The New York Times reports some Mexicans think a border barrier would force the Mexican government to reform how it governs Mexico.
Outside his government, several immigration experts have even begun floating the idea that real walls, not the porous ones that stand today, could be more an opportunity than an attack.
A wall could dissuade illegal immigrants from their perilous journeys across the Sonora Desert and force societies on both sides to confront their dependence on an industry characterized by exploitation, they say.
The old blame game — in which Mexico attributed illegal migration to the voracious American demand for labor and accused lawmakers of xenophobia — has given way to a far more soul-searching discussion, at least in quarters where policies are made and influenced, about how little Mexico has done to try to keep its people home.
"For too long, Mexico has boasted about immigrants leaving, calling them national heroes, instead of describing them as actors in a national tragedy," said Jorge Santibáñez, president of the College of the Northern Border. "And it has boasted about the growth in remittances" — the money immigrants send home — "as an indicator of success, when it is really an indicator of failure."
The massive outflux of Mexicans reduces the incentive of the Mexican government to educate its youth. It expects many it would educate would leave anyway. Also, all the money that Mexicans send home helps to prop up a corrupt political system.
"It's fantastic," said Primitivo Rodríguez, an immigrant activist in Mexico, when asked about plans to build walls. "It's the best thing that could happen for migrants, and for Mexico."
Mr. Rodríguez, who has served as an adviser to the Mexican government and an organizer in the United States for the American Friends Service Committee, said the porous border had for years been an important safety valve of stability for Mexico's economy, allowing elected officials to avoid creating jobs and even taking legal measures to stop the migration of an estimated 500,000 or more Mexicans a year.
Discontent that might generate demands for change instead gets translated into flight north. The Mexican government collects less than half as much taxes as a percentage of GDP as the United States does. The rich cheat on their taxes. We pay more so that they can pay less. El Presidente Jorge W. Bush likes it this way. Do you?
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2006 May 30 08:14 PM Immigration Border Barrier|