We south of the border hear considerable rumbling and grumbling about things we frijjoleros, genuine and only sort of, do that set poorly in the north. Well, yes and no. A few reflections.
In 1965 the United States, not Mexico, changed the immigration laws, apparently to encourage immigration from the south. What other reason could there have been? Why else would you change laws that successfully prevented the influx to laws that encouraged such? Having thus asked for a mass ingress, it seems odd for America to complain that it got one.
Odd. In America there is much anger at the ingress that America invited and its government protects. Why doesn’t Mexico do something about it? A Mexican might ask why it is Mexico’s duty to protect America’s borders when America purposely won’t. Open borders are an American, not a Mexican, policy.
Yes, most Americans want to end the flood. Yet the federal government–that is, America–as a matter of national policy, maintains the frontier open. For example, as I write Washington forbids Texas to use barbed wire to stop the influx. This is official policy. From a Mexican point of view, America’s refusal to protect its borders is a major problem as it draws immigrants from all of Latin America, no favor, and then Mexico has to put up with America’s anger at Mexico’s failure to do what America should do for itself.
Drugs? From a Mexican point of view, the drug trade is a serious problem inflicted on it by the United States. The drug trade exists because Americans want drugs. They want them very, very much, and will pay high prices for them. If this were not so, there would be no demand, no drugs, and no cartels. Neither Mexicans nor the Chinese nor Colombians force Americans to take drugs. They take them because they want to. It has proved impossible to keep them from doing so even with laws and specialized police forces.
Because the United States is so voracious a drug market, with something approaching civil war between a population lusting for dope and a government that doesn’t want the public to have it, Mexico is overrun with DEA agents and threatened with military invasion. The drug racket is not of benefit to Mexico. If America enforced its drug laws, Mexico would have few narcotraficantes.
Note that Mexico does not have a fentanyl problem, which is interesting. Only America does. Why? It is just my guess, but I suspect the reason is that America, once a pleasant land, is now miserable with declining living standards, rising crime, virulent political antagonisms, and little hope for the future. Before fentanyl, hundreds of thousands died of Oxycontin poisoning, and Washington did nothing about this either. Oxies were produced by American pharmaceutical companies, and thus easily controlled had the government wanted to. Being as I am a Pollyanna, I cannot imagine that Big Pharma, getting rich by peddling oxies to the miserable in regions devastated by offshoring, would bribe congressmen to look the other way. Perish forfend.
The United States actively supports the drug cartels. Mexico cannot control these because the cartels have military armament in large quantities, coming from the United States. Washington knows this, has known it for decades, and does nothing. This is probably because the arms industry buys congressmen in bulk lots, though some say it is because of the Second Amendment. If Mexico armed the New York Mafia with anti-tank weapons and rocket launchers, and claimed some constitutional clause to justify it, would that be OK?
While we are on the subject of the drug trade, I offer a conspiracy theory. Everybody else seems to have several, so why not me?
The drug trade is too big to fail. It exists because too many people get rich from it, like oil. I occasionally see the figure of sixty billion dollars as the annual take. That’s a lot of potatoes, as Damon Runyon would say. That much moolah does not go into the pockets of dirtball drug lords to buy pricey pickup trucks and gold chains. Where does it go?
A portion goes into the pockets of those supposedly trying to end the trade, DEA, FBI, Mexican police, and so on. When you get paid for solving a problem, the last thing you want to do is to solve it, because then you stop getting paid. Another portion goes to politicians to, as a probable example, prevent the prevention of arms sales or too much attention to money laundering. The bulk, I will bet, ends up in the big banks, hedge funds, and offshore tax havens. Note that the heavy flow of armament, condoned and apparently protected by Washington, prevents Mexico from doing anything effective against the narcos. Again, where is the money going?
Serious question: Do you really think that anyone on the receiving end of that much money will want to end the industry that provides it? And do you think that, if Mexico and China disappeared in a flash of blue light, nobody else would start doing the same thing? That is, that the sixty billion in honey would not attract new flies?
Massive illegal immigration causes many grave problems, certainly to the US, and no sane country would allow it. Still, it might be interesting to look at it from the standpoint of the immigrants, or many of them. Let us consider Paco and Lupita, living in a dirt-floored cinder block hovel in San Salvador, and listening nightly to their two children crying because they are hungry. They are not hungry because Paco and Lupita are stupid or lazy, but because there are no jobs in San Salvador.
The couple, desperate, powwow and decide that the only solution is for Paco to go to the United States, work, and send money back home. Paco has never been outside of El Salvador, perhaps not outside of San Salvador, so this is not an easy decision. It seems the only decision, though.
While their friends and relatives are as poor, they manage to pool a bit of money to help Paco on the way. He starts hitchhiking north through Central America, manages to cross into Mexico, and proceeds further north on the Train of Death, as it is known, a freight train line. Having gotten to the US border miraculously still in possession of his grubstake, he finagles his way across the border and, following advice from local Latinos, manages to reach relatives in Indiana, where he gets a job in a meatpacking plant.
He sends money home. His children stop crying from hunger. He starts preparations to bring his family north.
This is illegal, and Americans have every right to oppose it. But we are looking at it from Paco’s standpoint. He thinks the wellbeing and future of his family matter more than the laws of any country. In the same predicament, what would the reader do? Would it not be irresponsible not to do it?
Them’s my thoughts. I will now go into hiding.
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