By Joe Guzzardi
July 31, 2013
Last week, Rep. Steve King set off a barrage of unwarranted criticism when he said that only a small percentage of Hispanic students that would be granted amnesty under the KIDS Act are valedictorians. In anticipation of the KIDS Act, an as yet unwritten version of the many-times defeated DREAM Act, the media has flooded the airwaves and newsprint with sob stories of supposedly worthy but unfairly maligned illegal alien valedictorians.
King boldly but correctly stated that some teenagers who would likely qualify for a KIDS amnesty have been used by Mexican cartels as drug mules. Immediately, King’s Republican House colleagues, Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor attacked King. Boehner and Cantor as well as others in House leadership have strongly suggested that they favor legislation that would legalize young people supposedly brought to the United States by their parents as infants and under circumstances beyond their control.
According to King’s critics, his comments ranged from “inexcusable,” “hateful,” and “racist.” But as always when pro-immigration promoters set their sights on enforcement advocates, few stop to ask what should be the first question. In this case, that question is: “Is King right?
A 30-second Google search revealed that King’s charge is spot on. Citing the Mexican government as its source, in January 2012, Fox News Latino, a staunch legalization proponent, reported that “children between the ages of 11 and 17 are being recruited by Mexico's drug cartels to smuggle narcotics and work as spies….”
One year later the Associated Press, another amnesty supporter, confirmed the Fox story and added that many Mexicans under 18 who transported drugs are today addicted to and selling them. Two weeks ago, the Christian Science Monitor ran a story about a teenage girl and three of her friends apprehended with “several bundles of heroin weighing down their bags.” The reporter, Lourdes Medrano, wrote that “luring teens to act as drug mules for a few hundred bucks is not a new practice…” and that the Tucson sector has seen “an alarming jump” in the last two years.
In other words, King’s observation that some Hispanic youths are used to run drugs has been national news and reported in many prominent media outlets for the last 18 months. Paying the price for speaking the truth, King has been taken to the woodshed by his unenlightened, politically correct Republican colleagues.
The important point that King is making is that those children/smugglers who don’t get caught—and most don’t— would qualify for whatever form of amnesty may eventually become law. National ICE Council president Chris Crane says that criminals apprehended at the border, even violent ones, only have to claim they’re DREAMers to get released.
As a recently retired California English as a Second Language teacher, I’ve been following with dismay the argument that the government’s restrictive immigration laws prevent too many valedictorians from leading productive lives. I’m with King—some Hispanic students may be valedictorians but too many others make bad choices and don’t take advantage of the opportunities their free, taxpayer funded educations afford them. Based on my first hand observations, I’d say indifferent students vastly outnumber the over-achievers.
In California, 27 percent of Latino students don’t graduate with their class. Juxtaposing that with the inference that America’s high schools are teeming with slighted Hispanic valedictorians is, as King knows and Boehner won’t admit, is flat out nonsense.
;Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]