Saturday, January 31, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Mexico’s own immigration debate

navarrette column sig

By
From page A11 | November 21, 2012 |

MEXICO CITY — If you think the debate over immigration from Mexico into the United States is complicated, just take a trip south of the border and look at it from that side.

Complicated isn’t the half of it. The immigration debate is also dishonest and hypocritical and filled with people who would rather pursue their own interests than solve the problem. And it all revolves around a broken system that stays broken because important and powerful interests want it that way.

This is true in both countries. Mexico is just as reluctant as the United States to confront the larger issue of migration – both of its own people north to the United States and along its own southern border, where Central and South Americans want to get into a country that many natives are desperate to flee. Nor does the Mexican elite want to swallow its pride and admit that the real engine behind the Mexican economy isn’t people like them but Mexicans who don’t even live in Mexico anymore – immigrant workers in the United States.

In Mexico City, politicians, journalists and intellectuals are eager to avoid the issue altogether. They point out that migration to the United States from Mexico has slowed to a trickle. With a U.S. economy that is sluggish and a Mexican one that is bouncing back, many would-be migrants find that going north isn’t worth the trouble.

The part about the trickle is true enough. Take it from Princeton professor Douglas S. Massey, an expert on Mexico, whose research shows that net migration between the two countries has fallen to its lowest level since the 1950s. Or take it from the Pew Hispanic Center, which found that the illegal immigrant population in the United States is shrinking and that fewer illegal immigrants are arriving than in previous years.

But things change, and migration is unpredictable. When the U.S. economy improves, and if the Mexican one falters, the flow of illegal immigrants is likely to increase. Besides, for many young men in Mexico, going north is a rite of passage. Grandpa did it. Dad did it. And they want to do it.

Mexico is a permanent fixture of the immigration debate in the United States, whether Americans like it or not. It is no secret that this country is responsible for most of the migration into the United States – both legal and illegal. By some estimates, Mexicans account for as many as six out of 10 illegal immigrants in the United States.

Better make that, partly responsible. It’s also well-known that Mexico has a co-conspirator: U.S. employers. These folks often prefer to hire Mexican laborers over American counterparts. And not because the foreigners work for lower wages but because they tend to have more of a work ethic and less sense of entitlement.

The way that many Americans see it, Mexico gave up the right to comment on how the United States treats immigrants when it failed to provide opportunities for its own people so they had to look elsewhere.

Not that the Mexican people, or their leaders, are likely to keep quiet. When the immigration debate starts up again in Congress, as is likely to happen in the next few months, we can expect Mexicans to put in their two cents.

With a full 5 percent of its population living north of the Rio Grande, and countless Mexican families feeling the strain that comes from having parents separated from their children, Mexico can’t afford not to defend the expatriates. The catch? If it comes off as too aggressive, its advocacy could backfire – and hurt the very people it wants to help by hardening the views of Americans.

For much of the 20th century, when it came to migration, Mexico had a good thing. It got rid of millions of people who its economy didn’t have room for, and then those people went on to send home remittances that today total more than $20 billion.

Now it’s time for Mexico to develop a 21st century approach. This includes acknowledging the enormous contribution that Mexicans living abroad make to the motherland, and working diligently to provide them better services through Mexican consulates across the United States.

But it also involves not lecturing a neighbor about how to treat people who you’ve expelled.

Ruben Navarrette is a columnist for U-T San Diego. Reach him at [email protected]

Ruben Navarrette

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Solano County confirms 1st local case of measles

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: A1

     
    SPCA begins caring for more than 100 rescued dogs

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Top workers, top students – and succulent crab

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Life sentence in 2011 execution-style killing

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

    Partial Fairfield freeway road closure starts Monday

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
    DUI patrols set for Super Bowl Sunday

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

    Armijo students savor catered Fuddruckers lunch

    By Susan Hiland And Susan Winlow | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Fairfield police log: Jan. 29, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

    Suisun City police log: Jan. 29, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

     
    Another trip to Texas reminds me how lucky I am

    By Murray Bass | From Page: B10

    .

    US / World

    Stanford University to get $50 million to produce vaccines

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    Man charged in California family’s deaths will be own lawyer

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    Yosemite park fee hikes coming in March

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    San Francisco coroner says human remains are from 1 man

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    PG&E releases thousands of emails with state regulators

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Balloon crew makes history crossing Pacific Ocean

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Murder trial begins 35 years after 6-year-old vanished in NY

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Judge: Funeral home wrongly sold Lee Harvey Oswald’s casket

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Jordan awaits proof hostage is alive after swap deadline

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Judge expresses doubt about constitutionality of no-fly list

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    French fracture laid bare as 8-year-old praises terrorists

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Africans open new front in war on terror to fight Boko Haram

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    US mulls Middle East-North Africa category for 2020 Census

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    New lottery tickets come with a side of bacon – scent

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    .

    Opinion

    Solano College news makes me sick

    By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

     
    Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 31, 2015

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: Jan. 31, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Today in History: Jan. 31, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Jan. 31, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

     
    My recently widowed mother is already thinking about re-marrying

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

    Five ways 3D-printed food will change the way we eat

    By The Washington Post | From Page: B10

     
    .

    Entertainment

    List: 10 Super Bowl ads you’ll be talking about

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Rod McKuen, mega-selling poet and performer, dies at 81

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Miranda Lambert leads ACM Awards with 8 nominations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Shakira gives birth to 2nd baby with Spanish football star

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Ex-rap mogul ‘Suge’ Knight arrested in deadly hit-and-run

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Mustangs ride away from Indian’s home court with 66-60 victory

    By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Hayward, Utah Jazz upset Golden State Warriors 110-100

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    LeBron returns, Love, Irving team for 44, as Cavs top Kings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Kings’ Cousins to replace Kobe Bryant in All-Star game

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Blackhawks Hall of Famer Stan Mikita has brain disorder

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Ko takes lead at LPGA opener, closes in on golf history

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Laird leads as Tiger shoots 82 and misses the cut

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Seau, Warner, Pace first-time Hall eligibles

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    N.H. Speedway general manager faces lewdness charge

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Djokovic beats Wawrinka to reach fifth Australian Open final

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Judge: Jury can watch Super Bowl unless Hernandez mentioned

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Carroll says decision is Sherman’s if baby arrives early

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    NFL’s Goodell seeks to look past ‘tough year,’ to future

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    This date in sports history for Jan. 31, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    .

    Business

    US consumer confidence at highest level in a decade

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Companies steering clear of Super Bowl name

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    .

    Obituaries

    Joe Lambert Robinson

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Otilia (Tela) Quinn

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Danica Gojkovich Ryder

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    WillIiam “Bill” Hunter

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Garry A. Britton

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Anneliese Edith (Luckner) Fraser

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Anthony Neal Hunley

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Frank Z. Perez

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    .

    Home Seller 1/31/2015

    Quirky add-ons a common feature of celebrity homes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2

    Real estate transactions for Jan. 31, 2015

    By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

    5 ways to make a kitchen more germ-free

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3

    Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.66 percent

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3