Last week's media response to the warning that unchecked immigration would bring the United States "a taco truck [on every] corner" was sadly predictable. Reporters piled the mockery onto Marco Gutierrez, who issued the warning on MSNBC. Gutierrez is the founder of Latinos for Trump and himself an immigrant from Mexico. The subtext of the media pile-on was plain: "See how ridiculous this opposition to illegal immigration is? See how laughable? See how morally superior we are for ridiculing this Trump stooge?"
As this blog noted last week, Gutierrez indeed found a clumsy way to make a serious point about the dangers of failing to stop illegal immigration. In the same interview he said that Mexicans "have a lot of good things we're bringing to the United States, but we also have problems." And in a reference to the relentless, decades-long flow of illegal border crossers primarily from Latin America he said, "My culture is a very dominant culture. It is imposing and it's causing problems."
It was intended as a note of caution from someone who understands the power and disruptive potential of mass illegal immigration. Reporters and pundits thought it was both hilarious and morally repugnant. So they set out to reduce it to the absurdity they saw at its core.
On NPR, reporter Sam Sanders chuckled that Gutierrez had "warned of impending taco overlords." The champion of the snark fest was Philip Bump of the Washington Post, who produced an essay concluding that taco trucks on every corner would be the best guarantor of prosperity since the chicken in every pot of election campaign lore.
Bump took off on a tour de farce. He labeled it as a "thought experiment" and it appeared under the headline: "The national economic implications of a taco truck on every corner". Bump called Gutierrez's prediction "a vision of a bleak, delicious future". He reckoned it would translate to 3.2 million taco trucks and 9.6 million new jobs.
"Adding 9.6 million taco truck workers would help America reach nearly full employment — and that's just the staffing in the trucks," Bump wrote. Then, in an apparent effort to audition for The Onion, he added, "Think about all of the ancillary job creation: mechanics, gas station workers, Mexican food truck management executives. We'd likely need to increase immigration levels just to meet the demand."
Bump, who writes from New York, gave sarcastic voice to the cosmopolitan conviction that since some immigration is good for the country, more can only be better. The contrary conviction of many Mexican immigrants — who believe the forces that propel immigration are so powerful that they will become overwhelming if they are not checked — is beyond the comprehension of taco truck aficionados like Bump.
Reporters like Bump are so full of snark and moral vanity that they can't comprehend the urgent sense of Mexican immigrants like Gutierrez who dissent from the conventional liberal wisdom about immigration.
Nor can they get their heads around the concerns of an immigrant like Gerardo Jimenez who told me that "someone needs to impose order" on the influx of undocumented workers desperate for a job and willing to work for far less than Jimenez was earning in the drywall-installation business.
Nor can they appreciate the Mexican immigrant who told a Telemundo reporter she was concerned that the immigrant influx had become so intense that Americans will "think that we are invading their country."
Nor can they comprehend the concerns of Tricia Ortiz, a Mexican-American woman and a friend of mine. She told me that most of the Mexican-American families who had lived on her mother's West Phoenix Street moved out after immigrant families moved into rental homes there. "My mom's neighborhood was taken over big time,' she said. "The yards were a mess and the Mexicans would have their parties in the front yard and they were drinking and playing their music real loud."
Such candid talk about real-life experiences is distasteful for reporters like Bump who engage in liberal thought experiments and utopian fantasies about the glories of limitless immigration. They prefer the righteous, if contradictory reasoning of Jorge Ramos, the Univision anchor and darling of the American press.
In his book, A Country for All, Ramos declared that the United States "has the right to defend its borders and establish a policy of who is allowed in and who is not." But just a few paragraphs later, Ramos protested that laws that establish a policy against unauthorized immigration are "designed to inhibit immigrants' ability to assimilate and prosper."
Ramos wants to have it both ways. He wants to be against illegal immigration, but only if laws that forbid it provide for the acceptance — inclusiveness is the favored liberal term — of all illegal immigrants.
Reporters like Bump have a similar problem. They want to pose as thoughtful commentators even as they present sarcasm rooted in ignorance of the real-world problems that are an inevitable part of large-scale illegal immigration.