Ruminations March 23, 2014
Immigration reform – moving in the right direction
***For years now, Mexico has been blaming the United States for the U.S.’s immigration problem – and the amazing thing is that most Americans believe them. But the problem is not America’s immigration problem, it’s Mexico’s emigration problem.
Bear with me on a simple exercise, if you will. Suppose that:
1. When you emigrate, you leave behind your hometown, culture, relatives and friends.
2. In order to emigrate, you might have to pay an illegal operator almost a year’s wages.
3. It is often so difficult to emigrate that to do so you risk death.
4. You don’t speak the language of the country you are emigrating to.
5. If officials of the destination country catch you, they will send you back home.
6. You will receive no health care in the destination country.
7. You will be paid substandard wages.
8. This risk of being a victim of a crime is high – and if you are a victim, you don’t report it to the authorities for fear of deportation.
9. You can neither vote nor have any say on governance in the destination country.
Why on earth would you leave your old country?
1. The country you are emigrating from is home to some of the richest people on earth.
2. The country you are leaving has vast petroleum, natural gas and uranium resources.
3. The country you are leaving has a Gross Domestic Product of over $1.2 trillion.
4. The country you are leaving has a GDP growth rate of 3.9 percent.
5. The country you are leaving has vast agricultural lands.
6. The country you are leaving has a growing youthful population.
Why on earth would you leave your old country? Government policies, perhaps? The Mexican government has a corporatist/fascist economic system which has contributed to the low economic status of its people.
Mexico’s unemployment/underemployment rate is over 32 percent with 40 percent living below the Mexican poverty line. To alleviate the situation Mexico has exported its unemployment problem to the United States. If all the Mexicans illegally in the United States were to return to Mexico, its unemployment/underemployment rate could hit 50 percent.
Well then, the question should be: Why wouldn’t you leave Mexico?
The great hope. In 2012, Enrique Peña Nieto took office as president of Mexico. And so began a series of constitutional reforms in energy, education and telecommunications. Peña talks of markets and growth and has the North American Free Trade Act behind him. Things look promising. But, as the Wall Street Journal’s Latin American columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady put it, “old habits die hard.”
Crime is rampant in Mexico – almost a shadow government. The crime lords collect their own taxes and mete out punishment to those who don’t pay. They are responsible for some $17 billion in drug money coming into Mexico from the U.S. Some international companies who have built new plants in Mexico to take advantage of NAFTA are considering pulling out due to the crime scene.
Moreover, if Mexico does succeed in fixing its economy and retaining its citizens, it will have to make up the $25 billion in remittances that illegal aliens send home every year.
Although Mexico underwent a currency crisis just 20 years ago Peña has a new budget that increases spending by 8.8 percent – and that is worrisome.
Nonetheless, Peña is headed in the right direction and is, perhaps, doing more to solve the United States immigration problem than are U.S. politicians.
Quote without Comment
Clifford Gaddy of the Brookings Institution think tank, in an interview with Der Spiegel, March 15, 2014: “For [Putin] the key development of the last year is not NATO moving forward. It's the role of the EU. Putin is convinced that the EU is acting as a political arm of NATO. The Association Agreement, in its essence the idea of requiring Ukraine to choose between Russia or the EU, was a mistake. Putin saw that as a threat to his Eurasian Union, as an attempt to undermine his economy.”