they stood in 118. On average, they won 4.3 percent of the vote; in one constituency, the BNP candidate got 17 percent. The party got 0.74 percent of the total British vote in 2005, versus 0.2 in 2001, an almost four-fold increase. The BNP pledged, if elected, to try to withdraw from the European Union, to bring back troops from Iraq so they can protect Britain’s borders, and set up incentives for immigrants and their descendants to go home. [BNP Website, Election Results, May 6, 2005. BNP Launches Election Manifesto, BBC News, April 24, 2005.]
The BNP suffered considerable harassment during the campaign. In December, party leader Nick Griffin and BNP founder John Tyndall were arrested for “incitement to racial hatred,” and were charged in court on April sixth. Mr. Griffin claimed the court had charged him because he spoke about non-white involvement in the drug trade and about a scandal in which Asian immigrants were caught molesting white girls. [BNP Leader Faces Race Hate Charges, Press Association (UK), April 6, 2005.]
Britain’s two other anti-immigration parties, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and Veritas, did worse than expected. Although they stood in all British constituencies, UKIP got only 2.3 percent of the vote, and their best candidate got only eight percent. Robert Kilroy-Silk, who leads the Veritas party, got only six percent of the vote in his own constituency. [UKIP Falls Short of Its Targets, BBC News, May 6, 2005.]
Immigration keeps Europe’s population growing. Between now and 2025 (when it is expected to peak), the population of the 25 European Union EU nations will grow by two percent, from 458 million to 469.5 million, with nearly all of the growth coming from (overwhelmingly non-white) immigration. It will then start declining unless the there are more immigrants. At the same time, the number of working-age Europeans will fall by 20.8 million (6.8 percent), while the number over age 65 will double to 80 million. The US population will increase 25 percent over the same period — almost entirely due to mass immigration
European leaders worry that falling birthrates and aging populations threaten both the welfare state and the EU economy. A recently released “green paper” by the European Commission worries that “never in history has there been economic growth without population growth.” The report blames low fertility rates on high unemployment, expensive housing, and the lack of government handouts to parents. It suggests governments should do more to help, but notes that “ever larger migrant flows may be needed to meet the need for labor and safeguard Europe’s prosperity.” The United Nation agrees. It recently published a study saying Europe will need more than a million immigrants a year for the next 45 years if it wants to maintain its economy.
Average Europeans disagree. In a poll conducted by the EU last fall, 54 percent said Europe didn’t need any more immigrants. Holland and Denmark have tightened immigration and asylum laws, with the Dutch vowing to deport 26,000 illegal aliens by 2007. Even the French and Germans are getting serious. France may establish a new police force to keep out illegals, and Germany has passed a new law to let in only skilled immigrants. Anti-immigration sentiment largely accounts for the appeal of European nationalist parties like the French National Front and the Belgian Vlaams Belang.
Immigration was a big issue in the British election. When Tony Blair became prime minister in 1997, Britain let in 107,000 immigrants; in 2003, the figure was 236,000. Polls showed voters were more worried about foreigners than about terrorism or the war in Iraq. Many Britons think the situation is even worse than it is. A 2000 poll found the British think 20 percent of the population is foreign-born, though the actual figure is about eight percent — still a record high. [Stephen Castle, Fall in Population Threatens Economic Future of Europe, The Independent (London), March 18, 2005. Jill Lawless, Angst Over Immigration Inspires Changes in Policy, Law in Europe, AP, April 4, 2005. Sarah Liebowitz, Rising Immigrant Numbers Stir Britain Ahead of Vote, Boston Globe, April 5, 2005.]
In late April, commuters in Los Angeles were treated to billboards advertising KRCA-TV’s Spanish news programs, which suggested that Los Angeles is part of Mexico. The image imposed on the LA skyline is the Angel of Independence, a famous monument in Mexico City. The ads say Tu ciudad. Tu equipo (Your city. Your team).
Immigration reformers reacted angrily. Peter Amundson, a volunteer with the California Republican Assembly, says the ads are “a slap in the face to Californians and a pretty blatant one . . . This is not Mexico. This is the United States.” Daryl Jurbala, communications director of Americans for Legal Immigration, which held a protest in front of KRCA’s studios on May 1, said, “I don’t think it’s responsible for anyone to encourage or reward or try to make illegal immigrants feel welcome.” California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called the ads “divisive” and “unnecessary,” and called on the broadcaster and Clear Channel Outdoor, which owns the billboards, to take them down. One protestor climbed a billboard and covered the word “Mexico” with an American flag.
Liberman Broadcasting, which owns KRCA-TV, three other Spanish-language television stations, and sixteen radio stations, at first defended the ads, saying they were just trying to attract Spanish-speakers. “Our newscasters cater to them. We try to make them comfortable,” explained executive vice president Leonard Liberman. “We tell the story behind LA, and we tell the story behind Mexico. If they [the protestors] find that offensive, I’m sorry. But you just have to drive around LA to know that this is a Hispanic city.” Liberman Broadcasting is the same company that produced and aired KRCA-TV’s “Gana la Verde” or “Win the Green,” a TV game show in which illegal aliens compete for a chance at a US green card.
Clear Channel Outdoor said it accepted the advertising as part of its “multicultural sales and marketing initiative” aimed at “serving the fast-growing US Hispanic and African American population.” However, in the face of increasing protest, the company announced it would require a revision of the ad copy. The new posters have yet to appear. [L.A. Now in Mexico? World NetDaily.com, April 25, 2005. Anna Gorman and Susana Enriquez, Ad Putting L.A. in Mexico Called Slap in Face, LA Times, April 27, 2005. Arnold: L.A. Billboard Should Come Down, World NetDaily.com, April 28, 2005. Old Glory Covers Mexico Billboard, WorldNet Daily.com, May 2, 2005. Public Outrage Kills ‘L.A., Mexico’ Sign, WorldNetDaily. com, May 4, 2005.]
Hospitals in states bordering on Mexico are going bankrupt because they have to treat illegal aliens. No one knows how many uninsured illegals there are, but states that border on Mexico and other states with many illegals, like New York, Illinois, and Florida, also have the highest concentrations of people without medical insurance. [Illegals: The Real Cause of Health Insurance Crisis, NewsMax, May 2, 2003.]
The problem is especially serious in California, where 60 hospitals closed between 1993 and 2003 because more than half of their patients did not pay. Another 24 California hospitals are struggling and may soon close. California spends $1.4 billion per year in medical care for illegals. The federal government requires emergency rooms to treat all emergency patients, and the definition of “emergency” is so vague it covers coughs and headaches. Patients who think they are unfairly denied treatment can sue hospitals, and fines are stiff. Illegal aliens can therefore use emergency rooms as clinics.
Medicaid may also pay rehabilitation costs when illegal immigrants are seriously hurt, and since rehabilitation can take years, costs are steep. High crime rates among illegal aliens make them especially expensive. Illegal aliens with gun-shot or stabbing wounds are often dumped in front of hospitals from moving cars. Many cities in California, including Los Angeles and San Diego, have sanctuary policies that prevent hospitals from reporting patients they know are illegal.
Children of illegal aliens born in America are eligible for the full range of welfare services. Immigrant advocacy groups supply interpreters and activists to make sure children get all the welfare they can. For example, one California illegal immigrant gets expensive treatments for all of his five American-born children because they have mental problems: two are autistic, two have attention deficit disorder, and one has oppositional defiant disorder. The state pays for drugs for all five, and the two autistic children each have a personal attendant, plus an “individual education program” that costs $30,000 a year. [Federation for American Immigration Reform, The Costs of Illegal Immigrants to Californians, Nov. 2004.]
Other border states have the same problems. Illegals make up 26 percent of patients treated by hospitals in Harris County, Texas, where Houston is located, and the county is considering cutting back on services and hospital beds to compensate for the cost. The state as a whole spends $520 million a year on illegals. Arizona spends $400 million a year. The Southeast Arizona Medical Center, located near the border, has been teetering on bankruptcy for years because of the cost of treating illegals. [Federation for American Immigration Reform, The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Texans, April, 2005. Bill Murphy, Hospital District Struggles with Burden from Beyond Borders, Houston Chronicle, March 1, 2005. Federation for American Immigration Reform, The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Arizonans, June, 2004.]
Illegal immigrants are reintroducing diseases that had been virtually wiped out. Mexicans, Filipinos, and Vietnamese are mainly responsible for bringing back tuberculosis. The variant of the disease they have introduced is resistant to the usual drugs and takes 24 months of treatment that costs $250,000. Immigrants have also brought chagas disease, dengue fever, and polio. Leprosy used to be rare; in 40 years there were only 900 cases. The past three years have seen 7,000 new cases, brought in by immigrants from India, Brazil, the Caribbean, and Mexico. [Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Illegal Aliens and American Medicine, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Spring 2005.]
Major League Baseball recently banned steroids and other “performance enhancing drugs,” some of which can be bought over the counter. There is mandatory testing, and players face fines and suspensions. Four of the five major leaguers busted so far this year are from Latin America, including the latest, Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Juan Rincon of Venezuela. Nearly 30 percent of major league baseball players are foreign-born — 242 out of 829 (including players on the disabled list) — and 206 are foreign-born Hispanics.
Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz, a Dominican, says the policy is unfair to Hispanics because the players association did not give them a Spanish translation: “Let me tell you something,” he says. “My English is not the best, but I can understand everything. I can read, I can write. And sometimes I [still] misunderstand things. Think about a guy who can’t really talk or read.” Mr. Ortiz says Hispanic players looking for an energy boost may walk into a health-food store looking for vitamins and end up taking something on the banned list because they can’t read labels. He wants the players association to get all Hispanic players together during the offseason and use an interpreter to explain the policy. [Karen Guregian, Ortiz Rips Drug Policy: Says Latinos Face Language Barrier, Boston Herald, May 3, 2005. Scott Levison, 29.2% of MLB Players Born Outside of USA, Tampa Bay Sports Net, April 7, 2005.]
During an April 13 soccer match in Sao Paulo between teams from Argentina and Brazil, Argentine player Leandro Desabato shouted a racial slur at Brazilian player Paulo Grafite, who is black. Mr. Grafite filed a complaint at halftime, and when the match ended, police stormed into the Argentine team’s locker room and arrested Mr. Desabato for racial discrimination. He spent the night in jail because his team didn’t have the cash for a $3,879.00 bond, but he got out the next day and flew home. He has not apologized for the remarks, which he says were meant only to throw the Brazilian player off balance.
The incident was in the headlines in both countries. In Brazil — which has a large black population — people applauded the arrest, and the Brazilian government said Mr. Desabato holds “serious racist attitudes” that demonstrate “the escalation of discrimination against players of African descent.” (Earlier this year in Spain, fans of Real Madrid made monkey noises whenever black players on a rival team touched the ball. The referee filed a complaint, and if the fans can be found they face a maximum fine of $78,000 and a five-year ban on attending soccer games.)
In Argentina, which has very few blacks, people supported Mr. Desabato. Julio Grondona, head of Argentina’s Soccer Federation, says things like that happen all the time in competitive sports, and that Mr. Desabata “doesn’t owe any apologies to anybody, because he didn’t do anything.” Mr. Grondona thinks the Brazilian player acted in “bad faith” by pressing charges. Argentina’s most famous soccer player, Diego Maradona, also stood by his countrymen, saying, “There’s racism everywhere. If they have a problem in Brazil, they should solve it outside the soccer field.” [Andres Oppenheimer, Racial Slur Has Significance Far Beyond Soccer Field, Herald (Miami), April 21, 2005, p. 10A.]