Deconstructing the Immigration Truth

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary Recently I viewed a video put out by the John Birch Society. The video, “Trespassing Allowed,” dealt with the issue of immigration and the undocumented (“trespassing” in this context meaning the undocumented are being allowed in for some hidden purpose). Before I say anything more, I should give a brief description of the John Birch Society. Founded in 1958, the John Birch Society got its name from an American missionary who served in the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer. John Birch was stationed in China during World War II, and he was killed by Chinese Communist guerrillas in 1945. The John Birch Society was founded by the famous candy maker Robert W. Welch Jr. The organization is extremely anti-communist, dedicated to fundamentalist Christian principles, and is ultra-conservative (i.e. rightwing). The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the organization as a “patriot group,” and the John Birch Society is known for being anti-immigrant.

Given this context, I knew that the video would be very much against the undocumented. I did not realize how much against them. The video begins with the view that the United States of the past always had a strict immigration quota system and did everything it could to “assimilate” those immigrants who came here. In fact, immigration quotas did not come into place until 1924. Before that there was no immigration quota, and millions of immigrants came to this country. In fact, there were whole communities of immigrants who literally created not only their own neighborhoods but their own towns. These immigrants used their own languages, had their own newspapers, and had their own businesses catering to their own fellow immigrant residents. This would change only when their children and grandchildren became Americanized.

So to say that the U.S. government tried to assimilate all of these immigrants is not entirely accurate. The next part of the video was far from accurate. It talked about an “invasion” of people from Mexico and Central America who were not assimilating at all. In fact, the video accused such prestigious organizations as the National Council of La Raza and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund of trying to break America’s southwest region apart and create “Aztlan.” In other words trying to destroy the United States as part of a campaign to make America part of a “one world socialist government.” The scary thing about the video is that it only shows “Latino” looking people. The undocumented as I have said before is a very mixed bag. Many undocumented are also Asian (especially in California) and even Eastern European. Obviously there is far from being an organized conspiracy to use the undocumented to carve a separate entity within the United States. Oh of course there are some small extremist leftist groups such as Nahuacalli and the Chicano Movement of Aztlan, but they remain quite small and almost all American-born Latinos as well as immigrants from Latin America reject them.

The conclusion of the video states that there are those Republicans and Democrats who actually are trying to “undermine” the institutions of this country to try and integrate it into a one world government. Interestingly enough, this video was made before the rise of the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party being virtually taken over by these people. Just as strangely these people are echoing the belief that there really is a “one world government movement” and that the undocumented are the “shock troops” of this movement. It is sad that videos like this are in fact creating an atmosphere of xenophobia and fear against immigrants and fellow Americans. But then conspiracy groups like the John Birch Society have their own agendas.

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