Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bordering on Insanity

The Associated Press did a story this week on diplomats from Mexico and Central America demanding guest worker programs and the legalization of undocumented migrants in the United States, while at the same time finding time to criticize tougher border enforcement by the U.S.

If they weren't elected officials of legitimate countries, their behaviour might be mistaken for that of neighborhood thugs, spewing condemnation of plans to make illegal entry into our country from theirs' a felony.

If there was one positive to come from the "Gang of Seven" meeting in Mexico's capital, it was a pledge to do more to fight migrant trafficking. Mexico hosted officials from Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, and Panama.

Mexico's Foreign Relations Secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez, nailed it when he said, "there has to be an integrated reform that includes a temporary worker program, but also the regularization of those people who are already living in receptor countries.

Sec'y. Derbez has called legislation working its way through Washington making it tougher to get in to the States "stupid and underhanded." Maybe he skipped the class on international protocol and good manners-101 at Foreign Relations Secretarial school.

Yesterday Derbez acknowledged "it's not the Mexican government's position to tell the U.S. Senate what to do."

Really? Nice of you to acknowledge that, Senor Derbez, since that’s exactly what you and your vaqueros are trying to do.

Now reportedly, there is a great deal of resentment in Mexico over plans to tighten up at our border crossings, some of it spilling over into criticism of Mexican President Vincente Fox for not being assertive enough in opposing them.

Fox's description of the new law: "shameful." Interesting choice of words, and here is why:

Mexicans working in the United States are a huge source of revenue for Mexico...the country's 2nd largest source of foreign currency after oil exports. The Central Bank of Mexico calculated Mexicans working in the states sent home more than $16 billion in remittances in 2004. Looking at that factoid from another perspective, you could say Mexican nationals working in the US are a huge DRAIN of revenue, sucking more than $16-billion out of our economy.

The Mexican Fox administration says migration has declined in recent years. Official figures show it remains at historically high levels. Typically, the Mexican government can’t even get those facts straight.

Ruben Aguilar, a spokesperson for the Fox administration, this week admitted that Mexican migrants "don't emigrate because they lack work, but rather for a series of other reasons, cultural reasons or better living conditions."

Bingo, Ruben.

Mexico should be ashamed that it cannot create and maintain an environment and standard of living that encourages its own domestic growth, but instead encourages its citizens to break the law and become leeches on the American economy and society.

The solution is not taller fences (or fences where once none even existed)
The solution is not stricter laws.
The solution is simple: enforce the laws that exist, and augment them with a compasionate dose of common sense.

What is most needful is a legal means of recognizing the realities of border economics: there is work to be done in America at wages Mexican nationals are willing to accept. Allow that commerce to take place, tap the income for taxes sufficient to sustain the infrastructures affected by their presence…and let those who want to work here do so.

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