October 8, 2013
When I resided in Mexico, I learned that Mexican society (particularly the political/media/academic complex) strongly supports mass immigration (legal and illegal) to the United States.
Mexican politicians (of all stripes) find emigration quite advantageous, for several reasons.
Emigration allows Mexican politicians to export people rather than solve the problems in Mexico.
When Mexicans get into trouble in the United States, it allows Mexican politicians to score political points by loudly defending the paisanos (fellow Mexicans) while doing nothing concrete to help them.
Not coincidentally, immigration facilitates the movement of millions of dollars in remittances to Mexico. In fact, it’s one of the country’s biggest sources of income.
Mexico-watcher George W. Grayson, professor at the College of William and Mary (founded 1693) in Virginia, has authored an article which was recently published by the Center for immigration Studies. It’s entitled Remittances Abet Mexican Officials’ Irresponsible Behavior (CIS, September 2013) and you can see it here.
Dr. Grayson’s article points out the vested interests of Mexican governors and other officials in having a permanent class of Mexicans north of the border sending back remittance money. The article provides examples of corruption and lavish lifestyles with little oversight on spending.
Mexican state governments, Dr. Grayson points out receive 90% of their budgets from the Mexican federal government. That gives them little incentive to generate much funding in their own states, which wouldn’t be politically popular anyway. So having money flow into their states from Mexicans in the north helps these governors stay in power with their many perks and not have to worry too much about taking the hard decisions.
Mexican governors may disagree on various topics, but there’s one topic on which they can all agree. But you can count on them to support any sort of loosening of immigration law north of the border.
As Dr. Grayson reports,
“ [Mexican] State executives may argue over abortion laws, the pros and cons of DF (Mexico City) statehood, and the legalization of marijuana in their bailiwicks. However, they agree completely on the importance of a generous immigration reform by U.S. decision-makers. At a meeting of Mexico's National Commission of Governors (CONAGO), Eruviel Ávila Villegas, Mexico State's chief executive and the group's foreign affairs spokesman, emphasized the importance of the pending legislation. He stressed that ‘we must directly strengthen our international cooperation with governments and social organizations´ in concert with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE). At the same time, the state leaders agree with Chihuahua's free-spending Governor César Duarte Jáquez that the construction of a new wall between Mexico and the United States would be an ´aberration’, even as his own country gropes for an effective deterrent to Central Americans and other foreigners crossing Mexico through Guatemala and Belize.”
The article (called a backgrounder on the CIS website) focuses on three aspects of the situation:
“This Backgrounder (1) analyzes the windfall that [Mexican] state and local officials receive from remittances of Mexicans living abroad; (2) illustrates the irresponsible and illegal actions of state executives who receive 90 percent of their budgets from the federal government, even as they spurn using the taxing powers at their disposal; and (3) highlights the formal and informal powers exercised by the new viceroys.”
The article’s concluding paragraph sums up the situation:
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“The debate over immigration reform has focused on its relevance for the United States and the illegal aliens who live within its borders. The discussion has failed to illuminate how the $21 billion in remittances helps corrupt, spendthrift governors and mayors divert public funds that could be used to address critical needs of their poorest citizens. Nor has attention zeroed in on the ubiquitous waste of resources on white elephants, unbidpharaonic projects beset by cost overruns and shoddy workmanship, outlays to friends and family members, and the sybaritic lifestyle, if not criminal actions, of elected officials. For example, the state government acted so slowly during the September 2013 deadly Hurricane Ingrid that the notorious Gulf Cartel provided milk, juices, water, corn, and other foodstuffs to victims in Aldama and other municipalities in southern Tamaulipas state, which lies below Texas.”
Dr. Grayson has written an informative article on an aspect of immigration usually ignored by the U.S. media. You can access the article here.
Note: I was recently interviewed by Silvio Canto, Jr., on his Canto Talk program, and we discussed several Mexico topics. You can listen to the interview here.
© 2013 Allan Wall - All Rights Reserved
Allan Wall recently returned to the U.S. after residing many years in Mexico.