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The Border Has Two Sides

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Recently there have been a number of Blogcritics posts about the problems on the border of Mexico and the US; especially the border of Arizona where vigilante groups proliferate. These articles are of interest since I am American and live in Mexico. I have responded with comments to a few, not always without rancor. Not because I don’t understand the worries of the locals on the US border nor of the desperate or merely ambitious Mexicans, El Salvadorans and Guatemalans; but because I am always ready to defend the ideals of liberty and of America as the “Melting Pot” of the “free world”. Some recent posts have been:
Illegal Immigration
We All Were Immigrants ,
La Reconquista
and Time Bomb

My grandfather came to the US of A just after WWI, a deserter from the Axis to the English lines. My grandmother’s parents came in the late 1800’s. So I am 110% American, yessir.

The US and Mexico have always had difficult relations or a lack of them. It isn’t new. There was The Alamo (real and with John Wayne) and there are streets or statues in most every Mexican city to los niños heroes (the boy heroes. It was a while before I learned they were 4 young men who wrapped themselves in the Mexican flag and jumped from a cliff rather than give themselves up to the invading army during the battle of Puebla. That army was ours.

General Santa Ana was strange and terrible; but we stole half of Mexico.

Now the border is rife with violence — on both sides. Armed vigilantes on the north and drug lords and their pet police on the south. A badly trained and violent border patrol and immigration service on the US side and world opinion on the south. This is a recent political cartoon from our local paper El Diario de Quintana Roo . There are spent bullets south of the border and a badly drawn George W. sitting on a big nuke on the north exclaiming in the balloon, “ Por Dios How much violence there is in Mexico”. The title is “Mister Amigo”.

As FDR said (or was it Eleanor?) to the D.A.R. to begin a speech, “My fellow immigrants…” Even the Native Americans wandered over the land bridge from Asia 12,000 or 40,000 years ago ( or longer depending on the researcher). “My fellow immigrants…” applies to a lot of Americans.

Mexicans want to come to the US and emulate it; but, like much of the world, are beginning to see the US as aggresive, bullying and dangerous.

Americans want security against the dark forces of the East, the mad terrorists and jihad mongers who not only threaten the US but have succeeded in attacking our country with great loss of life (500 of whom were Mexicans in the WTC). Should we protect ourselves? Absolutely.

Should we close our borders to immigrants? First bury the Statue of Liberty Should we imprison all Arabs? First burn the Constitution. Do I have the answer? Like hell I do. Does George Bush? Not a chance. Did we need to find and destroy Al Quaeda? Of course we did and sadly did not succeed. Did we need to invade Iraq without adequate preparation and forces and, worse, without clear direction and a sense of exactly what our mission and the outcome would be? The rest of the world doesn’t think so. The parents of the dead soldiers wonder. We should, perhaps, leave or nuke the place in spite of its beautiful remnants of a great civilization. Or turn it into a shadow of the USA (fat chance).

I cannot say that all Mexicans are one thing or another. Our neighbors on one side are violent, sociopathic and dangerous scum. Many of my other Mexican friends and business contacts are more charming and courteous than any American is expected to be. But the differences exist in the US too. We have cornered the market on school shootings and serial killers.

So it is hard to judge a whole culture. Theirs is different, sometimes alien. It has unique problems and assets. How can anyone say, “Keep those people out”. Some of them are vile. Others wait to be our geniuses or, perhaps, statesmen. If they get lost in the desert we should take them to a Western Ellis Island. That worked to some extent during the last century.

Only some things are certain:

The stupid and useless “drug war” has to be controlled. It is one major cause of the violence on the Mexican border and is not only a war we cannot win but a war that cannot be won in a thousand years let alone 50 or 100. We had a war against alcohol and now there is one against nicotine and how did they fare?

The problems of the border have to be addressed by sane people who understand the problems of the developing world and the terror of the American people. We need statesmen in a world sorely lacking even in candidates to serve the people.

The vigilantes should be rounded up and made to watch The Ox Bow Incident . America was famous for its racist lynchings in the past. Let us not be led down that road again. The film is about a happy posse who lynches three cattlemen for a murder it turns out never happened. Henry Fonda is the defender and the tragic story manages to be entertaining instead of the melodrama it could have been. But the vigilantes are cut from the mold of the survivalists whose end result was Oklahoma City and our homegrown terrorist horror.

It is time to get our priorities straight. Protect liberty and protect America. Guard the border against invasion but let the hard working, would-be Americans try to succeed in our tense land.

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About hfdratch

  • I don’t have a problem with Americans of Mexican descent, I do have a MAJOR problem with illegal aliens, and the people who hire them. We must protect our border and also prosecute businesses that hire illegal aliens.

  • Nancy

    I don’t have a problem with anyone courteous & law-abiding enough to come in legally: we need them all, and by abiding by our laws, even when the procedures are ridiculously lengthy (& should be streamlined/fixed asap) they have already proved themselves ‘good’ citizens. Illegals are another matter, and while a goodly percentage of them may be decent people who just want a life in a better (?) place, the very fact that they come in here in blatant disrespect of our laws tells me they probably would have no problems discarding, ignoring, or violating any other of our laws that takes their fancy, including health & sanitation, weapons, etc., and in my area (DC/MD/VA) the majority of crimes are now attributable to illegals – especially Salvadorians – who also are the biggest drain on public resources for various kinds of aid that SHOULD be reserved 100% for citizens ONLY.

    Unfortunately, the federal government has no interest in enforcing immigration laws or getting rid of illegals because so much business depends on squeezing out extra profits from hiring them; not squeezing out profits per se, mind you: squeezing out that greedy ‘extra’, and Bush only takes whatever actions are necessary to pander to the interests of his billionaire corporate buddies. Illegals are a threat, and I for one don’t blame NM & AZ or TX citizens of any origin for taking action against them of any sort or level. They are indeed scum & need to be eliminated by any and all means to the preferment of law-abiding legal immigrants who DO belong here.

  • Nancy

    Legal means. Part of the problem, tho, is that their own governments are taking advantage of the situation to get rid of their own excess/”problem” populations; obviously this would need to be addressed at a national level, government to government, but again, I doubt BushCo will do anything: it’s not in his patrons’ economic interest to do so.

  • Thank you all for comments that don’t agree with me but are reasonable, logical, courteous, and obviously deeply held. That is not always the case with discussions on this topic which is so easy to bring down to clichés and platitudes.

    I still don’t agree that all illegals should be kept out nor all legals let in. The govenrmental systems of both sides of the border have failed to channel and screen people who can be productive parts of our society while they either work toward citizenship or work to support their families back home.

    The more I thought about my off-hand comment that we needed a modern, high-tech, well run Ellis Island for the new waves of immigrants — both legal and not; the more I thought it might help with a solution.

    Channel people to a center where they can be examined, investigated, helped to settle where there are opportunities or rejected for just reasons and sent back to their homes.

    There are no islands as when everyone came by ship unless the Californians want to donate Santa Catalina.

    There are closed military bases and a lot of open space to build a new city in the West. And, of course, there is always Roswell Park, NM. They are said to be closed and rumored to be used to dealing with aliens.