Everybody has the right to papers!thundered one outraged Democrat among legions, as they castigate Arizona's (supposedly) undemocratic law demanding that illegal aliens show documentation. (Except of course, one is tempted to ask what the big deal is when, if liberals had their way, nobody actually would need papers anywhere when they show up to cast a vote in an election…)
Well, it so happens that every illegal alien in the United States is documented; every illegal alien in the United States does have papers.
(Well, sometimes, they have Honduran papers, or Guatemalan papers, or Belizean papers, or Filipino papers, or some other papers, but let's keep using Mexico as an illustrative example…)
If a foreigner, say an American, were to head to Mexico, for however short (a vacation) or however long a period (to work there) — and whether he entered the country legally or not (!) — he still, guess what, has papers. He has his American papers! Offhand, he has his driver's license, various IDs, and/or his passport…
True, a number of the Mexican and Central American illegals, many of them paupers, may not physically have papers in their pockets to produce, as is the case with many of their respective countrymen, but still, offhand, the "undocumented" immigrants retain as many (or as few) papers, and rights, as any other citizen of their own country before they emigrated, legally or otherwise.
Everybody has the right to papers, but everybody does not have the right to American papers!
What is there to be outraged about here? The equivalent is true for Americans, and for other Westerners — for instance the Yanqui Gringo mentioned above, who does not have the right (or an automatic right) to Mexican papers. Just as I, a foreigner living in Paris, do not have right — certainly, not an automatic right — to French papers and do not have the right to vote in French elections (it is not a right I would want — no offense intended — and I would never castigate the French for failing to give it to me or to any other foreigner)…
If I had the time, we could enter a discussion regarding the difference between natural rights (which every individual on Earth has) and civic rights (or citizen rights, which depend on the country you are — legally — living in, whatever part of the globe that country is located in), but I don't, so I will just suggest you read the books of Harry Jaffa…
To return to Mexico, nothing in Mexican law presupposes that our American expatriate be given, say, a job (or that he have the freedom to choose any job he wants) in Mexico or that, say, he vote in Mexican elections. Indeed, reports on Mexico's own problem with illegal aliens (Central Americans that cross over that nation's Southern border) point out to quite a few problems in that country (the one allegedly martyred by white American racists), far worse than anything in the United States, with Amnesty International calling "the abuse of migrants in Mexico a major human rights crisis".
Indeed, as JammieWearingFool puts it (gracias por el Professor Reynolds),
No wonder they're all moving to the Nazi-like, fascistic, police-state of Arizona.Now, if any Mexicans, say the citizens of the estado de Chihuahua, want American papers, there is a simple solution: I suggest that they ask that the state be annexed by the United States. (Don't be so quick to issue a snort. I'm sure quite a few Mexicans would be more than willing to see that happen…)
Update: Referring to el Presidente de México, Rich Galen points out the double standards:
Felipe Calderón is whining about the way we are treating immigrants in the U.S. because they may be asked to produce documents proving they are here legally, while immigrants in his very own country are being kidnapped, robbed, raped, and murdered by the tens of thousands.Update: Don Miguel adds as follows:
How about this: my father was born and grew up in Mexico. About 10 to 15 years ago Mexico passed a law allowing children of expatriates born in other countries to apply for citizenship. I was interested in this because it would then allow me to buy beachfront property in Mexico (foreigners cannot directly buy property within a few km of the beach or border legally). So I went to the closest consulate with my father's birth certificate and they told me basically to get lost since my father was considered by them to be a "gringo." Regardless of what the law said I wasn’t the “right” type of person for them. So even though I technically met the requirements of the law, there’s no way they would process my application.That comment leads Pat Patterson to write:
I had heard some stories like the one Don Miguel related and to be honest thought they were either old wive's tales or simple misunderstandings.Update: Mark Steyn:
Until one of my neighbors thought it would be a good idea for his children to have dual citizenship but was turned away at the consulate in Santa Ana for 'technical reasons' even though he had only recently become an American citizen. His delay oddly enough was because he had been an officer in the Mexican Air Force and the investigation took longer because the Mexican government wouldn't release his service record for years. It seems that the rule of thumb is that college educated American citizens of Mexican origin will either not be approved or delayed while working class Americans of Mexican origin will be approved asap.
…the coastal frothers denouncing Arizona as the Third Reich or, at best, apartheid South Africa, seem entirely relaxed about the ludicrous and embarrassing sight [in Quincy, Illinois,] of peaceful protesters being menaced by camp storm troopers from either a dinner-theater space opera or uniforms night at Mr. Newsom's re-election campaign.Update: Ann Coulter:
The New York Times' Linda Greenhouse recently compared the Arizona law to Hitler's policies toward the Jews. You remember how Jews were constantly sneaking across the border into Nazi Germany?