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The Mexican Standoff - More Than Just a Border Issue
Probably the most controversial of George Bush Jr's policies are those surrounding immigration and the relationship between the USA and Mexico. Curiously, support for these policies is split among the normal party lines in the US. The reasons why are not so much a mystery when we look only a little bit deeper at the situation.
It is no great secret that the primary political powers in Mexico have been and remain philosophically adversarial to the United States. When the "Red Menace" threatened the US around the turn of the 20th century, Mexico openly courted many Communist leaders. Leon Trotsky, facing threats on his life from rivals within the Communist party had taken refuge in Mexico, where he was eventually murdered by NKVD agents with the aid of Mexican communists. When Adolph Hitler came to power in the 1930s, Mexico was ready with an alliance if and when the axis powers had consolidated control of Europe and were ready to conquer the new world. Fidel Castro, the anti American firebrand of Latin America, was educated in Mexico. Against that backdrop, we have a Mexican military that has openly participated in the drug trade, the vast majority of that nation's wealth concentrated with less than 5% of the population, onerous gun control laws, and a legal system that is consistent only in its hatred of US citizens.
Probably the most common victims of the current situation in Mexico are those who live and work in the US and then travel back to Mexico, and those families with close ties on both sides of the border. Most citizens of "free" countries can simply obtain a passport in their home country and then travel to the USA for whatever reason they want. In Mexico, this seems a bit more difficult, if nothing else by the financial barriers put up to keep the majority down in the slums. This usually means payment of exorbitant sums of money being given to loosely organized smuggling cartels to secure transport across the border regions with the US, often acting as defacto human shields for illegal narcotics shipments. All of the Mexican elites who run these cartels in that upper 5% of the Mexican wealthy who effectively control about 90% of the economy there, and are gaining increasing influence in the US through property acquisitions and political involvement.
This political involvement stretches across both major US political parties on different issues, largely because the major US political parties have so much philosophical inconsistency in their policies. Worst of all are the extremists on the "right" and "left" who advocate irrational policies - often in reaction to their political opponent's irrational assertions. What is stuck somewhere on the outside is a fairly well thought out set of policies that the current administration is attempting to enact. If we look at these policies piece by piece, we begin to see the pattern.
George Bush and Vicente Fox have negotiated for the right of Mexican citizens in the US to vote in Mexican elections. Obviously, these election locations would be monitored by local police in most areas of the US and have considerably less of the fraud, bullying, threats, intimidation, or outright beatings commonly found in Mexican elections. We would also note that while Mexican politicians travel and campaign in the US, their campaign messages can be transmitted on various US and Mexican news networks with less of a likelihood of the attendant bombing and assassinations you see during Mexican elections. The only other way to ensure that level of security in Mexican elections would be to have a massive military effort and all of the attendant baggage that entails. We see this in the first open elections in Iraq where about the only thing the political factions agree on is their resentment of a US presence. Only in this instance, the proximity of the US and Mexico is unavoidable. Most importantly, the policies of both countries are also inseparable in their effect.
Most Republicans do not understand this program of facilitating Mexican voting inside the US, but this is borne primarily out of ignorance. Nearly all Americans living or working abroad have the right to vote in absentia in national elections, and most can vote using mail-in ballots in local elections. This is not a right commonly enjoyed my Mexicans. Moreover, very few totalitarian or corrupt regimes would have any interest in the voting interests of their exiled populations. The Democratic Party in the USA has its interests at heart in registering new US voters and calling them "immigrants" instead of Mexican Citizens residing or working in the USA. Thus, even the language of referring to someone as an "immigrant", "migrant" or simply "traveling for work" plays into the political scheme. Understand that progress is going to be achieved with both more fair elections in Mexico and a more stable legal and border situation in the US which drains financial resources from the criminal gangs that work the border. It is argued that the narcotics business alone will not support the smuggling rings, and without their defacto human shields being facilitated by ill conceived immigration policies, crime on both sides of the border will decrease dramatically.
The identification of migrants and immigrants has to be a major part of this solution, and that means the attendant amnesty for those who are inside the US: provided they actually do go through the amnesty and identification process. What is left over are the criminals, who prefer to anonymously and secretly cross the border to commit crimes in the US and then slip back into the safety of Mexico where they are unlikely to face any arrest or punishment for crimes, including murder, committed in the US. This defacto amnesty given to Mexican criminals who commit crimes in the US is a real problem for people who live in the US. In fact, it is often argued that many of these criminals focus on committing crimes against those in the US of Mexican heritage, often targeting victims whom they are familiar with. This includes vast criminal networks that engage in murder for hire, extortion, theft, kidnapping and the frighteningly common home invasion robberies where the robbers impersonate law enforcement personnel. In many (if not most) cases, the victims are afraid to go to the authorities in the US because doing so could expose them to deportation. If this pool of preferred victims no longer has the fear of deportation when reporting crimes, often knowing the perpetrators quite well, we can begin a comprehensive and meaningful crackdown on the Mexican Mafias within the US. Those habitual criminals who might escape one or two rounds of amnesties and identification checks will then find a much smaller pond of otherwise righteous but illegal immigrants to swim in.
One can only look with curiosity at the Chicano left and Democrat reaction to this. They constantly fight to gut the funding of the border patrol, punish and restrict crime victims who protect themselves by force, and worst of all, institute educational programs which put increasing divisions between Spanish and English speaking students. The anti-American views of the liberal left are not lost on the California Legislature, which commonly invites speakers to go on about "La Raza" and "Reconquista" and celebrate Cinco De Mayo, while scoffing at the notion of hosting US war veterans or even former POWs in fourth of July celebrations.
The far right has been predictably reactionary, with the response being directed to blatant attacks on the white race by self appointed spokesmen of this Democrat/Mexican alliance. Thus, racism begets racism in this carefully orchestrated Hegelian play which was engineered to misdirect the real issues from the beginning.
The border militias which have formed in the US as a response to lawlessness and crime on the borders, are under constant scrutiny and political attack from nearly all sides on the issue. While it is undeniable that some participants have joined these border militias out of racially identified motives, it is difficult to separate this from the constant race baiting done by the self appointed spokesmen and apologists for "La Raza" and the crime waves that hit the southwestern US in conjunction with the relative tolerance, if not encouragement shown to Mexican criminals who victimize non-Mexicans along the border. It is one thing to understand acts of desperation, but entirely another to actually expect US residents of the border areas to submit to the will of those who demonstrate contempt for basic rights. Many if not most of the border militias were formed by victims of robberies, kidnappings and assaults.
Not so curiously, the border militias find themselves faced with constant death threats from various political opponents. In other cases, they claim to have actually been shot at by not only elements of the various smuggling cartels, but my Mexican military forces. The openly stated reasons for this include the perceived threats to Mexican citizens and migrant workers. While this argument may hold validity in the absence of current administration policies, it becomes more spurious when we consider the current relevant facts:
1 Most immigrants and migrants can enter the United States with little hassle. Those with the biggest reason to want to enter or remain in the US secretly (as opposed to applying for amnesty) are those who are either wanted for crimes in the US, or had previously been deported for criminal activity and face stiff prison sentences if they return.
2 Most citizens of Mexico can obtain valid identification from just about any Mexican consulate. Other Latin American countries are offering the same services to their citizens. This allows for driving privileges and licenses to be issued in most US states. Given the ease which which this can be legally obtained, there is little excuse for the continued use of US roads and endangerment of the public by illegal and uninsured foreign drivers.
3 The border militia groups contain their activities to private property, although they are constantly monitored by authorities from several jurisdictions. It is also assumed that most of the groups have undercover operatives working inside them. They have also frequently invited media coverage of their activities. While they are usually armed while conducting patrols on private property, this is a right enjoyed by most property owners in most parts of the US.
4. Those with the loudest voices in opposition to any border law enforcement are strangely silent with regards to commentary about Mexican military activities in the border regions, including numerous reports of shootings and kidnappings by persons believed to be in the Mexican Army, although the Mexican authorities have been largely resistant to any media coverage of any type. It remains a high crime in Mexico under most circumstances to even photograph Mexican military personnel.
With this in mind, I find it is necessary for Americans of true conscience to support both the immigration reforms of George Bush, and to support the border militias who are doing what the government should be doing. It becomes blatantly obvious that the resources for border security are being restricted at every turn by the political interests of the Mexican criminal elite hiding behind the mantra of protection of "immigrants".
There remains no consistent US foreign policy with Mexico that supports the establishment and maintenance of a true Jeffersonian Republic. Democrat party policies in general seem engineered to facilitate wealth transfer from Americans and especially the "white male dominated business society" while Republican party policies seem primarily focused on making cheap labor available to business and criminalizing as many people as possible to provide clients for constituents in the prison guard unions. The foreign policy goals with the greatest clarity involve law enforcement matters most closely related to the war on drugs, and it's related war on private gun ownership. Neither of which meet full constitutional examination without considerable legal logic twisting that tolerates virtual slavery, criminalizes the possession and transport of basic native plants, medicines, and means of self protection. A quick review of these treaties and policies reveals (among other things):
1. Protection of the obscene profit margins of pharmaceutical companies in the US. Advocates of intellectual property rights will be quick to assert that the producers of a product have the "right" to set their own prices and reap just rewards for their efforts in research and development, but they conveniently forget to mention that huge amounts of that research and development are facilitated by public grants, non-profit hospitals, public insurance funds, and numerous laws engineered to keep smaller, more competitive research firms from conducting meaningful research and development of sometimes controversial drugs and treatments. Extensive lobbying stretches across all major political factions in the US, while both US and Mexican citizen suffer from lack of affordable medications, health care, and the opportunity to provide health services at competitive rates. As long as laws and enforcement regulating pharmaceutical drugs are intertwined with policies dealing with street level crime and narcotics abuse, we will continue to see the tit for tat abuse of both US and Mexican citizens by their respective legal systems.
2. Refusal to acknowledge basic constitutional rights, or to export the ideals of the American revolution. The US has long tolerated and encouraged foreign countries with corrupt, restrictive and inconsistent gun control laws which most often serve as a means of repression rather than security. This obvious and blatant betrayal of the ideals of the Bill of Rights is evident to anyone who compares US foreign policy on these matters to the actual writings of the founding fathers. The US Supreme court, in a misguided attempt at giving a peace offering to the Mexican courts has regarded weapons related convictions under Mexican law to carry full weight in US courts against US citizens. This absurdity having been upheld in denying legal gun ownership to a Texas man who inadvertently had a few shotgun shells in his truck when he was stopped on a short trip through a Mexican border town. That incident resulted in a "felony" conviction under Mexican law - law that recognizes the "right" of masked gunmen hired by local drug warlords to act with impunity as long as those gunmen work or have worked at least part time for the Mexican government. US foreign policy must include a consistent and reasonable inclusion of the individual right to keep and bear arms as a component of true democratic political reform in developing nations.
3. The irrational and unreasonable interpretation of environmental activists targeting US owned companies while ignoring the environmental damage caused by Mexican and other foreign firms operating in Mexico yet primarily deriving their profits from the US economy need to be realistically addressed.
4. Extradition for crimes against the the US and Mexican governments is constantly on the negotiating table, yet the border remains an omnipresent and insurmountable barrier for victims of personal crimes to seek redress in US civil courts. Mexican authorities routinely hold US citizens for virtual ransom when Mexicans see fit to say a US citizen must answer in their civil courts for a business deal that has not gone as they see fit, yet Mexicans routinely use the border to avoid responsibility in matters as common as traffic accidents caused by drunken and negligent driving. This even includes cases of vehicular manslaughter, where a drunken and negligent Mexican driver knows that fleeing to Mexico means avoidance of responsibility, furthermore, it also entails immunity for Mexican insurance companies and their government which has a close hand in Mexican insurance services.
The Libertarian perspective on the border issue can be consistent and realistic while passing Constitutional Muster.
First, the borders must be made secure, at least through monitoring. Volunteer border monitoring groups should be given at least many, if not most of the rights they now enjoy on private property as long as they don't engage in confrontations with those they suspect of illegal activity. This restriction should not include the absurd prohibition against self defense when shot at by criminals or Mexican soldiers. It is realistic for both US and Mexican border authorities and watch groups to honestly and accurately report their activities on the border within a timely basis. Under no circumstances should there be any tolerance of the secret massing of armed forces on either side in the border region.
Libertarians and Patriots must support President Bush's Mexican voter initiatives and there should be no resistance to the registration of Mexican voters residing in the United States. Furthermore, travel to the United States from Mexico during Mexican elections, for the purpose of voting, should be allowed and encouraged. In addition to Mexicans "abroad" being treated as a separate state entity within the Mexican parliament, Mexicans traveling or residing in the US should retain the option of voting in their own home regional elections should the chose to do so. Thus a genuine respect for Mexican Patriotism through Mexican voting should be celebrated, not condemned.
An amnesty for productive foreign citizens living and working in the United States is right and appropriate in light of Constitutional guarantees of liberty and freedom. Likewise, the responsibilities of such individuals under American laws needs to have a functional and realistic means of enforcement. This is impossible with large populations of undocumented aliens, yet is within reach under an accurate but unobtrusive identification system which can easily be used to discriminated criminal illegals from migrants and immigrants.
Mexico as a nation must be forced to accept some responsibility for the criminals it exports to the United States and must take realistic and responsible steps of reform within its armed forces and police. Mexico must also be forced to accept and guarantee basic human rights for its own citizens and visiting peoples. The US State Department must take a more active role in securing the release and amnesty of those who have been wrongfully convicted or imprisoned in the Mexican legal system, and those who have been convicted under laws that clearly violate those rights granted by the US Constitution.
Extortion, bullying and intimidation of Mexicans and Chicanos living and working in the United States needs to stop. There is a massive class issue within Mexico which needs to be addressed, basically surrounding their virtually untaxed, corrupt and often extravagant upper class and the fact that it is the hardest working Mexicans who are providing the most money for the Mexican economy yet getting the least representation in their government. No small part of this is in the expected monies sent by Mexican workers in the US to their families in Mexico which in turn gets skimmed by various criminal elements. Likewise, the Mexican wealthy must not continue to use the US taxpayers for carrying the burden of caring for Mexico's poor. What's worse, is their lack of care for either social or physical infrastructure development within the Mexican economy hurts all of the Americas as China's far more progressive infrastructure investments cause Asia to be a superior competitor on the world markets.