Thursday, March 30, 2006

Can Mexican Flag Wavers Influence American Policy?

CNN has a report today about Los Angeles teachers discussing the effectiveness of recent pro-immigration (anti US border?) student walkouts. See the story here..

First of all, why is this newsworthy? Since when is American policy driven by the whims of thousands of 16 year old truants? Since when does prancing around a city with the flag from a foreign nation serve to influence the US political agenda? Am I the only one who sees the absurdity of TV commentators stating "Washington is sure to take notice" when they see thousands of high school kids waving the Mexican flag and skipping school?

In what's sure to be a typical response, one boy waxed poetic on why walking out of school Monday was a good thing: "Because we let them know what's up". Really? By walking out of your high school you showed American politician's what's up? In what way? Do you think law makers are unaware of the fact that 10's of millions of Hispanics live in our nation? Do you think waving the Mexican flag will cause politicians to change US borders? Maybe I'm the ignorant one, but I don't see how student walkouts showed anybody "what's up". Gee, the 11,000,000 Hispanics living in the US illegally want amnesty? Big surprise there.

The more likely result of the student walkouts and demonstrations is that Americans are angry. It's perhaps an odd thing about Americans, but we respect the American flag. We respect our borders. Our ancestors came to this nation and learned the English language, and they came here legally. Most of us work with residents from China or India who are in the 6 year process of obtaining a green card. We respect their tenacity, and appreciate that they respect our laws. No amount of Mexican flag waving will make people believe that Mexicans should jump to the front of the immigration line.

More importantly, the student protests have confirmed suspicions that Mexican immigrants are not here to become Americans. The resistance to learn English is real, not imagined. The propensity to root for the Mexican national team when they play the US team is not a short-term by-product of recent immigration, it's a systemic attribute of the Mexican community. The goal appears to be to establish the Mexican culture and an allegiance to the Mexican nation within the borders of the United States. This of course begs the question of why they came to the US in the first place.

Just to be clear, nobody is stating that Mexicans residing in the US should change their culture, their food, their customs, nor their religion. Mexican citizens are welcome to jump in our melting pot as fast as the INS can process the paperwork. But if they sincerely want to become Americans, they should abide by our immigration laws, learn our language, put away their Mexican flags and pledge allegiance to the American flag. If on the other hand they want to remain Mexicans and retain their allegience to Mexico, then they should go back home.

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