Washington — Wars have been fought between nations to preserve cultural heritages; the United States is the only modern nation to dilute hers, I believe, in a fit of absent-mindedness. America is being invaded all the time by illegal aliens, but it attracts little attention. A new semiofficial guess says there are three million to six million illegals in the country; other estimates go as high as 10 million. (There are also about 7 million unemployed Americans.) The Immigration and Naturalization Service figures that it turns back a million aliens a year trying to make illicit entry.
Former immigration commissioner Leonard Chapman said that for every illegal turned back one or two others probably make successful entry. So what? If they were Russians it would be another story. Mostly these are Hispanics. They have no particular political ideology. No matter how low the US pay, it is more than they could get at home. Hispanics will pass blacks in a few years as the largest ethnic group, it is estimated. Already in many communities they are a political force. There is no reason to believe this won't increase.
A graphic story in the Dallas Morning News May 4, inserted in the Congressional Record by Rep. Jack Hightower, tells of two border patrolmen sitting in their four-wheel- drive vehicle with their radio crackling. There is an alert -- a huge semitrailer from across the border is hiding on this side of the Rio Grande packed with 100 illegal wetbacks. Dennis tells his partner Willie in disgust that it's the same spot where they loaded 150 illegals earlier in the day.
Is there a rush, a chase, a confrontation by the border patrolmen? Not at all!
Orders have just come to cut expenses: Gasoline is being rationed to three gallons per vehicle per shift -- a 74 percent cutback in the regular monthly allotment.
Willie and Dennis shrug. Another even more startling order came from Washington recently: Send 20 percent of your patrolmen to Florida to help process the Cubans pouring into Miami. Papers across the country show poignant photographs of Cuban refugees greeting long separated relatives in the United States. It is the kind of drama we can all understand. Who would point out that a million would-be immigrants to the United States are already on the waiting list, despite the fact that American immigration laws are the most generous in the world?Or that most of these, like the Cubans, have relatives already in the country?
(Or who would note that a quarter of the 4 1/4 billion people on spinning planet Earth probably go to bed hungry at night, and that the story of the next century may well be the contest between haves and have-nots?)
The US Border Patrol is the stepchild of American government. It will be so until the nation makes up its mind whether it really wants immigration enforcement or not. To patrol the 2,000-mile Mexican border, only 350 patrolmen like Dennis and Willie are on guard on any eight-hour shift. Now they must conserve gasoline. The United States has set out its sentries and then forgotten them.
Mexico has a population of 68 million. According to the Population Reference Bureau, Inc., the United States has a "rate of natural increase" (birthrate minus death rate, without immigration) of 0.7 percent. Mexico has an astonishing rate of 3.1 percent. The World Fertility Survey, located in London, in a release May 16 says Mexico's population "will double in 20 years."
Where will all those Mexicans go?
Border patrolmen Dennis and Willie in their immobilized car think they know the answer. As the Dallas Morning News graphically puts it:
"Meanwhile the huge semi, its load of humanity jammed inside the trailer, made its way from the Rio Grande border, heading unmolested toward the Houstons, Dallases, Chicagos, or Detroits where millions of other aliens had been taken in their quest for jobs."