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By John Ubaldi
Columnist, In Homeland Security
The immigration debate has largely centered on what the United States should do with the estimated 11 to 13 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and the thousands more that continue to flow through our southern border. What hasn’t been discussed is Mexico’s culpability for the situation.
It’s interesting that when asked in 2014, almost one-third of Mexicans (nearly 34%) said that they would like to emigrate to the United States. Mexico has a population of 130 million, so a third equates to roughly 44 million potential immigrants. However, at the beginning of 2018, for the first time more Mexicans held a negative view of the United States than a positive one. The unanswered question is why would millions of Mexicans and others from Central America want to migrate to a country that they view as problematic to them and their families?
Mexico Is a Wealthy Country, So Why Is Immigration So Popular?
Why do so many people want to leave Mexico, a naturally rich country that is currently ranked 19th in the world in proven oil reserves? Mexico also is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and has many advantages, including:
- A temperate climate
- An abundance of natural resources
- Millions of acres of fertile farmland
- A long, viable coastline
- A strategic location between the wealthiest country in the world and South American markets
- Viable ports on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans
Mexico is far from being poor; it is the 12th richest country in the world. Unfortunately, it also has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest poverty rates among the wealthiest countries.
US Receives the Blame for the Immigration Crisis
Far too often many in the U.S. blame us for all of Mexico’s problems. The United States is sometimes labeled a racist and xenophobic country, riddled with a dark history of colonialism and imperialism.
But despite these feelings toward the United States, many Mexicans uproot themselves and their families to make the arduous journey north to a country with a strange culture and a foreign language. The answer is poverty.
Life in the US Offers Many Benefits
The United States became the beacon of liberty across the globe through its free-market capitalism – which has lifted countless millions out of poverty, more than any other system of government in history.
The United States also enjoys constitutionally protected free speech, due process and the rule of law. The central tenets at the heart of the United States constitutional system are the sanctity of private property, a free press, government transparency, an independent judiciary, and religious diversity and tolerance.
With all of these benefits, it’s odd that Mexico would blames the United States for the immigration problem on our mutual border. Some Mexican leaders only want to ensure the continued flow of the $30 billion a year that Mexican expatriates send back to their families.
According to a November 2018 article by the Center for Immigration Studies, 63% of non-citizen households access some form of welfare programs. That does not include the various nonprofits that assist many migrants from south of the border.
As the immigration battle heats up, Mexico repeatedly faults the U.S. demanding changes in our immigration laws. But emigrating Mexicans routinely fly the Mexican flag at the border when they try to enter the U.S., and those who do cross the border also wave the Mexican flag when trying to avoid being sent back home.
Has Mexico Been Held to Account for Its Problems?
In addition, little energy is being expended by the Mexican and Central American governments to revitalize their own countries.
These same countries and U.S. activists deplore the way Washington has responded to the border situation. But they do not protest against the decades-long endemic corruption throughout Mexico and much of Central America.
If the immigration crisis is to be permanently resolved, the work must start in Mexico and Central America. Then perhaps this issue could be eventually resolved to the benefit of all nations.