bureaucracybusters

TO HYPOCRISY–AND BEYOND

In History, Law, Politics on May 20, 2010 at 11:47 pm

On May 20, 2010, Mexico’s then-President Felipe Calderon addressed a joint session of the United States Congress–and attacked the Arizona law that allows law enforcement officials to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

Felipe Calderon

According to Calderon, the law “introduces a terrible idea: using racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement.”

The hypocrisy of Calderon’s words is staggering. Racial profiling? Consider the popular Latino phrase, “La Raza.”

This literally means “the race” or “the people.” Its meaning varies among Spanish-speaking peoples. In the United States, it’s sometimes used to describe people of Chicano and Mexican descent as well as other Latin American mestizos who share Native American heritage. It rarely includes entirely European or African descended Hispanic peoples.

So when Latinos say, “The Race,” they’re not talking about “the human race.” They’re talking strictly about their own.

In his lecture, Calderon condemned the United States for doing what Mexico itself has long done: Strictly enforcing control of its borders. From a purely political viewpoint, it’s makes sense that Calderon didn’t say anything about this. From a viewpoint of fairness and common sense, his refusal to do so smacks of the vilest hypocrisy.

Mexico has a single, streamlined law that ensures that foreign visitors and immigrants are:

• in the country legally;
• have the means to sustain themselves economically;
• not destined to be burdens on society;
• of economic and social benefit to society;
• of good character and have no criminal records; and
• contributors to the general well-being of the nation.

The law also ensures that:

• immigration authorities have a record of each foreign visitor;
• foreign visitors do not violate their visa status;
• foreign visitors are banned from interfering in the country’s internal politics;
• foreign visitors who enter under false pretenses are imprisoned or deported;
• foreign visitors violating the terms of their entry are imprisoned or deported;
• those who aid in illegal immigration will be sent to prison.

Calderon also ignored a second well-understood but equally unacknowledged truth: Mexico uses its American border to free itself of those who might otherwise demand major reforms in the country’s political and economic institutions.

The Mexican Government still remembers the bloody upheaval known as the Mexican Revolution. This lasted ten years (1910-1920) and wiped out an estimated one to two million men, women and children. Massacres were common on all sides, with men shot by the hundreds in bullrings or hung by the dozen on trees.

A Mexican Revolution firing squad

All of the major leaders of the Revolution (Francisco “Pancho” Villa, Emiliano Zapata, Venustiano Carranza, Francisco Madero, Alvaro Obregon) died in a hail of bullets.

Francisco (Pancho) Villa

Emiliano Zapata

As a result, every successive Mexican Government has lived in the shadow of another such wholesale bloodletting. These officials have thus quietly decided to turn the United States border into a safety valve. If potential revolutionaries leave Mexico to find a better life in the United States, the Government doesn’t have to fear the rise of another “Pancho” Villa.

If somehow the United States managed to seal its southern border, all those teeming millions of “undocumented workers” who just happened to lack any documents would have to stay in “Mexico lindo.” They would be forced to live with the rampant corruption and poverty that have forever characterized this failed nation-state. Or they would have to demand substantial reforms.

There is no guarantee that such demands would not lead to a second–and equally bloody–Mexican revolution.

So Felipe Calderon and his cohorts in power find it easier–and safer–to turn the United States into a dumping ground for the Mexican citizens that the Mexican Government itself doesn’t want.

  1. Bravo to you, Mr. White for your astute observations of Mexico’s hypocrisy. Seems what is good for the goose is rarely good for the gander. As a resident of Southern Arizona, I live with the illegal situation. Two weeks ago, riding on a remote road to visit a ghost town, I passed an official sign from the park bureau advising me that I was likely to encounter illegal drug and immigration activity beyond that point. Safety first, I turned around. Incredible: we know so well exactly where the activity occurs. We can’t stop it, but we can advise average Joe’s like me just hiking in the desert that we’re apt to get accosted by dangerous people. Go figure.

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