There have been an abundant number of columns and guest editorials over the past several weeks praising the efforts of the bipartisan group of United States Senators to achieve some type of immigration reform compromise in Washington. While there has been plenty of ink devoted to why America needs to change its immigration laws, there has been scant attention to the underlying issue of what is driving Mexican and Central American citizens out of their native countries.
We have written a number of times (Why Mexico, not Syria, should be on our minds and Being Neighborly, for example) about the need for American foreign policy to change as it relates to Mexico and Central America. American interests should be focused on creating greater opportunity for Mexican citizens at home and the development of economic opportunities in Central America as well. After all, a strong Mexico and a strong Central America would mostly boost the economic status of Arizonans as well. Mexico remains Arizona’s largest trading partner.
As long as people’s desires are to move here rather than for America to be trading with them at home, we will continue to be faced with a game of shrinking opportunity. The real path to further economic freedom for Arizona is for Mexico to democratize is state owned assets and light the lamp of economic freedom in their own Country.
Again, we ask, why does the richest man in the world live in Mexico and why isn’t our President doing more to create more opportunity for Mexican citizens in Mexico, rather than encouraging their migration into America through Arizona? Is the appropriate response to ignore the tragedy that is the Mexican government? To blindly accept the economic refugees fleeing a nation seized by violence and plagued with an endemic lack of economic opportunity. To accept the class structure of a society that fails to embrace our own democratic ideals and the dignity of all human life by merrily taking these desperate souls in? Is this a policy agenda or a political agenda?
It appears that we answered that question a couple of years ago when the President scared people into believing they were going to get arrested for going out for ice cream in Arizona.
Recently, the New York Times published an editorial about the promises of Mexico’s new president Enrique Pena Nieto to reform some of the state owned monopolies in Mexico. It is a sign – a faint sign –that some good things may be happening south of the border.
Conservative American political interests should begin to work with the Mexican government to create more opportunity for its citizens in Mexico. Congressman Matt Salmon’s recent appointment as Chairman of the Western Hemispheric subcommittee of the House Foreign Relations Committee holds out some hope that someone in Arizona could help create positive change in Mexico. After all, that is what, we have pointed out time and again, would be the “neighborly” thing to do.
Perhaps as we begin to resolve some of nation’s larger immigration problems, we can also begin to address the underlying issue – the crony capitalism of Mexico and Central America is not serving their citizens well.