in proportion to their size and the numbernof illegals.nBut what few critics of illegal or legalnimmigration ever mention is how immigrantsnaffect the country culturally. ThenUrban Institute again cast some light onnthe subject, in a study released in May:n”The number of people who speak a languagenother than English at home grewnby 37 percent—from 23.2 million to 31.8nmillion—between 1980 and 1990. . . .nBetween 1986 and 1991 the number ofnstudents counted who did not speak Englishnvery well grew by over 50 percent.”nHalf the population of Los Angelesnspeaks a language other than English atnhome, the report says, and 50 percent ofnrecent immigrants report speaking Englishn”very well” or “well,” which meansn50 percent of immigrants can’t speak Englishnvery well. Whether an immigrantnshould be the judge of whether henspeaks proper English is open to question,nbut in any event the report’s finalnstatistics are the most alarming. Aboutn20 percent of all immigrants speak a languagenother than English at home, andn”only” 25 percent of immigrants say theynspeak English “not well” or “not at all.”nThese statistics are significant, particuladyngiven that nearly 20 million peoplenin the United States (as of 1990) werenforeign-born. Take the example of thenindustrious Chinese family in SilvernSpring, Maryland, that the WashingtonnPost recently profiled. Two Americanizedndaughters, both successful professionals,nserve as the link between theirnparents and the rest of society. Otherwise,nin the parents’ insular world, onlynChinese is spoken. It used to be that televisionnprovided one avenue for immigrantsnto learn English, but not anymore.nThese two folks watch only Chineselanguagenprograms on cable TV. Theynpatronize only Chinese-owned stores.nIf it’s true that the proof is in the pudding,nlook at Arlington County, wherenthe banks profess they habla Espailol,nnearly every taxicab driver is foreignborn,nand the transit buses not onlynboast signs in Pancho Villa’s nativentongue but also remind one of a bus innSomalia or New Delhi. About 21 percentnof Arlington’s population of 180,000ncomes from another land, mostly ThirdnWodd countries, and the principal economicnenterprises in which they seem tonbe engaged are hacking and restaurants.nAnd like Silver Spring’s cable company.nCable TV Adington provides plenty ofnAsian- and Spanish-language program­n6/CHRONICLESnming, the latter for the county’s burgeoningnpopulation of Hispanics.nThis population has given voice to anvocal “Latino” lobby, which in turn isnflexing its political muscle. It wentnbonkers over Senator Barry’s proposal.n”People are looking for scapegoats,”nwhined Samuel McTyre, head of thenUnited Latin American Citizens League.n”There is populist anger and immigrantsnare the target,” sobbed Angela Kelley ofnthe National Immigration Forum. So intensenis the fear of Senator Barry’s proposalnthat a group known as the Councilnfor Latino Agencies, based in Washington,nD.C., is coordinating die formationnof a special coalition to Bght it. You’dnthink the INS, which is headc|uartered innArlington, was preparing for a sweepnthrough the county’s low-income housingnprojects similar to Janet Reno’s sweepnthrough Waco.nWhat neither Senator Barry nornthe proponents of Prop. 187 realize,nhowever, is where the real fight over immigrationnlies, although the wetbacksare-goodncrowd seems to have figured itnout. The Latino lobby is worried aboutnall immigrants, legal or not, because itnfears the so-ealled slippery slope. IfnAmericans take a stand on illegal immigrants,nthe next target might be the legalnvariety. Exactly.nCulture, as Francis Fukuyama arguednin the Manhattan Institute’s Strangers atnOur Gate: Immigration in the 1990’s, isnthe real issue: “The deeper more importantnissue behind immigration is culture.nIt’s certainly more important than economics.nIf you were to decide, for example,nthat immigration is somehow crucialnto the vitality of American culture, thennyou would probably accept a small negativeneconomic impact. Conversely, ifnyou believe that immigrants threatennAmerican culture, you would have tonprove a faidy high level of economic benefitnto make immigration worthwhile.”nThis is exactly the problem the UrbannInstitute’s figures highlight. Forget hownmuch illegal aliens cost. Flow will legalnimmigrants who refuse to learn Englishnaffect our culture? And what does theirnability to get by without speaking Englishnsay about our own sense of identity,nnational character, and nationhood?nImmigrants are a menace to Americannculture no matter how they affect theneconomy, and Senator Barry, for all hisnsincerity, must recognize them for thenproblem diey are. As long as he and hisnsupporters fix on economic and othernnnutilitarian arguments to generate fearnof foreigners, they will lose their fightnagainst those like Bill Bennett and JacknKemp, who can muster, statistics ton”prove” that immigrants help the economy.nWhat the Bennetts and Kemps cannotnshow is that immigrants strengthen ansociety in which they refuse to assimilate.nCiven the climate here in Virginia,nsome form of Senator Barry’s legislationnis likely to pass the General Assembly. Ifnthe Bennetts and Kemps manage to defeatnit, perhaps they need the slap in thenface Americanos get when they drop bynthe bank or take a ride on the bus innAdington, Virginia.n—R. Cort KirkwoodnAN ELECTION footnote. Ron andnNancy Reagan must have thought longnand hard before campaigning againstnOliver North. After all, the 11th com-,nmandment, “never criticize a fellow Republican,”nmay be the only one thisnshow-biz duo hasn’t broken. But campaignnthey did, Ron by calling North anliar in the primary and Nancy by repeatingnthe charge in the last weeks of thenrace. What followed in each instance—nderisive laughter from North’s supporters—confirmednwhat many had alreadynsuspected: Ron and Nancy are irrelevant.nNancy, after all, was last heard of runningnthe White House via a San Francisconastrologer and having intimate lunchesnwith Frank Sinatra when Ron was out ofntown. As for Ron, this is the man whoncaptivated conservatives for two decadesnbefore his presidency. He was the livingnembodiment of everything they hopednto achieve. Now he’s a vague memorynfrom a bygone era.nEvery so often, some conservativenmagazine or newspaper tries to revive thenzombie of Reaganism. The Wall Streetnjournal, for example, republished thentext of Ron’s speech for Barry Coldwaternin 1964. “This is the issue of our time,”nhe said, “whether we believe in our capacitynfor self-government or whether wenabandon the American Revolution andnconfess that a little intellectual elite”nshould run our lives. Ron was right, butnthe effect of publishing this speech wasnto underscore the fantastic waste of timenand energy of the Reagan years: two consecutiventerms, and not a single promisenkept. Instead we got a tripled deficit,na doubled budget, six tax increases, expandednfederal police power, two newngovernment agencies, and Americann