Memo From Mexico | Mexico's Terrified Tancredo-Bashing

On May 22nd, 2003, Representative Tom Tancredo held a press conference urging non-acceptance of the matricula consular – the ID card issued by the Mexican government to its citizens illegally in the U.S. as part of its campaign to get America to amnesty them all.

The press conference was reported on that very night on the national news- in Mexico, on the TV Azteca network.

Tancredo is well-known in Mexican media and political circles. They keep a sharp eye out for uppity gringos who talk of restricting immigration.

Since the recent tragedy in Texas in which 19 illegal aliens needlessly perished, the Mexican media has been going on about immigration even more than usual. The Mexican consensus: a "migratory accord" with the U.S. is now more necessary than ever.

Notice, the tragedy in Texas didn't provoke Mexican opinion-makers to say "We've got to improve our economy so poor people won't have to emigrate." Or even "We've got to convince people not to do dangerous things, like have themselves locked up in trucks not designed for human transport."

No, their solution, as usual, is for the United States to open its border.

Big surprise.

The TV Azteca report unblushingly reported that the matricula consular is indeed being used for illegal aliens. But it emphasized red herrings: the dispute over how secure the cards are and the fact that Tancredo, at his press conference, had a poster of a matricula consular with Vicente Fox's picture on it. ["Congressman Stirs Flap With Mexico," By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times May 22, 2003

TV Azteca interviewed two U.S. congressmen in Spanish—Xavier Becerra and Luis Gutierrez. Both were enraged with Tancredo. 

Gutierrez took the opportunity to declare, on Mexican television, that the Republican Party is anti-Mexican. So much for Karl Rove's pointless pandering.

Becerra was indignant about the Fox photo—an insult to the dignity of the Mexican president. (When's the last time Becerra defended the honor of the U.S. president?). [VDARE.COM note: in 1998, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, of course!]

Tellingly, Becerra's position on the Fox photo was identical to that of the Mexican government. Thus Juan José Bremer, Mexico's ambassador in Washington, attacked Tancredo for using the Fox photo (Enoja a México legislador de EU, Reforma May 24th, 2003)

Possibly the Mexican ambassador is worried at a possible loss of Mexican influence in the U.S. A year ago he was boasting about how Mexico's influence was growing:

"Mexico has achieved ...more influence in the U.S. than we had before. Mexico wields a greater influence now in many fields, due to the combination of various factors. We are the second-largest economic partner and the growth of the Latino population is achieving opportunities in politics, economics and culture." (Universal May 20th, 2003 Se insistirá en acuerdo migratorio, dice Bremer)

But turnabout is not fair play in Mexico. No public figure here ever expresses indignation over the constant attacks on George W. Bush. Despite (or maybe because of) his pandering, Bush has failed to win the country over. In the Mexican media, Bush is regularly referred to as a moron, a corrupt politician who stole the 2000 election, and a religious fanatic. Oh, and some have likened Bush to Adolf Hitler. Once again, so much for pandering.

The very next day after Tancredo's press conference, Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez publicly attacked the Colorado congressman at a press conference in Cuzco, Peru (!) where he and Fox were on a state visit. (" Presentará Mexico protesta en EU por sátira con imagen de Fox," Universal May 23rd, 2003)

At the Cuzco press conference, Derbez had harsh words for Tancredo, asserting that he "is the one who has led this negative battle against our country."

To the Mexican elite, you see, for an American elected official to call for reform of the American laws governing American immigration policy is "anti-Mexican".

Derbez promised to send a diplomatic protest protesting Tom Tancredo's "attitude" in utilizing the Fox image.

The foreign secretary defended the matricula consular"....Tancredo is wrong when he says anybody can falsify (the matricula)" - and defended the card's security features.

What Derbez is talking about is the feasibility of counterfeiting the physical matricula. But this is not the problem anyway. The problem is U.S. government agencies are accepting the cards as if they were legal U.S. visas - which they most assuredly are not. In fact, the matricula consular is almost a 100% guarantee that its bearer is an illegal alien. Nevertheless, according to the latest tally in the Mexican media, 908 police and sheriff departments, 122 banks, 412 cities and 32 counties in the U.S. now accept the matricula consular. (Enoja a México legislador de EU Reforma May 24th, 2003)

In Cuzco, Derbez made another declaration of support for Mexican illegal aliens in the U.S.:

"....we will always defend the rights of our citizens.... the biggest expense in the consulates is the defense of the legal rights of Mexicans abroad."

Legal rights? Shouldn't that be illegal rights?

Derbez assured his listeners that a "migratory accord" was still a priority of the Fox administration. And once again, he referred to the incremental strategy the Mexican government is using so successfully. According to Universal,

"He indicated that the migratory accord has to be accomplished step by step, through a series of measures, together with discussions with the U.S. Congress..."

Universal also reported that Derbez was even bold enough to make promises to immigrants in the U.S. from other countries besides Mexico:

"He [Derbez] pointed out that these actions could benefit migrants from other countries, 'because the law (U.S. law) will not be able to discriminate between migrants', and the U.S. government will not say: this is a law only for Mexican migrants." [Señaló que estas acciones podrían beneficiar a migrantes de otros países, "porque la ley no va a poder discriminar entre migrantes", y el gobierno estadounidense no va a poder decir: esta es una ley nada más para migrantes mexicanos.]

That must have gone over well with Derbez' Peruvian hosts – who are also starting their own matricula consular program!

In fact, Derbez and Fox were in Peru to attend a summit meeting of 19 Latin American countries, all of which have at least some emigration to the U.S.

Mexico to Latin America: come on in, the Americans are helpless!

So there you have it. A courageous congressman tries to do his job, and he gets publicly bashed by the Mexican Foreign Minister in a third country. The White House says nothing.

Tancredo, and the immigration reform movement in general, is fighting both the U.S. and the Mexican governments.

But the good news is that the Mexican government is terrified enough to attack Tancredo, so quickly and violently, in remote Cuzco. 

It is clearly concerned that the tide may be turning against its attempt to take control of U.S. immigration policy.

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 allan39@prodigy.net.mx.