An unusual amount of diplomatic eyewash passed
between President George W. Bush and his counterpart
from Mexico, Vicente Fox, at last week`s summit
meeting in San Cristobal, and Americans are probably
lucky that that`s all that changed hands.
Beneath the platitudes, courtesies and outright lies
the two presidents told each other, the unmistakable
tone was one of American guilt, uncertainty and simple
As I indicated in earlier columns, Mr,. Bush started
the meeting off with two major American concessions.
First, he supported Mexican complaints about the legal
American requirement that Mexico`s anti-narcotics
enforcement be annually certified by the U.S.
Congress, and he acknowledged that Americans are at
fault for providing the demand for illegal drugs in
the first place.
He is partly correct about that, but it is Mexicans
who founded and continue to run the vast transnational
empires of drug production and smuggling that corrupt their own government and poison
our people. It is Mexican criminals — in and
out of Mexico`s government — who bear the major part of the blame for the drug trade, and it is the
Mexican government that should be trying to prove to
us it is serious about controlling that trade — not we who need to prove to Mexico that it`s all our
As for American demand for drugs, this country has
been trying to control that since at least Nancy
Reagan`s crusade of the early 1980s and the first President Bush`s ill-conceived "war on
drugs" later on. What has Mexico done to
try to control the supply?
The second major concession Mr. Bush granted was his
agreement to comply with NAFTA trucking rules that
permit access to all U.S. highways for Mexican trucks. The trucks are simply and notoriously
unsafe, and even the Clinton administration refused to
let them blaze across American roads.
Of course, Mr. Bush might have made these concessions
expecting to receive some important U.S. diplomatic
goals in return. But Mexico conceded virtually
nothing. As for immigration, the major issue
before the two countries, they mainly agreed to use
weasel words to disguise what they`re up to.
Thus, Mexico agreed to drop the use of the word
"amnesty" when demanding that the millions
of Mexicans who violated U.S. laws by invading our
country be granted legal residency here. In the
written statement both presidents released, the word
"migration" rather than
"immigration" is used, "as if," The New York Times commented, "the waves of
Mexicans crossing the border were like flocks of birds
flying north." Just so.
"Immigration" tells us people from outside
are coming into what is ours; "Migration"
tells us nothing; it carries no implication that those
who don`t belong here are coming into territory that is not theirs.
"Migration," the weasel-words claim,
"is a tie that binds us, not divides us."
No, it doesn`t. Mexico and the United States are
two separate nations, with profoundly different and separate peoples,
cultures, and histories, not to mention economies.
The mixture of the two peoples through immigration may
eventually "bind" them together, but in so
far as either people takes its nationality and
cultural identity seriously, immigration will only
divide us. As the Latino population inside the United
States continues to grow because of uncontrolled
immigration and to evolve its own distinct identity
and subculture, it will serve only to destroy the
national unity of this country.
Mr. Bush and Mr. Fox agreed to appoint a special
panel, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, to
consider immigration issues, but Mexico is still
insisting on amnesty for the millions of illegals
already here, regardless of what word they use for it,
and avows that it`s serious about improving the
treatment of Mexicans inside the United States and
protecting the safety of Mexicans trying (illegally)
to get in. Of course, the assumption seems to be
that the bad treatment and lack of safety is all our
fault, just like the drug traffic. If Mexico is
serious about helping and protecting illegals, let it
do something to control the flood from its own side of
the border. Yet nothing at all was said at San
Cristobal about controlling illegal immigration or returning illegals
here to their rightful country.
What was said — or at least communicated
non-verbally by Mr. Bush — was that the United States
is not willing to insist on its rights as a sovereign nation or to voice legitimate concerns about
the security of its borders and the safety of its
citizens. It may be too early to tell whether this message comes from Mr. Bush`s own weakness, his
inexperience, or from some agenda unperceived by the
rest of us, but whatever its source, it was not what America needs to be saying or the Mexicans
need to be hearing.
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