Here is a clear-headed piece about amnesty and illegal immigration everyone should read.
John Bennett makes a strong case for the failure of amnesty advocates to take into account Mexican nationalism and a desire to avenge the loss of territory to the U.S. after the Mexican War.
He's right; Americans are ignorant on a monumental scale of our own history, and do not understand that these "immigrants" are really settlers intending to "take back" Texas and the Southwest. They believe this is land that was stolen from them.
Was it? What were the particulars of the American annexation of Texas and the Southwest?
The politically correct argument says James Polk provoked a war with Mexico to conquer territory and steal this land from a weaker nation, and that our "occupation" of these territories is illegal. As always, the politically correct version is over-simplified and just plain incorrect.
We have to start with Texas to understand what led to American sovereignty over this region.
Tejas was a wilderness.
Outside of the Spanish settlement of San Antonio de Bexar there was little to nothing off the coast. Now, there were reasons for this; Tejas has and had poor land, thorny mesquite scrub or desert or exhausted forest country in the east. The coastal regions were heavily silted and full of barrier islands, making landfall difficult for ships. Often ships intended to reach Corpus Christi wound up having to go to another port because they simply could not get through. As a result shipping was always spotty to and from this northern region. And Tejas was home to the most dangerous and ferocious Indian tribes that ever lived - Comanche, Apache, Karankowa, etc. Mexican settlers often were massacred or gave up in fear of the natives. Furthermore, the Mexican system was not conducive to proper settlement; they were more communal than their Protestant cousins and did not wish to venture too far from the community, from the church, from the protection of the military. Farms were outside of town, where the farmers actually lived, so the farmers wasted time going to and from the fields. Few settlers were willing to come to the region.
So the Mexican government sent out an invitation to Europe and the United States for settlers with the promise of "a league and a labor" for settlers (which came to 4,605 acres). America's poorer citizens, eager for land of their own, could not resist the promise of free land and headed to what they called Texas.
But most of them were victims of bait-and-switch.
Once in Mexico they had to report to the local magistrate to get their paperwork in order. They had to convert to Catholicism and apply for Mexican citizenship. Here the corruption for which Mexico is notorious came into play; many were stuck in limbo, and few immigrants ever received the promised land. They had already pulled up stakes, used their money to immigrate, and now were told the deal was bogus. Some returned home but others had to find a way to make do. The key was to go to one of the Yanquee impresarios who were granted large land franchises and were establishing colonies. The best known of these was Stephen Austin, whose father had immigrated to Mexico before the land rush started. Austin charged for land, but still offered it cheap, and would extend credit.
So these immigrants were immediately soured by unsavory practices by the Mexican government, a government which invited them.
Still, the new immigrants were willing to accept Mexican authority, largely because of the Constitution of 1824, which was most enlightened and similar to that of the United States, offering similar protections.
But Mexican President Bustamante imposed a series of reforms that angered the settlers, including a moratorium on new settlement (many settlers were expecting family and friends), the imposition of property taxes (which were previously not applicable to the new settlers) and the imposition of a tariff on badly-needed goods, and a strict enforcement of the requirement to convert to Catholicism set the settlers on edge.
Then came Santa Ana. He suspended the constitution of 1824 and made himself dictator.
Soon severe restrictions were being placed on settlers. The settlers sent a petition to Mexico City asking for a redress of grievances, and it was delivered by no less a personage than Stephan Austin. Austin was arrested and thrown in prison for daring to simply petition the government. The settlers asked for help from the other Mexican states and received no reply. Eventually they rebelled.
Santa Ana - who called himself the Napoleon of the West - came with his army and besieged the Alamo killing all who were there. He also massacred the militia at Gonzalez.
In the war that followed Santa Ana chased Texas commander Sam Houston all over the territory, eventually cornering him at San Jacinto. Santa Ana, supremely confident, indulged his personal desires during siesta with a "yellow" local woman (the yellow rose of Texas) while his men slept. Houston attacked, and the Texans captured Santa Ana, forcing him to sign a treaty recognizing Texas independence.
But the rest of Mexico never did recognize that independence, and there were constant incursions into Texas territory (Mexico tried to claim the Nueces river was the border and Texans the Rio Grande). At one point the Mexican army invaded Texas, overrunning the country. When Texas was annexed by the United States, the Mexicans still did not recognize the legitimacy of American rule over the region.
And it is often claimed Polk goaded Mexico, which may be true, but the Mexicans amassed a large army just south of the Rio Grande, preparatory for an invasion of the U.S. What was Polk supposed to do? Their army was larger, and most observers from Europe believed Mexico was going to squash the U.S. The Mexicans went into that war with the confident belief that they were going to take AMERICAN territory.
They did not, and in fact Santa Ana proved to be such an inept commander that they lost the sparsely inhabited regions of New Mexico, Arizona, and the largely independent California (which, for one day, was an independent republic).
The Mexicans never settled these regions, and really had little interest in them. I can prove that; the Mexican government sold the U.S. a large swath of land along it's northern border when they needed cash. It was called the Gadsden Purchase, and it amounted to 29.670 square miles. If Mexico cared about her territorial integrity why would she sell this large swath of land?
To say we stole this from Mexico is a lie. The Mexicans had designs on our territory as much as we had on theirs, and most of the inhabitants of California and New Mexico were quite pleased with the transfer of sovereignty. Had they been allowed to vote on it they would likely have approved a referendum anyway.
But now Mexican citizens want this land back, claiming it is part of Mexico. If it had was really part of Mexico why didn't they settle it? John Locke's theory of property says that land in a state of nature belongs to all, but it is the act of improving that gives possession. The Mexicans never improved it, while the Americans did. This is a grand desire for theft on the part of Mexicans who still hold a grudge against us for beating them in two wars.
The land is ours. We improved it, we settled it, we made it secure. They were the aggressors in both the Texan and Mexican wars. They even sold us a large swath of it. Their claim is without merit.
And they have no "right of return" as they were never there.
If former possession of a land gives the right to take that land back, we are going to have a tremendous problem on our hands. Britain was originally inhabited by Celtic peoples; are we going to demand that the Welsh move out of their peninsula and kick out the English? Are we going to demand the Germans retreat back into Asia and allow the Celtic peoples of Europe to resettle there? Are we going to kick the Japanese out of their islands and allow the aboriginal Ainu people to run them? Just about every nation on Earth is on land once owned by someone else, yet we don't suggest such ridiculous things. Only in America do people demand we hand back land that was claimed by people who never worked it, never built on it, never really owned it.
This land is ours, and the invaders are trespassers. We have to start thinking of them as such. This is an act of aggression against our nation. These "immigrants" are foot soldiers on a quest to conquer our lands. We have to stop thinking of them as anything else.
Read more from Tim and friends at www.tbirdnow.mee.nu