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Imigration as Mexican Welfare

I heard an interesting “News” story this morning. Apparently, a number of small towns in Mexico are upset. It turns out that the recent downturn in the building industry, and the recent focus on illegal immigration is causing an economic downturn in the small Mexican towns. This raises a couple of very interesting issues. First of all, the attitude of the interviewees was that the US should be doing something to make it easier for the illegal alien Mexicans to send money back to Mexico. Second, the locals (including the mayor) made it clear that they thought illegal immigration was not only OK, but was something that was encouraged by both the individuals AND the local government. Third, the mayor of one town actually admitted that if the local “boys” weren’t sent to America to work, they would be a source of crime and disruption in the town.

The attitude that America is somehow responsible for ensuring the financial well being of small mexican towns takes the concept of welfare entitlement to a new low. OK, the concept is that the illegals are willing to work, they’re just not willing to do what it takes to work LEGALLY. Of course, if they are working legally, it means that they pay taxes, which would decrease the amount of money that they bleed out of the US economy. The people interviewed for this story made it clear that they expected the US to make it possible for their illegal workers to continue to work illegally in the US. They indicated that it would be “nice” if the workers could work legally, but it was also unreasonable to expect the workers to do anything except find some way across the border and to a job site. “Employment Entitlement” – if you can get across the border, you’re entitled to a job. You shouldn’t have to actually DO anything other than get there. Of course, if it is hard to get to the US and find a job, these people actually still feel that they are entitled to a slice of the US economy – the cash that the illegals send back (or would if they could get to the US and find jobs). The fact that the locals (including the local government) have reached the point where they feel that they are entitled to jobs and money in the US shows that the concept of illegal immigration ahs become so ingrained in the culture that only drastic measures have any chance of beginning to reduce the problem. 

The fact that Mexicans feel that they are entitled to US jobs and income is further underscored by the idea that the consequences of illegal immigration are viewed as no more than an inconvenience. While the main point of the story ws that the current attention on illegal immigration has reduced the amount of cash being pumped into the mexican economy, many of the interviewees made it clear that crossing the border to the US illegally was normal, expected, and encouraged. Of course, as long as the mexicans believe that they are entitled to work and money, why wouldn’t they cross the border? The risks of being penalized if caught are miniscule. One of the illegals interviewed stated that when he was caught and sent back to mexico, he simply started walking back to the US. Not only are there no repercussions in the US, the Mexican authorities not only have no repercussions, they encourage people to cross the border illegally. That nice slice of the US economy is a major incentive for both small town and federal politicians in Mexico to make it easy for illegals to get to the US.

One of the constant issues that is brought up about illegal immigration is the fact that illegals contribute to crime. The fact that every single illegal alien is a felon makes it impossible to pretend that illegals don’t contribute to crime, but what about other crime? One fo the interviewees was the mayor of a small town in Mexico. He was lamenting the fact that if illegal immigration was actuallly stopped, not only would his local economy crash, but the local boys (who currently are illegally in the US) would cause an increase in crime and social disruption. If these “boys” don’t behave in Mexico (where prisons are known to be unpleasant) how can we possibly expect them to act responsibly in the US (where prisons are considered luxurious compared to Mexico)? Keep in mind that this was presented as an argument for allowing illegal immigration to continue – the local authorities can’t handle these people, so send them to the US. Remember – this was an argument for coninuing to allow illegal immigration!

The article was meant to tug at peoples heartstrings – we are supposed to feel bad because towns in mexico feel that they are entitled to illegally access a slice of the US economy while sending their “problem citizens” to the US. As I listened to the arguments, I kept hearing the same arguments that flew around during the welfare reform debates a few years ago. Reforming welfare wasn’t possible because the welfare families couldn’t possibly transition into being productive, responsible members of society. In the case of immigration, the argument is that immigration can’t possibly be reformed because the criminals (illegal aliens) would lose their free ride. In both cases, the beneficiaries insist that their freee ride is an entitlement, and resist any effort to reduce it. Imagine if we applied the same argument to drug dealers? Sure, they are breaking the law, but hey, they are providing a product that people obviously want, so what’s the problem? Of course, the drug dealers and Welfare freeloaders are actually US citizens, so they do have some right to expect something from the US government. The illegal aliens are simply freeloaders who have apparently convinced some people that they are entitled to the rights of a citizen simply by breaking our laws and being here illegally.

This single point underlines one of the core problems with current US immigration policy: the illegals not only expect that they will not be penalized if they are caught, they know that if they can get


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