In the last 38 years, Virginia has evolved from being the “Mother of Presidents” to the “Mother of Foreigners.”  That is the upshot of the latest hodgepodge of data from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center.  Now, without reading the study, most anyone could probably conclude that the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., are home to the most foreigners.  But few would suspect that Harrisonburg, Virginia, deep in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, is number two on the center’s list.

How far the Old Dominion has come since 1970, when just one percent of the population was foreign born!  Now, says Weldon Cooper’s Qian Cai, a native of Nanchang, China, it’s 10 percent—most of them Asian and Hispanic (40 and 36 percent).  Foreign-born noncitizens are six percent of the population.  Of Hispanic immigrants statewide, the population has more than tripled since 1990, from 152,000 to 460,000; nearly 90 percent landed here in the last 15 years, 44 percent in the last five.  Twenty percent of Northern Virginia’s residents were born abroad, many of them Hispanics, with Harrisonburg next at nine percent.  Hispanics are now 13 percent of Harrisonburg’s population.

Across the commonwealth, 43 percent of Hispanic immigrants over age 25 did not finish high school.  More than 69 percent of recent Hispanic immigrants “do not speak English well or at all,” and even after 21 years of residence, 28 percent fall into the same category, something the taxpayers of Harrisonburg know from experience.  About 40 percent of Harrisonburg’s schoolchildren are enrolled in English as a Second Language programs, the highest rate in the state, according to the city’s Daily News-Record.  Of those children, 70 percent are Hispanic, and 65 percent are citizens because they were born in the United States.  Most of the children in this latter group, of course, are also Hispanic.  In 2007, the paper reported, about 20 percent of those seeking welfare, also mostly Hispanic, did not speak English.  So much for assimilation.  The area’s poultry and construction industries love low-wage Hispanic workers, and federal immigration cops man a permanent office and frequently put “detainers” on illegal-immigrant criminals.  About the only good news lately is that the city’s free medical clinic stopped taking illegal-immigrant patients.  But the hospital has to.

Not that Hispanics are the only immigrants here.  The city’s liberal religious nuts are neck deep in refugee resettlement, importing Kurds, Iraqis, and Iranians, among others.  This is done, naturally, without asking the citizens whose ancestors settled the Valley 200 years ago what they think about it.  But we needn’t go back that far to see how things have changed.  As Qian Cai’s report shows, 64 percent of Virginia’s foreign-born in 1900 were Germans, Irish, or British.  The rest were a smattering of Scots, Canadians, Italians, Russians, “other Europeans,” and a Chinaman or two.  Now, 76 percent of Virginia’s foreign-born are from Asia or Latin America.

Fear not, however.  As the neocons keep telling us, America is merely a proposition to which anyone can assent, regardless of religion or creed, meaning that anyone who gargles the Enlightenment table talk in the Declaration of Independence and regurgitates some second-grade history can be an American.  So you needn’t worry about the African with three wives living next door, who may have been pot-roasting his neighbor’s liver back in the old country just six months ago.  Or the Asian cat who still thinks dog is a delicacy.  We are, after all, “a nation of immigrants.”

This is the moonshine that schoolchildren hereabouts are forced to imbibe.  The sad thing is that, if any region is a repository of the Old Republic’s history, it is the Shenandoah Valley.  Led by Royal Governor Alexander Spotswood, the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe crossed the Blue Ridge in 1716 to claim the Valley for King George I.  Gen. Stonewall Jackson made his name during the 1862 Valley Campaign.  Kernstown.  Port Republic.  Cross Keys.  Confederate cavalry Gen. Turner Ashby fell in battle on land now owned by James Madison University.  Two years later, Gen. Philip Sheridan, aided by a yellow-haired fellow named Custer, put the torch to home, barn, and livestock to destroy the breadbasket of the Confederacy.  It is remembered as “The Burning.”  And on and on.

From Marse Robert’s Arlington to Stonewall’s Valley, foreigners are slicing through Virginia like a scythe wielded by rootless liberal elites who love neither home nor hearth.  The Old Dominion is vanishing, tone and tint.  Observing from Jefferson’s university, Qian Cai of China composes the dirge.