As usual, the Seattle Times Danny Westnut willfully confuses legitimate concerns about an illegal immigrant
using taxpayer money for things like subsidized housing with xenophobia. Westnut is a perfect example of why it’s so hard to get the political extremes of our society, which are unnaturally forced into a two party duopoly, to discuss anything rationally.
Westnut makes half of a good point, while dismissing the valid points of those upset over an illegal immigrant using scarce resources in a city that makes the pompous claim that it will end homelessness within a decade. By doing nothing more than emotional baiting, he skirts proposing solutions. The inability to have a rational discussion on the topic is bad enough, but what’s worse is the fact that nobody yet seems interested in looking at and solving the source of the problem.
I will not pipe in with anger at illegal immigrants. I can’t find it in myself to drum up hostility towards mostly Mexicans simply because they are poor and desperate for work. These are not people that are consciously part of an international conspiracy to dilute American culture and bring down our republic. They are driven by nothing more than a desire to take care of their families. A small percentage of illegal immigrants engage in criminal activities once in the US, but most work and work hard. And, believe me, these people have less in common with Islamo-fascists than the average American; they are hardly a security risk when it comes to terrorism.
Yes, the people that are upset over illegal immigrants, their employers, and our government’s pathetic inertia on the issue, make many good points. It’s true that illegal immigrants are a drain on social services. It’s also hugely frustrating to see our government enthusiastically enforce laws on American citizens, but then turn around and discuss amnesty for illegal immigrants. If an American citizen, for example, were caught forging an identity document, he or she would be punished severely. There is a threat to our culture as well, in the sense that multi-culturalists encourage both legal and illegal immigrants not to assimilate. Not learning English is the least of the problem, when these immigrants come from a culture of corruption and lawlessness - we want them to learn that these things are not acceptable in the US. So, let’s not pretend that people upset over illegal immigrants do not make good points.
The problem I have with all of this is that nobody has talked about real solutions. Just letting millions of people across the border simply because it “feels bad” to stop them, as Westnut suggests, is no solution. Even within his own circle of silly Seattle idealists, it must be recognized that a stated goal like ending homelessness within a decade can never be achieved if there is a constant supply of new people from a foreign country that are relying on government services and subsidies. At the same time, those that believe that building a wall of some sort, or putting the military on the border, can actually stop illegal immigration, are just as unrealistic. People will do amazing things when they are hungry and seeking opportunity.
Our focus should be on the source of the problem: There is little to no opportunity for 95% of the population of Mexico. This is not simply because the country is poor, but because it is held back by the ruling oligarchy of the country. People like Carlos Slim, with elected government officials in their back pockets, run a feudalistic society that is neither capitalist nor socialist. They limit competition and monopolize all major segments of Mexican industry.
Carlos Slim’s companies, for example, represent more than half of the market capitalization of the Mexican stock exchange and collectively buy more than half of all advertising in the country. Any move made to restrict his monopoly power meets with the threat of bringing down the Bolsa. Any major news media that criticizes him risks loosing 50% of their advertising. Slim is now the third wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of more than $30 billion, mostly attained through keeping things like telecommunications services in Mexico more expensive than 90% of the world.
When oligarchs constrain economic activity for their own benefit, the overall economy of a country suffers mightily. Costs are raised for all participants. Investment is lowered. Reduced investment constrains employment. So does the fact that monopolies have undue negotiating power over all inputs, including employment.
You want to stop illegal immigration? Start telling Congress that you want the US to force change on Mexico’s oligarchy and the corrupt political system that supports it.
The Mexican government has given the US plenty of openings for involvement in Mexico’s internal affairs. Agencies of the Mexican government provide assistance to people as they illegally cross the border, while the Mexican government seeks to maintain contact with them and promote their identity with Mexico through things like allowing illegal immigrants to vote in Mexico from the US. The recent protests in the US by people carrying Mexican flags could not have happened without some major organizational help from Mexico.
The Mexican oligarchy itself lobbies our Congress while profiting from our open markets. Carlos Slim owns companies with major operations in the US, such as CompUSA, while using the Mexican government to drive Mexican companies supported by US investors into bankruptcy. Ironically, Slim sells Vonage service in the US through CompUSA, while working hard to ensure that the benefits of voice over the Internet do not reach Mexicans. Meanwhile, most of Slim's wealth derives from the fact that the companies he owns and controls trade on US stock exchanges.
Since Mexicans are meddling in our internal affairs, we should not feel hesitant about meddling in Mexico’s. They’ve lost any claim to respect of their “sovereignty.” Respecting Mexican sovereignty amounts to protecting the oligarchy at the expense the poor people it exploits. The most moral thing we can do is knock Mexico’s oligarchy from power and help the country replace feudalism with capitalism.
It’s a lot harder to push around rich and powerful people than it is to pick on the poor. But, in the case of Mexico, that’s what we ought to start doing.
Until then, none of the hysteria centered on illegal immigration from the right or the left amounts to anything. It’s all bull shit. And, it will likely help Carlos Slim move from third to first position on Forbes' list of the wealthiest people in the world.
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