Immigration The View from MacArthur Park

By Don Feder
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 7, Number 3 (Spring 1997)
Issue theme: "Restraining the American brain"

A man in a Lakers cap sold me a California driver's license.

Ira Mehlman, who runs the Los Angeles office of the Federa-tion for American Immigration Reform, wanted to show me how easy it is for illegal immigrants to get bogus IDs. We went to MacArthur Park and drove around slowly.

Don Feder is a syndicated columnist, ©1997, Creators Syndicate. Reprinted by permission. A man approached. Ira said I needed a license. ("Would you like a green card, too?") We repaired to one of those passport photo places. "One hour," said my supplier.

While I waited, he ran customers in and out of the store. Most did not look like international travelers. My license - in the name of Fernando Feder (olé!) - cost $70.

It's close enough to the real thing to pass muster in most situations. With it, I could get a job, go on welfare or register to vote. Any idea how Bob Dornan lost his House seat to Loretta Sanchez last November?

"Would you like to see Tijuana next?" Ira teasingly inquired. "It's five minutes from here." Sure enough, just a few blocks from the gleaming skyscrapers of L.A.'s business district, on Broadway between First and Seventh, is a Third World enclave - store windows devoid of English signs, alien sights, sounds and faces.

In New England, immigration laps gently at our shore. In Southern California, it's tidal waves crashing on the border.

The day before my alien encounter, I met with a group of immigration reform activists. Terry Anderson is a 47-year-old black man who repairs windshields. He's lived on the same block in South Central since 1954.

"Why are we importing poor people? Why are we importing sick people? Uneducated people? Don't we have enough proble

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