Posted on January 1, 2011

O Tempora, O Mores! (January, 2011)

American Renaissance, January 2011

Undivided Loyalty

Nine-term Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez, whose parents were Puerto Rican, works tirelessly for amnesty. He is against deporting illegals (he says it splits up families) and opposes any efforts better to secure the borders. He is sharply critical of President Barack Obama, whom he once strongly supported, because he believes the president isn’t pushing hard enough for amnesty. He says Mr. Obama “was clear in his [amnesty] commitment to me” during the campaign but since then “everything has been enforcement, enforcement, enforcement.” “How,” he asks “is this different from what George W. Bush did?”

He says Hispanics are “angry and disillusioned,” and losing patience. Mr. Gutierrez is also becoming more militant. In May, he got himself arrested at an immigration protest in front of the White House, and last summer he threatened to urge Hispanics to boycott the midterm elections if Democrats didn’t deliver amnesty.

The Pew Hispanic Center ranks Mr. Gutierrez as the second most important Hispanic leader in the US, after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Frank Sharry, founder of the pro-amnesty group America’s Voice, says Mr. Gutierrez is “as close as the Latino community has to a Martin Luther King figure.” Mr. Gutierrez is shameless about his advocacy. “I have only one loyalty,” he says, “and that’s to the immigrant community.” [Arian Campo-Flores, Keeping Obama to His Word, Newsweek, Nov. 29, 2010.]

Licensing Illegals

After the September 11 attacks, most states made it harder to get driver’s licenses. New Mexico made it easier. Since 2003, applicants no longer need proof of US citizenship or legal residency. They need only show a utility bill or a rental agreement with their name and address. This had made the state a magnet for foreigners from all over the world, and some are willing to pay a lot of money for forged papers. In November, police arrested three Chinese, Shu Sheng Lui, Hiew Fongyee, and Lam Fong Siu, who admitted they paid $500 for phony documents showing they lived in New Mexico. In October, police busted two other Chinese who flew to New Mexico from China just to get illegal licenses. In September, the authorities nabbed applicants from Costa Rica and Brazil.

Motor vehicle department spokesman S.U. Mahesh says the arrests show it isn’t as easy to get New Mexico licenses as some people think. “We have a good process in place that is meant to detect any fraud or anyone trying to get a license without proper documentation,” he says.

If the safeguards worked, illegals wouldn’t be flocking to the state. A poll of New Mexico residents found that 67 percent think the law is too lax, and so does governor-elect Susana Martinez. She wants to tighten up requirements and revoke licenses granted to illegals. [Astrid Galvan, N.M. Driver’s Licenses a Global Attraction, Albuquerque Journal, Nov. 12, 2010.]

Utah and Washington are the only other states that grant driver’s licenses without proof of citizenship or legal residency.

Browning of Britain

It is well known that if current demographic trends continue, whites will become a minority in the United States sometime around 2040. It is less well known that whites in Britain are headed in the same direction. An Oxford don recently “shocked” British media by predicting that “white Britons” will be a minority by 2066. Demography professor David Coleman blames soaring immigration, coupled with high immigrant birthrates and the mass exodus of natives (thousands of Britons emigrate each year). He forecasts the overall population will jump from 61 million today to 77 million by 2051 and 85 million by 2083, with the number of whites declining from 55 million today to 45 million in 2051. “Were the assumptions to hold, the ‘white British’ population of Britain would become the minority after about 2066,” he says. “It’s a milestone that would be passed much earlier in younger age groups.” Even if Britain cut immigration to the point that new arrivals matched departures, non-whites will still become a majority by the end of the century because of high birthrates. Prof. Coleman points out that this will “represent an enormous change to national identity — cultural, political, economic and religious.” [Graeme Wilson, White Britons a Minority by ’66, The Sun (London), Nov. 18, 2010.]

2066 would mark the 1,000th anniversary of the last successful invasion of Britain, the Norman Conquest.

Bad Juju

Traffic in Lagos, Nigeria is so bad that many motorcycles act as taxis, zipping fares through crowded streets. Speed does not equal safety, however. During the first half of 2010, about 2,500 people died on okadas, as motorcycle taxis are known. Many local hospitals have special wards to treat people who are hurt in crashes. Theoretically the law requires okada passengers to wear helmets but many do not. They are afraid previous passengers may have hexed the helmets so as to steal a person’s good fortune or make him disappear altogether.

“People believe that if you put on a helmet, [others] can take away your brain, or your good luck,” says entrepreneur Ralph Ibuz, who came up with a way to protect okada passengers from bad juju. He sells the “Original Lapa Guard,” a cloth cap to wear under the helmet to keep it from touching the head. He says it protects from germs — and from sudden, involuntary disappearance.

There is bad juju all over. A popular instant noodle dish was once rumored to be made of worms from Asia, and a drive in the 1990s to get people to use condoms stalled when tales spread that men who used them were vanishing. When cell phones became popular, some people thought they would die if certain numbers appeared on the caller ID. [Will Connors, Putting a Cap on Bad Juju Conjures Up a Good Business, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 19, 2010.]

Sikhing to Serve

Sikh immigrants first served in the US Army during the First World War, but stopped enlisting in 1981 when the Army banned “conspicuous” signs of religious faith, such as their turbans and beards. Sikhs could still enlist, but they had to get special exemptions for turbans and beards. These were rare, so few Sikhs joined up. (The Army prohibits beards because they make it hard to get a successful seal with a gas mask.)

Although the policy has not been entirely abandoned, the Army is granting more exemptions. Last March, Captain Tejdeep Singh Rattan, a dentist, became the first Sikh commissioned officer in more than two decades, and in September, Captain Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, a doctor, became the second. In November, 26-year-old Simran Preet Singh Lamba became the first enlisted Sikh soldier in more than 20 years to complete basic training in full beard and turban. The Army was eager to recruit Mr. Lamda because he speaks Hindi and Punjabi. [Sikh Soldier Completes US Army Training with Turban On, AP, Nov. 12, 2010.]

Adios, California

California’s future is likely to be written in Spanish. There are now nearly twice as many Hispanics as whites in California public schools, 3.1 million versus 1.7 million. There are also more Asians than blacks, 527,000 versus 425,000.

David Gomez, the president of the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators, says nearly 1.5 million California students are classified as English-language learners. Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at UC Berkley, believes it’s time for whites to start speaking Spanish. “If the majority of the population is becoming bilingual,” he asks, “why shouldn’t the white minority also become bilingual?” [Will Kane, Latino Kids Now Majority in State’s Public Schools, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 13, 2010.]

Weighing Anchor?

When Congress reconvenes in January, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), the incoming chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees immigration and citizenship, will be spearheading an effort to repeal birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens. Mr. King says it is an incentive to enter the country illegally and has led to an “anchor baby industry.” Hispanic activists are appalled. “For us, it sort of flies in the face of what America is about,” says Chad Silva of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California. “That’s our strength. And to start splitting hairs like that will only make the immigration issue worse.”

The debate will center on the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment, which reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Proponents of the proposal believe that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” means legal immigrants only, and excludes illegals, tourists, and diplomats. California Republican Congressman Tom McClintock, who supports the proposal, says the United States is unique among developed countries in still granting birthright citizenship. In recent years, Britain, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, France, and India have all changed their laws to require that at least one parent be a legal resident.

According to a 2008 analysis from the Pew Hispanic Center, some 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the United States annually are children of illegal immigrants. [Rob Hotakainen, GOP Majority in House Will Push to End ‘Birthright Citizenship,’ Sacramento Bee, Nov. 18, 2010.]