In June the Lodi Adult School, where I have been an English as a Second Language Instructor for nearly twenty years, will be torn down.
The classes will be moved to the Lincoln Technical Academy, a renovated landmark building in Lodi which will also house the Regional Occupational Program, G.E.D. and high school diploma for dropouts.
The razing of the Adult School marks a good time for me to evaluate, especially in light of the ongoing White House push for amnesty, my two-decade long involvement with the immigrant community—both legal and illegal.
Given what I have seen on the front line since 1986 (coincidentally, the year of the Reagan amnesty), I can say without hesitation that any amnesty, guest worker program, "Z-visas" or so-called "path to citizenship" scheme could well doom the United States.
However the bureaucrats may phrase their language, clever thinkers—the aliens themselves or their immigration lawyers—will always be able to work around it.
With the rare exception, most immigrants who have gone to my classes have shown little interest in becoming American citizens.
A significant percentage attended only because they were part of a federal or county program that mandated their presence.
From the very beginning, I noticed that immigrants were quick to look for ways around the system and use them to their own benefit.
An example: in the mid-1980s the Adult School had a large plot of land behind it that was made available to students so that they could grow their own vegetables. The quid pro quo was that they had to regularly attend classes.
In the early morning, before class, I would walk outside and watch the South East Asian students irrigate their bok choy and the Mexicans plant their beans.
Then I noticed that, over time, fewer and came inside for English instruction. Even though the "students" didn't hold up their part of the bargain, they continued to plant their gardens promising that they would return to class soon.
But they never did.
Little did I know two decades ago that excuses—rarely credible— would be the common denominator that immigrants used for not assimilating.
Some excuse—most often involving a sick child—was always offered.
Of course, a single anecdotal incident is not necessarily typical.
But as it turned out, and as I learned painfully over the years, even in the non-English speaking neighborhood where the school is located, immigrants are unwilling to walk across the street to participate in free classes.
The same is true of classes in other areas of town. At satellite campuses in other sections of Lodi and north Stockton, no one cares much about learning what it means to be an American.
Whether the classes are held during the morning, the mid-afternoon or the early evening, plenty of seats are always available.
This is the type of indifferent behavior that George W. Bush wants to reward with amnesty?
If Bush really wants to learn about immigration into America today, he shouldn't be consulting with Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Bush should be talking to…me.
Someone who actually knows something about immigration.
When you think about it, what meaningful interaction do either Bush or Kennedy have with typical immigrants?
Of course, Bush has no interest in realities.
And that's why we are where we are today.
Joe Guzzardi [e-mail him] is the Editor of VDARE.COM Letters to the Editor. In addition, he is an English teacher at the Lodi Adult School and has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.