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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Is Mexico really that bad?


Bishops celebrate Mass along Mexico border
The Catholic leaders believe that immigration is a humanitarian issue that deserves urgent attention by Congress. They cite the dozens of immigrants who die each year in the brutal desert terrain while trying to cross illegally into the United States along the roughly 2,000-mile-long border with Mexico and note that the immigrants are simply trying to find better lives in America.

"This is not just a political or economic problem," O'Malley said Tuesday. "This is a moral problem."

Several hundred people attended the Mass, which was translated into Spanish, and a few dozen people peered through the border fence from Mexico to watch the ceremony. O'Malley and Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the Tucson Diocese offered Holy Communion through the fence, providing people in Mexico wafers as a blessing as some of the recipients broke down in tears.

During the Mass, the clergymen laid a wreath at the border wall to remember those who have died. It followed a similar event in Lampedusa, Italy, last year when the pope threw a wreath into the Mediterranean Sea to remember migrants who have died attempting to reach Europe.
I'm in tears myself right now. I can hardly see the keyboard for my tears.

The media narrative goes like this: broken, desperate immigrants are literally dying to escape horrible, awful Mexico only to be confronted by the US Iron Curtain. But from what I've read about Mexico, it really does not seem so bad. A "moral problem" would be the Swiss wondering what to do about a tide of refugees threatening to swamp their borders in the middle of World War 2, not farmers fretting over having to pay serf labor a dollar more an hour.

Fred Reed lives in Mexico and finds the people of Central and Southern America perfectly adequate. I've been to Mexico, and found it a little grimier and rougher around the edges than what I'm used to, but otherwise a decent place. Let me put it this way: if the same social and economic conditions were present here, it would not be enough to convince me to leave my ethnic homeland in the US.

I remember one thing that struck me was seeing all the women up early with running shoes on their feet, going for their morning walks like white collar people everywhere. People shop, watch sporting events, go to church, do double-entry accounting, clean teeth, invest in real estate, and everything else. There are impoverished areas where government aid is the only thing keeping people alive, like Detroit and Camden, but nobody down there is starving. (Mexico actually has an obesity problem.) There's public education, universities, hospitals, resource extraction, fine cuisine, art, etc. Mexican immigration seems entirely opportunistic. How does this generate a "moral problem" for the US? Mexico has a long and storied history and looks viable for decades to come.

Isn't it actually offensive and patronizing for this affluent American clergyman to talk of Mexico as if it's this impoverished hellhole that we have a moral duty to help its citizens escape?

4 comments:

BnG said...

Mexico is going to become even more prosperous once they work out all the fracking agreements they need to get their energy industry rolling again. Hopefully our leaders have another source of wetbacks waiting in the wings so we don't suddenly run out of lawnmower pushers when they all move south to be roughnecks.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

" lawnmower pushers "

a/k/a teenagers a/k/a strong back + 10th grade education

Or, we just automate the lawn mowers.

Toddy Cat said...

Of course, all the deaths in the desert would end if the Mexican Government would patrol their side of the border and stop anyone who tried to cross, or if the U.S. built a wall that made crossing impossible, so that no one would try. Don't hold your breath on that, though. And no, by global standards, Mexico is not poor. If African countries were doing that well, they would be popping champagne corks at USAID. Mexico has a significantly higher GDP than China, India, and most of Eastern Europe, let alone the Third World. There are literally billions of people on Earth poorer than Mexicans. If Mexico is a Hellhole, than so is almost every country outside the developed world, and some in it. Do they all have a "moral right" to come to the U.S., too?

Anonymous said...

If people are desperate to escape their native countries to get to America, why don't the Catholic bishops badger the immigrants' native countries on their moral responsibility to better the lives of their citizens? Why is it always the United States fault?