At the Huffington Post, columnist Antonio De Loera-Brust loudly identifies as a “first-generation Mexican-American filmmaker, writer, and son of Mexican immigrants.” Because of that, we’re told, he is entitled to pronounce the use of tear gas at the border on would-be invaders as an injustice of the highest order.
This sort of special pleading makes him a kind of poster boy for the culturally insecure Latinos who form the rank and file of La Raza.
For De Loera-Brust, repelling illegal aliens through non-lethal means is not an act of law enforcement or an act of self-defense, even though federal agents were struck with stones by the group. Rather, De Loera-Brust writes, it was a sinister “attempt to drive away a large group of migrants protesting for their right to seek asylum.” When those migrants turned violent, it was merely “a last resort for those who have been barred from entering by every legal channel.”
In De Loera-Brust’s telling, we Americans easily could take in all of the foreign nationals now besetting us “with compassion,” if only white Americans didn’t “fear the prospect of more of us.” A first-generation Mexican-American immigrant referring to Central Americans as “us” and “we,” in the same breath that he vilifies his own white countrymen, is in itself an argument against mass immigration.
Letting in thousands of foreign nationals means compassion to De Loera-Brust, but insisting that we can’t, or shouldn’t take them all can only mean fear. “Migrant” men attacking Border Patrol agents are innocent of wrongdoing, but Border Patrol agents deploying non-lethal deterrents are guilty of crimes against humanity. Love and hate.
Willful Blindness at the Border
Love, like hate, can blind us from seeing things as they really are. America is in a toxic relationship with immigration, and like a battered spouse, progressives keep crawling back to the same tropes and lies.
De Loera-Brust claims that these people do not pose a national security threat, and yet federal agents apprehended a Honduran convicted for murder after he illegally entered the country with members of the caravan last Saturday.
Days later, a Border Patrol agent was held at gunpoint by an illegal alien in California who had been deported to Mexico at least five times. He had a rap sheet full of violent drug crimes and firearms offenses. No security threat? Only if you’re blind to the facts.
The men who stormed the border last weekend were not protesting, nor could it be said that many are genuine asylum seekers, as De Loera-Brust claims.
According to a “migrant” who participated in the border push, the violence was by design. ABC News reports:
Our team talked last night to a man who was part of that effort to run across the border, and he said that they had thought that it had worked coming into Mexico, to just overwhelm the Mexican authorities with pure numbers, and they were able to run right past them. It worked going all the way through Mexico every time they would be up against the Mexican federal police, they would just run around them, and they thought it would work again. They were shocked that it did not work coming into the U.S., and that they were met by a wall of federal agents in riot gear, with the tear gas, with the pepper balls, with all of the other less than lethal means that they had. They couldn’t believe that they weren’t able to go past that wall.
The caravan in general is made up primarily of men. “From what we’ve seen,” said one MSNBC reporter, “the majority are actually men and some of these men have not articulated that need for asylum.” Though De Loera-Brust disagrees, asylum should be selective and the United States should reserve the right to deny asylum seekers without valid claims.
But what of those children and women (who may or may not actually be the mothers of the children accompanying them)? In response to these claims, De Loera-Brust takes up the expected progressive line: “How could we?”
How could we? How could they? What sort of “mother” runs headlong into a violent mob, infant in arm? The woman photographed “clutching a small, diaper-wearing child,” characterized by De Loera-Brust as a typical asylum seeker, participated in the border fracas because she “needs a job.” In other words, she isn’t an asylum seeker attempting to escape oppression or in fear for her life. She wants more opportunity so she endangered a child needlessly. Now that is immoral.
Riot Shields and Human Shields
And what sort of men use women and children as human shields? “What we saw over and over . . . was that the group—the caravan, as we call them,” said Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott, “would push women and children to the front and then begin, basically, rocking our agents.” That is, pelting agents with rocks.
“If they were truly asylum-seekers,” Scott added, “they would’ve just walked up with their hands up and surrendered, but that did not take place.” Although De Loera-Brust recoils in horror at the sight of Border Patrol agents with riot shields, he has nothing to say about the women and children used as human shields by the caravanners.
When all else fails, De Loera-Brust does what good progressives do, and resorts to emotional pandering.
He wants to know why it is that when “politicians speak of putting American citizens first, they exclude citizens and families, like mine, with relatives on both sides of the wall?”
As someone with relatives on both sides of the wall, too, let me attempt to speak to that.
One of my uncles was recently “disappeared” by narcos, the consequence of his son, a drug dealer, being implicated in a turf war. My uncle was taken to induce his son into surrendering himself. It didn’t work. No one has seen my uncle for months, and in Mexico, that means he’s dead. To this point, the Trump Administration has argued that gang violence is not grounds for asylum, and I agree. It is, on the other hand, a good way to import gang violence into our country.
Similarly, my half-sister was deported for her involvement in a theft ring in California. She tried to return illegally, was caught en route (which probably saved her from dying in the desert), and was deported again. Residency in this country for noncitizens, like asylum, is a privilege, and privileges can—and sometimes should—be revoked.
Harsh as it seems on its face, familial ties, let alone ethnic ties, are irrelevant in this situation. We are a nation of laws, and the proper application of the law is what separates the United States from places like Mexico and Honduras.
A False and Un-American Narrative
De Loera-Brust believes that ethnicity and family arbitrarily bestow moral authority on a person. But familial ties do not guarantee an affinity to the things that make us all Americans. It takes someone cut from the same cloth, so to speak, with a different perspective to show that familial ties by themselves do not make a good basis for citizenship or even legal status. That De Loera-Brust holds to such fanciful notions of the problem is not surprising, considering that he has spent most of his life in the liberal citadels of upstate New York and Davis, California.
As a “Chicano” filmmaker, it is De Loera-Brust’s job to create a narrative. His narrative is one that distorts events to achieve an identitarian political end for his “us” and “we” storyline. Nothing could be more un-American, however, than to insist that the United States be anything less than one nation indivisible—and what is a nation without borders?
If America should remain exceptional and a place that good people should want to emigrate to, it must retain a semblance of sovereignty. If it means to do that, there is only one thing to do about this current business on the border: Don’t let the caravan in.
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Photo Credit: Reuters