Flutterby™! : The State of Mexico

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The State of Mexico

2007-07-06 13:56:36.127747+00 by ebradway 16 comments

Illegal immigration is one of the ongoing debates on Flutterby. There does seem to be some consensus that Mexico has a fairly corrupt government and a dysfunctional economy. Either the Mexican economy has some bright spots or it's a serious indictment of our assumptions: Mexican telecom tycoon, Carlos Slim, just passed up Bill Gates as the world's richest man.

Well a hush fell over the pool room Bill Gates come boppin' in off the street And when the cuttin' were done The only part that wasn't bloody Was the soles of the big man's feet Yeah he were cut in in bout a hundred places And he were shot in a couple more And you better believe They sung a different kind of story When big Bill hit the floor now they say You don't tug on superman's cape You don't spit into the wind You don't pull the mask off that old lone ranger And you don't mess around with Slim

[ related topics: Humor Economics Immigration Mexico ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-06 20:26:07.944158+00 by: jeff [edit history]

A corrupt government and a dysfunctional economy? Mexico has both. And they are in the process of exporting part of their culture to US. The gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" is huge in Mexico. It's a big part of the illegal immigration problem. So, how do we convince Mexicans to stay in Mexico? I've seen reports that fully 40% want to emmigrate to America. And 60% (or more) of Americans don't want them to.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-07 14:11:03.369157+00 by: ebradway

How does that article show that Mexico is exporting their governmental corruption and dysfunctional economy?

By my read, it simply says that the DHS has their priorities a little skewed. They aren't able to track incarcerated convicted criminals well enough to figure out who to deport. At the same time, they are rounding up entire factories of otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants for deportation.

And there's a long history of countries sending criminals to America rather than deal with them locally. Cuba and Haiti have had official policies of putting their criminals on a boat to the US. And why do you think most of the original colonists wound up here?

Do you have a source for those 40%/60% figures? Because the demographers who I've seen give presentations (folks who actually go to Mexico and conduct surveys) find that the numbers aren't that high.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-07 17:27:01.555555+00 by: jeff [edit history]

> "law-abiding illegal immigrants"

Can you first explain this apparent paradox in word usage (law-abiding, illegal) in the same sentence?

Yes, the DHS is a wonderfully inept, mis-directed, and inefficient organization. There can be no debate about that and we're in total agreement there, Eric. Here is one source for the 40% Mexican emmigration figure (it was actually 41%, and later rose to 46%).

I'll need to find the source for the 60% figure (I think it is actually higher), but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to infer that most Americans wouldn't want to see 46% of the asteroid Ceres break apart and come crashing into our southwestern region. That's a rough analogy I'd use here.

As for Carlos Slim and Ezeiquiel Lopez? They simply represent diametrically opposed human data points in a bi-model distribution of personal success in Mexico. We can find examples of each in such a society. I don't want the same bi-modal distribution created in our country, and importing all of this cheap human labor is one of the largest factors in that. As mentioned in previous posts, most people (this is probably not you) only look at the short-term gains and benefits, as we've been conditioned for instant gratification and quarterly results. Having personally traveled a fair amount abroad, and having spent time in 49 of our 50 states, I'm taking a much longer view on this issue and topic.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-07 18:12:29.499941+00 by: jeff [edit history]

With respect to the 60% figure quoted above, here are some additional polling numbers for Americans ...


62% favor taking whatever steps are necessary at the borders, including the use of the military, to cut the flow of illegals into this country.

71% support major penalties for employers who hire illegals.


The new poll shows that 67 percent of Americans favor putting military forces on the borders to stop illegal immigration.


82% say that the United States is not doing enough to keep illegals from entering this country.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-07 18:25:59.161088+00 by: jeff [edit history]

And if I may be so bold to postulate and to ask, why is it that you are seemingly such a strong supporter and proponent of illegal immigration, Eric? If that is too personal a question to ask, I understand.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-07 20:03:52.34241+00 by: crasch

Can you first explain this apparent paradox in word usage (law-abiding, illegal) in the same sentence?

Don Boudreaux wrote an excellent essay explaining the difference between actions that are wrong in themselves ("malum in se") and actions that are wrong merely because the government proclaims these actions to be wrong ("malum prohibitum").

Actions that are "malum in se" include murder, rape, arson, etc. They would be wrong even if the government repealed laws against them.

An example of an "malum prohibitum" action would be tax evasion. If the government repealed the income tax, it would no longer be wrong not to pay it.

Violating immigrations laws fall into the "malum prohibitum" category. Crossing the border without proper documentation is only wrong because the government says it's wrong.

An illegal immigrant can therefore be law abiding when it comes to "malum in se" crimes, yet be a "criminal" when it comes to "malum prohibitum" crimes. And I wager that 99% of all Americans are criminals of the "malum prohibitum" variety. (Ever speed? Download an mp3 of a copyrighted song? Jaywalk? You're a criminal of the "malum prohibitum" variety.)

Opponents of immigration don't like immigrants, illegal or otherwise, so they blur the distinction between the two kinds of crime. After all, it's easier to strip someone of their freedom if you believe that they've committed the equivalent of a "malum in se" crime like murder or rape, rather than a "malum prohibitum" crime like jaywalking or running a business without a license.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-07 20:22:42.601382+00 by: jeff [edit history]

That's a nice essay Crasch. I don't believe that any of us have explicitly referred to the entire grouping of illegal immigrants as "criminals," in the vain sense of the word depicted in that piece. They are, however, stealing certain numbers of American jobs so that is a subjective interpretation.

Illegal immigrants are "illegal" in every sense of the word, and that includes both the statutory malum prohibitum definition of "illegal" and the more subjective interpretation of malum in se for the natural, moral or "public principles" of a civilized society. In this context, the malum per se interpretation is based on the cited polling statistics above with respect to "public principles." The objective numbers speak for themselves in the overall subjective interpretation of this issue for both statutory and moral laws.

Another diffentiator between the malum per se examples you cite is one of "persistence." When you and I jaywalk or harmlessly speed there are very few dependent variables, and the infractions have no "persistence." On the other hand, when an illegal comes across the border, there are thousands of dependent variables spread out over his or her lifetime, and their descendants lifetimes. A huge difference in depth and breadth.

I think that your generalization that "opponents of immigration don't like immigrants, illegal or otherwise, so they blur the distinction between the two kinds of crime" is an incorrect one (at least it doesn't fit me). To be perfectly clear on my own personal position, I am completely in favor of "controlled and measured immigration," and completely against "uncontrolled illegal immigration." A vast majority of Americans, when polled, think the same. I am also against population growth, merely for the sake of economic growth.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-07 21:29:14.838263+00 by: crasch

Suppose you met someone who said that they were in favor of "controlled gun ownership" and against "uncontrolled gun ownership". And suppose that upon question, "controlled gun ownership" meant gun controls so stringent that only the police or politically connected could own guns. Do you think it would be fair to say that the person's problem is not with "uncontrolled gun ownership", but with "gun ownership" itself?

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-07 21:47:55.992716+00 by: jeff [edit history]

In this hypothetical (and in the absence of perfect information), it would simply mean that this individual only wanted police or the politically connected to own guns. Out of "public principle," I don't think the NRA or most American citizens would align with this philosophy (in this example).

In the context of our discussion, however, most American citizens (including me) are in favor of legal immigration. Most American citizens are not in favor of uncontrolled (illegal) immigration, however. The reasons for this are numerous, and open to both legal and personal interpretation.

I might add that legal immigration is not limited to policemen or to the politically connected.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-07 23:04:32.807612+00 by: jeff [edit history]

If one considers Wikipedia to be a "trusted source," then here is some interesting background information on Mexico and its current "state." And here is some additional information about the United States-Mexico border.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-08 09:34:17.707453+00 by: crasch [edit history]


Opponents of immigration often say that they aren't opposed to "legal immigration". They accuse "illegal" immigrants of "jumping the line", as if the would-be immigrants could have immigrated legally with relatively little trouble. They then cite the fact that illegals disobeyed our immigration laws as evidence that they are "criminals", and therefore legal immigration levels should not be increased.

However, for most would-be immigrants, there is no line in which to stand. Skilled immigrants have a narrow pathway to citizenship via the H1B visa program (only 65,000/year), but unskilled workers who don't already have relatives in the U.S. have no legal route. Even those with relatives must often endure decades long waiting lists. For example, siblings living in the Philippines who applied for immigration on Jan. 1, 1985, are having their requests considered now.

Gun banners often claim they favor "legal gun ownership", but then advocate laws restricting gun ownership to the police and politically connected. Yes, technically speaking, they allow for gun ownership, but practically speaking, the regulations are so stringent that only a small fraction of those who want to own a gun would be able to get one.

Likewise, I think that those who say they have nothing against immigrants themselves, but merely want to enforce the law, do so knowing that under the current law, only a small fraction of those who want to immigrate are able to do so.

And just as I think that the gun banner's surface concern for proper gun regulation is a fig leaf for a desire to drastically limit gun ownership, so I think that concern about the legal status of immigrants is a fig leaf for distaste for immigrants themselves and a desire to drastically limit their presence.


What standards do you use to judge public policy? Judging from your citation of public opinion polls, it sounds as you subscribe to a majoritarian philosophy -- whatever the majority wants should be law. Is that correct? If not, what standards do you use?

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-08 12:19:09.707382+00 by: crasch [edit history]

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-08 13:35:53.651329+00 by: jeff [edit history]

Crasch--you're right. Life is inherently not fair. For all of us, and for different reasons. It has been that way since the beginning of time, and will be that way long after you and I have left our physical bodies.

You make a good point about the difficulties unskilled labor faces when coming to America. A point I would make in return is that we have already have plenty of unskilled Section 8 housing residents (unskilled labor) to draw from (LBJ--thank you for this dysfunctional part of our society).

The reasons most Americans don't want massive illegal immigration will vary from person to person. One of the biggest problems that I have with illegal immigration (and the numbers associated with it) is that it runs counter to one of my main personal philosophies. I simply DO NOT like "growth for the sake of growth." I really want to see a movement started on sustainable populations, based on homeostatic sustainable economies.

In the spirit of this thread, can we focus on "why" over 40% of Mexican citizens would apparently want to emmigrate to America, if they had the means to do so? What is wrong with Mexico? Is Mexico a failed state, or do the politicians in the U.S. view that the only way we can meet quarterly GDP "growth" expectations is through exploited undocumented workers working in the produce, service and construction industries? "Growth for the sake of growth" is ultimately neither scalable nor sustainable, and represents the psyche of the cancer cell and thermal runaway in improper amplifier design. Immigration laws are just part of a needed feedback loop. We do have the ability and the right as natural citizens to "design the state of our country."

But, what about the state of Mexico?

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-14 05:41:03.970782+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

> > "law-abiding illegal immigrants"

> Can you first explain this apparent paradox in word usage
> (law-abiding, illegal) in the same sentence?

Jeff, you left out the word that counteracts the apparent paradoxiness of the phrase:

"otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants"

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-14 11:53:24.065511+00 by: jeff

Shawn--breaking immigration laws by illegally entering and remaining in a country is a "crime of persistence," as noted earlier. Coming across our border and remaining here is not just a single instantiation of illegality (such as running a redlight), and its effects are far-reaching, multidimensional, and persistent--with effects on many dependent variables affecting all generations of Americans to come.

As such, inclusion of the word "otherwise" in the above statement is inherently flawed.

To get some additional background on what is driving this phenomenom, check out this source.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-07-14 16:44:07.595511+00 by: jeff [edit history]

Here is a short video from the Accuracy in Media website, which provides some additional illumination on the topic. This subject has been conveniently blacked out by most of mainstream media.

And if we think that Lou Dobbs simply "has it in" for Latinos, one needs to look no farther than his loving wife Debi, who is Mexican American. It's hard to come away from the video of his family life and not like Lou, and the principles that he stands for.

This is all about big business, elitism, and a small powerful fraternity usurping the sovereignty of US.