Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Mexican government is not a friend

But we're Mexico's best friend. Remittances to Mexico are now that country's number one source of external revenue ($17 billion in 2004), even surpassing dollars generated from oil exports. The Mexican government has lobbied hard to get US banks to accept matricula consular cards, which are issued by Mexico to Mexican nationals living outside the home country (inside the US, in other words). Over 200 US banks honor the cards, even though they are illegal substitutes for legitimate social security or green cards.

So, Mexico helps banks set up accounts for criminals so these illegals can easily wire money south of the border. Even though such activity is clearly illegal, its practice is widespread:

LILIANA SALAS-GRIP, WELLS FARGO: "We are not in the business of immigration. We don't question any customer, Latin, American, or any other customer that comes into our financial institution in their legal or illegal status..."

But there are clear laws on the books for the integrity of the immigration system. United States criminal code, "It is a crime punishable by 10 years in jail for aiding and abetting someone in this country illegally for commercial gain." And the Bank Secrecy Act of 1972 makes it clear banks must know their customer, and any illegal activity must be reported to the government.
The Mexican migrants who come to the US are below the national average by several measures: Have an average educational attainment equivalent to the eighth grade, are three times as likely not to have a high school diploma and only one-eighth (four generations in they are still only about one-fifth) as likely to pursue secondary education as natives, illegal immigrants (primarily but not exclusively Mexican) comprise around a quarter of the US prison population but only a tenth of the total population, use welfare services at a rate as much as 50% higher than natives (p9), and are an astounding 250% more likely to fall below the poverty threshold than natives.

Think about how great a deal this is for Vicente Fox. He attenuates the problem caused by his impoverished and unemployed by shipping them out of the country. Then, his economy gets injected with $17 billion without having to give anything up. Mexico parasitically exports her social problems and we pay her for them. Sort of like the old privateers--send your criminals out of the country to go plunder other countries on your behalf.

Indeed the Mexican government is aware of how lucrative this trade is:
The Mexican government publishes and distributes a comic book-style guide on breaching the border safely and evading detection once in the U.S.
That cultured country of unrivaled probity makes some fine comic strips for sure (scroll down a bit)! Meanwhile, in my home state, illegal immigrants pay only a fourth of what my pals from Missouri fork over to attend KU. To insure that American culture does not make Mexicans forget the culture of their great golden race, the Mexican government actively pushes for Mexican history and culture to be taught in largely Hispanic areas within the US:
Since 1990, Mexico has supported a number of initiatives to import Mexican culture into the U.S. For one thing, each of Mexico's 47 consulates in the U.S. has a mandate to introduce Mexican textbooks into schools that have a sizeable Hispanic population.
Ironically, however, Mexico has an entirely different opinion on immigration policy when she's on the receiving end:

Mexico’s own immigration policies are the exact opposite of what it relentlessly advocates in the United States. Its entry permits favor scientists, technicians, teachers of underrepresented disciplines, and others likely to contribute to “national progress.” Immigrants may only enter through established ports and at designated times. Anyone not presenting the proper documentation and health certificates won’t get in; the transportation company that brought him must pay his return costs. Foreigners who do not “strictly comply” with the entry conditions will face deportation. Steve Royster, who worked in the American consulate in Mexico from 1999 to 2001, presided over several deportations of Americans who had overstayed their visas. “They were given a choice: accept deportation or go to jail,” he says.

Providing full college tuition or all-expenses-paid secondary and primary education for illegal American students in Mexico? Unthinkable. Until recently, U.S.-born children of Mexican parents weren’t even allowed to enroll in Mexican public schools, reserved for Mexican citizens only. The parents would have to bribe officials for Mexican birth certificates for their kids. (The 1998 change in the Mexican constitution to allow dual nationality now makes enrollment by U.S.-born Mexicans possible.) “We’re not friendly with immigrants; that’s a big difference with the speech we have here with American schools,” admits a Mexican diplomat.

Those caciques must think we're absolute morons. Could we possibly be played for fools any worse than we currently are being played? We bend over backwards to help a corrupt country (more than 30% of Mexican households report that they have paid at least one bribe in the last year) that would never do the same for us.

When I say "we", of course, I'm not including big business that exploits the cheap labor (Republicans) or leftist politicians who love manufacturing more votes (Democrats). I'm talking about you, the net taxpayer--the one who subsidizes unskilled immigrants. The costs illegal immigration thrusts upon the US are staggering--somewhere in the range of $11 to $22 billion annually. And this number would be even higher--around $29 billion--if amnesty was granted to all illegals (as these illegals would instantly become eligible for a wider array of government services). While an illegal pays $4,200 on average in taxes per year, with two kids in school requiring ESL he is receiving $25,000 from the net taxpayer. Then there's medical services, pollution, police and fire use, infrastructure wear, linguistic translation costs, ad infititum.

It's time for President Bush to put his money where his mouth is. Importing an obsequious foreign servant to replace a rowdy domestic one does not get rid of the latter--it just gives you a new member of the underclass. We need a barrier and a thundering crackdown on the flow of indigent hordes into the US that depress wages, increase crime, bring in disease, stress our infrastructure, increase the size of our underclass, and threaten our national security. The economy of the future, unlike the one of our forefathers, has little need for menial labor. And in the words of Milton Friedman, "It's just obvious that you can't have free immigration and a welfare state."


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