DENVER—La reconquista, a radical movement calling for Mexico to “reconquer” America’s Southwest, has stepped out of the shadows at recent immigration-reform protests nationwide as marchers held signs saying, “Uncle Sam Stole Our Land!” and waved Mexico’s flag.
Even as organizers urged marchers to display U.S. flags, the theme of reclaiming “stolen” land remained strong. One popular banner read: “If you think I’m illegal because I’m a Mexican, learn the true history because I’m in my homeland.”
The revolutionary tone has surprised even longtime immigration watchers such as Ira Mehlman, the Los Angeles-based spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
“I’ve always been skeptical myself about this [reconquista], but what I’ve seen over the last few weeks leads me to believe that there’s more there than I thought,” Mr. Mehlman said.
“You’re seeing people marching with Mexican flags chanting, ‘This is our country.’ I don’t think that we can dismiss this as youthful exuberance or a bunch of hotheads,” he said.
Hispanic rights leaders insist there’s nothing to the so-called reconquista, sometimes referred to as Aztlan, the mythical ancestral homeland of the Aztecs that reportedly stretches from the border to southern Oregon and Colorado.
A three-minute videotape made by the Immigration Watchdog Web site plays speeches by Hispanic professors and elected officials making references to Aztlan and the idea of a demographic takeover.
“We are millions. We just have to survive. We have an aging white America. They are not making babies. They are dying. It’s a matter of time. The explosion is in our population,” Jose Angel Gutierrez, political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, said on the videotape.