Mexico, we are told, is angry. We learn this from news stories and from viral emails, duly attested by Snopes. The real world fact is limited to an indignant statement by the country’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs and a visit to Arizona by a few local legislators from neighboring Sonora, varying from indignant to plaintive.
This was a response to Arizona’s passage of a law empowering the cops to check the citizenship of suspects. Ten percent of Mexicans live in the U.S. these days and they supply Mexico with one of its larger sources of income when they send money home. And Sonora doesn’t know what to do with the numbers of its citizens who may be returning home as this progresses, as the Sonoran lawmakers explained.
The viral email takes the view that the Mexicans have a lot of nerve, considering their own anti-immigrant attitude toward illegal aliens in Mexico and their implicit assumption that they have a right to export their problems to the U.S. for us to pay for. And so far as it goes, that is perfectly true.
It is also true that the U.S. has invited this influx, offering a porous border under deliberate non-enforcement policies coupled with economic opportunity for people who need that and can’t find it at home. What in California law is called an ‘attractive nuisance.’ An unfenced swimming pool is an example; the pool owner is responsible if kids drown in their absence. They should have made the pool inaccessible. So we really can’t blame the Mexicans for coming, but the Mexican government also lacks any right to indignation if we stop inviting them.
The first ignored issue in these debates is, the Mexican economy sucks compared to the United States, for a sound economic and sociopolitical reason. American colonizers took possession of the land, worked it and drove the Indians off, killing many in the process. That land became productive, the resulting civilization, wealthy. The Spaniards and Portuguese sent, not farmers, but wealth seekers who received large tracts of land granted by the home governments, upon which they enslaved the Indians to work it for them. The resulting sociopolitical system of boss landowners and peons resulted in a poor, low productivity population, even in the presence of ample resources. Add to that the higher level of corruption peculiar to Latin-derived government compared to British, and the gap increases. Think of plunking Beverly Hills down in what’s left of Detroit, with a low fence between.
One really can’t blame the Mexicans for looking enviously across at our cornucopia, or their governors for resenting our efforts to prevent that easing of their problems. On the other side, one can’t blame U.S. taxpayers unwilling to subsidize Mexicans, especially in hard economic times. And most especially when the U.S. wealth has been hard earned by U.S. people while Mexicans remain poor by their own choice of a low productivity sociopolitical system. Except of course, it’s not so simple; the Mexicans who come to the north had no voice is choosing their circumstances at home. But, nor is it the fault of the U.S.
Americans, seems to me, have to look at it from a ‘what’s good for America’ standpoint. We can’t be responsible for the world, though some of our leaders seem to forget that on occasion. With our economy suffering from world competition wherein we are too often the high-priced producers, we need to become much less vague about what we can and can’t afford via government spending. And subsidizing the inadequacies of Latin American sociopolitical systems seems an expense we can’t afford. It is becoming hard enough to maintain a decent living standard for existing American citizens. Too, perhaps losing the U.S. as a place to convert its problems into income may help our southern neighbors face and deal with their problems.
Unfortunately, U.S. policy is made by Democrats and Republicans, whose major donors want either more Hispanic voters or more cheap labor to help compete in our new economic world, or both. And the voters, with or without grumbling, have accepted that.
In Congress, Democrats want to keep the status quo, converting the build up of illegals to easy citizenship from time to time to ease the political pressure and gain voters. So does the Republican leadership, albeit for different reasons. Some Republicans and a few Democrats reflect more populist views, opposing amnesty and demanding tighter border enforcement. Congress is looking for a way to pass an amnesty in disguise along with a promised border control program that can be ignored after the bill is passed. Congress doesn’t represent the electorate in this, as in much else, these days.
Come September, this will be worth watching…