Two weeks ago, Polimom suggested that perhaps we should annex Mexico to avoid all these immigration reform shenanigans. At the time, my tongue was admittedly in my cheek – but only slightly, because the enormous influx from the south is happening for a reason. This demonstrator summed it up very well in Houston yesterday:
“All we want is to work and to have a better future for our children,” Flores said.
Ultimately, that’s the bottom line for the vast majority of the people crossing our southern border: the chance at a better life, by working hard and finding opportunities for their children.
Polimom thinks we’re lucky, in many ways, in the neighbors with whom fate has cast us. Imagine, just for the moment, that the U.S. shared a border with China. Do you suppose our economy would have any allure for the billions of people who live there? How high a wall would we need?
Or take it from a different angle, as Glenn Reynolds did in an article last night, and imagine that the Reconquistas somehow reclaimed the southwestern states. Do you suppose people would then stop trying to access the American dream?
The problem with our neighbors to the south is not the people. It’s their political and economical environment, and unless their situation improves at home, they will continue to flock north. Glenn Reynolds wrote:
Oh, we don’t need to turn Mexico into a state, or several. At least not right away. But as part of any immigration deal, the United States needs to demand reform in Mexico. Serious political reform, and serious economic reform.
And reciprocity. If we’re going to make it easy for Mexicans to come to the United States to live, work, hold property, and get public benefits without too much paperwork trouble, we need to make it easy for Americans to do the same in Mexico. Right now, as several people have noticed, the environment there is considerably less friendly to foreigners than America’s is.
Comparatively speaking, our streets are still paved with gold.
Annexation is a bit facetious, yes – but the goal is not. We already know that millions of our neighbors desire the American dream. We need a permanent solution, and we aren’t going to achieve it with an endless wall or hostility and suspicion; we require a stronger economy to the south.
It would solve many problems, for us and them.
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Update: Dan Riehl asks:
“Time to start now talking with the citizens of Mexico. Do they want a stable growing economy? Do they want a stable currency that doesn’t face devaluation with every change of El Presidente? Do they want free flow of labor and capital? Do they want job opportunities for themselves and their children? Would they like to adopt a system with far less tolerance of governmental corruption? Or is their own chauvinism and xenophobia more valuable?”
Dunno. Maybe we should ask them?