Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Vincente Fox and Emigration

Chapomatic links to a Bomani Jones analysis of the possible ways to interpret Vincente Fox's recent wrongheaded remarks in connection with his announcement that Mexico will formally protest the recent immigration reforms initiated by the US. According to the report linked to by Bomani Jones, the reforms drawing Mexico's ire include the extension of a wall (presumably near San Diego) and beefing up requirements for driver licenses. Chapomatic itemizes some salient points from the book Mexifornia.

These are all well and good. I recommend them both for understanding the current situation. But I can't help but feel that something is always being left out this whole immigration 'crisis' and Mr. Fox's comments put it front and center. It is this -- Mexican men and women do not cross the border illegally to take jobs that "not even blacks want to do in the United States" because they are full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work, they do it because Mexico has failed them.

Mexico cannot provide a sufficient number of jobs equivalent in pay scale to the jobs no one wants to do here. In addition, Mexico does not provide the prospect, the hope, the belief in the minds of their emigrants, that their menial jobs will lead to better and better jobs and a satisfactory life and future. And keep this in mind, these illegal immigrants to the US -- those who the Mexican government make painfully plain they are so concerned about -- believe that the prospects here, hindered as they are by the tag of being here illegally, are still better than staying in Mexico. In fact, the prospects are so good that they will be able to send oodles of their riches back to their relatives in Mexico to help support them, again because Mexico cannot do it.

I can appreciate the Bomani Jones analysis which considers the jobs these illegals often have to take when they first get here. I'm a third generation German-Irish and took an illegal job because I was hankering to work at age 13. It was cleaning toilets and scrubbing floors and picking up dozens of raunchy wet cigar butts where a bunch of slobs worked until I was old enough to get a paper route. It wasn't much pay, only as good as making and selling pot holders, collecting old newspapers and pop bottles for recycling and mowing lawns or shoveling driveways. But I had more free time. It's not that I either wanted or needed the job, it's the opportunity it gave me. That's what I wanted and needed, though wanted and needed for peace of mind, not survival.

I understand full well the pressure illegals are under to make a better life and climb the ladder in light of the fact they are, well, here illegally. But all the trials and tribulations they encounter here should never overshadow the fact there has been even more of that for them in Mexico. Their country has failed them big time, so big time that their President has to admit that the USA's last and most disadvantaged group of Americans in a long line of disadvantaged groups are well enough along in the social hierarchy that they don't need the jobs many Mexicans desperately want.

I think the American government ought to lodge a formal protest with Mexico for their long standing emigration policies. And with that formal protest we ought to staple a list of all our suggestions for improving the lives of their people, particularly the ones they force to come here.


1 Creaks:

Anonymous Bomani creaked ...

But I can't help but feel that something is always being left out this whole immigration 'crisis' and Mr. Fox's comments put it front and center. It is this -- Mexican men and women do not cross the border illegally to take jobs that "not even blacks want to do in the United States" because they are full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work, they do it because Mexico has failed them.

Great point. Much of that has to do with a historically corrupt political system that made leaders totally unaccountable to the general public, but the willingness of the US and other nations to allow that continue didn't help either.

5/28/2005 10:54 AM  

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