The View From Mexico
"Opinion makers and migrant advocates in Mexico said Friday that the collapse of U.S. immigration reform plans hurts Mexican workers, U.S. employers and anti-terrorism efforts. (AP)
"This is very bad news for Mexican migrants in the U.S.," said Jorge Bustamante, special rapporteur to the U.N. human rights commission for migrants. "It means the continuation and probably a worsening of the migrants' vulnerable conditions." ...
An editorial in the left-leaning newspaper La Jornada called the decision a "triple shipwreck" - a failure for the Bush administration, the United States and Mexican President Felipe Calderon. "The most powerful country on the planet will have to continue living, for many more months, with the scandalous contradiction between its laws and the real needs of its economy, thirsty for cheap labor to guarantee the international competitiveness of its exports, especially in agriculture."
You'd think the UN and the Left were worried about Mexicans in Mexico, or did I miss something? But it's not just the Mexican Left. Elites in the Third World have a found an outlet for their human surplus, not just in the US or Europe, but even in comparatively more prosperous neighboring countries. The cost in broken families in poor countries is the flip side of the undocumented "migration".
In some Third World countries hardly a week goes by without someone you know emigrating. In the last sixty days a lawyer I knew emigrated, legally, with his entire immediate family for Canada. Another acquaintance, an interior designer, left legally for New Zealand. In the Philippines fully 11% of the population -- mostly working people -- are overseas. The breadwinners live overseas. The dependents and the leeching politicians who effectively hold them hostage remain. What is extremely galling is the sight of those same politicians, whose government would be utterly bankrupt without the remittances of those poor expatriates, pretending to preside over a shambolic economy, when it is in reality simply garnishing bought and paid for by the collections imposed on the money flows pouring in from overseas. This does not prevent those same politicians and ruling "elites" from pretending to dignity. On the contrary, the more parasitic they are, the greater the dignity they affect.
Nowhere is this manifested to a greater degree than in a ritual nationalism, attended by an extreme sensitivity to the smallest slight. "Rage Boy" is not exclusively an Islamic phenomenon. Rage against imagined slights is the national industry of the Third World elite. Only last month, the Philippine Supreme Court beat back a lawsuit, filed by the Left, to prevent the teaching of English in public schools. This, in a country dotted with English academies run by Korean entrepeneurs, eager to cash in on the desperate desire by the poor to learn English -- and thereby qualify them for an overseas job. Yet this same Left, which abhors the idea of people learning English, speaks grandly of the rights of "migrants" being denied in the countries in which they have been forced to seek employment. Nor do they object to the color of the money learned by English proficiency, the better to fund their rancid "social programs".
And in the meantime the poor leave. In their thousands, their hundred thousands and their millions. With faked documents, in the care of scam artists and people smugglers, across deserts, oceans, arctic tundras, blazing warzones. To get the job. And back home is a family which might only see their father a fortnight every five years, knowing him only as a photo, taken against a background of snow, the work machinery tastefully out of sight, upon the night-table.
If the defeat of the immigration bill had one unambiguous benefit, it was in sending the message that this can no longer continue indefinitely. Somewhere, sometime, the focus of the problem has to change from how to admit persons into the First World to how to fix the Third World in order to make a better place to live in. But neither the elites nor the Left really want to hear this. Because it means fixing them.