Talking Turkey With Vicente Fox. The Infinitude of Pedro

Recently I returned to Washington from three months down on the West Coast of Mexico. I found that Vicente Fox, presidente de, was in the city. Yep. He was here to demand –demand, mind you — that Jorge Arbusto, leader of the US and by implication everywhere else, give amnesty to all the Mexicans who are illegally in this country. Which, shortly, in all likelihood, will be all of them.

So I girded my loins, and wrote Fox a letter, knowing that it would alter his behavior for the better. Managing the world is one of the services of this column.

“Dear Vinny (you can call me Fred),

Now see here, Vin. Enough is enough. We need to sit down and talk turkey about this immigration thing, like men, and not act like State Department types. I mean, we’re not transvestites.

Now, I was just in Mexico, and one thing struck me about it: The place was just running over with Mexicans. (And we thought we had an immigration problem.) The more I think about it, the more I think both countries have the same problem. Too many Mexicans.

Nothing personal against you, Vin. As Mexican presidents go, you’re not bad. Of course after seventy years of the PRI, it would be hard to be bad. And I don’t have any objection to Mexicans in reasonable numbers. I like Mexicans. That’s why I spend time in Mexico. In reasonable numbers, we could bring them up to first-world standards, and they could teach us to salsa. Fact is, Presbyterians can’t dance. A little Latin savor might help.

But what makes you think we want seven million Mexicans? And that’s just this year.

Further — if I may speak freely — who the hell are you to be demanding anything at all?

Note, Vinny, we’re not talking seven million Mexican nuclear physicists, if there is one. I might not mind a bunch of doctors and engineers. They’d be assimilable. We could tax them, and waste the money on silly social projects that wouldn’t work this time either.

But we’re not getting doctors. I reckon med school takes a lot of time, and they don’t learn to swim.

No. We’re getting folks who can’t make it in Mexico — the uneducated, the uncultivated, the ones that show signs of staying that way. It’s not a brain drain, but more a drain drain. (A little humor. Scintillating Anglo-Saxon wit.)

Now, if these folks wanted to act like Vietnamese, and make straight As and go to Harvard, it’d be a different story. But I don’t see it. We’re getting too many, and the wrong ones. They’re going to clump together and be more trouble than Frenchmen in Quebec. Or at least it looks that way.

That’s scary, Vin. We have lots of hard-working Latinos here, a lot of’em from Salvador. The adults seem law-abiding when sober, which is sometimes. They start restaurants, and that’s a good sign. I like them fine. But I don’t see a lot of books.

Doesn’t look good, Vinny.

I’ve got an idea. What say we talk about things straightforwardly for a moment? Ain’t that a concept? Might revolutionize politics. But since this is just a private communication between you and me, Vinny, I figure we can hazard honesty. It’s not like I’m going to put it on the Internet or anything.

Fact is, Mexico is outbreeding its economy, and hasn’t got the sense to stop. The economy is less than wildly promising. Nowhere in Latin America seems much better. Latin cultures just aren’t real dynamic. What worries you, Vin, is that too many hungry people could lead to social unrest and revolution. Think Chiapas. So you want to unload them on us.

Ain’t that so?

That’s your end of the stick. On ours, George desperately wants to be re-elected, by any means, at any cost to anybody or anything, including the country and his party. So he’s sucking up to blacks, who won’t vote for him anyway, and to Latinos, some of whom will if he gets them amnesty, and will then vote Democratic for the rest of time. If he has to, he’ll turn the United States into an irremediably divided country facing a century of hostility.

Business wants amnesty because it wants cheap labor, which won’t stay cheap, and the Democrats want another permanent welfare bloc to control the presidency.

The question, Vinny (and we both know it) is whether Bush can buy more Mexican votes with amnesty than he’ll lose from people who, from simple disgust, just won’t vote at all. Me, for example.

And we both know that if you get amnesty for today’s illegals, ten million more will leak across the border before long and we’ll need another amnesty. That’s the scam, isn’t it? History being driven by inadequate contraception. Pretty.

If I were not as scrupulously courteous as I am, I might ask: Why do you think America has a duty to take your population overflow? Putting it bluntly, if you can’t keep your pants up, then you can raise them. (The offspring, I mean. Some metaphors don’t work as well as expected.)

I’ve got in front of me a Gallup Poll that says only six percent of Americans want a blanket amnesty. That may be a majority in Mexico. In America it will pass for a majority, because in our system we do not consult the populace on matters of importance. In the next election here, people who oppose immigration will have a choice between Bush, who favors unrestricted amnesty, and the Democrats, who will favor unrestricted immigration. The ninety-four percent who disagree will be marginalized as cranks.

The real question isn’t one that directly concerns you, Vinny. We are in the middle of learning whether there is anything at all that cannot be inflicted on the American public — whether people with cable TV can rouse themselves to resist, well, anything. A greater question is whether there exists any effective means of resistance. I don’t think so. But we shall see.

Yours cordially,

Federico” (

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