The ugly incident recently at Lodi's Lawrence Elementary School provides a telling insight into how things are in the wacky world of U.S. immigration.
About 40 Hispanic parents demonstrated in front of the school, demanding (in Spanish) more bilingual aides and a Spanish-speaking school counselor.
The irate group followed up by submitting a petition (in Spanish) to Lodi Unified School District Superintendent Bill Huyett claiming that the Lawrence staff violates the children's civil rights by telling them to speak English.
The petition concluded with this mind-numbing sentence: "Finally, we demand that this district board assure that the administrators at Lawrence School consist of people who respond positively with the needs of Hispanic children and parents. We want an administration that respects our culture and language."
Let's get real.
To begin with, the 325 Hispanic students, about half the total enrollment, get a free education with plenty of bilingual services. The Lawrence School principal, teachers and support staff are second to none in terms of their dedication to education. To those parents who find the school lacking, may I suggest a private school? Or perhaps the school system in Mexico might be more to your liking?
If any of the parents are in the country illegally but partaking of taxpayer funded programs, then gratitude - not hostility - is the appropriate sentiment.
Moreover, under the laws of the U.S., any of them who are illegal should be deported. Instead, they are lobbying for more, more and more.
The law is very clear: According to the U.S. Code, Title 8, illegal aliens are subject to immediate "removal."
Some people find Title 8 excessively harsh. Among them are President George W. Bush and his minions. And because no one in municipal, state or federal government is interested in enforcing our existing laws, we have an increasingly bold, daring and demanding illegal alien population.
Immigration to the U.S. is a much graver problem today than it was prior to 9/11. If you haven't been paying attention to what is going on around you, then I suggest you start immediately.
KSFO radio talk show host Michael Savage coined a wonderful phrase to describe what America's rallying cry should be: Borders, Language, Culture.
At the moment, we're losing all three battles. A new report by Steven Camorata of the Center for Immigration Studies, "Immigration in 2002, A Snapshot," and based on statistics from the U.S. Census Population Survey, March 2002 revealed these alarming statistics about California:
Since January 2000 and through March 2002, more than 673,000 legal and illegal immigrants have entered California.
The new immigrants and children born to new immigrant women account for 100 percent of California's population increase.
Of the new immigrants and their children, more than 47 percent live at or near poverty as opposed to 25 percent of native-born.
Only 9 percent of newly arrived immigrants have a high-school diploma.
If the U.S. government's goal is to add to an already substantial underclass, then we should continue on our current path - keep the borders open and give illegal aliens every possible loophole to stay in the U.S. once they reach American soil.
The Washington Times confirmed that the Bush administration is hot for amnesty. Bush persists with his outrageous plans despite a recent Zogby poll that found 77 percent of Americans surveyed believe the government is not doing enough to control the border and 56 percent thought efforts by Mr. Bush and Mexico President Vicente Fox to consider amnesty for illegal aliens was a "bad or very bad idea."
But when Bush is in your corner, why shouldn't Mexico press forward. In Mexico's eyes, Americans are patsies.
Try to digest the audacity of Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda who said that he had issued instructions to Mexican consulate offices in the U.S. (63 offices according to the Department of Justice, not 47 as commonly quoted) to mobilize unions, churches, universities and Latino communities to demand amnesty.
"We are already giving instructions to our consulates that they begin propagating militant activities," Castaneda said.
As revolting as I find Bush, in an odd way I hope he keeps it up. Every time he mentions amnesty - or regularization, earned legalization or whatever the euphemism of the day is - Americans become more firmly entrenched in their opposition. Naked defiance of the people's will is not conducive to re-election.
We've just had the last election wherein candidates will be able to dodge immigration. The issue has become so prominent that come 2004, the people will demand an open, candid discussion.
And the candidates better have answers.
Joe Guzzardi, an instructor at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly opinion column since 1988. He can be reached via e-mail.