They Weren't Always Called 'Dreamers'

By David North on January 31, 2018

Two or three words can make all the difference in a political battle.

Think how helpful "marriage equality" has been to the left, and "right to work" to the union busters.

In a recent column in National Review, Graham Hillard wrote of the usefulness of the term "chain migration" to restrictionists.

Similarly, I am aware of how beneficial the term "Dreamers" has been to the subset of illegal aliens who arrived, or who say they arrived, as children.

All this reminds me of an alternative to the term "Dreamers" given to me by a member of that very group some 50 years ago.

I was working on the outer edge of the LBJ White House as staff director of the Cabinet Committee on Mexican-American Affairs; one of our key allies was a sheer delight, a union official with a Hispanic name; he was full of energy, charm, and drive; he was brilliant, a good writer, and a good thinker; and he also had a sense of humor. (I am not naming him as he may still be alive and in his 90s, and might not like to be remembered in this way.)

I knew that he was a U.S. citizen and had been born in Mexico.

We were alone when I asked him how he first came to the United States.

He said that he, as an infant, had been brought in, illegally, by his equally illegal parents.

He laughed, adding "you could call me a wet bottom" (alluding to the then-neutral term "wetback" for (adult) illegal aliens from Mexico).