Memo From Middle America | Christmas Trip Raises Grave Questions About The Mexodus

As long-time VDARE.com readers know, I lived for many years in Mexico (see here, here and here), moving back to the U.S. with my Mexican wife and our children in 2008 (see here).

When we lived in Mexico, we would visit the U.S. at Christmastime. Now, we go to Mexico.

We’ve returned safely from this year’s trip. We had a good visit (although I didn’t get around to eating at my favorite Mexican hamburger grill, discussed here). Oh well, next time.

Christmas, or Navidad as they say in Spanish, is an enjoyable season in Mexico. Even Mexico’s hard-core secularists, influential in the elite, generally leave Navidad alone. There is nothing yet approaching the War Against Christmas found north of the border.

We were also there as 2013 gave way to 2014. You could hear both fireworks and firearms going off, a popular Mexican New Year’s custom despite the strict gun laws.

Every Christmas, there is a mass temporary migration of Mexicans residing legally in the U.S. to Mexico, in vehicles laden down with luggage and consumer goods, returning to the U.S. after Christmas. Some are now U.S. citizens, though under current Mexican law that doesn’t prevent them from retaining their Mexican citizenship. (See Mexico's Nationality / Citizenship Shell Game).

Now we have joined that long line of cars that heads south before Christmas and back to the U.S. after Christmas. (See What I Saw on my Christmas Visit to Mexico from two years ago.)

Border crossings at this time of year can take several hours due to the volume of traffic. This year it took us five hours crossing south and over two hours returning north.

The Christmas sojourn of paisanos (Mexicans living north of the border) is almost like a visit to Mexico by Santa Claus. It pumps a lot of money into the Mexican economy. And it helps to preserve the emotional bonds the North-of-the-Border Mexicans have with the “old country”.

Both are clearly important to the Mexican government.

Being right in the middle has given me a graphic sense of the extent of the Mexican diaspora in the U.S.—what VDARE.com sometimes calls the “Mexodus.” A couple of years ago during the border crossing, we counted license tags from 25 U.S. states. And they have some nice vehicles!

The website of the INM, the Mexican immigration bureaucracy, reported in mid-December the arrival of 2.5 million Connacionales [“fellow nationals, that is, fellow Mexicans], 1.7 million of whom were mostly American-born children of Mexicans who had not yet claimed Mexican nationality. (Mexico has changed its law to make them eligible). This compared to a mere 880,000 in the same period in 2012. That’s quite an increase. [ En 56 Días Programa Paisano Atiende A Más De Dos Millones De Connacionales, Boletín 9113 30 de diciembre de 2013]

As always, immigration to the U.S. was a hot topic in the Mexican media. In fact, it was the Mexican media’s obsession with the topic, and its bias, that helped drive me into the immigration patriot camp years ago. (See my Education of a Gringo in Mexico).

The funny thing is, I don’t get the impression that the average Mexican in Mexico is obsessed with Mexican emigration to the U.S. If you asked him, he’d probably verbally support Mexicans in the U.S., but in everyday life he’s got his own life to live in Mexico.

The nightly TV news ran sob stories about Mexican illegal aliens in the United States, to keep up support for amnesty.

In one segment, the featured Victim of the Night was a Mexican woman who has resided in Chicago for 14 years. She is a mother of four (no mention of any father). Currently, two of her children are with her in the U.S., while two are in Mexico, which she hasn’t visited in fourteen years.

The moral I would draw: emigration breaks up families and it would be better for all concerned for the woman to stay in Mexico with her children.

But Mexican media-approved moral: how terrible this family separation is—and Amnesty would solve it!

The next night featured a Mexican illegal alien in the U.S. ranting about how America was “built by immigrants”. How many times have we heard that old fallacious chestnut here in the United States? But here it was being regurgitated on Mexican television.

The approved moral: since “immigrants built America” then the country is cruel to prevent anybody from living here i.e. America has no identity and thus anybody can come here and make it into anything.

Until Hispanics take over, that is. Then they can make Hispanic culture the standard.

Mexico’s security situation, with its ongoing drug cartel war and the crime and mayhem, well, that’s something to consider and take into account. The statistics, which may or may not indicate a long-term trend yet, indicate a downturn in Mexican drug gang killings. But kidnappings are on the increase.

The Mexicans visiting Mexico at times provide easy targets for the greed of fellow Mexicans. Sometimes they are robbed by bandits or extorted by Mexican officials.

This year the Mexican media reported the organization of a convoy which formed up on the border and traveled (with policy and military escorts) all the way to the Central Mexican state of Zacatecas. It was called the Caravana Migrante--the Migrant Caravan.

As we returned north, quite a ways from the border, traffic suddenly piled up. We eventually discovered the reason: car accidents. In one, the engine had been smashed but the passengers were not seriously injured. However, the second vehicle had driven off the highway and turned over, with its transported goods strewn along the ground. The driver and her daughter died; two other family members survived.

It was a grim reminder of the frailty of human life, and the danger of the trip.

Reflecting on the Christmas migration, I have some grave questions:

  1. Are Americans really aware of the sheer scope of Mexican migration (both legal and illegal) to the United States, and how this may change—and is already changing—our country?
  2. Will Mexicans in the U.S. continue to visit Mexico at Christmastime, and what percentage of their children will do so?
  3. During the Ellis Island era, European immigrants had to cross an ocean to migrate here. Nowadays, Mexicans in the U.S. can drive themselves rather comfortably overland and visit annually. Can we really expect them to assimilate as those old European immigrants did?
  4. Will the Mexican government continue to cultivate its relationship with U.S. -resident Mexicans?
  5. How many of our lawmakers really consider the implications of the growing Mexican colony, with its dual citizens and strong ties to Mexico?

Shouldn’t somebody with influence be thinking about it?

American citizen Allan Wall (email him) moved back to the U.S.A. in 2008 after many years residing in Mexico. Allan's wife is Mexican, and their two sons are bilingual.  In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here ; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.