Driving Home Their Point

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A recent story in the Press-Enterprise of Riverside, California, gives the lie to the notion that illegal aliens are just here “to do the jobs Americans won’t do” and are largely a law-abiding class of the downtrodden, shifting where they can for work.

In May, the newspaper reported that “activists” warn illegal-alien drivers about sobriety checkpoints so they won’t be stopped. That, you see, would mean losing their automobiles, the penalty in some benighted localities for driving without a valid driver’s license.

The newspaper opened with the classic anecdotal lede:

Adrianna Castellon, 16, stood on the sidewalk of a busy Moreno Valley street on a recent school night, yelling at cars rushing past.

“Checkpoint! Checkpoint ahead!” she screamed. “Turn back while you can!”

The high school student was among protesters hoping to help illegal immigrants whose vehicles were about to be impounded by police because they were driving without a license.

California, the paper reports, declared 2010 “the ‘year of the checkpoint’ and plans a record $8 million in checkpoint grants, up from $5 million in 2009.” Unsurprisingly, “Latinos” rushed into action faster than Speedy Gonzalez, and not just because an illegal without a license can lose his car for a month.

They allege that police are “profiling” because they set up the checkpoints in mostly “Hispanic” communities. Figures reported in the paper on the number and location of checkpoints prove it:

A review of Riverside County Sheriff’s Department figures shows that in 2009 Inland police in cities with larger percentages of Hispanic residents hosted more checkpoints.

For example, Temecula, a city of about 105,000 that’s 22 percent Hispanic, had five. Riverside, which has 304,000 residents and a 48 percent Hispanic population, did 10. San Bernardino, a 205,000-person city with a 57 percent Hispanic community, had 14. Perris, a city of about 55,000 that’s 70 percent Hispanic, had 13. Moreno Valley, where 53 percent of the city’s 189,000 residents are Hispanic, held 20 checkpoints—more than any other city in Riverside County. . . .

In 2009 sheriff’s stations in western Riverside County logged 70 vehicle tows in Temecula, 702 in Perris and 1,540 in Moreno Valley, where police impounded the most vehicles. Most belonged to drivers with no license or a suspended license.

Most Moreno Valley checkpoints have been in the most heavily Hispanic of the city’s five voting districts. According to agency records, from 2007 to 2009, police hosted a total of 36 checkpoints throughout three city districts where Hispanics are the largest ethnic group.

During the same two-year period police held a total of five checkpoints throughout two districts that are less densely populated and cover the largest area, where whites are the largest racial group.

With that kind of fascism afoot, what’s a poor campesino to do?

Of course, police denied profiling Mexicans and claimed they “chose the busiest streets and relied on the same four or five spots because they have large areas to park tow trucks and other vehicles,” the Press-Enterprise reported. So they “began this year spreading checkpoints across the entire city.” This hasty admission proved the “Latinos” were right.

The better response would have been to tell the “Latinos” the checkpoints will stand as long as necessary, given this telling statistic, also from the newspaper account: Drivers without licenses account for 40 percent of the nation’s hit-and-run crashes. The paper didn’t report that statistics show a strong correlation between the number of illegals in a state and the number of unlicensed drivers involved in hit-and-run fatalities. Profiling used to be called good police work.

As reports about illegals go, this one seems ho-hum compared with the usual horror story about an unlicensed Mexican career criminal, hurtling down the street in a Chevy Suburban and killing a child eating ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. Except for one thing: the shift in what Latino “activists” implicitly claim by warning illegals about the checkpoints. In the past, they said illegals needed licenses because they must get to work. Now, licenses don’t matter—because illegals must get to work.

And the “Latinos”—Mexicans—don’t care who gets killed. Their activism has gone beyond marching in the streets and shouting for open borders. Now it includes public obstruction of justice.

This article first appeared in the August 2010 issue of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.

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