Saturday, August 27, 2005

Is Mexico still a nation?

A survey released last week by the Pew Hispanic Center found more than four in 10 Mexicans are willing to leave their country to live in the US. One in five would risk a dangerous, illegal border crossing. Most surprising, one in three college graduates wants to flee. Before Washington takes up immigration reform this fall, it needs to take a hard look at Mexico's disillusionment. Already, one in eight adults born in Mexico now lives in the US. And the Mexican economy is kept afloat partially by an estimated $16 billion sent back by immigrants to relatives. Such numbers reveal a people so fed up with Mexico's dysfunctional politics and stagnant economy that their nationalism is wilting. While more than half of Mexico's 106 million people are officially poor, the Pew survey found an inclination to migrate "evident across a broad swath" of the population. This wide push to leave is probably now as strong as the pull of higher wages, social advancement, and family connections in the US. And yet, Mexican leaders remain in denial about this propensity for mass exodus. All this spells trouble for proposals by President Bush and some in Congress to set up a temporary worker program as a way to reduce the burden of illegal migration.


At August 27, 2005 2:53 AM, Blogger Don Miguel said...

The writer didn't ask the right question. Is Mexico still a nation? Of course it is -- and will continue to be one (those 40% of Mexicans that want to come to the U.S. want the jobs, not the nationality). The question should be "What kind of nation will Mexico become?"

As long as it remains the corrupt and dysfunctional country that it is, it is heading for another revolution like it did in 1910 -- and possibly just as bloody. The only thing preventing one now is the unsecured border with the U.S., giving the Mexican people an escape valve from their continual decades-long economic mess. And, probably by the time around the next U.S. presidential election, the party in power will be forced by the American people to clamp down on rampant illegal immigration. With very little possibility to emigrate, the Mexican masses will turn their frustrations on their own government (where it belongs) and all hell will break loose.

At August 27, 2005 4:47 PM, Blogger erp said...

The government of Mexico isn't only corrupt, it's living in the yesteryear of peasants and grandees.

What Mexico needs is to reform its top down socialist government and economy and start a capitalistic free trade economy investing in the hardworking people, like the ones who come here to work, so they can put their efforts into their own neighborhoods and villages. Mexico has the natural resources, the great coastlines, the fabulous ruins, mountains and who knows what else. There's no reason Mexico can't become as prosperous as we are.

We took a long vacation driving about 6,000 miles around Mexico. It's very beautiful and the people, even to the poorest, are proud and unfailingly polite and what we noticed most is that the children, who are gorgeous, are well taken care by both parents. This was especially noticeable in the poorer more rural areas, we didn't see single women with their kids like we do here in the States.

I know one thing. If this were to come to pass, we'd be going across the border the other way, looking for Mexicans to come back to work in the U.S.

At August 28, 2005 5:48 AM, Blogger GunJam said...

In my view, one thing that contributes to the general problems in Mexico is the social and cultural dominance of the Roman Catholic Church -- rather parallel to the situation in the Philippines.

America is great because it has religious freedom (I mean REALLY has it).

An indirect proof of my position is the large number of Mexican (and Filipino) immigrants to the US who join evangelical churches!

At August 28, 2005 5:52 AM, Blogger GunJam said...

To don miguel

Very interesting post! You seem to imply that Vicente Fox is an avid supporter of open borders, because he is -- in effect -- protecting himself (and his government) from an uprising? I had never even thought of that brilliant insight.

At August 28, 2005 11:26 AM, Blogger Don Miguel said...


I don't know if I would say that Vicente Fox is protecting himself (and the government) as much as I would say that the Mexican power base is protecting the integrity of their nation. Mexicans are very nationalistic and want to maintain the (results of the) revolution of 1910. Unfortunately for everyone, the current and previous governments have not really doing anything to solve their structural problems.

The Mexican government is never going to do anything more than pay lip service to the idea of preventing illegal immigration into the US because of the following reasons: the amount of money these people send back to Mexico is enormous, every person that emigrates is a person that doesn’t require a (non-existent) job and the cost of doing nothing is very cheap. For those who think that Mexico cannot do anything about the border, they should look at the southern border of Mexico where the Mexican military and border patrol have a heavy presence and do a decent job of keeping people out.

The actions, horror and consequences of the revolution are ingrained in Mexicans. They certainly don't want to see it happen again. But a large, poor and landless underclass exists now just as it did a century ago. Institutional corruption and a quasi-socialist economic/political system have done very little for the poor, and unrestricted migration to the north is not an endless panacea. When the border is closed (i.e. well regulated), the steam is going to build up and the kettle is going to blow.

There is something else that I forgot to mention before. The article says of Mexicans that their “nationalism is wilting.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure a lot of them want to come to the US, but not to be Americans – just to live like Americans.

Also, the “social and cultural dominance” of the Roman Catholic Church is a lot less than you think. There are already a lot of evangelicals in Mexico and the state clamped down on the Catholic Church decades ago.

At August 28, 2005 3:19 PM, Blogger Rick Darby said...

The United States is serving as the enabler for a dysfunctional country to the south. Mexico, in its present state of corruption, cannot stand on its own; it must survive as a parasite on a far more successful society.

We cannot save Mexico from itself; only the Mexicans can do that. Meanwhile, we prolong its agony as long as it can feed, vampire-like, on its cross-border host.

At August 28, 2005 7:28 PM, Blogger Don Miguel said...

"We cannot save Mexico from itself; only the Mexicans can do that. Meanwhile, we prolong its agony as long as it can feed, vampire-like, on its cross-border host."

Exactly, Rick.


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