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VIEWPOINT: MEXICANS SHOULD BE OUTRAGED WITH MEXICO By Scott Bennett Print E-mail
by Scott Bennett    Wed, Jan 11, 2006, 12:46 PM

The President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, is “outraged.” So, for that matter, are all Mexican politicians along with most central American politicians and more than a few from Brazil. They are right to be outraged. The fact that millions of their people are risking their lives to flee their Mexican (and other Latin) homeland to seek economic refuge in the United States indicates a failure of the Mexican state so complete that every Mexican should be outraged.

Unfortunately, President Fox et al are outraged because the United States Congress has suddenly decided to take some action to stop the flow of Mexicans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans and even Brazilians into the US. They are outraged the US would dare suggest individuals entering the US illegally should be considered criminals. They are outraged the US is planning to build 700 miles of what they call “moral equivalents to the Berlin Wall.” At least that is what they claim.

What they are really outraged about is that they may not be able to export their hardest working most enterprising citizens who are of course the people most likely to rise in revolt one day. They are outraged their expatriates might stop sending home billions of gringo dollars to prop up their corrupt and inefficient governments. They are outraged that millions of poor Mexicans might have to look to their own country for jobs and succor instead of the Norte Americano. They are also doubtless outraged they have to look stupid comparing walls intended to keep people out with a wall where people were daily shot to keep people in.

Let them choke on their outrage.

But before the Norte Americanos begin to organize a mass roundup of illegal immigrants they would do well to see the movie “A Day without a Mexican.” Ever wonder what the US would be if Latinos vanished? It isn’t pretty. The fact is that Mexico’s loss is largely America’s gain. Like the English, Scots-Irish, Germans, Italians, Irish, Lebanese, Jews and dozens of other willing immigrants (blacks weren’t “willing”) these are people who have come to work and who fill niches in our economy that insufficient numbers of US Citizens are willing to fill.

This isn’t about cheap labor. It is about any labor for dozens industries, including domestic help for individual families. There is every reason to believe the new immigrants are following in the footsteps of their predecessors: learn English, work hard, and build better lives for themselves and their families.

True, immigrants come at a cost disproportionately felt in different areas. Immigrants place a burden on social services in areas where they are most concentrated. Living largely outside the law they live outside mainstream society and are ready victims of crime – and therefore attract criminals. This calls for government action to provide relief for local taxpayers carrying undue burdens and a government program to provide immigrants a legal avenue to participate in the US economy. There is a mutual need that is overwhelming and the failure of the Congress to address it is indeed outrageous.

But as Teddy Roosevelt once said it is not the value of immigrant labor that counts but the capacity for citizenship. The failure of the Mexican State might well give pause. But every single other immigrant group came here because their homelands failed them too. Once freed of the old they prospered within a few generations in the new. The Mexicans will be no different.

But none of this argues against a wall. If millions of hardworking God fearing people can make it across the border illegally so can a handful of terrorists and drug dealers. The Norte Americano has every right and reason to control their border and if walls do the trick let the officials of the Latin South hang their collective heads in shame that their people are fleeing them and must be stopped by walls. The Norte Americano also has every reason to control the total number of people entering their country. The nation can only absorb so many people in any given period of time. The number of immigrants must be determined by our needs not those of foreign politicians or domestic immigration lawyers hungry for clients.

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