Immigration 'Inevitable' – But So Is Stopping It.

Having exhausted all plausible and most implausible reasons why mass immigration from Mexico might be a good thing for the United States, Mexican economists (a phrase somewhat similar to "Swiss admirals") have now decided that mass immigration from their country to ours is merely "inevitable."

This is what always happens when one side in an argument starts losing: It proclaims that what it's arguing for is really inevitable, whether desirable or not, and anyone who disagrees is a racist.

The inevitability argument is not exactly new, but it has now been polished up and published again, this time in a report by Mexico's National Population Council, which is part of the Mexican government's Interior Department. But even though the argument isn't new, it's worth listening to.

The report concludes that no matter how much Mexico develops economically, there will still be huge numbers of Mexicans coming across the U.S. border. By 2030, it projects, the Mexican-born U.S. population will rise to at least 16-18 million, double what it is today. By that year also, Mexican immigrants will still approach 400,000 a year, as opposed to a mere 370,000 estimated for 2000.

Immigration, in other words, will be even higher regardless of any Mexican economic take-off.

Of course, there's an ideological side to the Interior Department's report. [You can read the entire report here, if you have PDF, and can read Spanish, or read a report on the report, from the Center for Immigration Studies.] Mexico very much wants the United States to keep taking in Mexicans, not enforce its immigration laws very rigorously, and grant amnesty, or something like it, to illegals already here. Therefore, telling us that mass migration is inevitable and there's nothing we can do about it fits that policy goal. It would be a mistake to take the report's conclusions about "inevitability" at face value.

On the other hand, there's no particular reason to doubt that the report is probably more or less right. In the first place, Mexico may or may not enjoy a period of significant economic modernization in the near future, and even if it does, there's no reason to think such a period will necessarily stem the immigrant flow. For one thing, many Mexicans now come to join their families who are already here.

As Harvard immigration expert Marcelo M. Suarez-Orozco told the Washington Times recently, half the immigrants from Mexico now come to be with their families. "That's why Mexicans migrate—love of family and to get a good job." ["Flow of illegals 'inevitable',"  Washington Times, March 27, 2002] Of course, if they didn't migrate at all, they could all stay with their families, so the main reason they come is the job magnet the American economy offers. Nevertheless, it's probable they'll keep coming or trying to come.

Does that mean Americans should just give up and stop trying to stop them? That's exactly what the open borders lobby on both sides of the border want us to believe. "Immigration from Mexico is our history and our destiny," intones Professor Suarez-Orozco. David Simcox of the Center for Immigration Studies says, "Immigrating to the United States or moving back and forth across the border is ingrained in Mexican culture."

Maybe so, but why does that mean that "Mexican culture" should prevail over American culture? If it's part of Mexican culture to emigrate to El Norte, it's no less part of American culture—not to mention American law and American national security—to stop the immigrants as much as possible.

That it's possible to stop them is shown by special border security programs enforced by the Border Patrol in El Paso, southern California and other places. Indeed, the main reason Mexican illegals are now invading Arizona is that U.S. border security has made crossing at other places difficult. There are many good reasons why we should enforce our border laws, regardless of how many immigrants are coming or why. Sept. 11 is merely the most obvious.

The real implication of the Mexican report is not that we should give up and swallow whatever Mexicans the Mexican ruling class purges from its own failed economy and society but that we have no choice but to enforce tighter border security ourselves and reduce legal immigration as well.

Indeed, one might say that's inevitable. For years the pro-immigration lobby has claimed that we need do nothing against immigration because Mexican economic development will remove the incentives for Mexicans to leave. What the report is telling us is that that claim (like everything else the open borders nuts say) is untrue.

Lifting all Mexican boats may be swell for many reasons, but it won't stop the boats from sailing north, nor will the Mexican government do anything to halt its human armada. The only way to halt it is through the exercise of our own will to stop the Mexican invasion before it turns into the Reconquista that Mexicans—here as well as in Mexico—still want.

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April 11, 2002