Sunday, January 7, 2007

So, it’s come to this: The Mexican government is considering giving would-be illegal border crossers access to the Global Positioning System for safety reasons. That’s right: GPS gadgets for illegals. “The locators would be given to migrants who are thinking of crossing the border, and would give U.S. Border Patrol agents the location of those in trouble,” the Associated Press reported Friday. Call it the normalization of lawbreaking. In some respects, this is perfectly emblematic of the Mexican government’s approach to the illegal export of its citizens. It regards the exodus of its poorest citizens northward as a right of sorts, subject to regulation, as though the country’s economic inadequacy were someone else’s fault. Conveniently, Mexico takes a very different, hostile view toward the illegal Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Hondurans who settle in Mexico. But that’s another story.

This U.S.-law-doesn’t-apply attitude has been in evidence increasingly in recent years. Recall that in 2004-05, the Mexican government took heat for printing and distributing illustrated guides that show illegals how to cross inhospitable border terrain, how to be inconspicuous in the United States and what to do if caught by the Border Patrol. Those guides show blatant disrespect for U.S. law.

But Mexico’s defenders assert that the current problems are the fault of the United States and its supposed inattention to human rights. Here’s one Jesus Torreblanca of the Commission for the Attention of Migrants in Mexico’s state of Puebla explaining to the AP that the callous United States is the real problem: “The U.S. government has every right to protect its borders anyway it sees necessary. The only thing that we ask is that they respect human rights.” No word on whether Mexico will discontinue its own aggressive anti-illegal-alien approach to its own illegals for reasons of consistency.

The short story is this: Mexico cannot sustain a vibrant enough economy to keep its poorest employed. So it relies upon illegal immigration as a safety valve. Without it, Mexico’s current political and economic arrangements would be thrown into turmoil.

The Mexican government should invest the money it would spend on GPS for illegals on economic development programs, such as a micro-credit bank. Addressing the root of the problem — poverty — would be most beneficial for Mexico in the long run. But Mexico would rather export its citizens illegally than do anything truly constructive about the problem.

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