Here's a link to an account (The Washington Times, Aug. 13) of how the Fox regime intends to seal Mexico's southern border against illegal immigrants from Central America. I can't help excerpting some of the more amusingly ironic parts:
Mexican authorities deported 150,000 Central Americans last year and another 100,000 during the first six months of 2001, with a notable increase in the number of Salvadorans prompted by major earthquakes in January. The head of the Mexican migration service, Felipe de Jesus Preciado, said in an interview that he expected the numbers to rise dramatically with the implementation of Plan Sur, particularly when the purge of corrupt elements begins to take root.
Mr. Preciado said the motive for the southern crackdown was a desire to deal with the problems created by penniless migrants flowing north along routes also used by drug traffickers and gun runners. "The flow of Central American migrants north is a national security problem for Mexico. It wouldn't be such a big problem if they were getting through to the U.S., but they get stuck and they hang around in the frontier cities making trouble, sleeping in the streets with no money," he said.
It is an argument that fails to satisfy migrants' rights groups, who have lambasted Plan Sur as hypocritical, inhumane and misguided. "The government's search for concessions for Mexican workers has gone hand in hand with a tightening of the southern frontier," said Blanca Villasenor of the Mexico-based group Sin Fronteras (Without Borders). "In the south, the Mexican authorities are now repeating the same discourse as the United States." …
"Every day, we are seeing the Mexican police getting more rigid and pushing people to take more risky routes, and this goes hand in hand with increases in abuses," said Walter Arriaga from Casa Migrante, a church-run support group in the Guatemalan border city of Tecun Uman. "We will bring down the death toll," Mr. Preciado said, referring primarily to the widespread assaults against vulnerable migrants in the south. "But if someone drowns in some river because there is no other route, what can we do?"
This got me to thinking about a novel solution for our immigration problems and for President Fox's domestic problems.
Fox seems a fine fellow, one who might actually believe the Tony Blair Third Way rhetoric he espouses. (Oh, you've read on the Wall Street Journal editorial page that Fox is a conservative free marketeer? Well, the WSJ's record on judging Mexican Presidents is a little spotty. Dow-Jones put the depraved former President Carlos Salinas on their Board of Directors just before he had to flee to Ireland to avoid being lynched by his erstwhile subjects. Fox told Britain's Daily Telegraph he saw himself as "center-left," and stated, "I would more take Tony Blair's philosophy of the Third Way than the neo-liberal conservative position of Thatcher.")
Yet, by most accounts, Fox has made little progress toward solving the fundamental problems that have plagued Mexico for the last 480 years.
Eight months into the Fox era, the Indians in Chiapas remain in revolt. He can't finance education and welfare programs because the white upper class continues to cheat massively on their income tax obligations. Mexico is in recession and won't come close to creating the new jobs it needs to provide work to its rapidly growing populations.
Not surprisingly, with the home front so dire, Fox and his Foreign Minister Jorge G. Castañeda have found it far more enjoyable to spend much time in America shaking down the U.S. government for benefits for Mexicans.
According to Castañeda, Fox's goal is to turn NAFTA into the European Union. What he especially wants are the big subsidies from America and Canada of the kind Germany and France paid to poorer countries like Spain. Castañeda told the LA Times (8/12/2001), "Somebody else has to build our highways."
Currently, residents of the US send about $7 or 8 billion per year back to Mexico as remittances. This is a huge amount to Fox. To us, it is chump change, relative to the costs imposed on America by Mexican illegal immigration.
The man needs money. America has money. Let's make a deal.
Mexico needs help if it's ever to be a good neighbor to the U.S. Our political establishment's plan for helping Mexico is to take even more unemployed Mexicans off Fox's hands. The moral problem with this plan, among others, is that most of the burden of helping Mexico this way falls on those Americans least able to afford it.
A better solution would be to put more of the burden of helping Mexico on American taxpayers. The progressive income tax means that the costs would fall more on the right half of the American bell curve, who can afford it, rather than on the left half.
We should demand that Fox use his military to police his northern border regions against Mexicans trying to illegally enter America as vigorously as he's doing on his southern border. In return for quantified cuts in illegal immigration from Mexico, we would offer a Marshall Plan-type arrangement to help Mexicans stay in Mexico. For example, we could offer Fox $4 for every $1 that private remittances from Mexicans resident in the US decline. So, if Fox helped cut the number of Mexican illegals in the US by enough that the amount of money wired home fell from $7 billion to $4 billion per year, we'd give him $12 billion. To us, that's a pittance to pay annually to help solve a pressing social problem.
In the past, of course, a Marshall Plan for Mexico would simply have been stolen. Perhaps it still would be, but certainly the honesty level in Mexico is getting higher now that politics have become more competitive. Anyway, even if Mr. Fox wants Mexico's Marshall Plan money deposited in raw diamonds in a Swiss bank account, we'd still benefit from his aid in reducing illegal crossings.
September 03, 2001