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Memo From Mexico | Deadbeat Dads Don't Stop At The Rio Grande
"Family Values Don't Stop At The Rio Grande."
That's a slogan George W. Bush uses to justify illegal immigration.
And it's true—family values don't stop at the Rio Grande or any other river.
Everybody has family values. It's just that some family values are better than others.
Thousands of Mexican men use emigration to abandon their wives and children.
For them, that's family values. Our open borders and encouragement of illegal immigration help these Mexican deadbeat dads dump their families.
Emigration to the United States has been in many ways absolutely devastating for family life in Mexico. (See my article "Is Emigration Good For Mexico?") But you don't hear much about this, because it doesn't fit in with the rah-rah immigration stereotypes presented in the U.S. media.
But the devastation hasn't been totally ignored by the Mexican media. One articulate Mexican woman who has spoken out on this subject is Adriana Cortés, the president of the Fundación Comunitaria de El Bajío (Community Foundation of The Bajío –a region of central Mexico). (Mujeres y familia, víctimas de la migración masculina, El Universal, May 19th, 2003)
According to Cortés: "One of the gravest problems confronting the population of the Bajío is migration, a social phenomenon that has left wives and grandmothers heading thousands of homes."
She points out that emigration results in these women being forced to bear the burden of raising the children. The children lose their father figure, which in turn helps to create more poverty.
For Adriana Cortés, the best solution is not to keep promoting emigration more and more, but to generate prosperity in the local community in Mexico!
Amen to that!
Sara and her five children were abandoned by her husband in 1985.
This deadbeat dad is believed to live in Texas. Since his emigration, he has not sent one cent to his family!
Señora Garcia related to the reporter, Angel Amador Sanchez, that many other women were in her situation. In a town like Jerez, where emigration is a part of the culture, that's not surprising, and as Sara puts it, "...these men abandon their wives and children as if it were nothing."
The problem of emigrants abandoning their families is so bad that some of these poor Mexican women have actually written to VDARE.COM for help! One of them told us (my translation) that
"...my husband is an illegal alien, and has been for approximately a year and a half. I haven't seen him for 3 years and I would like him sent back to Mexico, where he was born... I am a desperate woman with 4 children and I can't provide for them, we live in poverty...Help me..."
This desperate lady wants the U.S. to deport her husband, and she actually included the guy's address in California.
Another article in El Universal (Entre niños y piedras, by María de Lourdes Martínez Gonzaléz, May 6th, 2002) describes the heartbreaking situations in a rural region of Michoacan state, where emigration has devastated family life. It's the municipio (roughly equivalent to a U.S. county) of Susuapan, where, according to El Universal, "the women are like the land, semi-abandoned by the men who go to work in the United States."
Many men leave Susuapan, return every few years to beget children, then go back to the U.S. On average, the women in these parts bear from 5-10 children. So there are a lot to care for.
One of the towns in Susuapan is Tremecino:
"In Tremecino 25% of the mothers are left alone with their children, expecting a husband who may return this year, in 2 years or more, if at all."
By the way, in Tremecino, the average age of marriage or cohabitation is 14!
One of the inhabitants of Tremecino is Rosa:
"...She had 4 children when her husband emigrated to Tucson. She was expecting him to send her money but it never arrived, because the man became an alcoholic and found another woman."
Eventually, after 3 of her 4 children also emigrated to the U.S., Rosa took up with another man. And that finally provoked her husband's return after 7 years. Despite the fact that he himself had already taken up with another woman, he returned from Chicago to hit and scold her for shaming him.
The article also tells us of Herminda, a 17-year mother of at least two children, whose husband lives in Chicago. She hasn't heard from her husband for the past year, but word has it on the grapevine that he's found another woman in Chicago.
A few statistics are in order about these small towns. In 2002, Tremecino had 180 families, of which 45 male heads of families had emigrated. Of those 45, 3 heads of families had completely abandoned their families.
In El Salitre, in 2002 there were 45 families, of which 25 male heads of families had emigrated. Of those 25, 3 heads of families had completely abandoned their families.
That means that in Tremecino, 1 out of 15 male emigrants with families have abandoned those families. And in El Salitre, 3 out of 25 (12%) of male emigrants with families have abandoned their wives and children.
Tremecino and El Salitre are only two towns, mind you. There are towns all over the length and breadth of Mexico where you could hear similar depressing stories.
Which means that many thousands of Mexican emigrants are deadbeat dads. [Edwin S. Rubenstein comments: The Census Bureau reported in 2002 there were 438,000 Mexican males in the U.S. whose wives were absent, another 190,000 who were divorced, and 113,000 who were separated from their wives. If twelve percent are deadbeat dads, that amounts to some 90,000.]
On the contrary, Mexican deadbeat dads are in the U.S. because they don't care about their wives and children.
And our immigration system helps them abandon their families!
At least if they had to stay in Mexico, they'd be easier to track down.
Some readers will likely respond—"Well, there are Americans who are deadbeat dads too." Certainly. It's a major social problem. So why import more deadbeat dads? And why help hasten Mexican family disintegration?
A decade ago, the California legislature voted to require social security numbers for the issuance of driver licenses, in part to track deadbeat dads. Now the Schwarzenegger administration is moving toward the issuance of driver licenses to illegal aliens. The question is, what kind of social security number requirement will be part of the new law? If nobody is required to provide his social security number to the state, then the state can't track deadbeat dads. But if illegal aliens are not required to do so but citizens are, then the law discriminates against American deadbeat dads in favor of Mexican deadbeat dads! (See the letter to Governor Schwarzenegger written by inimitable community activist Hal Netkin.)
Besides the Mexicans who are deadbeat dads, there are those who return from the U.S. and infect their wives with the HIV virus. And the prolonged absence of husbands and fathers, even those who mean well, puts family life under an impossible strain.
Bottom line: mass emigration from Mexico, besides causing us problems and not helping Mexicans solve theirs, is actually provoking a social crisis in Mexico – the impact of which will only be felt when this generation of fatherless children reaches adulthood.
American citizen Allan Wall lives and works legally in Mexico, where he holds an FM-2 residency and work permit, but serves six weeks a year with the Texas Army National Guard, in a unit composed almost entirely of Americans of Mexican ancestry. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here; his website is here. Readers can contact Allan Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org.