Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

Immigration Lawsuit

The new Arizona law is “controversial” in a very typical way: it is immensely popular with everyone other than the elites in Washington D.C.  Obama is throwing down the gauntlet by challenging it in court claiming, among other things, that it is “preempted” by federal law.  But this is an unusual argument; preemption normally means either (a) the federal government exclusively gets to enforce the law because it is highly technical and balances competing interests (as in the case of ERISA) or (b) the state law interferes with or makes impossible compliance with the federal mandate.

In a typical criminal law situation–whether the Assault Weapon ban, drug laws, civil rights laws, or the like–states are free to make laws more stringent than federal laws.  More important, it is unthinkable that a spy, an interstate kidnapper, the owner of an illegal machinegun, or a drug kingpin would be let go, lest the state’s law enforcers “interfere” with federal law by finding the breakers of federal law and terming them over to the feds.  Indeed, one of the arguments the federal government is raising in its suit against Arizona is that turning over all these deportable people will tie up the feds by requiring them to set in motion deportation proceedings against these people.  In other words, Arizona will force the feds to do what they have been reluctant to do and have only done selectively despite their mandates under federal immigration law.

There is no doubt the federal government for many years has under-enforced immigration laws and has no real intentions to get serious about enforcing them.  When a state busts someone and holds someone for violating federal law, this is not seen as a bad thing in nearly any other context. But Obama is taking a stand on the unpopular side of this issue, the side that dissolved Bush’s support among a great many Republicans, and this may be Obama’s undoing.  The fact that the argument’s legal premises are somewhat laughable and defy common sense only reveals the fraud that is “tightening up the border” under Obama.

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Today Felipe Calderon addressed the U.S. Congress.  As has become the Mexican custom, he castigated the United States for its unreasonably liberal gun control laws, unreasonably harsh treatment of illegal immigrants, and the alleged U.S. role in his country’s troubles with drug kingpins and violence.

He said, for example regarding Arizona’s immigration enforcement law, “It is a law that not only ignores a reality that cannot be erased by decree but also introduces a terrible idea using racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement.”  Note the multiple layers of presumption and moral judgment.  First, he is criticizing a law democratically enacted by a U.S. state designed to address a massive flood of people caused by his government’s policy of encouraging illegal immigration (complete with “how to” pamphlets.)   Second, he is fearless in his condemnation of the U.S., even though his country is many times weaker militarily and economically, and even though he is our guest.  Finally, he is a hypocrite of the first order, as Mexico aggressively intercepts and deports illegal immigrants to Mexico and passing through Mexico from other parts of Central America, and Mexico’s human rights records leaves a great deal to be desired whether we’re talking the Cristeros War or more recent events such as the massacre of students in 1968.

I did a little digging.  The last US President to address the Mexican Congress was Jimmy Carter in 1979. While foreign presidents can mingle and engage in pseudo-aristocratic diplomacy, the Mexican Congress has long been a a hotbed of the traditionally ambivalent Mexican view of the United States, a combination of envy, fear, and contempt.  Carter’s speech presaged the devolution of American self-respect we’ve seen fully flower under President Barack Hussein Obama, whose various speeches in Berlin, Cairo, and Moscow cement in place the new era of American powerlessness and paralyzing guilt.

While today the Mexican President presumes to lecture the United States on illegal aliens and gun control, in 1979 Carter spoke in soothing and subservient tones, and he did so in Spanish.  He pleaded, “My friends, I have come to Mexico to listen.  This is a time to appreciate the mutual benefits of our historical friendship as neighbors. But it is also a time of exciting changes within our two countries and in our relationship with each other.”  Listening, that’s good–welcome and appropriate, in fact, in a foreign nation’s legislative halls. Such gestures of faux equality are unobjectionable standing alone, as mutual respect goes a long way in relations between nations.

Felipe Calderon didn’t get the memo; or, rather, he got the version with the editor’s notes, notes which reveal that there is one set of rules constraining the United States that demands we treat unequals as equals, and these editor’s notes make it plain that these inferiors can make demands and control policy among their military and economic superiors.  This is the tone and tenor of all leftist foreign policy:  the objective destruction of Western and American power recast as the advance of universal justice.

Much like Obama’s various humiliations of America–their America, the land that oppressed his ancestors–Carter also took things too far, noting, “Our friendship has at times been marred by mistakes, and even by abuses of power.”  Carter’s literal text was ambiguous, but rest assured, the Mexicans acknowledge no Mexican abuses of power vis a vis the United States.  In 1979, they understood the meaning and were pleased, or rather emboldened, and ever since the U.S. has weakly appeased them, even though Mexico as a nation has done literally nothing for the United States.  It has sent no soldiers to fight in any of our wars–unlike smaller neighbors Honduras and El Salvador.  Mexico in fact abrogated the Rio Treaty shortly after the 9/11 attacks.  The Mexican Congress even found it difficult to have a moment of silence to mourn the Americans killed in those attacks, as this was considered unduly subservient.

Weak people make bad friends, and the same thing is true among nations.  Weak people and weak nations take all they can get, as they have not learned the restraint and magnanimity that comes from success and strength.  The Mexicans are weak and insecure, not least because American prosperity, in a nation that emerged some 120 years after theirs, is a daily indictment of the Mexican social and economic system, their culture, and their vaunted La Raza Cosmica.

Mexicans still smart over things Americans have forgotten, like the Treaty of Gudalupe Hidalgo or U.S. boycotts in the wake of the nationalization of the Mexican oil industry in 1938.  Mexicans are also undoubtedly ashamed that so many of their citizens are leaving, in many cases forever, to the North, where even the lowliest and least educated can make a living impossible to achieve in Mexico.  In short, Mexico is a pesky, fragile, and envious little country that is the chief source of its own problems.  Unfortunately, our politicians all the way up to our President seem to think that they will somehow expiate America’s sins by doing Mexico (and the rest of the Third World’s) bidding.  As we have seen in Calderon’s latest insults, the more likely result is that Mexico will become further emboldened and more demanding as the U.S. loses its self-respect.

During the Cold War, Mexico, for all of its leftism and socialism, never dreamed of going Communist. They knew America would strike back.  In Eisenhower’s Operation Wetback, the Mexican government knew to tread lightly in dealing with America’s internal affairs, as much as it may have filled their so-called Revolutionary Party with resentment.  Today, when our impositions on Mexico are so minimal, that resentment, and that demandingness, has reached an all time high.  And these demands are enabled by a domestic fifth column, fueled by multicultural ideology, that is willing to let everyone but native-born Americans play by rules of tribal aggrandizement.  The only silver lining of Calderon’s visits is for patriotic Americans to realize that these foreign leaders have contempt for them and their way of life, and that they are arm-in-arm with leftist American elites that share that contempt.  In short, the insults of a President Calderon can ignite a nationalist reaction that would be muted if its authors were solely, at least technically speaking, American statesmen.

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There is much worry over Arizona’s new law.  We’re told it’s racist and mean and will lead to profiling.  But the law is neutral:  it deals with illegal aliens wherever they’re from.  Opponents implicitly are saying (a) there are a great many illegal Mexican immigrants (which there are, of course) and (b) comparatively few that are white and European (which is also true).  But if there are many illegal Mexican immigrants, and so few others, maybe profiling is not such a bad thing, insofar as it yields a serious advantage to law enforcement. It’s not every crime whose perpetrators conveniently look differently from 90% of the native-born population.  Of course, there is admittedly some burden on native-born and otherwise legal Hispanics.  But the reality is that it should take two seconds for the average cop to distinguish an illegal Mexican immigrant and a legal resident, not least through some combination of paperwork, language skills, and appearance.  Mexican Americans look and act quite differently from illegal Mexican immigrants, believe it or not.

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Whose Team Are You On?

The recent legislation in Arizona is a good opportunity for American-born and naturalized Hispanics to show if they’re loyal to this country and care about its welfare, or, alternately, if they are what their spokesmen describe:  an insular, self-interested, foreign group with the spirit of a colonizer, resentful, angry, contemptuous of, and alienated from the native-born majority.

Ruben Navarette asks, “This law is a reality check for all Latinos. It’s a helpful reminder that — as hard as we work, as much as we accomplish and progress — we are, by virtue of skin color or accent or Spanish surname, still on probation as far as some people are concerned. And we will be for life.”

Well, yes, that might be partly be true.  Of course, that’s true of any law enforcement measure where one group is disproportionately offending. There’s another dimension to this issue that’s not true for Chinese or British immigrants: we share a very long border with a Third World nation that has no respect for our sovereignty and that has sent literally millions of poor, illegal, and highly visible Mestizos into our majority-white country for the last 40 years. And, worse, many native-born Hispanics identity with, socialize with, marry, harbor, and protect these illegal aliens that do so much harm to our country.  As is typical for our multicultural age, Navarette and other immigrant activists ask for the right of his coethnics to insult us and be disloyal, while complaining about the natural consequences of such behavior for those Hispanics that are loyal and of legal status. By dint merely of living here, they want all the rights of other Americans, even as they show so little willingness to make any sacrifice for the common good.  Their ethnic and tribal good always comes first.  God forbid they say, as some South Asian Americans have with regard to terrorist profiling, “Search me first and leave grandma alone.”

I also think his chicken-little worries are over-stated. Any Hispanic legally in this country can probably get out of any trouble from this law through a few simple steps that nearly all native-born Hispanics can accomplish:  knowing English, having a driver’s license, or having a social security number that matches their name.  If these things are not in order, you cannot expect not to be confused with what you appear to be:  a non-American.  There is a price to living off the radar or not knowing English.  Why shouldn’t this be?  This minor imposition is a far cry from the “papers please!” melodrama invoking the internal passport regime of the former Soviet Union. There is post-arrest due process in America, and there is already a duty under federal law of legal immigrants to have their immigration papers upon them.

Arizona is bringing an issue to a head that is the albatross of the multicultural Democratic party.  It does more to unite diverse American whites than any other issue.  And why?  Because native people at every level of American society know that the recent influx of a huge number of low skill, unassimilated, and excessively proud Hispanics from a neighboring and unsuccessful nation is a formula for significant internal change, decline, and disempowerment. Good for Arizona for doing the obvious in these circumstances.  And good for Arizona for letting the rest of us see how Mexican chauvinism interferes with the ability of these largely recent arrivals to care about the common good.

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A roundup of a few interesting things from the internet this week.

Great pieces by establishment conservatives George Will and Charles Krauthammer pointing out the increasingly wide gap between Obama’s rhetoric of post-partisanship and his narrowly partisan agenda.

A scathing editorial by Robert Samuelson on Obama’s phony economics agenda.

A nice tribute to one of my favorite writers, Steve Sailer, by John Derbyshire.

An interesting power point from Natick Labs that shows the Army’s dubious universal pattern was actually a poor performer in tests.  The best performer looked a lot like old Rhodesian camouflage and, like the earth around us, was comprised of greens, tans, and browns.  It is a minor scandal that the Army has made its soldiers appear worse in garrison and endangered them in the field with its new Army Combat Uniform.  Since so many soldiers are now slogging it out like their fathers and grandfathers on Afghan hills, it’s a decision worthy of revisiting by the DoD.

South of the border, things seem to be really melting down.  It’s kind of pathetic that Obama thinks we can have an unsecured border with Mexico and is considering sending in the military to stop narco-terrorists only, as if a border without controls can easily separate illegal aliens seeking work at car washes and restaurants and illegal aliens seeking work as pimps and drug dealers.  Without a secure border, the un-uniformed, un-named, disorganized, and visually indistinguishable criminal element from Mexico will continue to flow into the US.

I was never terribly impressed with the GOP since Bush took the helm.  Michael Steele is not helping things. More of the same is a recipe for disaster:  both politically and, if we somehow manage electoral success, on policy.  The gap between concerns of the rank and file–the economy, culture, immigration, national security, and moral decline–and the guilt-ridden, beltway rhetoric of the leadership is quite remarkable.

Dick Cheney said this morning that Obama’s policies make America less safe.  I, of course, said Bush’s border policies made America less safe, though Obama may even be worse on this score.  But so what if Cheney said this?  Isn’t this what criticism of another person’s national security policy always is saying implicitly?  One of the most dangerous developments in the media’s tone under Obama has been the idea that criticizing his policies–i.e., hoping they fail or saying they make us less safe–is out of bounds and unpatriotic.  If we can’t criticize Obama without being called racist, and we can’t criticize his policies without being unpatriotic, what is left other than blind submission?

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I’ve long thought the Republican obsession with free trade was not only bad politics but a bit of bad policy.  A recent Washington Post article asks the question whether trade–which had a lot to do with our lopsided economy, as US dollars overseas filtered back looking for a safe investment and found it in Mortgage-Backed-Securities–has been a net positive for the US economically:

A few months ago, Robert Cassidy found himself pondering whether trade actually benefited the American economy. “I couldn’t prove it,” he says. “Did it benefit U.S. multinational corporations? Yes. But I cannot prove that it benefits the economy.”

Such doubts would hardly be news if they came from an established critic of free trade. But Robert Cassidy was the chief U.S. negotiator on China’s 1999 market access agreement with the United States — the document that was the basis for Congress’s extension of permanent normalized trade relations to China, which in turn enabled China to join the World Trade Organization. During the 1990s, Cassidy was the assistant U.S. trade representative for the Asia-Pacific region, and before that he worked in the Treasury Department’s international affairs office.

Republicans did not always embrace free trade so uncritically.  In the 1980s, Reagan strong-armed the Japanese to open up their markets, for example.  In the late 1800s, the Republicans were famous for presiding over an industrial policy of protective tariffs. Conservatives have long recognized the value of the nation as an important community of interest, which follows a different logic and pursues other goods besides economic ones.

The free trade orthodoxy is so entrenched on today’s right and the  mainstream Democratic Party–in sharp contrast to the prevailing attitude even in the 1980s–that the least deviation is quickly swatted down, as if we must all become either Davos Man or Dick Gephardt with nothing in between.

I’m for a certain amount of free trade, but oppose trade that (a) hurts the American economy on net, particularly by hurting export industries without a net gain in jobs and productive capacity, (b) hurts our national defense, (c) strengthens illiberal dictatorships, or (d) does not include sufficient buffers between our economy and the various unfriendly regimes around the world whether China, Indonesia, or Iran.

I happen to like free trade with Mexico, but would have not traded a penny with the Chinese starting around 1990 or so when the Cold War ended, preferring instead to isolate them and strengthen the American manufacturing sector.  It’s good for our third world neighbor to do well, even partially at our expense. On China, though, it’s not good for a global competitor and future great power to succeed at our expense and for us to be too dependent on them.  Their cheap dollar subsidy, low cost manufacturing, and the smoke and mirrors of easy credit have distorted our economy and theirs and made us too mutually interdependent for our mutual independence and strength.

In the 1880s, Britain infamously put Egypt into receivership when it defaulted on its debts. While I don’t see anyone able to impose such a dreary condition on the US, we can soon expect foreign creditors to dictate their terms and our policies more freely.  This would not be good, needless to say, and the joys of cheap plasma televisions from China would hardly make up for our loss of independence.  We can live without cheap Chinese trinkets; we cannot live in any normal sense of that term under foreign control.  I should think an American politicians could be very popular in such a circumstance by promoting massive foreign debt repudiation, even though such a move would undeniably be very costly going forward.   We’d soon find out if Americans were more attached to their flag and their independence or, rather, easy credit and cheap trinkets imported from low wage foreign regimes.

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Radley Balko evinces a typically obtuse libertarian reaction to a typically horrifying Mexico drug war murder:  in this case, a police chief and his family gunned down in Monterrey.  Of course, it’s always the drug war itself that has the chief responsibility with libertarians.  There is no condemnation of the murder or the murderers.  They are compelled, as it were, to murder.

I will grant arguendo that laws may make certain crimes more profitable and more likely and thus those laws may be on balance more costly than the benefits, but only a callous partisan would thereby absolve the killers of their moral responsibility for their acts.   These killers are bad people with the chief moral responsibility for their murder.  It’s a stretch to say the drug war “made” them do it.  You need food, clothing, and shelter.  You don’t need to get rich quick trafficking cocaine.  These people are callous, generally dull, and greedy people.  I also remain unconvinced that there penchant for violence would not find another outlet in the absence of drug prohibition.  Some people who are not that bright don’t want to work 9-5.  They like the money, bling, and power of their present criminal activities.  They will find something to do criminal, whether it’s theft, forced prostitutition, human trafficking, counterfeiting, dog-fighting, recreational rape, or generalized shakedowns of legitimate businesses.  It’s not like the real Mafia did not preexist prohibition or disappeared after the end of prohibition; instead, it began in the lawlessness that was 18th and 19th Century Italy, and, after the 1930s, the original Mafia changed its attention to skimming profits from otherwise lawful enterprises like the garment and sanitation trade in NYC.

So much of the empirical case for libertariansim consists of a pretty thin melange of fallacies, where all the costs of the current world we live in are attributed to those laws and institutions they do not like, and all the benefits projected into a yet-to-be-seen world without these laws.  They say this even though obvious complexities present themselves.  Countries with relatively strict drug laws are not unusually violent or lawless–Finland or Singapore come to mind–and Mexico in particular has had a 100 year bloody history rooted in age-old traditions of corruption, demagoguery, and various resentments among social classes.  These aspects of these societies exist in spite of and in parallel to the drug trade.

But hey, I’m sure Radley’s and his sycophantic followers’ priorities are straight:  we are all to blame at least equally with the drug dealers.  And the most important thing is that when the Mexican police do raid these drug gangs that they knock and announce first.  I would not want to see police be militarized against these well armed sociopaths.  It would be unseemly.

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