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    Noting the difference

    By Jim Behnke
    Special to the Herald/Review

    We all know who illegals are. They are people who sneak into our country. But who are the Mexican Americans? I'm afraid not much has been said about them, and I think many Americans really don't understand and appreciate this wonderful group of people.

    Mexican Americans have been in the United States for a long time. In fact, they were here first, not counting Native Americans. They were here before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Mexican Americans have been living in the American Southwest for many years, ranching, building schools, establishing government, etc. In fact, Santa Fe, N.M., became the capitol of the "Kingdom of New Mexico" in 1609, 167 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.

    Then in 1847, things changed dramatically for the people living in this area. Mexico lost a war with the United States, and in the treaty of Guadeloupe, Mexico ceded California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Nevada, Colorado and Utah to the United States. In addition, Texas independence was recognized by the Mexican government. The treaty also offered citizenship to all those living in what would now become the United States. Those that stayed on, and that was the vast majority, became loyal citizens of the United States. They continued to ranch, raise families, erect churches and schools and in general build our nation. They also fought for our country.

    If you want to see something heart rendering, go to the small town of La Mesilla, N.M., just south of Las Cruces. It's a beautiful old Mexican village that once served as the first capital of the Territory of New Mexico. There in the town square on a stone monument you will see the names of those loyal Mexican Americans who gave there life for this country in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. What is heart rendering is that such a small village lost so many men. We owe citizens like this our honor and respect. And Mexican Americans have given us many other things, such as culture, art, cuisine, architecture and so on. Let's face it, one of the reasons we like it here so much is that this area has that Southwest flavor, and we can thank our Mexican-American brothers and sisters for that.

    Contrast that with what I saw with my own eyes up in Phoenix a few weeks ago during the visit of Mexican President Vicente Fox to our state capital. A crowd of more than 3,000 of what appeared to be illegal aliens whooping and hollering, carrying Mexican flags and calling Mr. Fox "our president." Does this scare me? Yes, it does because it represents the "Balkanization" of our country. What does Balkanization mean? It takes it's name from the Balkan states -- Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, etc. -- where you can't walk three miles without being shot at or cursed, where people hate each other and are divided by race, religion and national origin. I am afraid the same thing is starting to happen here. Years ago when immigrants came here legally, they blended in with American society, adopted American culture and life and took an oath of allegiance to the new land. My own father is a good example of that. The son of an immigrant father, my dad spoke fluent German, but he fought the Nazis in World War II. The citizens of La Mesilla, most of whom speak fluent Spanish, also were the first to volunteer and serve their country in time of need.

    Can we expect the same from the illegals? I think not. Even though they live and work here, their loyalty is to Mexico. We need to learn a lesson from Germany and France. Both countries allowed massive legal and illegal immigration of Islamic peoples into their country after World War II. Now tens of millions of Muslims live and work in Europe, but their loyalty is to the old country. France and Germany could never join us in Iraq, even if they wanted to. Their streets would be flooded with protesters bent on violence to get their way. Any American who has lived in Europe knows this is the case and has experienced being warned "not to go downtown" on certain days due to thousands of demonstrators supporting their own Middle East country back home. What happens if in the future we get into some sort of international dispute with Mexico? Where will the illegals be? They will be here, but their heart will be in Mexico, and we can expect what Europe is experiencing today.

    And where is our congressman and governor on this issue? By refusing to take action to seal the border against illegals and by favoring open borders, they are promoting more of the same. They will regret their decisions, but by then it will be too late. Twenty million illegals are here, and 2 million cross each year in the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector along. In the meantime, our loyal Mexican Americans suffer from overcrowded schools, are the victims of increased crime and face a lack of resources to improve their lives. It should not be so.

    JIM BEHNKE is a retired Army lieutenant colonel. He can be contacted by e-mail at wethepeople33@juno.com. His column usually appears every other Thursday, but appears on Wednesday this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.




    Noting the difference

    By Jim Behnke
    Special to the Herald/Review

    We all know who illegals are. They are people who sneak into our country. But who are the Mexican Americans? I'm afraid not much has been said about them, and I think many Americans really don't understand and appreciate this wonderful group of people.

    Mexican Americans have been in the United States for a long time. In fact, they were here first, not counting Native Americans. They were here before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Mexican Americans have been living in the American Southwest for many years, ranching, building schools, establishing government, etc. In fact, Santa Fe, N.M., became the capitol of the "Kingdom of New Mexico" in 1609, 167 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.

    Then in 1847, things changed dramatically for the people living in this area. Mexico lost a war with the United States, and in the treaty of Guadeloupe, Mexico ceded California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Nevada, Colorado and Utah to the United States. In addition, Texas independence was recognized by the Mexican government. The treaty also offered citizenship to all those living in what would now become the United States. Those that stayed on, and that was the vast majority, became loyal citizens of the United States. They continued to ranch, raise families, erect churches and schools and in general build our nation. They also fought for our country.

    If you want to see something heart rendering, go to the small town of La Mesilla, N.M., just south of Las Cruces. It's a beautiful old Mexican village that once served as the first capital of the Territory of New Mexico. There in the town square on a stone monument you will see the names of those loyal Mexican Americans who gave there life for this country in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. What is heart rendering is that such a small village lost so many men. We owe citizens like this our honor and respect. And Mexican Americans have given us many other things, such as culture, art, cuisine, architecture and so on. Let's face it, one of the reasons we like it here so much is that this area has that Southwest flavor, and we can thank our Mexican-American brothers and sisters for that.

    Contrast that with what I saw with my own eyes up in Phoenix a few weeks ago during the visit of Mexican President Vicente Fox to our state capital. A crowd of more than 3,000 of what appeared to be illegal aliens whooping and hollering, carrying Mexican flags and calling Mr. Fox "our president." Does this scare me? Yes, it does because it represents the "Balkanization" of our country. What does Balkanization mean? It takes it's name from the Balkan states -- Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, etc. -- where you can't walk three miles without being shot at or cursed, where people hate each other and are divided by race, religion and national origin. I am afraid the same thing is starting to happen here. Years ago when immigrants came here legally, they blended in with American society, adopted American culture and life and took an oath of allegiance to the new land. My own father is a good example of that. The son of an immigrant father, my dad spoke fluent German, but he fought the Nazis in World War II. The citizens of La Mesilla, most of whom speak fluent Spanish, also were the first to volunteer and serve their country in time of need.

    Can we expect the same from the illegals? I think not. Even though they live and work here, their loyalty is to Mexico. We need to learn a lesson from Germany and France. Both countries allowed massive legal and illegal immigration of Islamic peoples into their country after World War II. Now tens of millions of Muslims live and work in Europe, but their loyalty is to the old country. France and Germany could never join us in Iraq, even if they wanted to. Their streets would be flooded with protesters bent on violence to get their way. Any American who has lived in Europe knows this is the case and has experienced being warned "not to go downtown" on certain days due to thousands of demonstrators supporting their own Middle East country back home. What happens if in the future we get into some sort of international dispute with Mexico? Where will the illegals be? They will be here, but their heart will be in Mexico, and we can expect what Europe is experiencing today.

    And where is our congressman and governor on this issue? By refusing to take action to seal the border against illegals and by favoring open borders, they are promoting more of the same. They will regret their decisions, but by then it will be too late. Twenty million illegals are here, and 2 million cross each year in the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector along. In the meantime, our loyal Mexican Americans suffer from overcrowded schools, are the victims of increased crime and face a lack of resources to improve their lives. It should not be so.

    JIM BEHNKE is a retired Army lieutenant colonel. He can be contacted by e-mail at wethepeople33@juno.com. His column usually appears every other Thursday, but appears on Wednesday this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.




    Noting the difference

    By Jim Behnke
    Special to the Herald/Review

    We all know who illegals are. They are people who sneak into our country. But who are the Mexican Americans? I'm afraid not much has been said about them, and I think many Americans really don't understand and appreciate this wonderful group of people.

    Mexican Americans have been in the United States for a long time. In fact, they were here first, not counting Native Americans. They were here before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Mexican Americans have been living in the American Southwest for many years, ranching, building schools, establishing government, etc. In fact, Santa Fe, N.M., became the capitol of the "Kingdom of New Mexico" in 1609, 167 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.

    Then in 1847, things changed dramatically for the people living in this area. Mexico lost a war with the United States, and in the treaty of Guadeloupe, Mexico ceded California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Nevada, Colorado and Utah to the United States. In addition, Texas independence was recognized by the Mexican government. The treaty also offered citizenship to all those living in what would now become the United States. Those that stayed on, and that was the vast majority, became loyal citizens of the United States. They continued to ranch, raise families, erect churches and schools and in general build our nation. They also fought for our country.

    If you want to see something heart rendering, go to the small town of La Mesilla, N.M., just south of Las Cruces. It's a beautiful old Mexican village that once served as the first capital of the Territory of New Mexico. There in the town square on a stone monument you will see the names of those loyal Mexican Americans who gave there life for this country in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. What is heart rendering is that such a small village lost so many men. We owe citizens like this our honor and respect. And Mexican Americans have given us many other things, such as culture, art, cuisine, architecture and so on. Let's face it, one of the reasons we like it here so much is that this area has that Southwest flavor, and we can thank our Mexican-American brothers and sisters for that.

    Contrast that with what I saw with my own eyes up in Phoenix a few weeks ago during the visit of Mexican President Vicente Fox to our state capital. A crowd of more than 3,000 of what appeared to be illegal aliens whooping and hollering, carrying Mexican flags and calling Mr. Fox "our president." Does this scare me? Yes, it does because it represents the "Balkanization" of our country. What does Balkanization mean? It takes it's name from the Balkan states -- Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, etc. -- where you can't walk three miles without being shot at or cursed, where people hate each other and are divided by race, religion and national origin. I am afraid the same thing is starting to happen here. Years ago when immigrants came here legally, they blended in with American society, adopted American culture and life and took an oath of allegiance to the new land. My own father is a good example of that. The son of an immigrant father, my dad spoke fluent German, but he fought the Nazis in World War II. The citizens of La Mesilla, most of whom speak fluent Spanish, also were the first to volunteer and serve their country in time of need.

    Can we expect the same from the illegals? I think not. Even though they live and work here, their loyalty is to Mexico. We need to learn a lesson from Germany and France. Both countries allowed massive legal and illegal immigration of Islamic peoples into their country after World War II. Now tens of millions of Muslims live and work in Europe, but their loyalty is to the old country. France and Germany could never join us in Iraq, even if they wanted to. Their streets would be flooded with protesters bent on violence to get their way. Any American who has lived in Europe knows this is the case and has experienced being warned "not to go downtown" on certain days due to thousands of demonstrators supporting their own Middle East country back home. What happens if in the future we get into some sort of international dispute with Mexico? Where will the illegals be? They will be here, but their heart will be in Mexico, and we can expect what Europe is experiencing today.

    And where is our congressman and governor on this issue? By refusing to take action to seal the border against illegals and by favoring open borders, they are promoting more of the same. They will regret their decisions, but by then it will be too late. Twenty million illegals are here, and 2 million cross each year in the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector along. In the meantime, our loyal Mexican Americans suffer from overcrowded schools, are the victims of increased crime and face a lack of resources to improve their lives. It should not be so.

    JIM BEHNKE is a retired Army lieutenant colonel. He can be contacted by e-mail at wethepeople33@juno.com. His column usually appears every other Thursday, but appears on Wednesday this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.




    Noting the difference

    By Jim Behnke
    Special to the Herald/Review

    We all know who illegals are. They are people who sneak into our country. But who are the Mexican Americans? I'm afraid not much has been said about them, and I think many Americans really don't understand and appreciate this wonderful group of people.

    Mexican Americans have been in the United States for a long time. In fact, they were here first, not counting Native Americans. They were here before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Mexican Americans have been living in the American Southwest for many years, ranching, building schools, establishing government, etc. In fact, Santa Fe, N.M., became the capitol of the "Kingdom of New Mexico" in 1609, 167 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.

    Then in 1847, things changed dramatically for the people living in this area. Mexico lost a war with the United States, and in the treaty of Guadeloupe, Mexico ceded California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Nevada, Colorado and Utah to the United States. In addition, Texas independence was recognized by the Mexican government. The treaty also offered citizenship to all those living in what would now become the United States. Those that stayed on, and that was the vast majority, became loyal citizens of the United States. They continued to ranch, raise families, erect churches and schools and in general build our nation. They also fought for our country.

    If you want to see something heart rendering, go to the small town of La Mesilla, N.M., just south of Las Cruces. It's a beautiful old Mexican village that once served as the first capital of the Territory of New Mexico. There in the town square on a stone monument you will see the names of those loyal Mexican Americans who gave there life for this country in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. What is heart rendering is that such a small village lost so many men. We owe citizens like this our honor and respect. And Mexican Americans have given us many other things, such as culture, art, cuisine, architecture and so on. Let's face it, one of the reasons we like it here so much is that this area has that Southwest flavor, and we can thank our Mexican-American brothers and sisters for that.

    Contrast that with what I saw with my own eyes up in Phoenix a few weeks ago during the visit of Mexican President Vicente Fox to our state capital. A crowd of more than 3,000 of what appeared to be illegal aliens whooping and hollering, carrying Mexican flags and calling Mr. Fox "our president." Does this scare me? Yes, it does because it represents the "Balkanization" of our country. What does Balkanization mean? It takes it's name from the Balkan states -- Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, etc. -- where you can't walk three miles without being shot at or cursed, where people hate each other and are divided by race, religion and national origin. I am afraid the same thing is starting to happen here. Years ago when immigrants came here legally, they blended in with American society, adopted American culture and life and took an oath of allegiance to the new land. My own father is a good example of that. The son of an immigrant father, my dad spoke fluent German, but he fought the Nazis in World War II. The citizens of La Mesilla, most of whom speak fluent Spanish, also were the first to volunteer and serve their country in time of need.

    Can we expect the same from the illegals? I think not. Even though they live and work here, their loyalty is to Mexico. We need to learn a lesson from Germany and France. Both countries allowed massive legal and illegal immigration of Islamic peoples into their country after World War II. Now tens of millions of Muslims live and work in Europe, but their loyalty is to the old country. France and Germany could never join us in Iraq, even if they wanted to. Their streets would be flooded with protesters bent on violence to get their way. Any American who has lived in Europe knows this is the case and has experienced being warned "not to go downtown" on certain days due to thousands of demonstrators supporting their own Middle East country back home. What happens if in the future we get into some sort of international dispute with Mexico? Where will the illegals be? They will be here, but their heart will be in Mexico, and we can expect what Europe is experiencing today.

    And where is our congressman and governor on this issue? By refusing to take action to seal the border against illegals and by favoring open borders, they are promoting more of the same. They will regret their decisions, but by then it will be too late. Twenty million illegals are here, and 2 million cross each year in the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector along. In the meantime, our loyal Mexican Americans suffer from overcrowded schools, are the victims of increased crime and face a lack of resources to improve their lives. It should not be so.

    JIM BEHNKE is a retired Army lieutenant colonel. He can be contacted by e-mail at wethepeople33@juno.com. His column usually appears every other Thursday, but appears on Wednesday this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • #2
    Noting the difference

    By Jim Behnke
    Special to the Herald/Review

    We all know who illegals are. They are people who sneak into our country. But who are the Mexican Americans? I'm afraid not much has been said about them, and I think many Americans really don't understand and appreciate this wonderful group of people.

    Mexican Americans have been in the United States for a long time. In fact, they were here first, not counting Native Americans. They were here before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Mexican Americans have been living in the American Southwest for many years, ranching, building schools, establishing government, etc. In fact, Santa Fe, N.M., became the capitol of the "Kingdom of New Mexico" in 1609, 167 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.

    Then in 1847, things changed dramatically for the people living in this area. Mexico lost a war with the United States, and in the treaty of Guadeloupe, Mexico ceded California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Nevada, Colorado and Utah to the United States. In addition, Texas independence was recognized by the Mexican government. The treaty also offered citizenship to all those living in what would now become the United States. Those that stayed on, and that was the vast majority, became loyal citizens of the United States. They continued to ranch, raise families, erect churches and schools and in general build our nation. They also fought for our country.

    If you want to see something heart rendering, go to the small town of La Mesilla, N.M., just south of Las Cruces. It's a beautiful old Mexican village that once served as the first capital of the Territory of New Mexico. There in the town square on a stone monument you will see the names of those loyal Mexican Americans who gave there life for this country in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. What is heart rendering is that such a small village lost so many men. We owe citizens like this our honor and respect. And Mexican Americans have given us many other things, such as culture, art, cuisine, architecture and so on. Let's face it, one of the reasons we like it here so much is that this area has that Southwest flavor, and we can thank our Mexican-American brothers and sisters for that.

    Contrast that with what I saw with my own eyes up in Phoenix a few weeks ago during the visit of Mexican President Vicente Fox to our state capital. A crowd of more than 3,000 of what appeared to be illegal aliens whooping and hollering, carrying Mexican flags and calling Mr. Fox "our president." Does this scare me? Yes, it does because it represents the "Balkanization" of our country. What does Balkanization mean? It takes it's name from the Balkan states -- Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, etc. -- where you can't walk three miles without being shot at or cursed, where people hate each other and are divided by race, religion and national origin. I am afraid the same thing is starting to happen here. Years ago when immigrants came here legally, they blended in with American society, adopted American culture and life and took an oath of allegiance to the new land. My own father is a good example of that. The son of an immigrant father, my dad spoke fluent German, but he fought the Nazis in World War II. The citizens of La Mesilla, most of whom speak fluent Spanish, also were the first to volunteer and serve their country in time of need.

    Can we expect the same from the illegals? I think not. Even though they live and work here, their loyalty is to Mexico. We need to learn a lesson from Germany and France. Both countries allowed massive legal and illegal immigration of Islamic peoples into their country after World War II. Now tens of millions of Muslims live and work in Europe, but their loyalty is to the old country. France and Germany could never join us in Iraq, even if they wanted to. Their streets would be flooded with protesters bent on violence to get their way. Any American who has lived in Europe knows this is the case and has experienced being warned "not to go downtown" on certain days due to thousands of demonstrators supporting their own Middle East country back home. What happens if in the future we get into some sort of international dispute with Mexico? Where will the illegals be? They will be here, but their heart will be in Mexico, and we can expect what Europe is experiencing today.

    And where is our congressman and governor on this issue? By refusing to take action to seal the border against illegals and by favoring open borders, they are promoting more of the same. They will regret their decisions, but by then it will be too late. Twenty million illegals are here, and 2 million cross each year in the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector along. In the meantime, our loyal Mexican Americans suffer from overcrowded schools, are the victims of increased crime and face a lack of resources to improve their lives. It should not be so.

    JIM BEHNKE is a retired Army lieutenant colonel. He can be contacted by e-mail at wethepeople33@juno.com. His column usually appears every other Thursday, but appears on Wednesday this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.




    Noting the difference

    By Jim Behnke
    Special to the Herald/Review

    We all know who illegals are. They are people who sneak into our country. But who are the Mexican Americans? I'm afraid not much has been said about them, and I think many Americans really don't understand and appreciate this wonderful group of people.

    Mexican Americans have been in the United States for a long time. In fact, they were here first, not counting Native Americans. They were here before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Mexican Americans have been living in the American Southwest for many years, ranching, building schools, establishing government, etc. In fact, Santa Fe, N.M., became the capitol of the "Kingdom of New Mexico" in 1609, 167 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.

    Then in 1847, things changed dramatically for the people living in this area. Mexico lost a war with the United States, and in the treaty of Guadeloupe, Mexico ceded California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Nevada, Colorado and Utah to the United States. In addition, Texas independence was recognized by the Mexican government. The treaty also offered citizenship to all those living in what would now become the United States. Those that stayed on, and that was the vast majority, became loyal citizens of the United States. They continued to ranch, raise families, erect churches and schools and in general build our nation. They also fought for our country.

    If you want to see something heart rendering, go to the small town of La Mesilla, N.M., just south of Las Cruces. It's a beautiful old Mexican village that once served as the first capital of the Territory of New Mexico. There in the town square on a stone monument you will see the names of those loyal Mexican Americans who gave there life for this country in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. What is heart rendering is that such a small village lost so many men. We owe citizens like this our honor and respect. And Mexican Americans have given us many other things, such as culture, art, cuisine, architecture and so on. Let's face it, one of the reasons we like it here so much is that this area has that Southwest flavor, and we can thank our Mexican-American brothers and sisters for that.

    Contrast that with what I saw with my own eyes up in Phoenix a few weeks ago during the visit of Mexican President Vicente Fox to our state capital. A crowd of more than 3,000 of what appeared to be illegal aliens whooping and hollering, carrying Mexican flags and calling Mr. Fox "our president." Does this scare me? Yes, it does because it represents the "Balkanization" of our country. What does Balkanization mean? It takes it's name from the Balkan states -- Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, etc. -- where you can't walk three miles without being shot at or cursed, where people hate each other and are divided by race, religion and national origin. I am afraid the same thing is starting to happen here. Years ago when immigrants came here legally, they blended in with American society, adopted American culture and life and took an oath of allegiance to the new land. My own father is a good example of that. The son of an immigrant father, my dad spoke fluent German, but he fought the Nazis in World War II. The citizens of La Mesilla, most of whom speak fluent Spanish, also were the first to volunteer and serve their country in time of need.

    Can we expect the same from the illegals? I think not. Even though they live and work here, their loyalty is to Mexico. We need to learn a lesson from Germany and France. Both countries allowed massive legal and illegal immigration of Islamic peoples into their country after World War II. Now tens of millions of Muslims live and work in Europe, but their loyalty is to the old country. France and Germany could never join us in Iraq, even if they wanted to. Their streets would be flooded with protesters bent on violence to get their way. Any American who has lived in Europe knows this is the case and has experienced being warned "not to go downtown" on certain days due to thousands of demonstrators supporting their own Middle East country back home. What happens if in the future we get into some sort of international dispute with Mexico? Where will the illegals be? They will be here, but their heart will be in Mexico, and we can expect what Europe is experiencing today.

    And where is our congressman and governor on this issue? By refusing to take action to seal the border against illegals and by favoring open borders, they are promoting more of the same. They will regret their decisions, but by then it will be too late. Twenty million illegals are here, and 2 million cross each year in the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector along. In the meantime, our loyal Mexican Americans suffer from overcrowded schools, are the victims of increased crime and face a lack of resources to improve their lives. It should not be so.

    JIM BEHNKE is a retired Army lieutenant colonel. He can be contacted by e-mail at wethepeople33@juno.com. His column usually appears every other Thursday, but appears on Wednesday this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.




    Noting the difference

    By Jim Behnke
    Special to the Herald/Review

    We all know who illegals are. They are people who sneak into our country. But who are the Mexican Americans? I'm afraid not much has been said about them, and I think many Americans really don't understand and appreciate this wonderful group of people.

    Mexican Americans have been in the United States for a long time. In fact, they were here first, not counting Native Americans. They were here before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Mexican Americans have been living in the American Southwest for many years, ranching, building schools, establishing government, etc. In fact, Santa Fe, N.M., became the capitol of the "Kingdom of New Mexico" in 1609, 167 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.

    Then in 1847, things changed dramatically for the people living in this area. Mexico lost a war with the United States, and in the treaty of Guadeloupe, Mexico ceded California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Nevada, Colorado and Utah to the United States. In addition, Texas independence was recognized by the Mexican government. The treaty also offered citizenship to all those living in what would now become the United States. Those that stayed on, and that was the vast majority, became loyal citizens of the United States. They continued to ranch, raise families, erect churches and schools and in general build our nation. They also fought for our country.

    If you want to see something heart rendering, go to the small town of La Mesilla, N.M., just south of Las Cruces. It's a beautiful old Mexican village that once served as the first capital of the Territory of New Mexico. There in the town square on a stone monument you will see the names of those loyal Mexican Americans who gave there life for this country in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. What is heart rendering is that such a small village lost so many men. We owe citizens like this our honor and respect. And Mexican Americans have given us many other things, such as culture, art, cuisine, architecture and so on. Let's face it, one of the reasons we like it here so much is that this area has that Southwest flavor, and we can thank our Mexican-American brothers and sisters for that.

    Contrast that with what I saw with my own eyes up in Phoenix a few weeks ago during the visit of Mexican President Vicente Fox to our state capital. A crowd of more than 3,000 of what appeared to be illegal aliens whooping and hollering, carrying Mexican flags and calling Mr. Fox "our president." Does this scare me? Yes, it does because it represents the "Balkanization" of our country. What does Balkanization mean? It takes it's name from the Balkan states -- Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, etc. -- where you can't walk three miles without being shot at or cursed, where people hate each other and are divided by race, religion and national origin. I am afraid the same thing is starting to happen here. Years ago when immigrants came here legally, they blended in with American society, adopted American culture and life and took an oath of allegiance to the new land. My own father is a good example of that. The son of an immigrant father, my dad spoke fluent German, but he fought the Nazis in World War II. The citizens of La Mesilla, most of whom speak fluent Spanish, also were the first to volunteer and serve their country in time of need.

    Can we expect the same from the illegals? I think not. Even though they live and work here, their loyalty is to Mexico. We need to learn a lesson from Germany and France. Both countries allowed massive legal and illegal immigration of Islamic peoples into their country after World War II. Now tens of millions of Muslims live and work in Europe, but their loyalty is to the old country. France and Germany could never join us in Iraq, even if they wanted to. Their streets would be flooded with protesters bent on violence to get their way. Any American who has lived in Europe knows this is the case and has experienced being warned "not to go downtown" on certain days due to thousands of demonstrators supporting their own Middle East country back home. What happens if in the future we get into some sort of international dispute with Mexico? Where will the illegals be? They will be here, but their heart will be in Mexico, and we can expect what Europe is experiencing today.

    And where is our congressman and governor on this issue? By refusing to take action to seal the border against illegals and by favoring open borders, they are promoting more of the same. They will regret their decisions, but by then it will be too late. Twenty million illegals are here, and 2 million cross each year in the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector along. In the meantime, our loyal Mexican Americans suffer from overcrowded schools, are the victims of increased crime and face a lack of resources to improve their lives. It should not be so.

    JIM BEHNKE is a retired Army lieutenant colonel. He can be contacted by e-mail at wethepeople33@juno.com. His column usually appears every other Thursday, but appears on Wednesday this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.




    Noting the difference

    By Jim Behnke
    Special to the Herald/Review

    We all know who illegals are. They are people who sneak into our country. But who are the Mexican Americans? I'm afraid not much has been said about them, and I think many Americans really don't understand and appreciate this wonderful group of people.

    Mexican Americans have been in the United States for a long time. In fact, they were here first, not counting Native Americans. They were here before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Mexican Americans have been living in the American Southwest for many years, ranching, building schools, establishing government, etc. In fact, Santa Fe, N.M., became the capitol of the "Kingdom of New Mexico" in 1609, 167 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.

    Then in 1847, things changed dramatically for the people living in this area. Mexico lost a war with the United States, and in the treaty of Guadeloupe, Mexico ceded California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Nevada, Colorado and Utah to the United States. In addition, Texas independence was recognized by the Mexican government. The treaty also offered citizenship to all those living in what would now become the United States. Those that stayed on, and that was the vast majority, became loyal citizens of the United States. They continued to ranch, raise families, erect churches and schools and in general build our nation. They also fought for our country.

    If you want to see something heart rendering, go to the small town of La Mesilla, N.M., just south of Las Cruces. It's a beautiful old Mexican village that once served as the first capital of the Territory of New Mexico. There in the town square on a stone monument you will see the names of those loyal Mexican Americans who gave there life for this country in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. What is heart rendering is that such a small village lost so many men. We owe citizens like this our honor and respect. And Mexican Americans have given us many other things, such as culture, art, cuisine, architecture and so on. Let's face it, one of the reasons we like it here so much is that this area has that Southwest flavor, and we can thank our Mexican-American brothers and sisters for that.

    Contrast that with what I saw with my own eyes up in Phoenix a few weeks ago during the visit of Mexican President Vicente Fox to our state capital. A crowd of more than 3,000 of what appeared to be illegal aliens whooping and hollering, carrying Mexican flags and calling Mr. Fox "our president." Does this scare me? Yes, it does because it represents the "Balkanization" of our country. What does Balkanization mean? It takes it's name from the Balkan states -- Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, etc. -- where you can't walk three miles without being shot at or cursed, where people hate each other and are divided by race, religion and national origin. I am afraid the same thing is starting to happen here. Years ago when immigrants came here legally, they blended in with American society, adopted American culture and life and took an oath of allegiance to the new land. My own father is a good example of that. The son of an immigrant father, my dad spoke fluent German, but he fought the Nazis in World War II. The citizens of La Mesilla, most of whom speak fluent Spanish, also were the first to volunteer and serve their country in time of need.

    Can we expect the same from the illegals? I think not. Even though they live and work here, their loyalty is to Mexico. We need to learn a lesson from Germany and France. Both countries allowed massive legal and illegal immigration of Islamic peoples into their country after World War II. Now tens of millions of Muslims live and work in Europe, but their loyalty is to the old country. France and Germany could never join us in Iraq, even if they wanted to. Their streets would be flooded with protesters bent on violence to get their way. Any American who has lived in Europe knows this is the case and has experienced being warned "not to go downtown" on certain days due to thousands of demonstrators supporting their own Middle East country back home. What happens if in the future we get into some sort of international dispute with Mexico? Where will the illegals be? They will be here, but their heart will be in Mexico, and we can expect what Europe is experiencing today.

    And where is our congressman and governor on this issue? By refusing to take action to seal the border against illegals and by favoring open borders, they are promoting more of the same. They will regret their decisions, but by then it will be too late. Twenty million illegals are here, and 2 million cross each year in the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector along. In the meantime, our loyal Mexican Americans suffer from overcrowded schools, are the victims of increased crime and face a lack of resources to improve their lives. It should not be so.

    JIM BEHNKE is a retired Army lieutenant colonel. He can be contacted by e-mail at wethepeople33@juno.com. His column usually appears every other Thursday, but appears on Wednesday this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

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