Victor Davis Hanson's Mexifornia was published three years ago. Hanson's ideas informed much of what I wrote here about what Hanson calls "some sort of earned citizenship for most hardworking illegal aliens and [his] objections, on both practical and ethical grounds, to mass deportations." In almost three years of blogging, the only truly nasty (sometimes disturbing) comments I have received were in response to my immigration posts.
Hanson now believes public opinion has passed by his book. His approach to the issue, which was considered fairly conservative but practical, is now midde-of-the-road at best. He explains today in Real Clear Politics:
Because the United States is increasingly less a majority of whites of European ancestry and more a mixture of dozens of races and ethnicities, the need for a common unifying language and culture has never been more important. When Americans look abroad at the violent messes in the Balkans, Rwanda, Darfur and Iraq, the notion of emphasizing separation here at home by race, tribe, language or religion makes absolutely no sense. But the idea of letting only enough legal immigrants in who can be easily assimilated surely does.I hope that the 700-mile fence, as much as I wonder about its usefulness, will calm the concerns of hard-shell anti-immigrationists suffiicently that we can deal with the question of dealing intelligently with the 11 million illegals who are here already.
So how does this new popular worry over illegal immigration play out among a variety of working-class groups and minorities?
While there remains controversy over amnesty and a guest-worker program, there is now little disagreement over first enforcing the law and closing the borders - whether through periodic fortification, more Border Patrol officers, tough employer sanctions or viable identification cards.
In the last three years, while I haven't changed my views about the need for an earned-citizenship program or the impracticality of deporting 11 million illegal residents, an angry public has passed "Mexifornia" by. Once caricatured as illiberal for calling for an end to illegal immigration, the book now reads as middle of the road, if not passe.
Indeed, if extremists continue to demonstrate for open borders, blare out ethnic and linguistic chauvinism, and flout the law, then this current public anger against illegal immigration will unfortunately appear mild in comparison to what is on the horizon.