- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 12, 2005

Out here in Southern California, a local Spanish-language TV station caused a stink recently by putting up several billboards reaching out to potential viewers in Los Angeles, Mexico. Predictably, as soon as outraged Americans complained, they were accused of being racists.

How is it, I keep asking myself, that it’s only the biggest racists in America who are given carte blanche to condemn others for being what they are themselves? Who but a racist would conclude that America’s sovereignty is merely a minor inconvenience they are free to ignore for no other reason than that they are members of la raza (the race), and they are therefore entitled? I mean, it’s not as if the folks sneaking across our border are, like so many other people around the world, trying to escape bloody tyrants or religious intolerance. They simply want the opportunity to make a better living. Well, who doesn’t? But that’s no reason to give them special treatment.

Among their other entitlements, we are given to understand, are schooling, medical attention and a higher minimum wage. In addition, they, along with his eminence, Mexican President Vicente Fox, believe they should be allowed to vote in our elections as well as Mexico’s, even if they know less English than I know Greek.

It’s been estimated that there are 10 million illegals in America. The number must be higher than that, if only because that’s the same number I’ve heard bandied about for several years. For that number to be even close to accurate, it would mean, one, that the border has been securely sealed for all that time, which we and the Minutemen know is absurd. Two, it presumes that they haven’t had babies in the United States. And, yes, I understand that the Constitution states that any child born within our borders is a citizen, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. After all, in no other instance is a person allowed to benefit from the commission of a crime. How is it that sneaking into America is the single exception to that rule?

It’s no secret why Mr. Fox goes so far as to provide illegals with tips on how best to avoid detection by our Border Patrol. At my local post office, most of the people in line with me are Latinos mailing postal orders to their relatives. I’m not suggesting that all those people are here illegally, but if only 10 million of them mail only 20 dollars a week back home, it amounts to $10 billion a year. That’s a hell of a lot of pesos. Is it any wonder that Mr. Fox is in no rush to turn off the golden faucet?

What confounds me, though, is that, instead of displaying some amount of gratitude for our taking millions of unemployed Mexicans off his hands, he tweaks our nose by refusing to extradite cop killers and serial rapists because Mexico, which has raised police and political corruption to levels reminiscent of Chicago in the 1920s, doesn’t happen to believe in capital punishment or even life imprisonment.

Some of my fellow conservatives don’t believe in foreign aid. It so happens that I do. But I don’t believe in offering up our tax dollars with no strings attached. For instance, however much we currently give Mexico, I suggest we deduct a large amount for every illegal we catch and an even larger amount for every killer who finds sanctuary south of the border. And, furthermore, when we catch one of them committing felonies on our turf, we should deduct the cost of his trial and incarceration from all future assistance.

Finally, it’s not racism when you resent people sneaking into your country simply because, by reason of geographical proximity, they’re able to get away with it. In fact, that’s why the idea of simply deporting illegals has never made any sense to me. It’s not like sending scofflaws back to Europe or Asia. Our border, after all, is nothing but a line in the sand.

If you actually believe that Mexicans are entitled to be here simply because they want to be here, it’s you who are a racist. Furthermore, I’d like to know where you live, so I can sneak into your house and help myself to whatever I find lying around.

And, remember, no fair calling the cops.

Burt Prelutsky, author of “Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco,” is an award-winning TV writer.

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