Letters

Winter 2007
Spanish (Still) Spoken Here

To the editor:
Steven Malanga’s “How Unskilled Immigrants Hurt Our Economy” [Summer 2006] was an excellent argument against our country’s current immigration laws and practices. My state had several immigration bills on the last ballot, but none of them addressed the issues caused by illegal immigrants. For example, English is now Arizona’s official language. What does that mean? The government is still required to print documents in English and Spanish. My children’s homework will continue to be sent home in English and Spanish.

Isaac Ortega
Phoenix, AZ

Steven Malanga responds:
Legislation making English our “official” language is a product of the frustration that many Americans feel about our immigration policy, which has allowed into the country millions of low-skilled, uneducated workers who can’t speak English and increasingly live in isolated ethnic enclaves where assimilation happens slowly, if at all. Indeed, the Census Bureau’s recent American Community Survey records some 3 million native-born Americans of Hispanic descent whose first language is Spanish, not English—considerably more than just a few years ago.

Better than English-language laws would be an approach to immigration more oriented toward what’s good for the American economy, as I outlined in “The Right Immigration Policy” [Autumn 2006]. Such an approach would not end immigration but reorient it toward skilled workers, whose talents are in short supply and whose presence here would not flood labor markets with unskilled workers and drive down wages of the native-born. If America were to adopt such a policy, it would not only bolster our economy but end the need for English-language legislation, because the majority of those who qualified to come here would have the proper language skills.

Where’s Papa?

To the editor:
“Now, it’s all about fast money, drugs, and sex,” says a sheriff’s deputy in Heather Mac Donald’s “Hispanic Family Values?” [Autumn 2006]. In the early twentieth century, Anglo-Saxon Americans were saying much the same about Ms. Mac Donald’s Scots-Irish forebears. Don’t blame Hispanic culture: this is impoverished Latin America being thoroughly and heartbreakingly Americanized. I blame Paris Hilton and rap stars. I blame a broken immigration policy and racist “solutions” like the Minutemen. I blame the multinational corporations currently plundering Latin America.

Rod Mesa
Via e-mail

To the editor:
I have been volunteering in Honduras during the summers since Hurricane Mitch hit in 1998. I know devout Honduran men, 40 years old and more, whose single mothers had multiple partners who fathered their children. These men have themselves now fathered children whom they don’t support. Everybody lives with the single matriarchs of the family. The Mayan villages to the north are different: the men there seem to marry the women and parent the children.

In the U.S., we tend to think that illegitimacy arrived with the sexual freedom of the sixties. But that is not the case in Latin America, where it has been going on for generations.

Roberta Updegraff
Via e-mail

Heather Mac Donald responds:
If I could get open-borders conservatives, who constantly celebrate Hispanic family values, simply to acknowledge the fact of the 48 percent Hispanic illegitimacy rate, I would be content. Whether or not Hispanic illegitimacy is imported from Latin America or is a reaction to American “racism” matters less than that the problem exists and is growing.

Pens and Swords

To the editor:
James Q. Wilson’s “The Press at War” [Autumn 2006] is a fantasy. The difference in reporting between World War II and the last two wars had to do not with reporters’ lack of patriotism but with presidential dishonesty.

U.S. involvement in Vietnam was tied to administration efforts to deceive the American public about the threats involved and the projected costs of meeting those threats. Likewise, in Iraq, George Bush largely fabricated claims of WMDs. In both cases the press on the ground realized that the government was selling them a bill of goods, while the news organizations that they worked for continued to support the policies. But unless those news organizations were willing to spike every story that the reporters were covering, the truth eventually had to get out.

John Heath
Annandale, VA

To the editor:
I recently ran two Nexis searches that support Mr. Wilson’s article. First I found that through August 1, 2006, the New York Times published 1,503 articles on U.S. troops’ humiliation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Then I searched for references to Saddam’s killing fields, such as Mahawil and Hatra. I found a total of seven stories. The humiliation of Saddam’s genocidaires is a horrible crime that deserves press coverage, but is it really 200 times more horrible than the mass murder that those monsters perpetuated?

Thomas F. Berner
West Palm Beach, FL

James Q. Wilson responds:
I pointed out in my essay that America’s political leaders were not honest about the war in Vietnam; now Mr. Heath accuses me of not saying this. The reason, I suspect, is his ideology. He wrongly argues that the Bush administration lied in order to justify the war in Iraq. Two bipartisan commissions (the 9/11 Commission and the WMD Commission) have shown that there was no such lie. Mr. Heath ought to spend more time reading documents and less time rehearsing his slogans.

Hooray for Paris

To the editor:
Kay S. Hymowitz’s “The Trash Princess” [Autumn 2006] was on target and eloquent to boot. I am the founder and moderator of the Paris Hilton Fan Club on Myspace.com—one of the largest, with more than 40,000 members. Most of my friends cannot fathom why a reasonably intelligent, savvy, East Village–dwelling New Yorker like me would want to start a Paris fan club. Now I can say, “Read the article!”

Cindy Lin
New York, NY

To the editor:
I acknowledge that a lot of people profess to hate Paris Hilton, but I, for one, don’t buy it. How is Hilton not the epitome of the American dream? Her success—for which she deserves credit—is not a commentary on her alleged vapidness and vulgarity. It is a commentary on the stupidity of—well, of us, is it not?

George Rickerson
Columbia, MO

To the editor:
I hope she doesn’t adopt a child from Africa.

Anita Samuel
Via e-mail