I was looking through some conservative Townhall columns yesterday, trying to decide which ones to read. One that I chose to read was Michael Reagan’s Mexico Held Back by Corruption. Here are some of my favorite passages from it:
“What the heck is wrong with Mexico? It’s got everything it needs to be a prosperous First World country. It’s got a $1.7 trillion free-market economy — the 12th largest in the world. It’s got 116 million of the hardest working people on the planet. It’s got its own oil, gas, silver and other natural resources. It’s got beautiful beaches and ancient ruins to attract tourists. So why is Mexico such a mess? Why are its wages so low and its per capita income a third of ours? Why is its unemployment rate so high?…And, most import to us, why do so many of Mexico’s poorest citizens have to leave their families, become criminals and sneak across the U.S. border just to get a decent-paying job?”
Reagan’s answer to that question is the corruption of Mexico’s government. Reagan also says:
“Mexico’s people are equally blameless. They’re not the source of their country’s economic ills or our illegal-immigration problem. The Mexicans who cross into the USA looking for work are doing what most people I know, including myself, would do if they were trapped in a politically corrupt country. It’s time for Washington to stop arguing over the length or height or strength of our border fences, or how many years our 11 million illegal immigrants must wait in line to become an American citizen. It’s time for Washington to address the root cause of our immigration problem — the mess that is Mexico.”
I find this article to be a breath of fresh air, specifically because it is an attempt by a right-winger to empathize with the plight of Mexicans who come to the U.S. in search of a better life. Unfortunately, I do not see that often enough in right-wing circles. I hear right-wingers complain that Mexicans come into this country to take our jobs and mooch off of our government benefits, and these right-wingers seem to assume that having strong border security is the end-all, be-all, cure-all to the problem of illegal immigration. They don’t appear to think about the crushing poverty in Mexico that makes Mexicans want to come to the U.S., in search of opportunities for themselves and their children. I commend Michael Reagan for at least acknowledging this issue.
Unfortunately, Michael Reagan did not go into detail about how the U.S. could help or influence Mexico to become a country where people don’t feel as if they have to come to the U.S. to live a quality life. He doesn’t think that simply giving money to Mexico is the answer, and he may have a point on that: if the Mexican government is corrupt, then it might squander money that the U.S. gives it. Michael Reagan suggests that the U.S. should talk tough against the Mexican government, the same way that Michael’s father, Ronald Reagan, called the Soviet Union an “evil empire”. But what good would that do?
I liked Michael Reagan’s point that Mexico has the resources to become a first world country. My impression is that a lot of countries that are classified as Third World (not that I know for sure if Mexico is in that category) have or had lots of resources. The problem has been human greed, as people come in to plunder those resources. God made a bountiful earth, but it is human beings who have fostered systems that relegate people to grinding poverty. Is there a way to address this problem?