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On the August 28 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, conservative pundit, MSNBC political analyst, and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan claimed that illegal immigration threatens to reduce America to "a polyglot boarding house for the world, a tangle of squabbling minorities." Further, Buchanan expressed his opposition to a majority Latino population in California, even if the Hispanic residents had all entered the United States legally.
Buchanan attributed his description of America as a potential "tangle of squabbling minorities" to former President Theodore Roosevelt. Indeed, in an October 12, 1915, speech, Roosevelt railed against so-called "hyphenated Americans," who he warned could turn the United States into a "tangle of squabbling nationalities." But in light of Buchanan's recent claim that the United States must keep "Americans of European descent" from becoming the "minority" in order to "survive," it is of note that the targets of Roosevelt's ire were Europeans:
The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic. The men who do not become Americans and nothing else are hyphenated Americans; and there ought to be no room for them in this country.
Guest host and CNN chief national correspondent John King's interview with Buchanan on The Situation Room is the latest in a series of media appearances (noted by Media Matters for America here, here, and here ) in promotion of Buchanan's new book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America (Thomas Dunne Books).
As Media Matters documented, Buchanan's book includes numerous other controversial claims about the purported threat of immigration, including the following:
- "This [immigration] is an invasion, the greatest invasion in history." [p. 5]
- "We are witnessing how nations perish. We are entered upon the final act of our civilization. The last scene is the deconstruction of the nations. The penultimate scene, now well underway, is the invasion unresisted." [p. 6]
- "Chicano chauvinists and Mexican agents have made clear their intent to take back through demography and culture what their ancestors lost through war." [p. 12]
- "[W]e are in the midst of a savage culture war in which traditionalist values have been losing ground for two generations." [p. 28]
From the August 28 edition of CNN's Situation Room:
KING: Look, you clearly think that the people coming in from Mexico -- and I assume Central and South America -- are a threat to the culture of the United States, because you write in your book, "Those who believe it doesn't matter from where they come will turn America into something she cannot survive, becoming a multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual Tower of Babel." You think it's that bad?
BUCHANAN: It's what Teddy Roosevelt said. We'll become a polyglot boarding house for the world, a tangle of squabbling minorities. The problem with the immigration, basically -- let's take Mexico -- is these folks are breaking the law, first. Secondly, they're coming in huge numbers, like no other group before. Third, they're from a contiguous nation. Fourth, 58 percent of Mexicans believe the Southwest belongs to them. Fifth, the Mexican government is pushing them in here, and it's got a political and ideological agenda that I outline in the book. If you don't have secure borders, Ronald Reagan said, John, you don't have a country anymore.
KING: This is a dangerous debate. You get into race, ethnic questions. Let me ask you this, if the border were secured -- if --
BUCHANAN: We gotta get into race and ethnic questions, John.
KING: If the border were secured and, through legal immigration, California became majority Hispanic, majority Latino. Texas became majority -- you've got a problem with that? If they came in through legal immigration?
BUCHANAN: Yes, I do. Yes, I do. If their -- because of the Mexican situation, Mexico has a claim on this country. John, our Irish ancestors, Italian ancestors, Jewish folks, they didn't say, "Look, this belongs to us." That grand march -- what did you have, 500,000 to a million people -- they're under Mexican flags. They say, "This is our land." You had 90,000 people in the Coliseum in a soccer game in California -- in L.A. What happened? When the Mexican team came out there, they booed the American flag, they tore down -- excuse me -- tore down the American flag, booed our national anthem, threw garbage on American -- on the American team. You've got a tremendously rising militant group among Mexicans in this country, which is documented there, and if we don't wake up to it, we're risking the breakup of our country. T.R. [former President Theodore Roosevelt] warned against this. [Former President Woodrow] Wilson warned against it. Half the great Americans did.