(EDITOR’S NOTE: In the wake of the recent news that the United States is once again proposing a North American Union, I am reprinting this March 17, 2007, column that exposed the Bush administration’s efforts to create a virtual merger with Mexico and Canada. My new column at Real Clear Politics can be found here.
By FRANK MIELE
The Daily Inter Lake
President Bush’s recent trip to Mexico was something of a homecoming for him.
After visiting Brazil, Colombia and other countries in Latin America, Bush made a stop in Mexico, and it must have seemed to him like he had returned to the motherland.
After all, Mexico and Canada are part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, which the president is promoting as the first step in a virtual merger of our three nations. Besides, as we have heard repeatedly over the last two years, there really is no border between Mexico and the United States.
So when President Bush held a joint news conference with Mexico’s President Calderon, it is not surprising that he forgot for a moment — just a moment — that the United States and Mexico are still nominally independent.
Thus, in recounting his work with Calderon, Bush noted that, “We discussed ways to make our nation safer.” He immediately corrected himself, and changed it to “both nations safer,” but the cat was already out of the bag.
Fact of the matter is, President Bush’s entire trip to Mexico was more like a politician’s pandering visit to an electoral-rich state than the visit of a head of state to a foreign country. It was evident time after time that President Bush was “sensitive” to the needs and wishes and desires of the Mexican people, but it was not at all clear that he is sensitive to the needs and wishes of the American people.
Indeed, he had the audacity to publicly assure the Mexicans that he was working for them in the immigration battle: “Mr. President, my pledge to you and your government — but, more importantly, the people of Mexico — is I will work as hard as I possibly can to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
Say what? Isn’t it a might unseemly for the president of the United States to be making pledges to push the agenda of a foreign government?
But that is just what happened. Our newly “sensitive” President Bush adopted the preferred Mexican code word and repeatedly described illegal immigration as “migration.” He made it clear that the United States ought to find a way to accommodate these “migrants,” who would not be doing anything wrong at all if it were not for that big, bad border. Remember the mantra: Border bad, migrants good.
What we have now is “a system that encourages people to sneak across the border,” said President Bush using doublespeak that would have made another George — George Orwell — proud. Apparently by trying to keep people out, we are encouraging them to come in. Next thing you know, the president will be applying this same logic to his drug policy. No need for laws to prohibit meth and heroin, because then we are just creating “a system that encourages people to sneak needles into their arms.” As sensitive people, we should work above all to end the shame for lawbreakers. Why should they have to sneak?
Which brings us to the president’s pledge of “comprehensive immigration reform,” which he said would “take the pressure off the border.” So far as I can tell, I think that means that if we let the Mexicans into our country legally, they won’t have to sneak in. Makes sense in a diabolical way.
The president’s plan for letting the Mexicans enter our country legally is a “guest worker program,” which another columnist rightly called a form of “indentured servitude.” Obviously a steady source of cheap labor would be good for American business. The question is whether it would be good for America.
The president apparently sees no other solution. He acknowledges that the America people don’t support amnesty and he argues, probably correctly, that there is no practical way to kick out the 12 million illegal Mexican immigrants who are already here. But he doesn’t seem to be able to envision the possibility of a solution that is good for the United States and bad for Mexico, such as cracking down on employers and taking away all benefits, education, and housing grants for illegal aliens. The end result would not be “kicking out” Mexicans. They would leave on their own, possibly with a travel subsidy from the U.S. government. But the president is more concerned about the “human rights” of the criminals who are sapping our nation of its strength than about the well-being of our country. It really is as though he sees himself as president of both countries, the United States and Mexico.
“A good migration law will help both economies and will help the security of both countries,” he said last week. Recognize the language? More code words to get us ready for the Security and Prosperity Partnership. If it sounds good, it can’t feel bad, can it?
The same theme is hammered home in the “Joint U.S.-Mexico Communique issued at the conclusion of the president’s visit to Mexico: “In seeking to enhance North American competitiveness based on the twin pillars of security and prosperity, the Presidents [of Mexico and the United States] … underscored their awareness regarding the need to work together to facilitate the transition to full free trade in such areas as agricultural products.”
Full free trade. Nice. That means we can buy all the Mexican products we want that are being manufactured by U.S. companies which moved their facilities south of the border to take advantage of the cheap labor market.
Sending good U.S. jobs to Mexico is part of President Bush’s plan for “comprehensive immigration reform.” It turns out that if American companies sink billions of dollars into the Mexican economy, there will be more good-paying jobs there and the Mexicans won’t be “forced” to “sneak” across the “border” to take “jobs that no one else wants.”
Which raises the inevitable question: Once the high-paying U.S. jobs have all been exported to Mexico, and the Mexicans can therefore stay home, who are we going to get to do all the “jobs that no one else wants”?