Al Gore, in a recent address to the National Council of La Raza, the militant Hispanic organization, credited Latinos for creating “a new economy in America” and said “not enough Latinos are participating [in its benefits]. We have a lot of work to do, and we will not rest until everyone in the community shares fully.” The problem can be rectified in the next presidential election, if the 32-million-member Latino population goes for Al Gore. On the same day that the Vice President spoke. La Raza released a report showing that one-third of American Hispanics are impoverished —not a surprising datum when juxtaposed with another finding in the report, that 53.4 percent of Latinos in the United States graduated from high school in 1995, compared with 73.8 percent of blacks and 83 percent of whites.

For Clinton Democrats who regard the white American majority as incurably racist. La Raza’s statistics have a sinister significance they are eager to share with a potential constituency, which more than one speaker in Chicago referred to as a “sleeping giant.” “I don’t want to hear any talk that’s supposed to make us feel good,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials Education Fund. “I want to hear about the immigrant bashing and the threats to affirmative action that arc sweeping the country.”

As the Chicago convention makes clear, the immigration time bomb continues to advance toward detonation, and the blame for this situation rests with the national government. Washington may or may not have had advance knowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing, but it’s known about the immigrant invasion since the 1960’s and advanced it as national policy ever since—passive at first but then increasingly activist until President Clinton, in a recent address to a convocation of black bigwigs in Washington, felt sufficiently confident to throw caution to the wind and announce a Third American Revolution to transform the United States into a non-European country.

The majority of federal officials strategically placed to implement—or rather to de-implement—American immigration policy are Clinton appointees. Meanwhile, the Clintonization of the Republican Party since the collapse of its own “revolution” has converted the “opposition party” to a me-too position on nearly every issue of national importance, including immigration. The result is that such reforms as were accomplished—for example, the elimination of some welfare benefits to immigrants—have been reversed, and the nation as a whole can look forward to more annual increases in immigration.

Even worse, the botch that goes by the misnomer of immigration policy, through its inept combination of loud talk and carrying a toothpick, has succeeded in polarizing what little real debate on immigration actually exists. In the early 1980’s, anti-immigrationists, relying on the time-honored principle that blood is thicker than water, argued that mass immigration from non-European sources would produce a fractured population loyal only to its various ethnic origins, promoting the political and cultural interest of particular ethnic and racial blocs and using its growing numbers to provide the electoral clout necessary to assure those interests. If immigration reform were delayed, they warned, tens of millions of alien voters would put American institutions and the United States as we know it beyond hope of salvation. For some years afterward the danger, however plausible theoretically, seemed not to be materializing. What is the point of emigrating from Mexico to the United States if the rest of Mexico is permitted to follow you there? One poll after another indicated that new or lately arrived immigrants agreed with indigenous Americans in opposing a generous immigration policy, let alone a virtually open one.

Now that situation has changed, thanks to political ineptitude in Washington. A more politically shrewd strategy would have entailed retaining benefits l^or immigrants already in the United States, while substantially reducing the number of those arriving in the future. Meanwhile, the Clinton administration engages in strenuous efforts to fan the fires of ethnic rivalry to its political advantage. In the interest of a Democratic House of Representatives in 1998, and at the expense of an increasingly racialized polity, the Democrats are willing to sell out the white majority and eater to Señor Vargas y amigos. The logical fate of a nation of immigrants is the never-ending struggle among competing immigrant groups as to which of them will dominate that nation. The Democratic Party doesn’t care, so long as the winning group isn’t white, and so long as it controls everybody—and everything. And the Grand Old Party in concert chirrups, “Me too!”