- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 27, 2006

I like President George “W” Bush; always have. However, with news about English becoming our “national” language, securing the Mexican-U.S. border and implementing a guest worker program, I became admittedly more and more perplexed about the administration’s reasoning for such leniency on “illegals” eking out a living within the United States.

“To secure our border we must create a temporary worker program that provides foreign workers a legal and orderly way to enter our country for a limited period of time,” President Bush said

Not quite sure where to find the answer, I had a few leads. First, a female caller on the Michael Medved show took issue with a prior discussion on President Vicente Fox, explaining that the Mexican leader was blamed for much of what he cannot control in the Mexican Congress.

In an 2003 interview with the Arizona Republic’s editorial board, Mr. Fox shared that same sentiment: “As you know, we’re a minority government. We don’t have majority in Congress with our party. We just have to work on building this consensus.”

I have the impression Mr. Fox has as much influence over his Congress as President Bush has over Helen Thomas — not much. Mexico is very corrupt and Mr. Fox is one of the good guys even though he hasn’t been able to make much of an impact. Michael Reagan confirms this notion in his article “The Real Culture of Corruption,” on www.frontpage.com: “Mexico’s officials do not want to change because they would rather sell out to the drug cartels and rake in the bribes.”

Presidents Bush and Fox speak the same language on the immigration issue, even though immigrants used to lose their status in Mexico and Mr. Bush has alienated a portion of his base. In that same interview with Arizona Republic, Mr. Fox said: “Specifically what we will be looking for is how we deal with these millions of Mexicans who are here undocumented. How can they integrate into the U.S. society, not necessarily becoming citizens, but doing their work without the pressure and with full respect to their human and labor rights? In working on how we can structure a program that — orderly, with security and legally — can administrate the flows of migration.”

Why do Mr. Bush and Mr. Fox both see it the same way; neither looking at the illegal immigrants as lawbreakers, rather, as people simply trying to find a way to survive. Neither condemns them as criminals. Neither wants to see them lose their rights or privileges because of their status.

Michael Reagan answers that question: “The reason people are fleeing their country is the corruption that saps the very lifeblood of the Mexican economy, making it impossible for the poor to find jobs at wages that allow them to support their families or pay the ever-present mordida — ‘the bite,’ as they call bribes. Like the refugees who fled from behind the Iron Curtain to find freedom, they flee Mexico to find a living wage and escape the bondage of official bribery that condemns them to poverty.”

Clearly, Mr. Fox has been unable to influence those in government to change their ways in the short time he has held office and more and more illegal immigrants are coming into this country to stay.

The article “The U.S./Mexico border ain’t working,” on www.mexicomatters.net, put it very succinctly: “The increased cost and risk of crossing the border has not reduced illegal crossings. It has, however, successfully reduced the frequency and probability of return visits to Mexico. For many, it means permanence in the U.S. with little or no hope of going back.

“Undocumented farm workers traditionally returned to Mexico in the off season, now they stay.

“Seventy percent of ‘illegals’ earn less than $10,000 per year. Since they are below the poverty line, medical patients from this group has climbed from 470,000 in 1998 to 760,000 last year. California is bankrupt and the feds’ inability to curb immigration further compromises her taxpayers.

“A new paradigm must be developed so that undocumented Mexicanos can work in the U.S. and return to Mexico for social services and family visits.

“This system relieves the border employer from paying hefty U.S. health insurance premiums. The cross-border employee, in most instances, secures [his] own health care in Mexico. Either Mexico’s government system, in which they pay low premiums, or private care at a third of what U.S. providers charge.

“Everybody wins — the employer, state and federal governments, the worker and Mexico. Presently, more than $3 billion a year is sent home to Mexico by workers in the United States. This is Mexico’s second largest source of revenue.”

It has become very obvious that President Bush is trying very hard to come up with a solution that allows Mr. Fox and PAN to continue trying to clean up their corrupt government, conduct free trade and build their economy so Mexico can become a strong ally of the United States. For some people, this solution might seem intolerable but it seems to me a perfectly reasonable way to help Mexico to grow into a viable democracy that respects human rights, that can provide all its citizens a stake in their future, and will foster better U.S.-Mexican relations.

NANCY SALVATO

President of The Basics Project (www.Basicsproject.org), a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational project on the basic elements of relevant political, legal and social issues.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide