Letters to the Editor - Summer 1997

Published in The Social Contract
Volume 7, Number 4 (Summer 1997)
Issue theme: "The abuse of asylum and refuge"


I believe wholeheartedly in your point of view. The projection of population for this country in fewer than 50 years is 400,000,000. I send letters and postcards to various officials and committees in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. I do not ask, beg or plead, I demand that this government do its upmost about immigration and other difficulties this country is in. If the government and others in power cannot, or won't, do what is necessary to save this country then we are headed for more anarchy than we have now.

Leatrice B. Phillips

Philadelphia, PA


The excellent article by Diana Hull in the Fall 1996 issue of The Social Contract, "Ethno-nationalism, Aztlan and ‘Official Spanish'" was, I am sure, an eye-opener to many readers who had not realized the lengths to which the "Aztlan" activists have already gone both in their rhetoric and their actions to promote a future takeover and separation of the American Southwest. The continuing massive legal and illegal immigration flow across our southern border (and elsewhere) along with the unwillingness of the Federal government to do anything effective to slow it bodes ill for the survival of the United States of America. Two decades ago America celebrated its bicentennial. Will there even be a tricentennial? At the rate things are going, Americans may not have long to wait to find out.

Dr. Hull's article, like others I have seen on this topic, does not mention what "Aztlan" actually means - other than as a rallying cry carrying considerable emotional power for those involved in the movement and those whom they hope to influence; and as the label for a dreamed-of Chicano nation or region, either annexed to Mexico or independent with close ties to Mexico. A little background on the origin of this rather exotic term may be instructive.

Aztlan is the name in the Nahuatl language for the legendary original home of the Aztecs, thought by some historians to have been located in the tropical Pacific coastal marshes of the modern Mexican state of Nayarit (about 22° N. latitude). After a great nomadic migration, they eventually settled in the Valley of Mexico where they were despised as barbarous troublemakers by the peoples around them and forced to settle on an island wasteland no one else wanted in Lake Texcoco. They called themselves "Mexica" - the alternate term "Aztec" derives from Aztlan - and their island, expanded by dredging, became their capital Tenochtitlan (where Mexico City now stands). In a historically short time they became militarily dominant and established a powerful and ruthless empire that in 1521 was brought down by Cortez and his Indian allies (who were chafing under Aztec rule or the threat of it, and no doubt tired of being victims of mass human sacrifices to the Aztec gods). In many ways the rule of the Spanish conquista-dores that followed was equally brutal, but that is another story. For a concise and very readable account of pre-Columbian civilizations in this valley by a distinguished Mexican historian, see Ignacio Bernal, Mexico Before Cortez.

If the American Southwest from Texas to California is not to become a separate nation or Mexican region called Aztlan - a region far larger and very distant from any region ever populated or controlled in history by predecessors or descendants of Aztecs - the present uncontrolled flow of immigrants must be stopped or greatly reduced, and soon. That flow, including others in other parts of the country, has been called a foreign invasion, with some reason, especially as applied to illegals; but even more it is cultural suicide on America's part, as present U.S. immigration law is in effect currently inviting a million people a year - mostly from Third World backgrounds vastly different from any flow seen before 1965. And the illegal influx continues unabated, with few effective measures being implemented to control it. The government refuses to make any substantial changes due to complacency and deluded Establishment notions of political correctness, and, although the general public is becoming more concerned, it has not yet roused itself sufficiently to force real reform on the political scene.

Meanwhile the demographic changes resulting from too much immigration and its consequences, already breathtaking for such a huge country, are becoming embedded. When a certain point is passed such changes tend to become irreversible and pressures build up that result in an explosion. Today's immigration delusionaries give no sign of having any concept of the ugliness and tragedy for all that can result, although we have plenty of cur-rent and historic examples from all parts of the world. There is little evidence that the United States is "somehow magically insulated from the lessons of history," in Dr. Hull's words. It is already very late in the game to be waking up; one hopes not too late. If immigration reform comes too late, or is too little, the "mythical" Aztlan may become stark reality in the not-so-distant future. If the American Southwest, or parts of it, should split off from the United States, it is not unlikely that other parts of the country impacted by heavy immigration and different coalescing groups would also do so along ethnic or cultural fault lines. Or such a breakup might be averted, for a time, only by the imposition of a repressive totalitarian government. Or - there could be full-blown civil war.

Lee G. Madland

Bishop, California


I was greatly pleased by David Payne's generally favorable review of my book, The Global Migration Crisis Challenge to States and Human Rights in the Spring issue of The Social Contract but take objection to his opening line that "this is a book about problems, not solutions" and his conclusion that "not once does he attempt to take a moral stand or support a moral argument on these issues" and that I hide "behind a smoke screen of objectivity."

Chapters 8 and 9 of my book explicitly deal with policy issues, many from a moral perspective. I present the moral case against those who advocate open borders, and argue that no country "is obligated to admit individuals seeking employment, higher income or a better way of life." I then explain why governments (and their citizens) may welcomer immigrants and argue that depending upon their circumstances they can decide whether or not to admit migrants, how many, and with what characteristics. The costs and benefits of migration differ from country to country; what is appropriate for one country may not be appropriate for another.

I further argue that countries must be able to control illegal immigration if they want to have a politically acceptable immigration policy. I describe the different kinds of controls to reduce (though never to eliminate) illegal migrations and why I think it both likely and necessary that governments look for more effective ways to control entry. Finally, I suggest some of the ways in which governments might try to influence conditions in countries that produce large numbers of emigrants and refugees.

As for hiding behind "the smoke screen of objectivity" I view that as more complimentary than perhaps Professor Payne intended.

Myron Weiner

Moretown, Vermont

David Payne Responds

Dr. Weiner's response is appreciated. My stated opinion that he is too "objective" is merely a personal yearning for more of his thoughts on the issues and should not be taken as a criticism of an excellent analytic work.

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