June 18, 2006


Mexico Worries About Its Own Southern Border: Even as its officials denounce Washington's plans, Mexico has begun a re-examination of its own immigration policies. (GINGER THOMPSON, 6/18/06, NY Times)

Quiet as it is kept in political circles, Mexico, so much the focus of the United States' immigration debate, has its own set of immigration problems. And as elected officials from President Vicente Fox on down denounce Washington's plans to deploy troops and build more walls along the United States border, Mexico has begun a re-examination of its own policies and prejudices.

Here at Mexico's own southern edge, Guatemalans cross legally and illegally to do jobs that Mexicans departing for the north no longer want. And hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from nearly two dozen other countries, including China, Ecuador, Cuba and Somalia, pass through on their way to the United States.

Dense jungle makes establishing an effective law enforcement presence along the line impossible. Crossing the border is often as easy as hopping a fence or rafting for 10 minutes. But, under pressure from the United States, Mexico has steadily increased checkpoints along highways at the border including several posts with military forces.

The Mexican authorities report that detentions and deportations have risen in the past four years by an estimated 74 percent, to 240,000, nearly half along the southern border. But they acknowledged there had also been a boom in immigrant smuggling and increased incidents of abuses and attacks by corrupt law enforcement officials, vigilantes and bandits. Meanwhile, the waves of migrants continue to grow.

Few politicians have made public speeches about such matters. But Deputy Foreign Minister Gerónimo Gutiérrez recently acknowledged that Mexico's immigration laws were "tougher than those being contemplated by the United States," where the authorities caught 1.5 million people illegally crossing the Mexican border last year.

Thus we see that the nativists are advocating unAmerican ideas.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 18, 2006 9:06 AM

So if it's Mexican, it's "unAmerican", eh? That's mighty open minded of you.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 18, 2006 11:45 AM

Mr. Ortega, are you saying that everyone on the continent should be given U.S. citizenship today? Or are you saying that acting like fascists seems to be working for the Mexican goverment, and the U.S. goverment should follow suit?

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at June 18, 2006 12:36 PM

That southern Mexican border is a crucial choke point for illegal immigration into the U.S.

Most of those folks are just passing through Mexico. They're mostly Indians anyway ... the Mexican elites certainly don't want them.

Posted by: ghostcat at June 18, 2006 2:20 PM

They'll just have to be boated here.

Posted by: oj at June 18, 2006 3:35 PM

If steerage was good enough for my grandparents it's good enought for today's immigrants.

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at June 18, 2006 10:09 PM

Jawohl, mein herr. Bring 'em on -- your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.

Posted by: erp at June 19, 2006 12:56 PM