Mexico: Problems and Potential

 

When the topic of border security comes up, the conversation is never about our northern neighbors, or the fish on the east or west. No, it’s always one particular problem spot. A 3,111 km line that separates us from our southern neighbor, Mexico. Whether it’s explicitly stated or not, everyone knows that Mexico is who we’re talking about when we debate border policy.

Now, not all immigration from Mexico is from Mexicans. A relatively recent example of this would be Haiti, where Haitians fleeing their country’s current strife used the Mexican border to illegally enter the United States. Mexico serves a similar role as a launching pad for countries like Guatemala and Honduras. Which does not follow international protocol for claiming asylum. You are supposed to claim asylum in the first country you enter. So yes, this is true, Mexicans are not the sole problem at our southern border. But there’s still an awful lot of Mexicans immigrating to the States. Approximately 6.6 million Mexicans reside here illegally based on 2017 statistics. For perspective, Mexico is a country of approximately 130 million.

All countries have border security. All countries have an immigration policy. Anyone arguing otherwise or thinking the United States should be an exception is foolish. We do have immigration policies in place, unfortunately we’re not very good about enforcing them. But this topic isn’t about the crime that comes with illegal immigration, or the drugs, or human trafficking, or any of the problems you’ve heard on the news a thousand times. No, this is about how immigration, legal or illegal, hurts Mexico.

Mexico could be one of the greatest nations on Earth. It has agriculture, it has industry, it even has relatively low taxes. Mexico also has a $2.4 trillion economy, the 11th largest in the world. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but imagine if it were better? On paper, Mexico is a perfect country. The only thing stopping Mexico from being top-tier is corruption. Massive, massive corruption. Anyone who is only familiar with Mexico via their spring break alcohol binge knows nothing about the true state of Mexican life. Real income inequality, not the income inequality that champagne socialists complain about here. In Mexico, it isn’t uncommon to encounter someone who is literally living on dirt, whose neighbor has 500 armed security guards around their gated mansion and makes more money in one week than I will in my entire life.

The Mexican government is massively corrupt. Drug dealers and human traffickers are basically an armed wing of the Mexican government. In many ways, the cartels are the government, and they have a vested interest in keeping their people destitute. It is not safe in Mexico. Sure, there are places to live that are as safe as the U.S., but it is also not uncommon to be forced to pay a police officer to gain entry to another city. Or for any reason, really. Bribing officers is common policy in Mexico. It is also not uncommon to be caught in the crossfire between rival drug lords. All of this is protected and encouraged by the corrupt Mexican government. It is not a great place to live for the vast majority of their population, and it’s easy to see why so many would rather be here.

Coyotes and drug dealers do gain financial benefits from being so close to their government, and from our lack of border security. But they also prosper from an unseen benefit: the threat of political revolution. The millions of young Mexican fighting-age men that flee, legally or illegally, into our country are potential liberators and revolutionaries. Every time things get a little too hot with the drug cartels, the potential to overthrow and reform the corrupt government moves closer to reality. But that will never happen if we keep giving those potential 1776’ers a back door escape plan. Think of it as a pressure valve: things get too hot in Mexico, we release the pressure valve and all of that heat escapes. They come here, Mexico’s problems get worse, keep repeating ad nauseam. We are helping ensure that Mexico stays corrupt forever. If we kept the lid on the pressure valve, the cartels and corrupt politicians would face the political, or physical, consequences for their tyranny. That is the harsh reality that nobody is willing to talk about. We’re a nanny to other countries as well, namely Afghanistan. Everyone remembers the pictures of hundreds of Afghanis crowded on planes to escape their current situation and find refuge in the United States. What don’t you see in those pictures?

Women and children. These are almost exclusively men, and I don’t see too many grey heads of hair. In Mexico’s case, immigrants are more likely to be men. Young, fighting-age men cannot be refugees. It is up to young, fighting-age men to affect political change or revolution. The Afghanistan problem and the Mexico problem are identical. Like Mexico, Afghanistan will never become a better country if we keep releasing the pressure valve. While the Graveyard of Empires does have a tough geographical position with some nasty neighbors, Mexico is in a perfect spot. Looking at this through solely a geopolitics lens, how much would you bet that Poland would switch geographic places with Mexico in a heartbeat? Or Israel? Or any of the Balkan states? Despite the problems we have with Mexico, the United States is a friendly neighbor to the north. Fish on both sides. And while several Central American countries cause problems for Mexico, none of them pose a serious military threat. If this was one big strategy game and you had first pick on the map, you could do much worse than picking Mexico. There is no reason why Mexico cannot become a great nation.

Which is why it is so frustrating when this issue becomes simplified by left/right idealogues. There may be honest leftists out there who truly do believe we have a role to “help the world,” however their thinking is too limited to go further than a single-factor analysis and they cannot comprehend the unseen costs and consequences. Having no restrictions on border policy and accepting everyone under the sun does nothing to help Mexico. It drains them of intellectual capital and potential political reform (the “pressure valve”). And refusing immigration due to right-wing identity nationalism also does nothing to help anyone. We want the best and brightest to come here and advance our own country. And it is funny that the old right-wing characterization of the lazy, sleepy Mexican has been completely turned upside-down. The stereotype is now the Mexican that has insane hustle and will outwork anyone for less. Hey, give me one of those guys any day of the week over the whiny millennial who can’t get my order right and needs to take the day off to handle “anxiety issues.” Attacking this problem through a race lens is also wrong and solves nothing.

So next time this political hot potato comes up, remember that the first response shouldn’t be walls, or drugs, or coyotes, or giving opportunity, or helping the poor, or any of that. It should be about wanting what is best for Mexico. We should all want Mexico to be a great nation. It has a unique culture, it has an incredible history, it has beautiful landmarks, and all of the ingredients to become a major success. I want Mexico to be great and that is why oppose mass migration.

Published in Immigration
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There are 23 comments.

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  1. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Just a casual idea.  What if Mexico had a Second Amendment?

    • #1
  2. James Salerno Inactive
    James Salerno
    @JamesSalerno

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Just a casual idea. What if Mexico had a Second Amendment?

    Mexico is currently operating under their 1917 constitution. Under article 10, citizens are allowed to own guns, but the federal government gets to decide the purpose of their use. Massive conflict of interest. Like all constitutions of the post-modern era, it’s a constitution of vague promises and “social responsibilities.” From Artcile 10:

    The inhabitants of the United Mexican States have the right to keep arms at home,
    for their protection and legitimate defense, with the exception of those prohibited
    by the Federal Law and those reserved for the exclusive use of the Army, Navy, Air
    Force and National Guard. Federal Law will state the cases, conditions, requirements
    and places where inhabitants can be authorized to carry weapons.

    The 1857 constitution was better, but still leaves a bit of a blank slate for government overreach:

    Everyone has the right to possess and carry arms for his safety and legitimate defense. The law shall designate what arms are prohibited, and the punishment to be incurred by those who carry them.

    • #2
  3. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I don’t remember anything about it, but I read an article a long time ago about how the Mexican constitution was a piece of you know what. 

    We need 100% regular order immigration, particularly from countries that are run like crap. We can’t let in a ton of low skilled people without making big changes to our system. 

    • #3
  4. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I’m not an expert on this, but I remember seeing some analysis that none of the countries with Spanish heritage are serious about any semblance of an orderly and  fair society. It’s all tribalism and cronyism. Costa Rica and Panama do OK.

    • #4
  5. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    I’m not an expert on this, but I remember seeing some analysis that none of the countries with Spanish heritage are serious about any semblance of an orderly and fair society. It’s all tribalism and cronyism. Costa Rica and Panama do OK.

    Most countries settled by Spain were exploitation colonies; the Spanish only came to take their gold and other resources. Same with the Caribbean. Unlike the USA and Canada, they were not colonized with the intent of building sustainable countries, but to grab what they wanted and take it back to Spain. That’s a major reason their societies are corrupt and dysfunctional and why places Mexico colonizes, like California, are likewise corrupt and dysfunctional. 

    • #5
  6. Underground Conservative Coolidge
    Underground Conservative
    @UndergroundConservative

    People overlook one of the most severe realities. Americans do a massive amount of drugs. I don’t see any way that Mexico could succeed until we curtail our drug appetite which floods the cartels with cash. The pox is on our house in this case. 

    • #6
  7. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Underground Conservative (View Comment):

    People overlook one of the most severe realities. Americans do a massive amount of drugs. I don’t see any way that Mexico could succeed until we curtail our drug appetite which floods the cartels with cash. The pox is on our house in this case.

    Not legalizing hard drugs 30 years ago and making it perfectly clear we were willing to help kill our fellow citizens this way was a huge mistake. 

     

     

     

    It’s too late to do this because the cartels have too much money now.

     

     

     

     

    • #7
  8. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I remember an old idea about how each illegal Mexican immigrant – reasonably young men, at least – should be sent back to Mexico with a rifle and some boxes of ammo.

    But these days, they would probably use the weapon to try and force their way back into the US.

    • #8
  9. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    I’m not an expert on this, but I remember seeing some analysis that none of the countries with Spanish heritage are serious about any semblance of an orderly and fair society. It’s all tribalism and cronyism. Costa Rica and Panama do OK.

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    I’m not an expert on this, but I remember seeing some analysis that none of the countries with Spanish heritage are serious about any semblance of an orderly and fair society. It’s all tribalism and cronyism. Costa Rica and Panama do OK.

    Most countries settled by Spain were exploitation colonies; the Spanish only came to take their gold and other resources. Same with the Caribbean. Unlike the USA and Canada, they were not colonized with the intent of building sustainable countries, but to grab what they wanted and take it back to Spain. That’s a major reason their societies are corrupt and dysfunctional and why places Mexico colonizes, like California, are likewise corrupt and dysfunctional.

    Interesting, I had forgotten that the Spaniards colonized Chicago, New York, and Moscow. :)

    • #9
  10. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    I’m not an expert on this, but I remember seeing some analysis that none of the countries with Spanish heritage are serious about any semblance of an orderly and fair society. It’s all tribalism and cronyism. Costa Rica and Panama do OK.

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    I’m not an expert on this, but I remember seeing some analysis that none of the countries with Spanish heritage are serious about any semblance of an orderly and fair society. It’s all tribalism and cronyism. Costa Rica and Panama do OK.

    Most countries settled by Spain were exploitation colonies; the Spanish only came to take their gold and other resources. Same with the Caribbean. Unlike the USA and Canada, they were not colonized with the intent of building sustainable countries, but to grab what they wanted and take it back to Spain. That’s a major reason their societies are corrupt and dysfunctional and why places Mexico colonizes, like California, are likewise corrupt and dysfunctional.

    Interesting, I had forgotten that the Spaniards colonized Chicago, New York, and Moscow. :)

    Maybe those places get colonized by Californians?

    • #10
  11. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Just a casual idea. What if Mexico had a Second Amendment?

    Just a casual idea.  What if we bought Mexico (or otherwise incorporated them into the country) and put in law?

    • #11
  12. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Underground Conservative (View Comment):

    People overlook one of the most severe realities. Americans do a massive amount of drugs. I don’t see any way that Mexico could succeed until we curtail our drug appetite which floods the cartels with cash. The pox is on our house in this case.

    It is not just Americans.  Mankind has been doing drugs as long as there has been mankind.  We can’t stop it.  So we need to channel it and control it like we do alcohol.  The current Fentanyl issue is because we slammed down the opioid pill mills.  While I was not a fan of the mills at least the addicts were getting good quality product of consistent quality so there was knowns.  Now they are dying by the bunches because they are taking poisons from the cartels that can care less about quality.

    • #12
  13. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I remember an old idea about how each illegal Mexican immigrant – reasonably young men, at least – should be sent back to Mexico with a rifle and some boxes of ammo.

    But these days, they would probably use the weapon to try and force their way back into the US.

    Or become their own gang in Mexico

    • #13
  14. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Underground Conservative (View Comment):

    People overlook one of the most severe realities. Americans do a massive amount of drugs. I don’t see any way that Mexico could succeed until we curtail our drug appetite which floods the cartels with cash. The pox is on our house in this case.

    It is not just Americans. Mankind has been doing drugs as long as there has been mankind. We can’t stop it. So we need to channel it and control it like we do alcohol. The current Fentanyl issue is because we slammed down the opioid pill mills. While I was not a fan of the mills at least the addicts were getting good quality product of consistent quality so there was knows. Now they are dying by the bunches because they are taking poisons from the cartels that can care less about quality.

    You would think they would want to keep their customers alive.

    • #14
  15. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Underground Conservative (View Comment):

    People overlook one of the most severe realities. Americans do a massive amount of drugs. I don’t see any way that Mexico could succeed until we curtail our drug appetite which floods the cartels with cash. The pox is on our house in this case.

    It is not just Americans. Mankind has been doing drugs as long as there has been mankind. We can’t stop it. So we need to channel it and control it like we do alcohol. The current Fentanyl issue is because we slammed down the opioid pill mills. While I was not a fan of the mills at least the addicts were getting good quality product of consistent quality so there was knows. Now they are dying by the bunches because they are taking poisons from the cartels that can care less about quality.

    You would think they would want to keep their customers alive.

    Why?  There are always more addicts.  Most business models are based on short term money optimization.  

    • #15
  16. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Underground Conservative (View Comment):

    People overlook one of the most severe realities. Americans do a massive amount of drugs. I don’t see any way that Mexico could succeed until we curtail our drug appetite which floods the cartels with cash. The pox is on our house in this case.

    It is not just Americans. Mankind has been doing drugs as long as there has been mankind. We can’t stop it. So we need to channel it and control it like we do alcohol. The current Fentanyl issue is because we slammed down the opioid pill mills. While I was not a fan of the mills at least the addicts were getting good quality product of consistent quality so there was knows. Now they are dying by the bunches because they are taking poisons from the cartels that can care less about quality.

    This is a very interesting observation.

    I had to be on Demerol for 24 hours, and I could not believe it. You think you are the Dalai Lama and you are never going to be unhappy ever again. Don’t ever play with that stuff.

    A long time ago, Tucker Carlson had a Canadian psychiatrist on his show. His point was, in a regressive economy, which is what we have, it’s much easier to manage the bad feelings created by the situation with opioids.  

    I’ve listened to all of the discussion about the pain management pathway, and I don’t really know what to think. Clearly with some people it doesn’t screw up their emotional life. Dr. Drew Pinsky is firm that going over a certain amount of days is playing with fire.

    • #16
  17. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Underground Conservative (View Comment):

    People overlook one of the most severe realities. Americans do a massive amount of drugs. I don’t see any way that Mexico could succeed until we curtail our drug appetite which floods the cartels with cash. The pox is on our house in this case.

    It is not just Americans. Mankind has been doing drugs as long as there has been mankind. We can’t stop it. So we need to channel it and control it like we do alcohol. The current Fentanyl issue is because we slammed down the opioid pill mills. While I was not a fan of the mills at least the addicts were getting good quality product of consistent quality so there was knows. Now they are dying by the bunches because they are taking poisons from the cartels that can care less about quality.

    You would think they would want to keep their customers alive.

    Why? There are always more addicts. Most business models are based on short term money optimization.

    Sure but customers you don’t kill remain customers too.  More sales, more profit…

    • #17
  18. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Underground Conservative (View Comment):

    People overlook one of the most severe realities. Americans do a massive amount of drugs. I don’t see any way that Mexico could succeed until we curtail our drug appetite which floods the cartels with cash. The pox is on our house in this case.

    It is not just Americans. Mankind has been doing drugs as long as there has been mankind. We can’t stop it. So we need to channel it and control it like we do alcohol. The current Fentanyl issue is because we slammed down the opioid pill mills. While I was not a fan of the mills at least the addicts were getting good quality product of consistent quality so there was knows. Now they are dying by the bunches because they are taking poisons from the cartels that can care less about quality.

    You would think they would want to keep their customers alive.

    Why? There are always more addicts. Most business models are based on short term money optimization.

    Sure but customers you don’t kill remain customers too. More sales, more profit…

    The guys I have known that sells drugs would not understand or even care the point you are making.  You expect long term logic from a group of people that version of long term is later today or maybe tomorrow.  They are breaking the law, if caught they may go to jail, their competition is gunning for them with real guns.  It is full crab bucket and you take what you can and keep what you got.  What happens to others after they got their money they can care less about others.  And the guys I know are not even that hard core.  

    • #18
  19. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Just a casual idea. What if Mexico had a Second Amendment?

    Just a casual idea. What if we bought Mexico (or otherwise incorporated them into the country) and put in law?

    I don’t think that’s a casual idea when you consider that all options are on the table all the time.  Who knows what is going to happen in the next year, 10 years, or 100 years.  Never say never.

    • #19
  20. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    This is my idea. See if we can buy off a certain amount of Haitians with a UBI and then create a small territory, there. They move to a different part of the island. Stick all of our illegals in that spot until they learn enough to pass English and citizenship tests. We could set up big resorts, factories and so forth. If it works, then you expand it.

    • #20
  21. James Salerno Inactive
    James Salerno
    @JamesSalerno

    Rōnin (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Just a casual idea. What if Mexico had a Second Amendment?

    Just a casual idea. What if we bought Mexico (or otherwise incorporated them into the country) and put in law?

    I don’t think that’s a casual idea when you consider that all options are on the table all the time. Who knows what is going to happen in the next year, 10 years, or 100 years. Never say never.

    Mexico achieved independence while the Spanish Empire was on its last legs. Therefore, they unfortunately never really inherited a proper legal system, or republican ideals. Most of its history has been wrecked by lawlessness and constant regime change. The United States was lucky in that they inherited a constitutional order from the British Empire that just needed a few tweaks. But Mexico does have a strong religious foundation going for them. At least 80% of the country identifies as Catholic, while roughly 10% identify as other branches of Christianity. Post-enlightenment Christian ideals such as self-determination and God-given rights helped America gain its independence, and Mexico shares some of that DNA. There’s so much potential there. You’re right, never say never.

    • #21
  22. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    A key Mexican problem is our open border.   That’s also a key problem for us.   Fix that and Mexico and Central America, not to mention Haiti, would  have an improved probability of solving some of their problems.   

    • #22
  23. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    NAFTA basically put more than a million Mexican small farmers out of business – they couldn’t compete with American (subsidised) corn imports.  Manufacturing in Mexico didn’t absorb them fast enough, so they went North looking for work. Unintended consequences.

    Weirdly, it may have slowed growth in per capita income?

    https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/04/nafta-20-years-mexico-regret

    • #23
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