- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Victor Davis Hanson’s “The cruel cynicism of Mexican emigration” (Commentary, July 22) puzzlingly argues that Mexicans do not come to America for economic causes. Citing lower unemployment and higher growth rates, Mr. Hanson paints a false picture of the Mexican economy.

However, there is a difference between the growth rate and level of economic development. A job in a high-growth — but nevertheless poor — country still leaves you poor. This is the case in Mexico, where World Bank data show that per-capita gross domestic product in 2012 was more than five times higher in the United States than in Mexico. If one rejects per-capita GDP as an indicative measure of economic performance, consider that in 2011, only slightly more than a third of Mexicans had access to the Internet. Further, the average Mexican faces lower life expectancy at birth than the average American.

Mr. Hanson then claims that Mexicans are no longer heading to America to escape starvation. Yet according to the available World Bank data, since 1984 the percentage of Mexicans living on less than $1 a day in food insecurity has never surpassed 3 percent.

While Mr. Hanson’s conclusion may still hold, many of its premises are just not true.

BRETT J. GALL

Washington