I have seen this woman and her child more times than I can remember. She is the poster mother for illegal immigration. In article after article on illegal aliens in the mainstream press, sympathetic journalists describe her suffering and hardship in a land where people have too little compassion.

Another such poster illegal is the thin, sad-eyed man who tells the reporter that he is only here to provide for his family and do work no American is willing to perform.

I don’t deny that sympathetic illegal aliens exist. At an official count of five million (and the real figure is probably higher), it would certainly be surprising if there weren’t at least a few illegals with hearts of gold. But after nine years of research and study of immigration, legal and illegal, I can testify that many illegal aliens are not nearly so heartwarming as the poster people.

My education on this subject began in 1990, when people from Southern California began contacting me at the American Immigration Control Foundation. In voices of alarm and despair, they related how their state was being overrun by illegal immigrants. They spoke of growing areas of their communities where they were not welcome—indeed, where they feared to go. Often, they complained, authorities would side with illegals against Americans.

I particularly remember the statement of a woman who said that we were facing a new breed of illegal aliens. In the past, most were agricultural workers. Now, she said, many of them were just lowlife types, up to no good.

I wondered why I was not hearing any of this from the national media. Several years would pass, in fact, before the “impact press” would grudgingly take notice of what was happening in California.

One thing still rarely reported is ethnic cleansing. It may seem a harsh term to apply here in America, but it accurately describes the expulsion of Americans from their communities by illegal aliens. The worst examples are in California, but contacts in other states, from Washington to Arkansas, have related similar accounts.

Though the details differ, all the stories roughly go as follows; Several families of illegals move into a house or houses on a block. Our laws on safety and hygiene usually forbid such crowding, but for some reason, when these foreigners are involved, the laws aren’t enforced. Maybe officials fear that Latino activists will call them racists.

I spoke with a former code inspector in Orange County, California, who had lost her job for trying to enforce the codes in neighborhoods where illegals had settled. Along with code-breaking, the uninvited aliens get away with driving uninsured cars and many other violations. Summing up the situation, a lady living in Washington State’s Yakima Valley observed: “Here, there’s one law for Americans and one for Mexicans.” The last time I heard from her, she was planning to move to Idaho.

Once the illegals move in, they often make their presence felt with loud music through the night and junk cars in the front yard. A Mexican-American man told me that they may take it as a challenge to fight if you politely ask them to curb their ways. After dealing with them for a long time, he concluded that they come here mainly for money and have little love for America. It’s an attitude they pass on to their children, quite a few of whom are U.S. citizens by reason of birth on our soil. “I know it’s wrong,” he confessed to me, “but sometimes I hate them.”

As time goes on, more Americans sell their homes and leave, and more and more families of illegals show up to buy them. Crime increases, and graffiti appears everywhere. The handwriting on the wall says it’s time for the remaining natives to sell at a loss and get out.

I had the opportunity to see the consequences of ethnic cleansing, California-style, when I visited Orange County a few years ago. Ben Seeley, a well-known border control activist in the state, took me on a guided auto tour of Santa Ana. He pointed to neighborhood after neighborhood that had been home to working class and middle-class Americans just a few years before. To one degree or another, they bore the marks of their new owners: Spanish signs, graffiti, and toughs hanging out on street corners—gang members, Ben told me.

A few years back, I got to see border-crossing illegals face to face on a tour conducted by the Border Patrol through the Imperial Beach sector of the border, south of San Diego. As we stood near the metal border wall (about 12 feet high), Mexicans perched on top of it, males in their late teens and early 20’s. They yelled insults, clowned around, and tossed pebbles at us. One yelled to me in English that I could take his picture for a dollar.

We moved on. One lone patrolman remained at the wall. About 30 minutes later, word came over the radio to our escort that the Mexicans on the wall had jumped down on the U.S. side and started running. There was nothing the lone patrolman could do about it.

Our escort, a well-built man in his early 30’s, said that the illegals were becoming much more aggressive. Not long before, he’d had a struggle with one and was pulled into a ditch full of sewage before subduing him. I respected his efforts, but I felt sad that the government he served was obviously just going through the motions of trying to control the border. (During the past few years, with great publicity, Washington has finally devoted the resources necessary to control the Imperial Beach sector. But this success has simply diverted most of the flow of illegals to the east.

Later that evening, we toured the holding pen where captured illegals were processed. They were in good spirits, more than a few with a cocksure arrogance. They knew they would be released across the border soon and could try again to enter the United States, maybe even that same night. All appeared well fed and reasonably well dressed. Quite often, contrary to the media image, illegals are not desperately poor. The truly impoverished generally lack the means and stamina to undertake a long migration.

After returning from California, I mentioned the illegals’ obvious contempt for America to Donald Huddle, an economist who specializes in immigration. “Why shouldn’t they have contempt?” he replied. “We’ve earned it.” He went on to explain that illegals, despite their reputation for hard work, are not necessarily honest. “Where they come from,” said Huddle, “you can be hard-working and dishonest.”

I mentioned Huddle’s observation to a retired Border Patrol veteran, and he agreed. Most illegal immigrants, he told me, get involved in at least some kind of petty crime, shoplifting being the most common. A considerable number commit major crimes.

Where is all this leading? Two telephone conversations I had with natives of Mexico may give us some idea. One was with a woman who called after reading some of our foundation’s material which demanded effective action against illegal immigration. In flawless English, she identified herself as a Mexican and expressed great anger over our position.

After calling me a racist, she told me that she hated “Europeans” and that her people would take over the Southwest because “We have babies, and you don’t.” In that case, I told her, she should at least be grateful to our government for the generous subsidies it provides, starting with free pregnancy care and delivery to illegal alien mothers. She didn’t appreciate my attempt at humor.

The other caller makes me recall what I said earlier about illegal immigrants with hearts of gold. But his story was not one that the poster propagandists would care to report. He began by telling me that he came to the United States illegally as a child. He, too, had run across some of our material. Unlike the woman, he agreed with it.

After arriving here, this man explained, he was adopted by an American family and brought up to respect America. He said he was sorry for violating our laws and wanted to make up for it. He had obtained amnesty, served in the Armed Forces, and wanted to be a good citizen, “Here in Los Angeles,” he said, “I see the illegals, and I talk to them. They are not a good influence. Many of them sell drugs. I’ve been to other American cities, and I can tell you this: Los Angeles is not an American city anymore.”

Expressing regret again for his own illegal entry, he injected a final thought: “We’ve got to stop this illegal immigration. If not, we won’t have a country.”