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Exporting Her People
by J. F. Kelly, Jr. [writer] 6/23/06

While the Senate and the House try to hammer out some sort of compromise on illegal immigration and immigration policy reform, the borders remain porous and the illegals keep coming. Tougher enforcement has been applied in a few areas where it has worked, driving the illegals to try somewhere else, which begs the question of why we don’t apply those tougher enforcement measures uniformly along the entire border. National Guard volunteers are being deployed on the border in highly visible but purely non-enforcement roles and only until more Border Patrol agents can be recruited and trained.

These limited measures will be hyped by candidates seeking to convince voters that they are tough on illegal immigration. They should be rejected, however, because the truth is the border is still broken and will remain so as long as the president and most senators put broad immigration reform, guest worker programs and some path to citizenship for the 12 million or so illegals already here ahead of enforcing the laws we already have. Meanwhile, the problem just gets worse and citizens are looking for someone to blame for this mess. Herein are some suggestions.

J.F. Kelly, Jr.

J.F. Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive who writes on current events and military subjects. He is a resident of Coronado, California. [go to Kelly index]

First, blame the federal government for a decade of inaction while the magnitude of the problem grew to the point that no easy answers remain. But don’t stop with the federal government. Local government, schools and businesses insisted that it was not their problem to help solve. But it is now.

Advocates of the migrants like to talk about addressing the root causes of illegal immigration instead of enforcement measures that they insist will never work. By all means, let’s do. Poverty and hopelessness, they say, drive these poor people to risk their lives and pay coyotes to sneak them across the border to live a demeaning, covert existence, doing mostly menial work at exploitive wages to support their families back home. The huge wealth imbalance between the United States and Mexico creates an irresistible attraction. The U. S. is a huge magnet which these poor people cannot resist. The U. S. is the equivalent of what lawyers might call an attractive nuisance and, therefore bears a share of the responsibility. You get my drift. Blame America first. Create victims out of lawbreakers.

But what, exactly, are we to do about Mexico’s poverty beyond the foreign aid that we already provide including a recent bail-out of the government, and the globalization policies we are promoting, sometimes at the expense of American jobs? Probing the matter further, how did Mexico get to become such an economic basket case that its citizens must flee the country to earn even a meager living?

Let’s reject the notion that the Mexican people are somehow inferior. We know that given educational opportunities such as this country provides, legal Mexican immigrants perform just as well as any others. Indeed, they have exceptionally strong family and religious values and an unbeatable work ethic. Why, then, can’t they prosper in their homeland, a nation favored by climate and geography and blessed with mineral and oil wealth? How is it that Mexico’s principal export is its hard-working people?

The answer is that the Mexican government has failed its people at nearly every level. Three quarters of a century of inept and self-aggrandizing political rule has plundered the country, fostered a culture of corruption and privilege and throttled its emergence as the prosperous, developed nation it should be at this point in its history. Its heavy handed dominance of business including its state-owned oil industry has discouraged foreign investment. Mexico’s wealth is concentrated in a relatively small number of wealthy families with a huge percentage of the population living in grinding poverty without much prospect for upward mobility.

Why do the Mexican people tolerate all this? Because dissent would not be treated with the same tolerance it receives in American. Meanwhile, political correctness and diplomatic niceties in our country mute criticism of Mexico’s leaders who are routinely and reflexively portrayed as friends and allies. But allies don’t encourage huge numbers of their most desperate citizens to violate their neighbor’s border laws and sneak into their country, actions that they would never tolerate of us. Any honorable government, moreover, would view such circumstances as a national disgrace.

The long-suffering Mexican people deserve better. They also deserve our sympathy and respect. Their government, however, deserves neither. Meanwhile, American citizens must demand of their own government leaders, effective action to fix the broken borders now, before any further talk of immigration policy reform. CRO

copyright 2006 J. F. Kelly, Jr.



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