Thursday, December 15, 2005

Is Mexico Instigating Another War With The United States?

Deport All Our Illegal Aliens?

By Steve Brown | January 24, 2003

There is a quaint fact that tends to be forgotten in discussions of immigration policy: the law is the law. The law says that some persons have a legal right to be in the United States and some do not. This law is not arbitrary: it was made by a legitimate, democratically elected government expressing the will of the American people. Therefore, it is high time to get serious about enforcing it by deporting all of our illegal aliens. Fortunately, this is not as hard as it looks, as we already deport some of them and merely need to apply the same programs to a greater number of people. Politically, it may be hard; logistically, it’s no big deal.

The raw numbers are staggering. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) estimates there are currently more than eight million illegal aliens living within our borders, with more than a million more expected to be here by the end of 2003. It's not like the public is unaware of the problem. Successive polling in recent years has consistently shown a clear – and thus far unanswered – mandate from the American electorate for its elected officials to faithfully enforce the laws they are sworn to uphold by removing the swelling illegal population. But key constituencies inside the governing class – principally the cheap labor lobby on the Republican side and the ethnic lobbies on the Democratic side – have successfully frustrated American democracy and the rule of law on this point.

Under pressure and in fits and starts, the federal government has been making token gestures of deportation, which prove that something could be done if the political decision were ever made to get serious. Between 1995 and 1998, funding for removing illegal aliens more than doubled, resulting in a rise in deportations from 50,400 to 171,000. Early INS estimates for Fiscal 2002 deportations come in at 147,345.

But with a pool of eight million potential deportees, appreciable progress will only be achieved through a general deportation policy, i.e., the principle that every person whose illegal status becomes known gets deported. The key thing to understand is that this would not require, as opponents would have us believe, some kind of fascistic police state out of a B-grade movie. All it would require is that well-established, existing programs for deportation operate on greater numbers of people.

Fundamentally, the politics of deportation may be heated, but actual deportation is quite boring.

It's not as though it hasn't been done before. In 1954, during the Eisenhower Administration, INS Commissioner Gen. Joseph May Swing instituted a mass search-and-removal operation targeting illegal aliens from Mexico scattered throughout the Southwest and Midwest. It coordinated the efforts of the U.S. Border Patrol, municipal, county, state and local police forces, along with the military. The coordinated and strategic use of resources and manpower soon produced positive results. In Texas, the nation's second-largest state, the government needed only around 700 men to do the job, netting approximately 4,800 deportees on its first day and 1,100 daily thereafter. Deportees were shipped back to Mexico via rail and ship, often deep into the interior of the country to discourage recidivism. When funding for the initiative ran out that fall, the INS claimed some 2.1 million removals, including those who voluntarily returned to Mexico before and during the operation. Following the 1954 effort, illegal immigration dwindled until the mid-1960s.

This is the real benefit of deportation: it discourages illegal immigration in the first place, reducing both the enforcement burden and the social problems that immigration causes. Once would-be immigration criminals realize they will only be deported, their numbers drop within a range that can easily be contained. Ironically enough, this means that a laxer immigration policy, not a stricter one, requires more manpower to enforce the tatters of law that remain, and costs more money to run. Once would-be illegals get the message, there will be a lot fewer of them.

One cannot help noticing that someone who enters this country illegally has already shown, simply by so doing, a contempt for our nation's laws and a propensity to violate them. It is no accident that illegal aliens are grossly over-represented among convicted criminals.

Today, potential candidates for mass deportation can be traced through what analysts say is the main source driving illegal immigration: jobs. Yet elected officials under lobbying pressure from special interests have derailed every recent worksite enforcement attempt by the INS. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, the modest number of illegal immigrant workers it managed to round up through its 1998 raids during Georgia’s Vidalia onion harvest were overwhelmingly obscured by the thousands who fled the fields to avoid arrest. Soon, local pressure from employers and local politicians resulted in letters of outrage from both of the state’s Senators and three of its Representatives to the U.S. Attorney General and Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture and Labor citing a "lack of concern for the farmer."

Translation: greedy agribusiness wants cheap labor and would like immunity from the laws of the land to get that labor. Shielding itself from criticism by projecting a sentimental image of "family farms" that hasn’t corresponded with the industrialized and corporate-controlled agricultural reality in this country in years, agribusiness uses political power to violate the law for profit. Other industries that run on cheap illegal labor, like the restaurant trade, do the same less crassly. These interests are guilty of aiding, abetting, and profiting from crime and should be treated as such. We can start by imposing sufficiently large fines on employers of illegals.

Under a realistic deportation program, Congress would allocate the necessary workforce funding for INS inspectors to target key trades and worksites. A working model appeared in April 1999, when the INS embarked on Operation Vanguard, targeting illegal workers in the Midwest's meatpacking industry through audits of employee personnel records.

Why the meat-packing industry? Because in the last 30 years, meat-packing has gone from being one of the most solid and well-paid blue collar jobs to a low-wage sweatshop industry, almost entirely on the backs of cheap foreign labor, much of it illegal. This erosion of the economic base of the American working class must be resisted if we are to maintain our commitment to a middle-class society. (And by the way, do you think these people are going to vote Republican?)

During the first operational phase, identification, employment eligibility verification forms (I-9s) were examined for discrepancies indicating an illegal employee. Notification, the second phase, had INS providing employers with a list of suspect employees. The employers would then notify their employees of the INS findings. During interview phase, INS agents met with the employees to establish the validity of the discrepancies. When it found illegal aliens, INS began deportation proceedings. Every 45-90 days the process was repeated, examining employee records of new hires since the last audit.

In Nebraska, Operation Vanguard contacted 111 meatpacking and processing plants and investigated 24,148 employees. Of those, 36 plants had 4,495 employees with documentation discrepancies requiring INS interviews. In the aftermath, 3,152 workers simply left, 303 had excused absences or were no-shows, and the INS interviewed 1,042, of which 34 were eventually apprehended.

The good news is that Operation Vanguard proved that worksite enforcement is not only effective in reducing the number of illegal aliens working here, but also less disruptive to business owners and employees than skeptics claimed at the time—garnering praise from local law enforcement. The moment was short-lived though, as harsh criticism soon came from the governor, calling it “ill-advised in a state with such low unemployment and an already big problem with a shortage of labor.” Never mind the fact that "shortage" is a concept unknown to free-market economics – there are only things you can’t afford in as great a quantity as you want – and that the tight labor market he was complaining about was driving up the wages of the people of his state, something one would hope any governor would welcome. Operation Vanguard then officially went on hold as INS examined how to improve its central data clearinghouse. In the meantime, it has ceased all worksite enforcement.

Operation Vanguard highlighted the need for coordinated intelligence efforts with other agencies in deporting large illegal populations, such as with the Department of Labor, which doesn’t currently share data from its worksite inspections. Moreover, a better worker identification system is needed. In 1995, CIS floated the idea of a phone-in network for employers to match applicants with a national database of social security and INS information. While such a network would prove useful, state, local, county and city intelligence on illegal aliens must also be shared for any legitimate effort to remove illegal aliens. That information could then be further linked to an updated visa-tracking network equipped with thumbprint or other electronic identification data to locate overstays who then become illegal. Firmness towards illegals logically implies fairness towards legals, as a system rigorous enough to detect the former will also be accurate enough to vindicate the latter.

Local law enforcement is key. The 1996 Immigration Act provides for INS training in the location, arrest and detention of illegal aliens to state and local police. Effective deportation policy requires local police to be trained in such procedures and held liable for failure carry them out. As retired Border Patrol Agent Bill King told CIS:

"The lack of cooperation and communication between law enforcement agencies at the various levels of government has got to be overcome if the nation is serious about protecting the public from further terrorist attacks. As citizens, we have the right to expect the closest level of support between the various enforcement agencies and this is just not happening. And nowhere is it more apparent than what's happening with the City of Los Angeles Police Department special order 40, which expressly prohibits any cooperating with INS investigators or border enforcement authorities, to the point I understand where now even for a special agent or a Border Patrol agent to enter one of the several police buildings in the city, requires the permission of the station commander. This is absolutely ridiculous. They're not allowed to even share information relating to the illegal alien activity in that city and it's become -- if it isn't the illegal capital of this country, it's very close to it. But to me, any agency at any level of government that fails to cooperate, particularly in these times, should have any federal funding they're receiving revoked."

Could the INS handle the surge in its workload resulting from a general deportation policy? Were a general deportation policy implemented today, the initial effort would undoubtedly yield a windfall of illegal aliens. However, adequate processing facilities would make the overflow of early apprehensions feasible. As recently as 1998, INS said that with 21,000 more detention spaces and 1,500 more employees, it could remove every criminal alien. According to a CIS report, this would require $652 million targeted at detention and removal. This is well under one-tenth of one percent of the federal budget.

The current deportation process is limited to incarcerated illegal aliens. It begins when INS identifies potentially deportable aliens in federal, state, or local prisons. Limited resources have led INS to avoid pursuing aliens on probation or suspended sentences, focusing instead on those whose prison sentences are nearly over. INS then detains the alien. After investigation, INS determines whether that alien is deportable. If the INS determines the alien is legal and poses no threat to the public, they are released. However, if the INS issues a deportation order, the criminal alien may contest it in immigration court.

During the immigration court trial phase, the alien must present cause for immunity from deportation. Acceptable immunity causes include political asylum and extreme family hardship. The potential deportee may appeal an adverse ruling through the Department of Justice, the federal courts and the Supreme Court. Felony deportees caught re-entering are subject to a 20-year prison sentence. A database of thumbprints from over 2 million deportees assists INS in identifying those who return illegally.

After the infrastructure with all necessary database systems online and linked to INS has been put in place, buttressed by the full-support of federal and state governments and law enforcement, the actual work of deportation becomes elementary. As in 1954, it would be a simple matter of rounding up, processing and removing them en masse by plane, train or ship. Unlike then, if an illegal alien should try to reenter the country, it would become known immediately upon apprehension. Those who overstay their visas and become illegal would be quickly identified and tracked down through a more comprehensive verification system.

The tools and the public support for general deportation are already here and its implementation, while coming with initial added costs, would more than pay for itself in reduced social services to illegal aliens. Nothing less than the concept of being a nation of laws is at stake, in addition to the other immigration issues of national security, cultural identity, preventing cheap labor, environmental protection, and the survival of the Republican Party itself.

And, lest we forget, the law is still the law.

Another War With Mexico?

Written by Robert Klein Engler
Sunday, October 19, 2003

At the time of the first Mexican-American War, there were strains in Mexican as well as American society that parallel the strains in both societies today. Most importantly, the Mexican government at that time was split between the Federalists and the Centralists. The Centralists favored an autocratic government and wanted to regain the lost territory of Texas, whereas the Federalists were more in favor of democratic reforms.

In the United States, the major strain was between the liberal Abolitionists who feared that Texas would become a slave holding state, and the Nationalists who envisioned America stretching "from sea to shining sea." It may be helpful to look again at some of this history to see if we can understand what the future may hold for these two countries.

People on both sides of the Mexican/U. S. border have to be reminded that Mexico has a different history from the United States. The indigenous Aztecs practiced such cannibalism and human sacrifice that it shocked even the brutal Spanish conquistadors. Mexico has yet to repudiate its Aztec past the way the Germans repudiated their Nazi past.

The 1910 revolution in Mexico was no stroll down the Paseo de la Reforma, either. One just has to read Martin Luis Guzman's book The Eagle and the Serpent, to realize how bloody that revolution was. Although military casualties were high on both sides of the American War Between the States, civilian casualties were much higher during the Mexican Revolution.

Mexican culture is also different from American culture. An example of one important cultural difference between Mexico and the U. S. is religion. Mexico has Roman Catholic traditions, while the U. S. mainly has Protestant traditions. There were cultural reasons why Texas did not want to remain part of Mexico and first seceded and then became part of the United States. Many of those reasons are still valid today, in spite of NAFTA and Mexico's immigration and nationalization policies. Many Mexican immigrants to the U. S. have no desire to assimilate, to speak English, nor to become Americans. They are aggressively seeking to replace our culture with theirs.

When we celebrate Columbus Day in the U. S., and the Mexicans celebrate "El Día de la Raza," a statement is being made about how two cultures view their place in the world. El Día de la Raza can be translated as "The Day of the Race," an expression that has definite racist overtones. Columbus Day may carry overtones of conquest, but it links our culture with Europe. The Day of the Race links Mexican culture with a brutal and indigenous people, the Aztecs, and carries shades of revenge and empire. The day of the Race is Mexico's answer to our "manifest destiny."

During the "conquista," Spain tried to impose on Mexico a common western language, religion, and culture, and to the degree it was successful. It was also anti-American. We should remember that the Spaniards were building the great cathedral at the Zocolo in Mexico City a hundred years before George Washington took control of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts. Here are two different world views, sharing the same continent.

In his article, Clash of Civilizations?, Samuel P. Huntington reminds us that cultural differences may cause future wars, and that these wars will be along cultural "fault lines." The U. S.--Mexican border is one of those fault lines. Huntington writes, "Civilization identity will be increasingly important in the future, and the world will be shaped in large measure by the interactions among seven or eight major civilizations. ...The most important conflicts of the future will occur along the cultural fault lines separating these civilizations from one another."

In regard to Mexico, Huntington writes, "During the past decade, Mexico has assumed a position somewhat similar to that of Turkey. Just as Turkey abandoned its historic opposition to Europe and attempted to join Europe, Mexico has stopped defining itself by its opposition to the United States and is instead attempting to imitate the United States." However, unlike Canada, Mexico has a large, nonwestern, indigenous population that has not yet been integrated into modernity. This native population also carries an unconscious weight of resentment towards the Spanish conquest, which it now mistakenly displaces onto the U. S.

Mexico's indigenous population is one of the contemporary strains in that society. Sub-Comandante Marcos and the uprising in Chiapas of indigenous people is a prediction of what is to come in Mexico if that strain cannot be relieved. The Mexican elites have decided, therefore, to reduce this strain by sending north as many poor and jobless Mexicans as they can. Instead of solving their own problems, which might entail a reduction of their status, the ruling Mexican elites have decided to keep the fiesta going and let the U. S. handle the cleanup.

A top adviser to past Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari described to Huntington all the changes the Salinas government was making. When the advisor finished, Huntington remarked: "That's most impressive. It seems to me that basically you want to change Mexico from a Latin American country into a North American country." He looked at me with surprise and exclaimed: "Exactly! That's precisely what we are trying to do, but of course we could never say so publicly." What also could not be said publicly is that Mexico wants to reclaim its "lost" territory. It will use economics and illegal immigrants to do this.

Many Mexican elites believe that to become a modern nation, Mexico has to restructure its economy and regain the territory it lost during the first Mexican war. For over a century, Mexican nationalists have used the myths and symbols of a lost but glorious indigenous past to motivate its plans for expansion. D. H. Lawrence wrote about this myth building in his novel, The Plumed Serpent.

Nowadays, the Mexican elites realize they do not need an army when they have NAFTA and illegal immigrants to do the job just as well. The Mexican elites have devised a foreign policy to achieve these objectives. This policy uses the poorer elements in Mexican society as foot soldiers. By moving poor and jobless Mexicans north, Mexico can make the U. S. absorb the cost of welfare and at the same time re-colonize large segments of so-called lost, Mexican territory.

Lets look at aspects of Mexican foreign policy to see how its aggressive actions towards the U. S. may be understood. Writing in The Miami Herald, for Sunday, January 12, 2003, Andres Oppenheimer openly wonders if Mexico's former Economy Minister and now new Foreign Minister, Luis Ernesto Derbez, "may weaken what has been one of (President) Fox's most important accomplishments: bringing Mexico's foreign policy out of the dark ages of knee-jerk nationalism and pointless anti-Americanism." In fact, Derbez's job will be to say one thing and do another. Nationalism and anti-Americanism remain a part of Mexico's foreign policy, it's just not called that anymore.

Prior to Derbez's statements, Mexico's previous Foreign Minister and former Marxist, Jorge Castañeda said that nationalism and anti-Americanism made sense in the 19th and 20th centuries but are not viable in a globalized world, in which countries depend more on exchanges of goods, services, and people than at any time in recent history.

Mexico's traditional anti-Americanism "'creates a brutal national schizophrenia,'" said Castañeda. He further noted that 90 percent of Mexico's trade is with the United States. Yet, integrating the Mexican economy with the U. S. economy may be viewed more sinisterly. This economic integration can be also just one aspect of a Mexican foreign policy designed to get back territory.

Internationally, Mexico is a non-permanent member of the Security Council. It's hostile intentions towards the U. S. were made clear when it opposed any unilateral action against Iraq without a mandate from the Security Council. This stance on Iraq further angered many to the north.

If another 9/11 attack did occur in the U. S. and it did not damage Mexico's interests, Mexico would remain indifferent. Mexico may even unintentionally aid terrorists by encouraging illegal immigration to the U. S. Furthermore, Mexico has never broken off relations with communist Cuba and gives it considerable development aid. In spite of American policy toward Cuba, Mexican President Fox visited the island in February, 2002.

The first war between the United States and Mexico began with a Mexican attack on American troops along the southern border of Texas on Apr. 25, 1846. On Monday, May 11, President Polk presented his war message to Congress, and on Wednesday, May 13, over the opposition of the Abolitionists, the U. S. Congress voted to declare war on Mexico. Fighting ended when U. S. Gen. Winfield Scott occupied Mexico City on Sept. 14, 1847. The peace treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed on Feb. 2, 1848, ending the war.

Ironically, the Confederate hero Jefferson Davis emerges as a figure from that war who may help us predict our future foreign policy towards Mexico. Davis distinguished himself fighting for the U. S., especially at the battle of Monterrey. You have to wonder if Davis ever imagined his world would be turned upside down when 15 years later he would become President of the Confederate States of America. Will our world also be turned upside down years from now because of NAFTA, illegal immigration, and drugs from Mexico?

As a Nationalist, Davis could see the importance of Texas to the expanding union. The Abolitionists argued that the move to the Rio Grande was an aggressive act by President Polk to start a war with Mexico in order to add new slave territory to the United States. The Nationalists and Davis carried the day and the war was successfully waged.

Yet, years later Davis could not convert to the Abolitionist cause. He sided with the southern confederacy against the north. The War Between the States settled that issue, and Jefferson Davis ended up a federal prisoner held for trial on a charge of treason. In light of this history, one has to wonder if the liberals in the U. S. today, who favor NAFTA and open immigration will still stay with that position 15 years from now when Texas, New Mexico, California, and Wyoming secede from the U. S. and become part of Mexico.

The war with Mexico is considered by some historians to be the most costly by casualty count in American military history. Despite the objections of the Abolitionists, the Mexican war received enthusiastic support from all sections of the United States. The war was fought almost entirely by volunteers.

So, too, a future war with Mexico will be opposed by the liberals, but will receive support from America's white, working class, and many African-Americans. If past indications of Mexico's bloody history are to be projected to a new Mexican war, we can expect high casualties on both sides. Many northern U. S. cities like Chicago with large Mexican barrios as fifth columnists, may also suffer destruction.

In order to put oil on the troubled waters of current Mexican--U. S. relations, the two countries have been trying to downplay differences. This may look good on a diplomatic level, but has not altered Mexico's aggressive policies towards the U. S. in the least. While talking, illegal immigration continues, cocaine flows across the border into the U.S., the Mexican government remains corrupt, and the Mexican elites still rely on the U. S. to solve the social and economic problems of Mexico.

President Fox was the first foreign leader to be received by President Bush after his inauguration. Likewise, President Bush's first trip abroad was to Mexico in February 2001. George Kourous writes about these visits. He says, "The White House has scheduled Bush's first official state dinner to crown the visit and is dressing up the event with pomp, circumstance, and recycled rhetoric about the new era of U. S.--Mexico relations. 'The fact (that) this is the first state dinner ought to send signals about our unique relationship,' Bush then told reporters."

Just what those signals are, remain to be seen. Writing in, Fernando Oaxaca says, "Before the California Recall exercise ended, El Universal, a more moderate Mexico paper than La Jornada, reported that Foreign Secretary Derbez had announced a new "'security doctrine'" for Mexico. It clashed with what Washington had expected would be a dependable partnership with Mexico and other nations in the war on terror. Never using the word "terrorism," Derbez said that the concept of "one for all and all for one" was an "outdated, World War II concept!"

Foreign Secretary Derbez went on to add, "No state can impose on another its own security agenda, nor the order of its priorities. Security should be understood as a reality for each country--not as hemispheric, because there is no military, strategic, or ideological enemy outside the region which is attacking it as a whole." Clearly, Mexico is not troubled by threats to the United States on the terrorist front.

On the economic front, Mexico's President Fox took office praising the benefits of expanded U. S.--Mexico trade. He promised to create 1.4 million new jobs. Instead, an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 jobs have been lost, mostly as a result of an economic slowdown in the United States. This slowdown is not good for Mexican imports to the U. S. The slowdown also creates less of a need for low-paid, illegal immigrant workers. Still, there has been no letup in the migration northwards.

If the "reconquista" continues unchecked for the next twenty years, the U. S. will be a fundamentally different society than it is today. There will be more poverty and low-wage jobs in our cities. We will be a dual language society, with more and more Spanish and less and less English spoken. The price for this social transformation will be paid mostly by the U. S. white, working class, and African Americans.

About 820,000 people migrate to the Untied States every year. Eventually, there will be a movement of population away from the socially divided and increasingly Latino north American cities to states like Montana, Oregon, and Kentucky. Joel Kotkin has already documented the beginning of this population shift in his 1996 Washington Post article, "White Flight to the Fringes." Add to the Latino immigration the high rates of other foreign immigrants and it is understandable why many white Americans will abandon our cities. The U. S. Census Bureau projects that by the middle of this century, whites will constitute just over half of the U. S. population. By 2060, whites will be a minority. Then, the "reconquista" will be complete.

The liberal plan for North America imagines a peaceful blending of cultures accomplished by shared economic goals. Based on a past war and present Mexican foreign policy, it is hard to see how this plan can work. Nor can we imagine how uncontrolled and illegal Mexican immigration to the U. S. is in the interest of African-Americans or the white working class in America. Just as past Abolitionist policy concerning Texas was mistaken, so the present liberal policy of uncontrolled immigration to the U. S. is also mistaken. Perhaps only another successful war with Mexico will show that to be the case.

Today, Mexico is more of an enemy than an ally of the U. S. Its foreign policy is as belligerent as any of our other past enemies. An invasion of drugs and immigrants are some of the many reasons why the United States may fight yet another war against Mexico. All the conditions for that war are present. If you talk to some Americans living near the border, then you will hear the war has already started.

Robert Klein Engler lives in Chicago. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago Divinity School. His book, A WINTER OF WORDS, about the ethnic cleansing at Daley College, is available from

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