An Immodest Proposal – Mexamerica

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Mexamerican Some time ago I posted something called "An Un-Muddled but Perhaps Addled Stand" on the subject of US relations with Mexico.  In that piece I advocated separation of the issues of citizenship, ownership and residence in the relationships of the two countries.  Reaction was mixed with some people on the left insisting that to even thnk of such arrangements was a confession of regression to colonialism.  I thought that was nonsense then and do now.  How can economic opportunity for the masses of Mexican people be imperialism?

The border and illegal immigration problems grow ever more severe.  The US border states are growing increasingly desperate in their efforts to control the cross border effects of the rampant organized crime of the Mexican border states.  Poverty is still driving armies of Mexicans and Central Americans across our southern border.  We are fitfully building physical barriers, enlarging the Border Petrol and moving slowly, regretfully toward deployment of; first National guard troops and eventually, inevitably, federal troops to that border.  At the same time, Americans who live in parts of the country where large numbers of Latino migrants, both legal and illegal exist, know that a very large majority of these people are hard working, decent, and family oriented folk who make an important contribution to the work force in many jobs that US born Americans no longer want.  It seems unlikely that the US Congress will pass any law that can "solve" a problem of mass migration.

What to do?

Perhaps we should make the two countries into one.  Perhaps the two governments should enter into negotiations for eventual merger.

One country with one citizenship?  One country with one code of federal laws, one federal judiciary, merged armed forces, national police forces, corporate law, ownership standards, taxes, electoral laws, one constitution.

Why not?  The two "peoples" are too different?  That increasingly seems implausible.  Racial differences?  Religious differences?  Educational differences?  Who will stand up here to argue that?

Jonathan Swift suggested a "Modest Proposal" for the Irish Problem.  He had no more expectation of the adoption of his proposal than I have of mine.  My purpose is to have a freewheeling discussion of what can be done about the "Illegals Problem."   pl

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52 Responses to An Immodest Proposal – Mexamerica

  1. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    Aztlan redux? Why not. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s enough WD-40 in the world to grease the machinery that would be necessary to make it work.
    Regardless, some kind of offer of expedited (dual?) citizenship based on skills, training and experience that would extend as well to the immediate family? This would be more than just a work permit and would eventually lead to a legal amalgamation of the two countries. This is what we’re doing now only illegally. Long term this would mean that we would finally have to accept that our own Aztlan myth of a shining city on a hill will never be realized. A tough sell indeed!

  2. Rider says:

    What can be done about the illegals problem? Legalize them ASAP. Do a criminal background check like we do at gun shows and issue them photo ID’s and a brochure on how to become a citizen. The vast majority are extremely hard working family people. If you’ve ever hired any, their work ethic puts us to shame. Legalize them and hope your daughter marries someone as hard-working as these guys. We need them. They create a revenue surplus at the federal level. Their costs at the state level in most states is around 1% of Gross State Product, yet they create jobs and bring in millions. Yes, legalize them and hope they stay.

  3. Dave of Maryland says:

    A unified government is grasping at straws, but then, so was Mr. Bickerstaff, who died insane, if memory serves. If we don’t like Mexicans in our country now, erase the border & see how much we like 20 million more of them.
    Empowering local authorities might be a solution. The states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona & California can probably do a better job at the border than Washington. Let them enter into direct relationships with the governors of the central/southern Mexican states where most of the immigrants seem to come from. How can Texas help entrepreneurs in Chiapas create jobs, raise the standard of living & keep people at home? I’d much rather work at home than run a nasty border & risk my life.
    Long term, there needs to be a solution to the problem of the Mexican elite, which runs the country for its own benefit. It is entirely in the hands of descendants of Spanish colonists. Look at a picture of the current president, Felipe Calderón. Does he look “Mexican” to you? (Ever been to Spain?)
    Now look at Amlo – Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He, like Hugo Chavez, is native. In Mexico, in Central & South America, natives outnumber colonists – I don’t know – by something like ten to one. There needs to be a peaceful transition to majority rule, but so long as Washington is calling Chavez dirty names (to say nothing of what we’re still doing against Cuba), we’re just not going to be a good neighbor & the problems will go on.
    As I think of it, solving the Cuba problem might solve a lot of the others. They’re itching to play a bigger role in the hemisphere. We could cut our losses & let them.

  4. FDChief says:

    While interesting on its face, the idea that an increasingly dysfunctional U.S. government (or perhaps I should say “political system”) mired in partisan incompetence and sold to the highest bidder can somehow “improve” Mexico, whose social and political problems go back to Cortez, is like suggesting that the best way to solve the issues of the tweakers next door is to marry the methhead mama and let her get her name on all your credit cards.
    Mexico is increasingly likely to slide into failed statehood, and I doubt that all the U.S. horses and all the Heritage Foundation’s men can change that.
    Rather, I’d suggest that we accept the reality that Mexico is going to be an increasing problem and bring our military and political resources back from their pointless fiddling in southwest Asia to deal with the soon-to-be critical problems along our southern border.

  5. Nancy K says:

    Col Lang, I agree with you completely but I don’t think it is going to fly. I live in Southern Ca and it is not a stretch to see this happening.
    The problem with Mexico is it’s drug cartels and that will soon became our major problem here also.
    I think legalizing marijuana and then taxing it heavily would not just take away some of the cartels power but also provide much needed tax revenue. Somehow I don’t think this is going to happen either.
    I love your website. Thank you.

  6. It would be interesting to see some analysis of how this would play out, esp why our institutions would not fracture — probably shatter — under the stress of this combination, giving us all the thrill of living in a Mexican-type state.
    Are there any examples of successful states with such a wide internal range of income/wealth, and such radically different social and political cultures?
    Turned around, are there any historical precedents of such an experiement working? Or does this propose that we are to yet again be lab rats in someone’s grand social science experiment?

  7. Patrick Lang says:

    alnval
    This is not just for the Mexicans. If they get our goodies, then I want theirs.
    rider
    Yes. Yes.
    I luv’em too, but what are you going to do about the next 20 million and the twenty million after them?
    Dave of Maryland
    What do you think? Should we invade them again to right these wrongs?
    FD Chief
    OK War it will be! I can do that, or could have.
    Nancy K
    Why is it that you think that the FBI and DEA in their new forms could not deal with the cartels with no border in the way?
    FM
    Why would our institutions “crack” and not theirs? Are we so weak? pl

  8. Rider says:

    Dave of Maryland
    What about the next 20 million and the 20 after that? Market forces will eventually stem the flow. The same basic law of economics apply north and south of the border: supply and demand. When supply exceeds demand, the flow north will reverse. Basic capitalism: jobs are available (but going unfilled) for people who want to put in an honest days work for a decent wage. Let it be. Far better to import the labor supply than to export the jobs.

  9. Lang: “If they get our goodies, then I want theirs.”
    That raises another vital point: Mexico’s oil production is rapidly falling. They will be an oil importer in the short- to medium- term. Oil is not only a key element of Mexico’s economy, it provides the largest share of the government’s income (from memory, roughly 60%).
    More broadly, a take-over, on any terms, of Mexico would be an act of hubris for America — imagining that we have the resources and wisdom to solve the problems of another large nation. A fitting coda for our regime, after decades of dysfunction.

  10. David says:

    I heard on the radio a few months ago an interesting interview with some people who have studied the issue of Mexican migration in the US. One interesting thing that they pointed out was that the remittances from Mexicans working outside Mexico was a substantial part of their economy and that this money has made it possible to avoid making the political and economic changes that are really needed. They said it was analogous to a country that relied too much on some natural resource to the detriment to other parts of the economy like manufacturing. Interesting idea. Colonel, I suspect your “modest proposal” would also not be popular with the Mexican elite.
    As an aside, have you read George Friedman’s book on the next 100 years ? He believes that the relationship with Mexico may well be the number one foreign policy issue for the US in this century.

  11. Ian says:

    Well, so long as you’re not thinking about gobbling up Canada as well. 54°40′ or fight!
    “Are there any examples of successful states with such a wide internal range of income/wealth, and such radically different social and political cultures?”
    India?
    (yes, they couldn’t keep Pakistan, but it’s not as though India now is homogeneous)

  12. Patrick Lang says:

    David
    In re friedman’s book – Why do you think I posted this piece? pl
    FM
    You appear to assume that Mexican culture (political or other) does not have anything that we would benefit from in a synthesis. I would not agree.
    I am proposing a synthesis not an acquisition for precisely that reason.
    you lack confidence in the vitality of the US. I do not. pl

  13. charlottemom says:

    Col. Lang,
    Think you’re on to something. There is a great book that discusses this possiblity.
    From Wikipedia:
    The Nine Nations of North America is a book written in 1981 by Joel Garreau. In it, Garreau argues that North America can be divided into nine regions, or “nations”, which have distinctive economic and cultural features. He argues that conventional national and state borders are largely artificial and irrelevant, and that his “nations” provide a more accurate way of understanding the true nature of North American society.
    Mexamerica — the southern and Central Valley portions of California as well as southern Arizona, the portion of Texas bordering on the Rio Grande, most of New Mexico and all of Mexico, centered on either Los Angeles or Mexico City (depending on whom you ask), which are significantly Spanish-speaking. Garreau’s original book did not place all of Mexico within Mexamerica, but only Northern Mexico and the Baja California peninsula. Capital: Los Angeles.
    A useful by-product of this new mexamerica construct would be the break-up of CA – part “Empty Quarter” part “Ecotopia” and part “Mexamerica”
    CA is a big bankrupt state captured by special interests, but will continue to be bailed out (ala insolvent banks). When something is too big to fail, then break it into smaller pieces!

  14. Trent says:

    Think of the benefits for our national soccer team. Can we get this through before the 2010 World Cup?

  15. charlottemom says:

    To add:
    Alas, the Mexamerica construct would involve “giving up” portions of Texas. Although Texas doesn’t have the financial problems of CA, they certainly have the cultural issues. I think their governor has expressed interest in some sort of secession! But a unification with Mexico …ha!ha! Not sure that’s what he had in mind!

  16. Chuckle. “West” Germany had quite a job trying to bring East Germany back into the fold. Multiply the problems they encountered by a thousand if we tried to meld our two countries. As I posted last time, we Americans can already enjoy what Mexico offers without merging the two countries – greenbacks do a lot of talking in Latin America.
    The solution here is to bring those who are already here illegally into the system, and get them paying taxes. Since they broke the law coming here, include a fine in the process – they pay a substantial fine either up front or spread over many months. Try to get a percentage of back taxes for the wages they have alredy earned. But these punitive actions would need to be balanced out to ensure people don’t just burrow deeper underground.
    I think most immigrants when given the opportunity to pay some realistic penalties as part of the path to citizenship would be willing to do so.
    Another part of my plan would include two programs. One program leads to citizenship while the other is a guest worker program. Many immigrants have no plans to stay here indefinitely, so allow them to work between one and five years and then head back home to enjoy their remittances. They would pay payroll taxes with the understanding that that is the cost of working here. Of course, there should be an opportunity to move from the guest worker program to the citizenship path after a certain number of years working here. Something like three consecutive years of legal employment.
    Finally, to solve the problems on the border, open up the quotas, especially for a guest worker program.

  17. rjj says:

    Long term, there needs to be a solution to the problem of the Mexican elite, which runs the country for its own benefit.

    The short term and more urgent elite problem is the one that will turn US into Mexico.

  18. Tyler says:

    Now I see why you get annoyed, Colonel, when people weigh in on moonbrained schemes involving the military.
    Not that what you’re saying is off the wall, but most of the responses here are of the entire “poor undocumented immigrant looking for work” meme that illegal immigrant activists have been successful in pushing.
    As someone who works in enforcing the laws on the southwest border for the Patrol, I can tell you that you get a lot of dirtbags mixed in with the people who are coming in for work. Too many people with DUIs, agg felonies, and assaults on police over here.
    Sorry, but I have no sympathy for people trying to cross here to “make a better a life”, especially when you consider the stuff Mexico does to defend its southern border, and how its one of the top ten richest nations in the world. If Mexicans are so interested in making a better life, they should do it in their own country, instead of being abbetted by those interested in exploiting them for labor or political purposes.
    Re: Dave of Maryland
    Here in Arizona, whenever a local PD starts trying to apply immigration laws the illegal migrants right’s groups start making a muck about human rights violations and how the police will be profiling hispanics and filing lawsuit after lawsuit in court until they find a friendly judge to rule for them.

  19. patrick says:

    “… (decent) folk who make an important contribution to the work force in many jobs that US born Americans no longer want.”
    I agree with this statement as would my cousin, a RC priest who ministers to Spanish speakers in our Archdiocese. But priests and Federal pensioners do not have to compete in a depressed job market with these low wage earners. As a college drop-out that finishes concrete for a living, I know first-hand that illegal immigrants drive down wages.
    Building contractors love low pay and hate safety regulations. Migrant workers solve these problems.
    For an uneducated man, the building industry is the one of the last places left to earn a decent wage and raise a family because we no longer manufacture anything in America.
    Regarding “doing jobs Americans no longer want”, will these migrant folks continue to perform these jobs for low wages once they receive citizenship?
    Hell no! Once they become legitimate, they will want higher wages which will result in importing a new tribe of people to pluck the chickens, slaughter the pigs, and landscape the yard. Who’s next? Afghanis? Cambodians?
    My grandparents came here from Ireland in the 1910’s. America needed strong backs that would work for low pay back then. Subways and canals needed digging, ships were unloaded by hand by stevedores, and assembly lines needed to be staffed.
    We no longer unload ships by hand and there are very few assembly lines left. We no longer need mass quantities of foreign workers. Although Max Boot would find a place for them.

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:

    This formulation is neither possible nor viable.
    The cultures are too distinct. Consider one major example: in US Death does not exist in the public space – it is entrenched in public space in Mexico.
    What is viable is a North American Union with a common central bank and a common currency – NACU – North American Currency Unit – which include US, Mexico, and Canada. The citizens of each state can live and work in any of the 3 states. Children born will assume the citizenship of the jurisdication of birth and that of their parents. The tax laws have to be harmonized a Court of North American Settlement has to be setup.
    US needs Mexico (and Canda) to compete against China, Brazil and others were labor and cost of living is lower.

  21. An Amazing post and one with which I agree wholeheartedly. What is needed is that we treat Mexico completely seperate from other problems and analysis. We are in fact one people although many Americans do not realize that. The real reason for the separation of Texas into its own Republic and then STATE was the driving necessity of expanding the world of slavery as more and more Northern states entered the UNION with full rights. That history makes dubious the current effort to argue that TEXAS has rights to succeed from the UNION which of course it does not. That issue is settled for good at Appamatox (sic). First things first, and upgrade relationships by creating an Assistant Secretary of STATE for Mexican Affairs. The same in DOD and DHS. Promote long-term understanding and knowledge by creating more higher ed programs in US/Mexican History and other disciplines, including special demographic and geographic learning. Personally I believe that the Mexican Revolution of the last Century was a deeper and more radical one than our own and the fervor of that Revolution could erupt again. Then the number of Mexicans looking for safety, jobs, and a future could very well be dramatic. Let’s help Mexico with broader foreign aid packages because after all they are US.

  22. Patrick Lang says:

    patrick and tyler
    I hear you. pl

  23. Jose says:

    Col., good idea, but as you can see few people have the long-term vision to correct the problem.
    Short-sided because your idea will eventually happen, only on terms not favorable to America.
    In Mexico, the call it “La Reconquista” which means the reconquest of the lands taken from them.
    Nothing can stop unless we enact some real controls over the illegals such as Pat Buchanan’s fining employers:
    1st offense = 100k per illegal
    2nd offense = 250k
    3rd offense = 1,000k per
    Spanish is already America’s 2nd language, google which stations win the ratings wars for the 6 P.M. news or which is the most popular language in America’s school.
    This problem is beyond fixing since Reagan granted amnesty to illegals which only served as a magnet to others.
    New Mexico is gone, soon California or Arizona, and let see how long Texas last before it falls.
    Would it bankrupt America, or are we already bankrupt?
    Just my 2 cents and I’m not a Mexi…

  24. Bobo says:

    Why stop at Mexico lets include North America. Arctic Ocean to the Pan Canal and all in between. Personally I believe that will happen in the next 100 years or so but not in my lifetime.
    On the other hand, next time you pay that guy under the table for some yard work keep in mind that if the IRS could tax the underground economy our medicare/medicaid/social security upcoming problems would look rosy today.
    As to those worrying about cultural problems remember the bulk of North America was settled by Europeans. So they all come from where our forefathers came.
    Oh, as to the work ethic. I have never met an immigrant who did not have a fantastic work ethic as they are striving to get ahead in this country. Its the second and third generations who turn into what we are use to.
    Appreciate the sounding board!!

  25. curious says:

    Hell no! Once they become legitimate, they will want higher wages which will result in importing a new tribe of people to pluck the chickens, slaughter the pigs, and landscape the yard. Who’s next? Afghanis? Cambodians?
    Posted by: patrick | 28 June 2009 at 05:09 PM
    meh.
    That’s a bit like a politician from 1885(US population ~80m) saying that US would certainly implode in deep starvation and poverty if we have 300m citizen.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States
    True that the national economy is not infinitely elastic and can’t absorpt unlimited amount of worker in given time period. But The north america population density, and land carrying capacity is far from saturated.
    What limit employment is lack of social imagination, usually manifested in politics, media, habit, culture, etc.
    Let’s put it this way,
    from all supersize free trade area. NAFTA is the smallest and will soon be the weakest. For 90 yrs, US power comes from its unchallenged economic size, large natural resource and big population base, with that ability to maintain big military. That’s not true anymore. Soon, when central bank in china or EU change interest rate policy, or economic tuning. We will be gasping for air. (think of Japan-US relationship in the 90’s where US change interest rate policy kill Japan economy. That was 2:1 size ratio.)
    Greater china (hongkong, macau, taiwan, mekong delta) will be about 1:1 ratio compared to US economy by 2020. You think Geithner begging for chinese to not stop buying treasury is pathetic at 1:.3 economic ratio. Or that chinese central bank announces study of reserve diversification can sink dollar 1%.
    at 1:1 ratio, a new chinese banking law will kill job in middle america en masse. A gang of Shanghai banksters can sink USD value without sweating. (Soro short pound with $10B and killed it forever while making $1B in 92) The chinese changing labor law, shop in US will start closing. Wanna talk about the price of industrial feed and oil?
    3 of top 10 biggest banks in the world are chinese already. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China is currently the biggest bank in the world.
    And china GDP/cap is only ~$3000. From other asian tiger experience, they will coast all the way till $10K in very short period of time before it’s political structure can’t handle the high growth. At $10K, Entire NAFTA still won’t be as big as greater china.
    Tight economic integration of north american economy is a necessity, less the nation will lost control of a lot of things that previously taken for granted.
    Want to change labor or environmental law in 2020? Better check with the chinese first, less they do trade retaliation via WTO that will destroy .02% of GDP.
    15 yrs from now, we won’t be worrying if brown people are taking over the US. Because everybody will be emigrating to Asia and looking for work there. The brain drain will go eastward. That’s where the money and high growth are.
    Added bonus, for once, the US soccer team won’t be the world laughing stock after integration.

  26. gacetillero says:

    I’d suggest an arrangement like the EU – take those who come under official programmes and reject those that come illegally. How to distinguish? Pure economics. The US will always need people to do that which US citizens are not willing to do, or that they are unable to do.
    Which of course would mean that if you don’t want Hispanics picking oranges, US citizens should get to picking oranges. What’s the US unemployment rate like now? What would it be if US citizens did what ‘informal’ labourers now do?
    And it would also mean welcoming Spanish-speakers onto campuses and into businesses if they happen to be the best people for the jobs.
    Of course, in the end, the idea of a cohesive US nation is a pipedream. People on the border have more in common with people the other side of the border than they have with New Yorkers or Mid-Westerners. You either control it in a practical, manageable way, or you sit like King Canute trying to turn back the demographic tide.

  27. John Moore says:

    Why would Mexico wish to be a Yanqui state? Here’s what Fred sees: http://www.fredoneverything.net/TACMexico.shtml . He lives there, so he’s got a better perspective than most Americanos.

  28. verc says:

    Wow!
    Awesome suggestion Colonel. I am with you. Lots of people like to speak about the “subhuman” nature of Mexicans- or Latinos in general- but I’m not buying it. Despite being a Ron Paul supporter myself, I actually think a North American Union is not such a bad thing.
    I think of Mexicans as brothers here in the new world. Our shared histories are quite similar.
    Mexico though has a messed up legal code. They’re still on the Napleonic Legal Code where one must prove one’s innocence. That doesn’t fly.
    But yes, I think we should integrate the two countries. It seems an obvious solution to me.
    Much respect to you for having the courage to take such a stand.

  29. Jackie says:

    I live in Kansas City, KS. It has always been an immigrant magnet..eastern Europeans, Slavs, Serbs, Croats and various others for the meat packing industry. We had earlier Mexican immigrants to do the truck farming and railroad work.
    My sis was in this week for her 40th class reunion and she marveled that it is still an immigrant community but the names of the businesses have become Mexican and aren’t as predominantly the eastern Europeans anymore.
    Personally, we like it this way. Combining the two countries probably wouldn’t work. We think we know more than they do.
    I don’t know if my neighbor is legal or illegal. Don’t care, he’s a great guy! And certainly better than the US citizens who lived there before him.
    Jackie

  30. fred says:

    “…jobs that US born Americans no longer want.” What wage would those jobs be at? This is the same old neocon economics from those FDR called the ‘aristocracy of money’. The richest in America have been fighting and winning a war against taxation in general and specifically the progressive ones targeted at the concentration of wealth. California’s current fiscal debacle (alluded too in another comment) is a legacy not just of the electricity market manipulation by Enron (and others) that created the Davis recall election that ushered in Schwarzenegger; but the ‘tax revolt’ of Howard Jarvis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_13_(1978)
    There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Someone has to pay the bills. That’s why governments levy taxes.
    Mexico’s aristocracy of money has not invested in their own country nor has America’s, other than buying politicians, lobbyists and media shills. If the US won’t address the tax policy that is leading to a continued concentration of wealth we certainly shouldn’t expect the Mexican government to do so nor should we expect any abatement in immigration.
    Europe has faced a similar problem (in-migration for economic reasons) for many years. They already have many of the items you list: “One country with one code of federal laws, one federal judiciary … ownership standards, taxes, electoral laws, one constitution.” (I don’t believe the EU constitution has been ratified by all EU members yet.) The EU still has a long way to go to solve the cultural problems that occur with significant human migration. Your proposal won’t be any easier; yet might actually be inevitable as a result of a slow cultural change in North America.

  31. Stormcrow says:

    IMHO, the risk of American civil and political culture being overwhelmed by Mexico’s is slim to nil. This is just numbers: 300 million of us, 60 million of them.
    But both geography and history have dealt Mexico a very shabby hand. A superstate encompassing the United States + Mexico would have to support that 60 million down south. I doubt that we’re in good enough economic shape to take on the job. Policing is also going to be stony hard right now, with drug cartels all but running Mexico.
    It’d amount to annexing a huge slum in a state of internal war. Compared to that, the factors of disparate language and culture are relatively minor. Dealbreakers though they might be in and of themselves.
    I don’t think legalization of marijuana is going to help with the Mexico problem. Marijuana isn’t the principal product of the Mexican drug cartels, so economic leverage would be slim to nil. Although legalization is an excellent idea for other reasons. It just won’t help with this.
    The illegals/undocumented/whatever you want to call them? Not going to be fixed as long as it’s in the interests of American businesses to permit the flow. Better to fast-track to citizenship. That way, incentive for those businesses falls, since they won’t be able to hire, as virtual slave labor. people who are powerless to go to the authorities and report abuse.

  32. Let’s be serious. Latin Americans come here by the droves for the *immediate* opportunities available to them. I saw first hand how the Honduran elite kept the poor campesinos in line, primarily through a limited and substandard education. When the government only provides up to a 6th grade education (and that probably equates to a 3rd grade education by US standards), people are less likely to understand how to fight the entrenched powers. After a few months down there I actually started getting fed up with the poor and powerless – why weren’t they *fighting back!?* We had our revolution against the oppressors, why don’t they have one?
    Well, our Revolution was a success because we had a highly educated elite to lead it! In Latin America, the highly educated elite are the problem, not the solution!
    So…
    We may want the poorest Mexicans to improve their own lot down there, but it ain’t gonna happen in the short term. Let’s deal with reality! And this has nothing to do with feeling sorry for anyone. We need a solution that recognizes the reality of our situation and is a net *benefit* to us.
    If we want to keep Social Security and Medicare, we need younger workers to pay into the system. We need workers to replace the baby-boomers. Fact is, the birth rate of middle class whites is dropping here and in Europe.
    When I was growing up, all the “crap” jobs were filled by my friends and me – dish dawgs, bus boys, fry cooks, lawn care. It was a part of growing up in the middle class. Heaven forbid a middle class teenager would be a dish dawg at Red Lobster nowadays! They deserve better!(sarcasm)
    Who is filling those jobs now? Immigrants.
    So, we can either spend all our money trying to deport them or we can increase our tax revenues and fix the long-term structural problems we face. I’ll take the latter. Punish the ones who came here illegally, and then get them into the system.

  33. FDChief says:

    War would be both costly and ineffective. However, the money and people we’re now putting into SW Asia could be well used in border enfrocement and narcotraficante policing along the southern border.
    I think you’re eliding the real differences in social and political mores and practices between the countries. The bottom line is that Mexico has always been marginally functional politically as anything but a one-party state and is currently slipping below that level. Socially it has Gilded Age levels of economic inequality, social immobility and political and personal corruption. The probability that a bunch of gringos can “fix” these problems short of genocide-level violence is, what? Maybe 10% if we’re lucky?
    So, as great as the potential problems from an independant failed state to the south is, why – given the current level of magical and delusional thinking in both political and economic fields in OUR government let alone theirs – do you think that attempting to take over (and the idea of a “synthesis” of Mexican and U.S. cultures and institutions without the aid of a shotgun seems incredible; the only way this happens is if the U.S. makes it happen by force. Mexico would sooner collapse into anarchy first. Come to think of it, it has before.) Mexico would make both nations sounder rather than simply putting a band-aid on Mexico’s tumor while further destabilizing the U.S.?

  34. FDChief says:

    Add to the above my personal suspicion that the “illegals problem” is (perhaps outside of the SW border corridor) a “problem” that gets trotted out every time someone wants some nativist cred.
    As several commentators pointed out, if you cannot or will not enforce your border controls – and you are an order of magnitude richer as a nation than your neighbors – people in the neighboring countries will cross your border to gain a portion of your wealth.
    I suspect that most of these border-crossers are not taking jobs away from physicians, architects, screenwriters and political pundits. I suspect that if we sat down and thought about it we could firgure out to within about 25% where most of these people are working, and who they’re working for. I’m sure that the INS and the Border Patrol can, too.
    So why aren’t these people arrested and deported, and their employers – particularly the employers – hit with fines massive enough to deter them from ever considering hiring an illegal?
    Hmmm…I wonder…
    So ISTM that the “problem” of the illegals is that WE no longer have the will – or the willingness to pay $18.50/hr for our landscapers, nonunion carpenters, poultry butchers and stockclerks – to commit the time, people and money to policing this problem rather than buying Cold War fighters and tooling around the Hindu Kush.

  35. Tyler says:

    CWZ
    I see you’re buying into the idea that Americans won’t take the jobs because they’re too good for them, and its up to the hard working illegal to fill in the cracks.
    Bullshit.
    Here in the Southwest a teenager CAN’T get hired at any of the jobs you mentioned because the management would much rather pay someone here illegally three or four dollars under the table as opposed to having to pay someone minimum wage so their bottom line is better. Hell, as a returning veteran I couldn’t get a job as a dishwasher, but I guess I thought I was too good for that job?
    The issue isn’t that Americans won’t do the job, as you and George W. Bush claim, its that employers don’t want to pay a living wage. The mechanization of agricultural has been put off because of the addiction to cheap labor. Skilled trades like carpenters used to make a good, living wager that you could support a family on. Now? They’re lucky to clear $8 an hour, all because of the blind eye turned to the flow of illegals from down south.
    Yeah, we could spend our money deporting them, and maybe give our immigration laws some real teeth. Instead, we’d rather pay for health care, education, and taking care of citizens of another country as opposed to looking after our own nation’s interests first.
    With all the viritrol that gets thrown (rightfully so) at the dual nationality Zionists who put Isreal first, I’m somewhat confounded by the coddling going on here with Mexican-American nationals who put the interests of Mexico over those of the country they live in.

  36. jerseycityjoan says:

    Colonel Lang,
    Great discussion-starter and great blog, I’ve been a lurker for years.
    I think joining up with Mexico is the last thing we should do. Helping them would be fine, except the help they want is for us to take millions of their citizens off their hands. That we should not do.
    As a person who believes that America is a first world country and that its people have to earn first world wages to prosper, I reject the use of “cheap foreign labor,” which of course turns out to cost quite a bit in the end. I think our passivity about illegal migration over the last 20 years has been a terrible mistake.
    With the exception of some agriculture jobs, I believe that Americans will do most any job for a decent wage. We have a lot high school dropouts and unskilled labor of our own. All this focus on outsiders is a sign of how little we think about or really care for our own fellow citizens.
    What are we going to do with the extra 100 million Americans we’re supposed to have by 2050, mostly because of immigration? I hope somebody knows, because I don’t.
    I’ll believe we’re serious about illegal immigration and our future when we stop granting automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. I don’t expect that to happen for some time, I’m afraid, so my prediction is that we’ll have an armed border with Mexico in 20-30 years.
    And one final thing, Mexico isn’t a poor country, it’s a mismanaged one. We’ve been their enablers and we need to stop. Rich Mexicans have been keeping their money and having their own way long enough.

  37. Tyler says:

    Also, people should be aware that Cesar Chavez was totally against illegal immigration. He saw first hand how the drive for the lowest possible wages by management was resulting in people destroying themselves doing back breaking labor.
    And while we’re talking about so called work that Americans won’t do, let’s talk about how computer programmers and engineers can’t find work because of the H1-B visa program. Microsoft and Silicon Valley as a whole use people from China and India as indentured servants and then rant about how “lazy” American workers are because they don’t want to work 18 hour days for weeks on end. This is opposed to people from Asia who know if they complain they’re never going to be able to get hired over here again.
    Do away with all the guest worker programs, since the main provision of them according to law is “…when American citizen workers are otherwise unavailiable”. There are plenty of citizen workers here, it just requires paying a living wage, which is something the businesses will refuse to do for as long as they can.

  38. Doran Williams says:

    Col. Lang, congratulations. You have resurrected and now have people seriously considering the old idea of a Republic of The Rio Grande! Aaron Burr redux?
    Combining all of the United States of North America with all of the Republic of Mexico is an awfully large bite to take. But creating an area comprised of portions the U.S. Southwest and portions of the northern States of Mexico, in which there could be dual citizenship, rights commensurate with those of the citizens of the U.S., and a shared jurisdiction between Mexico and the U.S., could make a difference.
    This is a wonderfully complex and exciting idea. But it is not Aaron Burr redux and should not be. That adventure was pure imperialism: This one must be something else.

  39. N. Anderthal says:

    Expand the Union … if they are sending us their people then we can take their land. Offer Mexican states a path to US statehood. Either we get new states and territories or the Mexicans seal the border … either outcome is fine with me. When it suits either side there is no border anyway.
    This should be done with Costa Rica, Panama and eventually Cuba. It would have to be an overwhelming majority over a series of elections but the Union should grow.

  40. The concept of uniting with Mexico is too much for me to chew on this Monday morning.
    However, we definitely should be incorporating more Spanish terms into English.
    Two candidates:

    • Manana. Has all sort of color that “tomorrow” does not. Imagine Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy so adapted, “Manana and manana and manana / creeps in this petty pace from day to day….
    • Primavera: Simply a more poetic, evocative term than “spring.”
  41. rjj says:

    Latin Americans come here by the droves for the *immediate* opportunities available to them. I saw first hand how the Honduran elite kept the poor campesinos in line, primarily through a limited and substandard education. When the government only provides up to a 6th grade education (and that probably equates to a 3rd grade education by US standards), people are less likely to understand how to fight the entrenched powers. –CWZ

    Something we might want to think about.
    Also a month or so ago there was a news story about deporting super-violent Central American gang members. I noted their country of origin. They were not Nicaraguan.
    Nicaragua is not problem free but it doesn’t appear to be a major exporter of wretched refuse, yearning to eat and then after that, maybe, to be free. It is not at the top of the list of dysfunctional Central American countries with huge numbers of economic migrants or drug trafficking, and gang problems.
    Wonder why.
    Must be some sort of fluke.
    Possibly underreporting.

  42. Tom S says:

    Col. Lang’s suggestion might be worth trying just to see how many anti-immigration folks’ heads would explode at the same time. Imagine the US southern border areas littered with tiny brains.

  43. J says:

    Heck, let’s just turn Canada into the 51st and Mexico the 52nd States, followed by those remaining nations Panama, etc. on the tip of the North American Continent into State 53 and so on. Then we don’t have to worry about ‘free trade’ which is by no means ‘free’ to anybody except those at the very top of the pyramid.

  44. I see you’re buying into the idea that Americans won’t take the jobs because they’re too good for them, and its up to the hard working illegal to fill in the cracks.
    Bullshit.
    Here in the Southwest a teenager CAN’T get hired at any of the jobs you mentioned because the management would much rather pay someone here illegally three or four dollars under the table as opposed to having to pay someone minimum wage so their bottom line is better. Hell, as a returning veteran I couldn’t get a job as a dishwasher, but I guess I thought I was too good for that job?

    Reread my comment. I was talking about middle class teenagers, not veterans. I’ll concede this point to you: Middle class teenagers in the more affluent sections of the country won’t take those jobs. It was a well known problem in Gwinnett County GA starting back in the early 1990s. So it definitely depends on where you are.
    If employers are exploiting illegal immigrants, one reason they get away with it is because they have an edge over the employee…illegal immigrants won’t fight back and demand their rights to a minimum wage! Getting these folks into the system means they have the right to fight back. But even then there’s another stumbling block.
    Many of these immigrants come from countries where law enforcement exists to protect the property of the ruling elite. Period. In fact, we can see how my beloved Honduras takes care of business as we speak!
    So even if immigrants are here legally, they can be exploited easily.
    If we don’t want employers exploiting workers and driving down wages locally, then we need to enforce the *existing* labor laws. And believe it or not, the Bush Admin actually started doing that last summer by raiding many of the food processing plants in the Midwest.
    These are related issues but separate. There were plenty of employers paying kids under the table back when I was growing up long before the immigration argument became center stage.
    If we want to keep a living wage, then we need to tackle both issues at the same time.
    It’s a mess. We have allowed these problems to ferment for decades, especially since big business had a very, very vested interest in maintaining the status quo. I’m looking for the most cost effective solution that benefits our country as a whole. And recognizing the *context* in which all the players operate is not taking a pro-business or pro-immigrant position, and it is definitely not “coddling” anyone. We need to understand the underlying motivations for people’s behavior. In fact, if federal regulations are overburdening the small employer to the point where the only way to make a profit is to hire illegal immigrants, then that too must be fixed – companies exist to maximize profits and they will behave accordingly.
    I’ll sleep just fine at night even if we decide to deport every illegal alien (as long as families aren’t broken up – that’s a tougher situation) if that is the most cost-effective, long-term solution. But you haven’t convinced me otherwise.
    Thanks for calling me out, though – it kind of gets boring around here when no one hammers me on some comment I’ve posted.

  45. optimax says:

    This quote is from an article about Fordlandia, Henry Ford’s attempt to implant his ideas of American culture in the Amazon.
    “The clash between Henry Ford — the man who reduced industrial production to its simplest motions in order to produce a series of infinitely identical products, the first indistinguishable from the millionth — and the Amazon, the world’s most complex and diverse ecosystem, was Chaplinesque in its absurdity, producing a parade of mishaps straight out of a Hollywood movie. Think Modern Times meets Fitzcarraldo. Brazilian workers rebelled against Ford’s Puritanism and nature rebelled against his industrial regimentation. Run by incompetent managers who knew little about rubber planting much less social engineering, Fordlandia in its early years was plagued by vice, knife fights, and riots. The place seemed less Our Town than Deadwood, as brothels and bars sprawled around its edges.”
    http://aep.typepad.com/american_empire_project/2009/06/touring-empires-ruins.html

  46. Mark Gaughan says:

    curious
    With a win over Spain and a close loss to Brazil in the final of The Confederations Cup I don’t think the world is laughing at US soccer right now. World Cup 2010!
    Mark Gaughan

  47. steve says:

    David, I think that’s an accurate observation–the Mexican reliance on transmitted funds.
    I would go beyond it to express what I also think is obvious.
    That the US helps prop up the Mexican oligarchy through the safety-valve of immigration. The US gets access to the Mexican market and natural resources, and in turn, immigration relieves the Mexican oligarchy of any necessary changes.
    It works all around—except for the American and Mexican worker.

  48. rjj says:

    Middle class teenagers in the more affluent sections of the country won’t take those jobs.

    Who would hire them? Why would anybody hire them? They have been raised as decorative high-grade house pets. They can’t do those jobs.
    Burlington Vermont is a good place to compare the work habits of the relatively affluent teenager with those of the townie (never mind the migrant).

  49. optimax says:

    rjj,My dog actually is more dependable and more friendly than the spoiled teenagers in my neighborhood. He has awakened me at night when my blood sugar was low, brings the tennis ball back everytime I throw (I’m sure he’d rather retrieve a Mallard), he makes me walk twice a day and doesn’t talk back. It’s also impossible to be depressed around him and he introduces me to women who would otherwise ignore me. People have problems with their dogs when they treat them like children and make no effort to understand dog psychology.

  50. dawo says:

    There is an unmentioned racial component.
    Black Americans and Hispanics often fight lethally in the streets of America.
    Who exactly is going to protect the Mexicans from the Blacks?
    Who exactly is going to tell the Blacks to change their current modus vivendi to make room for more Hispanics?
    Will Obama do it?

  51. Curious says:

    Anybody watching Honduras. It’s another one of those “regime change” handy work. (NED/IRI) except this one backfire BADLY. It actually topples legitimate government. And Obama has to support Zelaya.
    The global shit storm from DC supported political destabilization is going to isolate US, if things don’t change fast.
    People are going to die is latin america, Iraq, afghanistan.
    http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2009/7/2/0645/48131/209#c209
    The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) finances so-called “civil society” groups in Honduras with more than $50 million a year. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the State Department also channel millions of dollars and strategic assistance to the principal political parties and political organizations in Honduras through the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and other agencies in Washington. Groups like Peace and Democracy (Orwell, you were right!), who yesterday openly backed the coup d’état in Honduras, receive part of this money originating from the self-labeled “promoters of democracy.”
    ————-
    http://china.org.cn/international/2009-06/29/content_18033058.htm
    Washington based analysts have been vocal in their criticism of Zelaya. Immediately prior to the coup, Michael Shifter, vice-president of the think tank Inter-American Dialogue and former director of the Latin American program of the National Endowment for Democracy said “Zelaya has provoked this institutional crisis. He seems to have a very strong appetite for power. He’s trying to be the victim, but he won’t get a lot of sympathy by defying the country’s institutions.”
    Zelaya particularly irked the USA in early June when, hosting a meeting of the Organization of American States in Honduras, he played a leading role in overturning the 47-year-old suspension of Cuba from the organization. After the vote, Zelaya declared “the Cold War is over” and, referring to Fidel Castro’s famous claim that history would absolve him, said “today, he is absolved.”
    ———–
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/06/showdown-in-honduras-the-rise-and-uncertain-future-of-the-coup/comment-page-1/
    Manuel Zelaya Takes a Left Turn
    When Manuel Zelaya was elected president on November 27, 2005 in a close victory, he became president of one of the poorest nations in the region, with approximately 70% of its population of 7.5 million living under the poverty line. Though siding himself with the region’s left in recent years as a new member of the leftist trade bloc, Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), Zelaya did sign the Central American Free Trade Agreement in 2004.
    However, Zelaya has been criticizing and taking on the sweatshop and corporate media industry in his country, and increased the minimum wage by 60%. He said the increase, which angered the country’s elite but expanded his support among unions, would “force the business oligarchy to start paying what is fair.”

  52. optimax says:

    Curious,
    Both Obama and Clinton have come out on the side of Zelaya, and most of the media omit important reasons for his ouster, such as Zelaya’s acts were unconstitutional.
    “That Mr. Zelaya acted as if he were above the law, there is no doubt. While Honduran law allows for a constitutional rewrite, the power to open that door does not lie with the president. A constituent assembly can only be called through a national referendum approved by its Congress.
    But Mr. Zelaya declared the vote on his own and had Mr. Chávez ship him the necessary ballots from Venezuela. The Supreme Court ruled his referendum unconstitutional, and it instructed the military not to carry out the logistics of the vote as it normally would do.”
    The quote is from WSJ and Common Dreams had a fairly balanced report, laying blame on both sides. I hope the U.S. stays out of it but it looks like we won’t and, in concert with the rest of the international community, apply pressure on one of the poorest countries in Latin America.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124623220955866301.html
    I wouldn’t mind if Congress ordered the military to oust Goldman Sachs and its people layered through out the government. That’s the only way I see of saving our country.

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