Thursday, May 25, 2006

So I'm not crazy

An article today by Ginger Thompson of the NYT at least doesn't make me feel like I'm the only one kvetching that Mexico is not doing anything to discourage its own citizens from leaving.

The old blame game — in which Mexico attributed illegal migration to the voracious American demand for labor and accused lawmakers of xenophobia — has given way to a far more soul-searching discussion, at least in quarters where policies are made and influenced, about how little Mexico has done to try to keep its people home.

"For too long, Mexico has boasted about immigrants leaving, calling them national heroes, instead of describing them as actors in a national tragedy," said Jorge Santibáñez, president of the College of the Northern Border. "And it has boasted about the growth in remittances" — the money immigrants send home — "as an indicator of success, when it is really an indicator of failure."

That's right. The article then quotes some of the current candidates for the presidency spewing out their usual bullshit. It amazes me how Mexicans have not tired yet of the demagoguery of their leaders, but it looks that some people are thinking about this issue more realistically, including the Mexican government.

...the Fox government said that if the United States committed itself to establishing legal channels for the flow of immigrant workers, Mexico would take new steps to keep its people from leaving illegally.

"If a guest country offers a sufficient number of appropriate visas to cover the largest possible number of workers and their families," the document read, "Mexico should be responsible for guaranteeing that each person who decides to leave does so following legal channels."

In a column in the Mexican newspaper Reforma, Jorge G. Castañeda, a former foreign minister, suggested a "series of incentives," rather than law enforcement strategies to keep Mexicans from migrating. They included welfare benefits to mothers whose husbands remained in Mexico, scholarships for high school students with both parents at home, and the loss of land rights for people who were absent from their property for extended periods of time.

..."But the elites here should reflect on this matter," he went on, "whether we want something in exchange for nothing?"

I agree with that last statement, but I don't think it's a matter of incentives for those who are thinking of leaving or who have families across the border. It's a matter of creating jobs and trying to give people in general a better standard of living.

Mexico needs to take care of its own.

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