So perhaps you’ve heard the story of evil America trying to enact a draconian immigration policy towards Mexico. It’s the policy that does things like:
- be able to confirm people are here legally if they do things like, say…look exactly like a Mexican citizen and speaking zero English…in a border state…hanging out in a known day-worker area.
[ not sure why that's suspicious... ]
- make sure they’re here legally before they can work
- be allowed to deport people who are here illegally
…you know…pure evil stuff.
[ let's ignore that Canada, the U.K, France, South Korea, Switzerland, Germany, China, Spain, and pretty much every other semi-modern country in the world also deport people for being there illegally. ]
Anyway, a necessary part of that story is painting the Mexicans and their government as the good guys. They’re the open-minded, open-hearted, good-natured people who just want an opportunity, right?
Then why do they deny that same opportunity to their southern neighbors? Mexico’s immigration laws make ours look like the entrance restrictions on open-mic night. Here are a few key points right from their own official immigration policy [PDF]. Just as a spoiler, their policy is oriented around one central concept: a policy that’s good for Mexico–not for those trying to come there.
And what’s wrong with that?
Article 3, section VII
Subject the immigration of foreigners to the methods it deems relevant, and to achieve the best assimilation of these [immigrants] to the national environment and their adequate distribution in [Mexican] territory.” [Sujetar la inmigración de extranjeros a las modalidades que juzgue pertinentes, y procurar la mejor asimilación de éstos al medio nacional y su adecuada distribución en el territorio.]
Ok, so that’s making sure immigrants are assimilated and distributed (so they become Mexicans instead of building up identity-pools of their previous culture). Elitist. Condescending. Assuming their culture is better.
“The Interior Department will establish, subject to the corresponding demographic studies, the number of foreigners whose entrance to the country may be permitted, whether by activities or zone of residence, and will subject to the methods that it deems relevant the immigration of foreigners, according to their possibilities of contributing to the national progress.” [Artículo 32.- La Secretaría de Gobernación fijará, previos los estudios demográficos correspondientes, el número de extranjeros cuya internación podrá permitirse al país, ya sea por actividades o por zonas de residencia, y sujetará a las modalidades que juzgue pertinentes, la inmigración de extranjeros, según sean sus posibilidades de contribuir al progreso nacional.]
So, based on studies of who’s in the country, they want to determine who can come to the country based on what they can contribute. Classist. Elitist. Not respectful of hardworking Salvadorans.
The Department of the Interior may establish for the foreigners who enter Mexico the conditions that it deems appropriate with respect to the activities to which they will engage in and the place or places of their residence. It will take care thusly that the immigrants shall be useful elements for the country and that they will have the necessary income levels for their subsistence… and of the persons who are under their economic dependence.” [Artículo 34.- La Secretaría de Gobernación podrá fijar a los extranjeros que se internen en el país las condiciones que estime convenientes respecto a las actividades a que habrán de dedicarse y al lugar o lugares de su residencia. Cuidará asimismo de que los inmigrantes sean elementos útiles para el país y de que cuenten con los ingresos necesarios para su subsistencia y en su caso, la de las personas que estén bajo su dependencia económica.]
What? The government has the audacity to claim that THEY can make a judgement of who’s useful elements for the country? And that they can support themselves AND their kids? I have only one word for this: Racist.
[ note: racism actually doesn't apply, it's just the best way to win an argument. ]
Oh, and here are the reasons Mexico can deny you entry into the country:
When there is no reciprocity with the receiving country’s immigration policy.
That’s too funny. Try going to Mexico as an American and getting a job without going through the extensive, multi-year process. You will be denied and deported.
When the national demographic equilibrium demands it.
[ Legal immigration to the U.S. increased from 250,000 in the 1930s, 2.5 million in the 1950s, 4.5 million in the 1970s, and 7.3 million in the 1980s to about 10 million in the 1990s. Since 2000, legal immigrants to the United States number approximately 1,000,000 per year, of whom about 600,000 are Change of Status immigrants who already are in the U.S. Legal immigrants to the United States now are at their highest level ever at over 37,000,000 legal immigrants. Illegal immigration may be as high as 1,500,000 per year with a net of at least 700,000 illegal immigrants arriving each year to join the 12,000,000 to 20,000,000 that are already there. (Pew Hispanic Data Estimates ) Immigration led to a 57.4% increase in foreign born population from 1990 to 2000. — Wikipedia ]
Wait. So that means if there are too many non-Mexicans in Mexico already, they reserve the right to deny you entry just for being non-Mexican? I think they just hate Guatamalans. See racism.
When it is considered harmful to the economic interests of Mexicans.
When the immigrant has broken Mexican law or laws in other places.
[ According to an April 7th, 2005 General Accounting Office (GAO) study entitled, “Information on Criminal Aliens Incarcerated in Federal and State Prisons and Local Jails” [Report # GAO-05-337R] prepared for the Congressional Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims: “27% of the total population in all U.S. prison systems (including city, county, state and federal) is composed of criminal aliens.”
Oh, and here’s CNN’s Wolf Blitzer grilling President Calderon of Mexico about Mexican immigration policy:
BLITZER: All right. Let’s talk a little bit about Mexico’s laws. I read an article in “The Washington Times” the other day. I’m going to read a paragraph to you and you tell me if this is true or not true. This is from “The Washington Times”: “Under the Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. Immigrants who are deported and attempt to reenter can be imprisoned for 10 years. Visa violators can be sentenced to six year terms. Mexicans who help illegal immigrants are considered criminals.”
Is that true?
CALDERON: It was true, but it is not anymore. We derogate or we erased that part of the law. Actually, the legal immigration is not a — is not a crime in Mexico. Not anymore, since one year ago. And that is the reason why we are trying to establish our own comprehensive public policy talking about, for instance, immigrants coming from Central America…
BLITZER: So if…
CALDERON: — (INAUDIBLE).
BLITZER: So if people want to come from Guatemala or Honduras or El Salvador or Nicaragua, they want to just come into Mexico, they can just walk in?
CALDERON: No. They need to fulfill a form. They need to establish their right name. We analyze if they have not a criminal precedent. And they coming into Mexico. Actually…
BLITZER: Do Mexican police go around asking for papers of people they suspect are illegal immigrants?
CALDERON: Of course. Of course, in the border, we are asking the people, who are you?
And if they explain…
BLITZER: At the border, I understand, when they come in.
BLITZER: But once they’re in…
CALDERON: But not — but not in — if — once they are inside the — inside the country, what the Mexican police do is, of course, enforce the law. But by any means, immigration is a crime anymore in Mexico.
BLITZER: Immigration is not a crime, you’re saying?
CALDERON: It’s not a crime.
BLITZER: So in other words, if somebody sneaks in from Nicaragua or some other country in Central America, through the southern border of Mexico, they wind up in Mexico, they can go get a job…
CALDERON: No, no.
BLITZER: They can work.
CALDERON: If — if somebody do that without permission, we send back — we send back them.
BLITZER: You find them and you send them back?
CALDERON: Yes. However, especially with the people of Guatemala, we are providing a new system in which any single citizen from Guatemala could be able to visit any single border (INAUDIBLE) in the south. And even with all the requirements, he can or she can visit any parts of Mexico.
BLITZER: I ask the questions because there’s an argument that people in Arizona and New Mexico and — and Texas, they say they’re only trying to do in their states what Mexico itself does in the southern part of Mexico.
CALDERON: I know. And that is a very powerful argument. But that is one of the reasons why we are trying to change our policy.
And let me be frank, Wolf. In the past, Mexican authorities were in a — in a — in an unfortunate way in the treatment for immigrants. But now we are changing the policy. We changed already the law. And that is different today. We are trying to write a new story, talking about immigrants, especially coming from Central American countries.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
So basically, Mexico is trying to back-step at this point because they realize how bad they look. But even with their supposedly adjusted policy, right from the President’s mouth, immigrants still can’t work without papers, and if they get caught they get deported (and often robbed first).
The whole debate is a joke. Forget all the talk of stopping immigration; there’s nothing wrong with the concept; you just have to control its form and rate. You can’t have a cohesive, functioning country by letting anyone in–whenever they want to come–without vetting and documentation. Assimilation matters. Mexico, along with the rest of the world, knows this. And so should we.
We’ve taken more Mexican citizens in the last two decades than we have taken from Europe during the country’s entire history. It’s just too many people. We need time to absorb those who are here legally, just like the gap in immigration we had going from the 20′s to the 60′s. That’s an entire 40-year block of time for assimilation.
We just need another one. ::