August 27, 2005


Nuñez Trip Hits Heavy Resistance: On Mexican goodwill tour, Assembly chief has to defend bid for state of emergency on border. (Sam Enriquez, August 27, 2005, LA Times)

California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez is one of a new generation of Spanish-speaking politicians who represent an increasingly potent Latino constituency. But somewhere between Sacramento and Mexico City, his goodwill message got lost in translation.

Nuñez landed in Mexico this week with the best of intentions: strengthening ties with the country, California's largest trading partner, and addressing the thorny issue of illegal immigration. He worked with a local public relations man to spread his message to as many people as possible: that immigrants were a precious California resource and that the two nations must work together to protect their future.

But two days into his whirlwind schedule of radio and TV appearances — as well as a private meeting with President Vicente Fox — Nuñez was spending most of his time trying to explain his demand that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declare a state of emergency along California's 142-mile border.

Even worse, Mexicans here say, was the speaker's insistence that Schwarzenegger — who this spring praised the "Minuteman" campaign along the U.S.-Mexico border — was a caring person. [...]

But to many Mexicans, the demand for cheap labor and illegal drugs by Americans on one hand, and the demand to seal the border on the other are at best a contradiction — and at worst, hypocrisy.

But given how well we assimilate immigrants, why shouldn't Mexican-Americans be hypocrites too?

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 27, 2005 9:05 AM

It is a contradiction, not really hypocrisy. The people in America demanding "cheap labor and illegal drugs" are different from the ones demanding "to seal the border."

Posted by: Brandon at August 27, 2005 11:02 AM

No, they aren't. Who do you think cuts Tom Tancredo's lawn?

Posted by: oj at August 27, 2005 11:07 AM

Well, sure, the politicians are hypocrites. They are trying to agree with constituencies that may jointly support them for other reasons that have nothing to do with immigration, yet differ wildly on immigration itself. But the citizens themselves tend to support or oppose immigration for reasons of self-interest.

Posted by: Brandon at August 27, 2005 12:02 PM

Bah. The USA has been accused of contradiction and hypocrisy for its entire life. Pornographic and Puritan, idealistic and ruthless, religious fanatics and materialists, whatever speakers dislike. Part of the problem of having a loud and vigorous culture and democracy where people disagree and offer their opinions, and a political culture that allows change in policy.

Posted by: John Thacker [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 27, 2005 12:04 PM

No one has said that America's cheap labor and illegal drugs MUST be supplied to us by Mexicans, and not by anyone else. We are an equal opportunity buyer of cheap labor and illegal drugs. The Mexican government may tell its citizens that they have a lock on supply of such items to Americans, but the claim is false.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at August 27, 2005 11:13 PM

It's too easy to stop cheap labor from elsewhere.

Posted by: oj at August 27, 2005 11:18 PM

If the Mexicans really wanted to punish us, they'd do something about the stream of drugs and people headed for El Norte, instead of just looking the other way while taking their cut (and abusing the people in the process) while sending it all on its way.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 28, 2005 12:51 AM