Lighting the Powder Train

[VDARE note: Traditionally, immigration is thought
of as affecting the great metropolises of the East and
West Coasts, but now it`s affecting the heartland.
In addition to the Colorado situation discussed by
Chilton Williamson, it`s now affecting Arkansas,
where a Congressional election in Arkansas`s
Third District is being fought largely on immigration,
Democrats are getting compliments
from LULAC, Republican Gunner
Delay
being criticized for speaking
out
against illegal immigration, and editorial
page writers are asking
for "bridges, not walls."


Dan Morris of Americans for an Immigration Moratorium
had a meeting
broken
up
in Rogers, Arkansas when members of LULAC
showed up.

Some
grass roots Americans are starting to catch
on
to this "compassionate conservative" thing,
too.]

By  Chilton Williamson Jr.

Could Colorado be the flashpoint in America`s
immigration debate? Not just the notorious Front
Range, but the state as a whole has experienced
explosive population growth over the past two decades,
the 1990s especially. This growth has occurred in the
foreign-born as well as the native-born populations,
with migrants coming in from everywhere–the East
Coast, California, Mexico, Asia.

According to the Rocky
Mountain News
(2
September 2001
), in the decade 1990-99 the
Hispanic population of Colorado grew by 42.2%, the
Asian one by 62.1%, compared with a 19.3% increase in
the European-American population. More than 20% of
births in the state were Hispanic. And so a large
proportion of the huge California Colorado-or-Bust
contingent, impelled to reverse pioneering by massive
immigration to their native Golden State, now find
immigration pursuing them to Colorado as well – and
bringing with it all the social, political, and
environmental pathologies they believed they had put
behind them on the Left Coast.

Former Colorado Governor Dick
Lamm
has been warning his fellow Coloradans
for thirty years about the dangers of mass
immigration, only to be rewarded by indifference,
hostility, and the appellation “Governor Gloom.”
On August 7, U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo (R.-CO),
a gutsy opponent of immigration enthusiasm, joined
Lamm at the State Capitol building to call
for
a five-year moratorium on immigration – as
embodied in H.R.
2712,
(PDF document.) recently introduced in
Congress by Rep. Tancredo and including a provision to
reduce the annual ceiling for legal immigration to
300,000 -  700,000
less than the approximately 1,000,000 legal immigrants
currently admitted 
after the moratorium ends. 
(Gross immigration of 300,000 is assumed to
balance emigration, leaving no net immigration = a
moratorium.)

The response in Colorado to the Lamm-Tancredo
initiative has been striking. After printing what they
thought about the plan for a moratorium, the Post`s
immigrationist editors felt compelled (apparently)
to devote nearly a full page in a recent Sunday Perspective
section to letters from angry readers who felt the
United States as a whole–and Colorado in
particular–had too many immigrants already. (Though
the enthusiast side was represented as well, the antis
seemed to have the last word as it were, in terms of
space as well as cogency; plus, a few pages on was an
excellent column
by the redoubtable Al Knight , the Post`s
voice of reason on the immigration issue.) The letter
writers included several women, always a good sign,
and bore down heavily, though by no means exclusively,
on the implications immigration has for population
growth and the environment. Moreover, according to Fred
Elbel
, a Denver activist with Sierrans for
U.S. Population Stabilization (SUSPS),
“many, many [anti-immigration] letters to the editor
of both the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain
News
have not been printed.”

Colorado has been concerned for years about the
problem of population growth and urban sprawl. Only
last fall Proposition 24, an amendment to the state
constitution to promote “smart growth,” was put to
the voters, who defeated it. (Although the state
politicians did their best, more or less successfully,
to prevent the immigration issue from being raised in
this context, it may well have occurred to those
voting “No” on 24 that the unending immigrant
flow, not Coloradoans` retrograde building
preferences, was the issue needing to be addressed.)
Republican Governor Bill
Owens
, having already called one special
legislative session on growth, is likely to call
another.             
           

“Yes, I think Colorado is where the action is,”
Population Stabilization`s Elbel writes me.
“We`ve already lost California to demographics,
environmental degradation, and overpopulation.
Colorado is where California was 40 years ago. But
here, people see the growth and sprawl first-hand. And
they also see the results of mass immigration (more
immigrants and more Californians).”

Another activist with an interest in immigration
control adds, “Not only do we have all the
growth-controllers and ex-Californians, but we also
have many cultural conservatives that fill the
countryside and might be convinced to resist
immigration if pressed. If any state is going to make
a major issue of immigration, it is likely to be this
one.”

Though population and sprawl come first to the
minds of Coloradoans concerned with the effects of
immigration, a series of racially motivated assaults
including murder and rape, as well as lesser knife
fights, car wrecks, and domestic violence perpetrated
by immigrants mainly on each other, are receiving
attention as a result of coverage by the
state–though not, of course, the national–media.
In the first category, the most prominent story has to
do with six Hmong immigrants, members of the Asian
Crips gang who in August 1999
grabbed a white
20-year-old University of Colorado co-ed from a street
in Boulder, packed her into a minivan, and drove her
to a remote canyon, where they serially raped her – apparently as part of a gang
initiation ceremony
. Another concerns an immigrant
from Guyana who arranged the murder
of an elderly man, his wife, and a high-school boy

after deciding that the grandfather was a racist and
deserved to be killed for his views.

At least one local Colorado politician has had more
than enough of diversity and immigrant-pandering–and
said so. Recently, Lakewood City Councilman Bob Filson,
68 years old, resigned
his seat
after his colleagues in the city
government
expressed the usual “outrage” over
comments he made to a weekly newspaper reporter. The
city`s Commission on Cultural Diversity and Senior
Citizens Advisory Board is, Filson said, “a lot of
hot air.” As for immigrants to the United States, he
opined, some of them “really don`t take a lot of
pride in taking an American identity. You should be an
American, not a Mexican-American or an
African-American–you are an American.” Filson,
moreover, confessed to being sick and tired of hearing
immigrants claim superiority for their home countries.
“If it`s that great, why don`t they go back
there? They need to truly believe in the American
system and style of life rather than criticizing
it.”

Mayor Steve Burkholder denounced Filson`s remarks
as “insensitive and extremely racist” before going
on to describe Lakewood as “a place where anybody
can live and anybody can partake and be part of our
city.” Except, of course, a white 68-year-old
native-born American citizen determined to speak truth
to power.  [VDARE
note: For a local Long Island elected official being
punished for voicing his constituents` concerns, click
here
.] 

The process of consciousness-raising indispensable
to a grassroots revolt against immigration has begun
in Colorado. Native transplants to the state are
typically white, affluent, suburban, SUV-driving,
environmentalist, outdoorsy,
quality-of-life-oriented–and Republican. When –
and if – the breakout comes, as an affluent
Republican state with a Republican governor and two
Republican Senators
(one of them up for reelection
next year), Colorado is certain to make itself heard
nationally and to exercise real clout in the GOP, on
amnesty in particular and immigration-related issues
generally.  

Colorado, the hub of the Rocky Mountain West, is an
anti-immigration tinderbox waiting to explode. After
Amendment 24 – what?

Chilton
Williamson Jr.

is the author of The
Immigration Mystique: America`s False Conscience

and an editor and columnist for Chronicles
Magazine, where he writes the The Hundredth Meridian
column about life in the Rocky Mountain West.

September 05, 2001