Monday, July 22, 2013

If the U.S. were to treat Mexican nationals in the same way that Mexico treats Central American nationals, there would be humanitarian outrage

There are many strange elements in the current debate over illegal immigration
writes Victor Davis Hanson (gracias por instapundit),
but none stranger than the mostly ignored role of Mexico.

  … Is elemental hunger forcing millions of Mexicans to flee north, as it may have in the past?

Not necessarily. According to a recent United Nations study, an estimated 70 percent of Mexico's citizens are overweight and suffer from the same problems of diet, health concerns and lack of exercise shared by other more affluent Western societies.

Mexico is a severe critic of U.S. immigration policy, often damning Americans as ruthlessly insensitive for trying to close our border. It has gone so far as to join lawsuits against individual American states to force relaxation of our border enforcement. Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon sharply criticized the United States for trying to "criminalize migration."

Is Mexico, then, a model of immigration tolerance?

Far from it.

Until 2011, when it passed reforms, Mexico had among the most draconian immigration laws in the world. Guatemala has criticized Mexico for initiating construction of a fence along its southern border.

Mexico has zero tolerance for illegal immigrants who seek to work inside Mexico, happen to break Mexican law or go on public assistance -- or any citizens who aid them.

In Mexico, legal immigration is aimed at privileging lawful arrivals with skill sets that aid the Mexican economy and, according to the country's immigration law, who have the "necessary funds for their sustenance" -- while denying entry to those who are not healthy or would upset the "equilibrium of the national demographics." Translated, that idea of demographic equilibrium apparently means that Mexico tries to withhold citizen status from those who do not look like Mexicans or have little skills to make money.

If the United States were to treat Mexican nationals in the same way that Mexico treats Central American nationals, there would be humanitarian outrage.

 … In truth, many thousands of Mexicans flee northward not necessarily because there are no jobs, or because they are starving at home. America offers them far more upward mobility and social justice than does their own homeland. And for all the immigration rhetoric about race and class, millions of Mexicans vote with their feet to enjoy the far greater cultural tolerance found in the U.S.

Indigenous people make up a large part of the most recent wave of Mexican arrivals. Those who leave provinces like Oaxaca or Chiapas apparently find the English-speaking, multiracial U.S. a fairer place than the hierarchical and often racially stratified society of Mexico.

People should be a nation's greatest resource. Fairly or not, Mexico has long been seen to view its own citizens in rather cynical terms as a valuable export commodity, akin to oil or food. When they are young and healthy, Mexican expatriates are expected to scrimp, save and support their poorer relatives back in Mexico. When these Mexican expats are ill and aged, then the U.S should pick up the tab for their care.
Related: "Undocumented Worker" — The Left's Preferred Expression for "Illegal Alien" Is False and Misleading 

No, Senator Rubio (and No, Liberals): There Is Not a Single "Undocumented Worker" in the United States (or On This Planet)