Tuesday, January 03, 2006

"America's porous border enables Mexico's misrule"

WSJ OpinionJournal
"Shameful," screams Mexico's President Vicente Fox, about the proposed extension of a security fence along the southern border of the U.S. "Stupid! Underhanded! Xenophobic!" bellowed his foreign secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez, warning: "Mexico is not going to bear, it is not going to permit, and it will not allow a stupid thing like this wall."

The allusions to the Berlin Wall made by aggrieved Mexican politicians miss the irony: The communists tried to keep their own people in, not illegal aliens out. More embarrassing still, the comparison boomerangs on Mexico, since it, and not the U.S., more resembles East Germany in alienating its own citizens to the point that they flee at any cost. If anything might be termed stupid, underhanded or xenophobic in the illegal immigration debacle, it is the conduct of the Mexican government.

"Stupid" characterizes a government that sits atop vast mineral and petroleum reserves, enjoys a long coastline, temperate climate, rich agricultural plains--and either cannot or will not make the necessary political and economic reforms to feed and house its own people. The election of Vicente Fox, Nafta and cosmetic changes in banking and jurisprudence have not stopped the corruption or stemmed the exodus of millions of Mexicans.

"Underhanded" also sums up the stance of Mexico, masquerading in humanitarian terms the abjectly immoral export of its own dispossessed. Indeed, such cynicism directly protects the status quo in three critical ways. The flight of the poor is Mexico's aberrant version of Fredrick Jackson Turner's safety-valve theory of the frontier. But instead of homesteaders heading west, the impoverished go northward, preferring simply to leave rather than change their government.

Mexico receives between $10 billion and $15 billion in annual remittances from illegal aliens in the U.S., a subsidy that not only masks political failure at home, but comes at great cost to its expatriates abroad. After all, such massive transfers of capital must be made up from somewhere. Poor workers who send half their wages to kin are forced to make do in a high-priced U.S. through two exigencies--they lower their standard of living here while often depending on state and local governments for supplemental housing, education, medical and food aid.

This is about a third of the story, the rest is worth a look at also.

posted by David at 10:02 AM :: Permalink ::

Comments on ""America's porous border enables Mexico's misrule""

 

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