Politics & Policy

Mexico First?

McCain has embraced a Vicente Fox's aide as his own.

“I want the third generation, the seventh generation, I want them all to think ‘Mexico first.’ ” These are the words of Juan Hernandez, John McCain’s “Hispanic outreach director,” on Nightline June 7, 2001.

The blogosphere has been abuzz over the news of Hernandez’s position in the McCain campaign, thanks to the spadework of Michelle Malkin (see here, here, and here) and Jerry Corsi. Thanks also to the power of the Internet, McCain was actually asked about this at an event in Florida Sunday, though he tap-danced his way out of answering directly.

But this potentially explosive story hasn’t gotten any traction in the mainstream press. The first explanation that comes to mind, of course, is that McCain is the media’s preferred Republican, a sense reinforced not only by Thursday’s endorsement of him by the New York Times , but also the Washington Post’s quasi-endorsement on Sunday.

But the more likely explanation is that many people don’t see the news value. After all, whom do you expect McCain would name as his Hispanic outreach director but a fellow supporter of amnesty and accelerated mass immigration? But this is a bigger deal than that.

Contrary to some of the more enthusiastic venting on the web, the problem is not that McCain has a Hispanic outreach director; while the government shouldn’t have anything to do with race or ethnicity, it’s perfectly natural for a political campaign to do outreach to any and every kind of voter. In fact, McCain’s “very close” friend, Hillary Clinton, last spring named Raul Yzaguirre to lead her Hispanic outreach effort. Naturally, Yzaguirre is a big supporter of amnesty and mass immigration — until he retired in 2004, he was president of the National Council of La Raza.

But even Yzaguirre has never been a foreign government official.

After Vicente Fox was elected in 2000, he named the U.S.-born dual citizen Hernandez (a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas) to head the newly created, cabinet-level Presidential Office for Mexicans Abroad (making him, in effect, Fox’s “Hispanic outreach director”). Hernandez’s oath of office was presumably similar to the one taken by his boss:

I swear to follow and uphold the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States and the laws that emanate from it, and to perform the job of President of the Republic which the people have conferred upon me with loyalty and patriotism, in all actions looking after the good and prosperity of the Union; and if I do not fulfill these obligations, the Nation will demand them of me.

“Loyalty,” “patriotism” — it’s a good oath. For a Mexican. Not for an American.

Before Earl Warren started making up emanations and penumbras of the Constitution (in this instance, the case of Afroyim v. Rusk in 1967), Hernandez would have been stripped of his American citizenship for having committed an “expatriating act,” specifically “accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof.” (8 USC 1481)

On the radio Saturday, Hugh Hewitt and Michelle Malkin noted the incongruity of the McCain campaign’s embrace of this former foreign government official:

HH: I know. I’ve got a question for you. If John Kerry had employed as a senior adviser a dual citizen who had served in the French cabinet under any of our many French adversaries/allies, how would the Republicans have treated that Kerry adviser position? Wouldn’t we have raised holy hell about that?

MM: Oh, yeah, it would be worth five Drudge sirens in 100 point, World War IV font.

No kidding.

The contempt for American citizenship that McCain has shown by naming this political bigamist to a post in his campaign isn’t even the whole problem. One might also ask how McCain could even consult with a person of such extreme views, let alone name him Hispanic outreach director. McCain’s support for amnesty and accelerated mass immigration is bad enough, but you can, at least in theory, be for those things and still support firm borders and patriotic assimilation.

But McCain’s Hispanic outreach director is a man who has spent years opposing the very legitimacy of America’s borders and Americanization in the most public way possible. The man has been on every TV-news show in creation rejecting as passé the very idea of sovereign borders and patriotic assimilation into the American mainstream. (Digger’s Realm has compiled a greatest-hits video.)

Before teaming up with McCain, Hernandez became (he still is) a senior fellow at the Reform Institute, the think tank McCain set up after his unsuccessful 2000 presidential campaign — Brian Anderson of City Journal described it as “the 2008 McCain-for-President campaign-in-waiting.”

And Hernandez’s job there is to run — what else? — the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Initiative. If any more evidence of the institute’s leanings were needed, note that last year it sponsored an online contest to “Design Your Portion of the Border Fence” and gave top honors to a design that explicitly compared border fencing to the Berlin Wall. (See all the entries here.)

This is much worse than the similar controversy over Ron Paul’s ghost-written newsletters; it’s obvious McCain and his people knew perfectly well what Hernandez was about, and they didn’t see anything wrong with it. That tells us all we need to know about the sincerity of McCain’s newfound support for secure borders.

– Mark Krikorian is executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies and an NRO contributor.

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