Journalists and editors spend a lot of time worrying
about the “lead”—the opening lines of a story.
How about this:
"With two teenage
daughters at home and triplets still in diapers, Angela
Magdaleno`s family overflowed from a one-bedroom
apartment in South Los Angeles that they strained to
afford… Diapers had to be changed 15 times a day,
feedings held every three hours. One triplet, 3-year-old
Alfredo Jr., needed special attention because he was
liquid on his brain and partially paralyzed.
"And that was before
the quadruplets arrived."
Sam Quinones` July 28 article—6
+ 4 = 1 Tenuous Existence: An illegal immigrant couple
with six children were already living in poverty. Then
the quadruplets arrived. They`re still in a daze—just
might be the
best in the rather dull history of the Los
Angeles Times. It combines the two things
traditionally lacking in that notoriously stuffy
- First, human
"On July 6, Magdaleno
gave birth to two boys and two girls, drawing national
media attention as a bewildered mother of 10 (with nine
living at home). Now, she and her husband, Alfredo
Anzaldo, 44, must figure out how to provide for everyone
maximum pay of $400 a week as a
relevance—in a newspaper normally
willfully oblivious to what`s
actually happening in Los Angeles:
"But that is
not Magdaleno`s story.
"Both Magdaleno and
Anzaldo are illegal immigrants, settled
years in an
immigrant enclave. Magdaleno has the same number of
children as her parents, who were
peasant farmers in Mexico. Like her parents, she is
living in poverty and struggling to provide for her
"Yet all of
Magdaleno`s 10 children are
U.S. citizens. The triplets receive subsidized
school lunches. All the youngsters have had their
healthcare bills covered by Medi-Cal, the state and
federal healthcare program
for the poor.”
must confess that I sometimes admire the stiff-necked
elitism of the LA Times—its devotion to
esoteric foreign coverage of the "Whither
Kyrgyzstan?" ilk, its enthusiasm for
thumbsucking wonkery about the future of the Social
Security trust fund, its lofty disdain for chronicling
the tabloid-worthy events actually taking place
on the streets of America`s most tabloid-worthy city.
Unfortunately, as much as I respect its attempt to be
the New York Times West, it`s simply not as good
NYT. So it winds up being a second-rate national
newspaper and a third-rate local newspaper.
For years, though, the LA Times` tediousness
didn`t matter. It held the monopoly on classified
advertising in the vast Southern California market.
But now all that advertising is
going to the Internet. Further, massive immigration,
obsessively defended by the LAT, is helping
drive the newspaper`s natural audience,
out of the city. Even though the population of the
five county circulation area grew during 2000 to
2004 by more than
1.5 million to 18 million, readership has been
reports: "The Los Angeles Times paid
circulation figures have decreased since the mid-1990s.
It has recently been unable to pass the 1 million mark
that was easily achieved in earlier decades."
Circulation is now down to 851,000.
This is not surprising since, as
Edwin S. Rubenstein has
reported in VDARE.com: "A new study by the United
Way of Los Angeles finds that 53 percent of the city`s
adult population—3.8 million people—are functionally
In a few years, the LA Times might as well rename
itself the Hollywood Hills Times. Most of its
remaining readers will live in the posh strip within a
few miles of
This is not to say that the LA Times shows much
actual interest in the millions of illegal immigrants
within its circulation zone.
Like many politically correct institutions, the
newspaper seems to find illegals dull and depressing.
But the LAT is loathe to admit in print that the
lumpenproletariat barrios of Southern California are
anything other than "vibrant.”
Reporter Quinones, however, can`t keep himself from
piling on the facts. For example:
"Alfredo Jr. had been
hospitalized all his life until recently. He`s had three
state-funded brain operations and will require several
more, the family said. The couple receive $700 in
monthly Social Security payments to help with his
"`I thank this country
that they gave me
Medi-Cal,` Magdaleno said.`There`s nothing like that
It`s not widely understood in America, but for many
Mexicans, a big family becomes more affordable if they
sneak into the United States. As Steven A. Camarota
of the Center for Immigration Studies pointed out in his
October 2005 report
Birth Rates Among Immigrants in America,
"Among Mexican immigrants in the United States …
fertility averages 3.5 children per woman compared to
2.4 children per women in Mexico."
In Mexico, women of the limited education characteristic
of immigrants to America average only 2.3 babies apiece.
So immigrating, typically illegally, appears to allow
them to have an extra 1.2 babies.
Conversely, alas, the rapid growth in the Mexican
population in California discourages native-born
Americans from having children by making
family formation less affordable. The cost of living
in California is
40 percent above the national average. Wages are
mediocre. Not surprisingly, the expected number of
babies per non-Hispanic white woman in California
1.93 to 1.65 during the ten years from 1990 to 2000.
I suspect the huge run-up in
California home prices during this decade will drive
native fertility down even farther.
In contrast to the Los Angeles Times` routinely
genteel approach (Mickey
Slate has noted
exciting local stories the
newspaper has buried), Quinones provides lots of
juicy details about Mrs. Magdaleno having her tubal
ligation reversed and then dosing herself with bootleg
Mexican fertility pills to give Mr. Magdaleno, who had
previously sired four daughters by three different
women, the son he`d always wanted.
The reporter also brings up the kind of facts usually
glossed over in the LAT—such as how uneducated
illegal immigrants tend to be.
“She grew up in Los
Positos, in the central Mexican state of Jalisco, the
eldest of 10… Angela and
Justina left school at fifth grade to work in fields and
tortilla shops to help support their family.”
This lack of schooling is not at all unusual. According
to Camarota`s July 2005 CIS report
Births to Immigrants in America: 1970 to 2002,
59 percent of all Hispanic immigrant mothers don`t have
high school degrees. Nor do 32 percent of American-born
Hispanic mothers. In contrast, just 12 percent of
non-Hispanic white mothers lack a diploma.
Quinones also sketches the more successful story of Mrs.
Magdaleno`s nine (!) immigrant siblings:
existence contrasts sharply with that of her younger
siblings, who followed her to Los Angeles but then left.
They have settled in
Lexington, Ky., had no more than two children each
and built better lives than they had known before. Four
bought houses. Their children speak English
Of course, the ten children of the least assimilated sibling will make
up a sizable fraction of the clan`s next generation. The
Magdalenos display an exaggerated version of a widely
pattern—the more likely someone is to give their
children a poor start in life, the more kids they are
likely to have.
Alejandra was the first to leave. In Los Angeles, she
and her husband were barely able to make ends meet. As
in Mexico, `there was little work and it`s poorly paid,`
ago, she and her family moved to Kentucky, where a
friend said there was more work and were fewer Mexican
bidding down the wages for unskilled jobs.`
Funny, isn`t it, how uneducated illegal immigrants have a more acute
understanding of how the Law of Supply and Demand
affects wages than do many
academic economists? Quinones` story goes on:
"They went to
night school to learn English because few people in
Lexington speak Spanish.
Magdalenos in Lexington earn more than they did in Los
Angeles, in a city where the cost of living is lower
65% of LA]. Kentucky is now their promised land,
and they talk about California the way they used to talk
weren`t able to do in many years in California,`
Alejandra said, `we`ve done quickly here. We`re in a
state where there`s nothing but Americans. The
police control the streets. It`s
clean, no gangs. California now resembles
thinks like in Mexico. California`s broken.`"
The Beverly Hillbillies in reverse. Now people
are moving from California to Kentucky to be part of a
more advanced civilization. More details from Quinones:
the last to leave Los Angeles, about the time Angela was
pregnant with the triplets.
"She and her
husband wanted better schools for their sons, 15 and 9.
she said, `at the school there are just people who speak
English. It`s helped my children a lot.`"
Tamar Jacoby are always claiming that mass
immigration will turn out just fine so long as we
"assimilate" the newcomers. But this example shows
that, when it comes to assimilation, numbers count.
For their kids to start acting like Americans, these
Mexicans had to get away from the twelve million
Mexicans in California.
But how can many ever succeed in assimilating if the borders remain
porous? The story continues:
however, [the mother of ten] sent her daughter, Kelly,
17, to Kentucky for several months. Though American born
and raised, Kelly hadn`t been outside South Los Angeles.
school was hard because few people spoke Spanish, and
the city `barely had one
Spanish radio station,` Kelly said.
she said in English, `use more educational words than
here. My cousin is 7 years old, and he has a better
reading level than me. He don`t see picture books or
drawings or anything like that. He just likes books with
Mexican-immigrant families in Kentucky, she saw, were in
their mid-20s and still didn`t have children.”
Hispanic teen birthrate is now 27 percent higher
than the African-American teen birthrate and 136 percent
higher than the white rate. The illegitimacy rate for
Mexican immigrant mothers is 41 percent, but it goes up
to 48 percent among American-born Mexican women, twice
the white figure.
"`I said, `Damn,
that`s weird,` Kelly said. `The girls right here in Los
Angeles are like in Mexico. There are
girls that are 14, they got kids.`"
Congratulations to Sam Quinones [email
him] for slipping a bit of Los Angeles reality into
the Los Angeles Times.
When he makes himself too unpopular there, maybe he
could have a career at VDARE.com!
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and