Even though it appears that the now-infamous Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill is about to die, we know that the proposal will spawn at some point. But the more I think about what might happen if we went in a complete opposite direction, the more I realize that our government has put us in a position for which all choices have uniformly diminishing returns.
Let’s say we build a wall on the US southern border and the northern one for that matter and let’s pretend that there won’t be shouts from far and wide—from without and within--about the evil, racist, xenophobic Americans. This fantasy wall would not be some slip-shop token of a wall but a real one. Just for definition’s sake, let’s give it the formidability of Great Wall of China and use 21st century technology to give it the ease and efficiency of surveillance which the architects of the Berlin Wall would have envied; in other words, a Wall that means business.
What do you think would happen in Mexico? Well it would probably explode. Picture it. Mexico’s “white” ruling class could no longer ignore browner Mexicans and their concerns nor could it pawn off its "problems" on its richer neighbor. The Mexican government would find itself in a boiling caldron composed of PO’d poor and oppressed folks on one side and the country’s extensive criminal class and crooked police force on the other. (For a very imprecise analogy, see Gaza.)
For our part, we would probably see a “boat-people” crisis in the Pacific and in the Gulf of Mexico—though I’d wager that many of the as-yet imaginary boat-people would be making their way the coastal US in far more seaworthy accommodations than do many of their real world counterparts from Cuba and Haiti. Certainly, our Coast Guard would rescue them, and our government would probably allow them refugee status. However, the vast majority of Mexicans would be forced to stay home and live with each other—or kill each other, their choice.
But does the US want to take action which could result in having its next-door neighbor erupt into Civil War? Additionally, could the US withstand the withering domestic and international criticism—justified or not—for “causing” (further) Mexican unrest? An iron-willed president—which George W. Bush is on nearly all of his decisions—might be able to deal with it. But if he/she is saddled with a squishy Congress, from which a member might be motivated to quote another president and say “Mr. [Madam] President, tear down this Wall” in the wake of any backlash, then I’d say that the answer is ‘no.’ And, what of the security concerns that are bound to exist in the US border states due to their proximity with an anarchy-reigned Mexico even with a completed wall?
Neither the US nor Mexico is willing to swallow such a bitter pill.
See, when President Reagan and the sitting Congress of 1986 decided to grant amnesty to illegal aliens while only giving lip service to border enforcement, they put this country into a position in which we face now; one in which any choice will have fewer and fewer benefits while the drawbacks increase. And if border enforcement remains undone, yet again, we’ll be revisiting this subject again in, say, a decade—a time period during which the benefits of any action will be reduced to zero and with bitter medicine being the only thing left.
I still wonder whether our betters want this country to absorb all of Mexico’s underclass. 12 million? 20 million? Try 75 million.
And then consider this thought game.
Some historically ignorant individuals claim that all Mexican citizens have a right to move freely into the southern US border states because those states—California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas—are “a part of Mexico” and because the US “stole” those states from Mexico.
Let’s say we cede those states to Mexico and let’s pretend that an insurgency which would make Iraq look like a childhood game of cowboys-and-Indians—to use a perfect and perfectly un-PC metaphor—would not occur. Said states would become Mexican states, that is, part of the same class-based Mexico from which illegal immigrants are trying to escape in the real world in order to have the better life that most of them claim to want (and I believe them; that is, most of them).
What would then commence to happen on the new US border?
I’m tired of playing games with this subject.
UPDATE: It's dead, Jim.