A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling has inadvertently prevented Mexican President Vicente Fox from taking yet another immigration-boosting trip to the United States.
The ruling was handed down March 27th and stated that an illegal alien had no right to back pay. [Supreme Court Oral Argument, Decision PDF] This of course threw the Mexican elite into a tizzy of self-righteous indignation. How dare the gringos do anything to limit the rights of illegal Mexican immigrants!
Mexican pundit Carlos Montemayor went so far as to declare that the Supreme Court decision transformed Mexican illegal aliens into "the new slaves of the 21st century and the third millennium."
Apparently nobody, but nobody, in the next thousand years will have it so bad as Mexican illegals in the United States. (Where they can bring lawsuits, remember?)
A formal protest was lodged by the Mexican Embassy in Washington:
"The Mexican Embassy in Washington expresses its concern for the consequences of the U.S. Supreme Court decision for the undocumented migrants [a.k.a. illegal aliens] who.... contribute to the growth and competitivity of the U.S. economy."
Whether Mexican immigration as now constituted really does contribute to the U.S. economy is, of course, highly questionable. Yet another study recently affirmed that it is a net drain. But the "contribution argument" is utilized by the elite of both countries to justify the present immigration situation.
What really worries Mexico's governmental elites is that emigration to the United States, whether legal or illegal, might be diminished. That's because emigration to the United States is Mexico's economic program. That was true of the former PRI government and it's true of the Fox government. The difference is that Fox is more aggressive in promoting it. Recently Fox himself, speaking on an American news program in English, went so far to declare that Mexican illegal aliens "are not illegals."
The Mexican government closely monitors U.S. immigration legislation and litigation. It has already carried out some successful meddling in U.S. politics in order to keep the gates open.
Mexico's biggest labor union, the Congreso del Trabajo also protested the U.S. Supreme Court's decision. It was unfair, declared the Congreso del Trabajo, that Mexican illegal aliens do not have the same rights as other workers in the United States. The labor union demanded that the Fox administration "intervene" (as if Fox is not intervening enough already) to protect illegal aliens in the United States and to demand an "unconditional amnesty" for illegal aliens as well as the right to vote.
What, by the way, has the Congreso del Trabajo done for Mexican workers in Mexico? Better not to ask that question, I guess, they have more important things to worry about.
Mexico's opposition parties attacked Fox for failing to protect Mexicans in the United States. It's not that Fox and the opposition disagree on the basic strategy. Both Fox and the opposition encourage mass emigration and continued meddling in internal U.S. politics. All major Mexican political parties are in agreement there.
What's at stake are bragging rights and political advantage. Both sides desire to prove that their side is the one who is fighting the hardest for the rights of Mexicans in the United States. And in the midst of the struggle, neither side is proposing any real reform to the Mexican economy that would make Mexico more prosperous. They are still mired in the "emigration as a solution" mindset.
But the opposition found a way to hit Fox where it hurts–they denied Fox the right to travel on his latest foray into the United States.
On technical constitutional grounds, the opposition is in the right. According to Section 88 of the Mexican Constitution, "The President of the Republic may not absent himself from the national territory without the permission of Congress...."
The opposition gave several reasons for denying Fox the right to this particular trip. But the principal one was that Fox had not defended Mexicans forcefully enough. According the Senator Silvia Hernandez of Mexico's Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Fox was denied permission because his administration has not suitably defended the human rights of Mexicans in the United States. She went on to bring up the March 27th U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Fox responded by making a short televised speech to the nation. (!)
In the address, Fox laid out his agenda for the scheduled trip and defended it as a means of fighting for Mexicans in the United States. With typical Foxian rhetoric, he accused his enemies of being people who "do not desire Mexico to progress." The trip's cancellation, said Fox, "has negative effects for the promotion of Mexico's interests and of Mexicans who reside in those two countries." (There are now also some Mexicans in Canada.)
According to Fox, the trip had two main objectives. The second was to promote investment in, and business with, Mexico. Fair enough. But the first objective of the visit, said Fox, was
"to strengthen the programs of protection of Mexicans abroad regardless of their migratory status."
In other words, as Fox said before, it doesn't matter if they are legal or illegal immigrants.
Part of Fox's plan for both San Francisco and Seattle was
"to meet with communities of Mexicans to launch the new Mexican consular card and promote its acceptance in other regions of the United States."
The Mexican consular card to which Fox refers is a higher-tech version of the document Mexican consulates distribute to illegal aliens, explicitly to avoid their deportation from the United States.
As for the Supreme Court decision, Fox defended himself by stating that
"I desired to establish in an unequivocal manner the position and concern of Mexico regarding the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States against the Mexican Jose Castro, and potentially, of many other fellow Mexicans...."
No mention here, of course, that Jose Castro was an illegal alien who committed document fraud to acquire his employment. But Fox went on....
"The objective was to do so directly in the United States and in two crucial states for the Hispanic vote....
So Fox directly declares to the Mexican people that he sees the Hispanic vote in U.S. elections as a tool of Mexican foreign policy.
Meanwhile, back in Mexico, Fox's domestic program is stalled. No substantive free-market reformas are forthcoming, or even proposed. Mexico's elite, both Fox and the opposition, continue to use emigration as substitute for real reform. And they are openly meddling in internal U.S. politics seeking to gain influence over immigration policy.
The real question though is, what will our own leaders do? If we had a sensible immigration policy, which was actually enforced, it simply wouldn't matter what the Mexican President and the opposition said to each other.
Who knows, they might even have to seriously work together for the good of Mexicans in Mexico.
Allan Wall is an American citizen who has lived and worked in Mexico since 1991. Presently employed as an English instructor, Allan has legal permission from the Mexican government to live and work in Mexico under the rubric of an FM-2 migration document. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Frontpage.com articles are archived here. Allan Wall welcomes questions or comments (pro or con) at email@example.com.
April 12, 2002