Saturday, April 08, 2006

Insulting Mexico

Someone named Charlie regularly posts comments on SkyePuppy's blog page. Charlie is very smart and I usually not only agree with him, but admire the way he states his arguments. But on the subject of a border fence he wrote, "Until we are ready to hermetically seal all borders, and the coastlines, I think a fence is just an insult to Mexicans and an ineffective weapon against terrorism."

I fail to see how a fence is an insult to Mexico or Mexicans. We have a process by which foreigners can apply to immigrate or simply work here. The people of Mexico are free to use this process like anyone else. The purpose and need for a fence can certainly be no mystery and cannot be taken personally as if it was an insult.

If anything, I am insulted by the attitude and actions of the Mexican government.

It's true that security comes into play on this issue, as well as cultural concerns. But I don't wish to continue having my country and my pocketbook used as a buffer to preserve the status quo among the rich Mexicans and their corrupt, uncaring, oil-rich government. How much money is sent back over the border each year to President Vicente Fox's country... money that could have been spent here for things like... health insurance and tuition.

Money sent across the border should be restricted to the families of documented workers only. The rest should be confiscated and used to beef-up the INS and Homeland Security. Maybe it could be used to build a fence.

When Mr Fox and his rich friends look at us he doesn't see the United States. He sees Suckerland.

I believe there should be protests... for reform, and in Mexico.


Charlie said...

Your comments do represent the thinking of most Americans. The other side, and the reason I think the word insult is appropriate, is that since President Johnson ended the Bracero Program (the guest-worker program that gave the US the agricultural labor force it needed to survive WWII), there has been a very large gap between the supply of low-wage workers and the demand. This was especially acute in the agricultural industry, but increasingly in other industries as well where low-wage jobs could not be filled.

The INS has never allowed for the numbers of legal immigrants that industry demands. Thus, it created an answer to the problem through policy: we will arrest you if we catch you on the move in the US, but once you find a job, we will leave you alone if you obey our laws.

The INS has always known where Mexicans were working--on farms, on construction sites, in poultry processing plants--but for the sake of a robust US economy, they looked the other way.

Thus, the rhetoric about "illegal" aliens is hollow. If a law exists but the authorities deliberately ignore it, it sends an unambiguous message. Wink wink, nod nod, come here and work for us.

That is the status quo to this very day. We have grown strong as a nation and grown wealthy because of an abundant labor force willing to do the menial jobs that others won't take.

So, to Mexicans, and to my way of thinking, the fence is a slap in the face. It is an act of ingratitude for decades of labor that has made the US strong.

Obviously, the subject is complex and there is much more that could be said. But perhaps this helps explain my point of view, even if it doesn't change your mind.

Malott said...

I appreciate your explanation, Charlie. It sounds as if there is complicity on the part of the U.S. government.

But I think you must consider the drug traffic and the violence against American citizens that has taken place along the border. Regular Americans like you and me suffer property damage, burglary, and life-threatening situations due to the lack of a wall.

A wall may upset a few of our neighbors to the south, but our security trumps that consideration, and a wall is the best option.

My "gratitude" is reserved for those legal immigrants that follow the rules and guest workers that obey our laws. The illegals get paid, and receive free healthcare and education... which I think is gratitude enough for the work they do.

But thanks again for your explanation. It looks as if you will get your way.

Charlie said...

Your point about the costs of health care, education, etc. for illegals is a good one. Here in Tucson, several emergency rooms had to close because of the money they were losing on medical treatment for illegals.

For reasons I won't go in to, it is nearly impossible for most Mexicans to get a work visa to come to the US legally. But if we created a guest worker program and made these millions of workers legal, without promising citizenship, we could then impose taxes on their income to pay for these services.

I believe many of the problems of illegal immigration could be solved by creating a formal, completely legal guest worker program.

Larry Head said...

Walls are only temporary stop-gap measures. If you erect a barrier they will find a way over and around that to say that certain areas should not have walls...Not at all...but I think we have to be careful about how one goes about it...After all we have Chinese illegals coming in every day into ports that had the operating rights sold to the Chinese Government.

Some are trying to escape the corruption and stagnation of Mexico and it's governemnt. Some are lured by our lasseiz-faire attitude towards issuing and verifying legal documents (ir: drivers licenses, etc.)

It is a fine line to walk between a free society that belives in freedom for all or one that closes itself off in an isolationist way.