On the immigration subject, much has been said about whether illegal immigrants would assimilate into American society and turn into full-fledged Americans or whether they would want to remain separate and apart from Americans and loyal to another nation, namely Mexico.

Personally, I know many, many, many Mexican-Americans and I think they assimilate like many other immigrant groups. For me, it has not been a question of whether they would or would not. It seemed obvious to me. Of course they would.

I still think so, but reading about a memo or e-mail from a group called La Raza, I am also convinced there are some Hispanic political groups who think that assimilation is a bad idea, and they actively lobby to keep Mexicans-Americans more Mexican than American.

This story has been reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, among others, and it talks about an e-mail from La Raza on a specific piece of proposed legislation which would give immigrants English classes and permit those who demonstrate English proficiency to apply for citizenship a year earlier than others and would gives immigrants classes on civics and U.S. history which would be needed to pass citizenship tests.

The La Raza e-mail warns that: "While the bill doesn't overtly mention assimilation, it is very strong on patriotism and traditional American values language in a way which is potentially dangerous to our communities."

Potentially dangerous? Patriotism and traditional American values are bad things?

I think this kind of discussion by a major Hispanic political organization like La Raza casts a lot of suspicion about what open immigration groups are up to.

There has been much discussion about the so-called reconquista, which is the retaking of old Mexican territories which are now part of the United States by pure birth rate. We hear people saying we're going to take it back, and that will eventually color the immigration debate in a way that Mexican-Americans and Hispanic immigrants will not want.

La Raza is a group dedicated to the betterment of the race. Good. But try being American while you're at it guys. Eleven million people say they want to be Americans. Fine. Now just be Americans.

Learn the language so you can deal with the rest of us while you maintain your own identity and language, and assimilate into American culture. That's how you make yourself welcome.

That's My Word.

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