UNITED STATES IMMIGRATION REGULATIONS:
THE POLICY OF NON-ENFORCEMENT
By Thomas G. Tancredo
In the discussion we had, I found it interesting in that, when I asked him specifically what was the purpose of such an agency, he said, well, it was, first of all, to increase the flow of Mexican nationals into the United States. I asked him for what purpose. He said essentially that, in increasing the flow of Mexicans into the U.S.A., the hope of the Mexi- can government was that it would influence United States policy towards Mexico. The Mexican government wanted to have a large number of Mexican nationals living in the United States, but with political, economic, and cultural ties remaining to Mexico. So, the job of Mr. Hernandez was split between encouraging the flow, on one hand, and, on the other, encouraging a strong and continuing connection between Mexico and Mexican immigrants residing in the U.S.A.
We talked a little longer. There were two other Members of the U.S. Congress there with me that evening. He said something that I thought we were all kind of amazed at. He said, Congressman, it is not two countries, it is just a region.
I know that he believed that, and that many other people do too. I think perhaps even people in the U.S. Congress may think of it that way: It is not really two countries, it is just a region where the border does not matter; the border is inconsequential, and it is sometimes even problematic because it does restrict the free flow of people across that particular part of the country. There are folks who look at it in that way. Borders, they think, are anachronisms, not necessary, anymore; and after all, it is really just a region.
What has happened as a result of this shift in philosophy, particularly the shift in government philosophy in Mexico, the push for people to come north? In the past, Mexico had treated people coming across the border with some disdain, and there was actually a derogatory term applied to people who left Mexico.
But in the last 5 to 6 years, Mexican workers have been strongly encouraged and pressured by the Mexican government to go north and illegally cross the border and seek jobs and make their homes in the U.S.A. The Mexican government has enouraged this massive illegal migration to the U.S.A. because of the importance of what Mr. Her- nandez described as trying to influence American foreign policy vis-a-vis Mexico, and also because of the importance that remittances play in the Mexican economy. Remit- tances are the amounts of money made in the United States, or elsewhere outside of Mexico, but sent back into Mexico to family members. These remittances now account for some- thing over 30 percent of Mexico's gross domestic product. Therefore, the Mexican government is most interested in using America as a way of expanding that particular phenomenon.
On our side, we have, of course, abandoned the borders. We have made sort of an unwritten agreement with Mexico that we will not really do anything to significantly impede the flow of those people into the United States. This unwritten agreement was made for our own reasons, some of them relating to cheap labor and our demand for it, others relating to the political consequences that arise as a result of a massive flow of people across the border into the United States who will sometimes themselves vote, even illegally, but eventually become legal voters after a period of time, or their children will, after they have been born here and are citizens of the United States.
But this has had an impact on certain folks. We do not hear anything about them. That is why I come around just about every week with another individual, another person. On this occasion, I am going to talk a little bit about Frank Adams. Frank and his wife, Bar- bara operate a small ranch of about 500 acres. It is about 3 1/2 miles north of Douglas, Arizona.
The Adamses have lived on this ranch for about a half a century. They are only 3 1/2 miles north of the border. Their daughter lives on that ranch with them, and they have two grown sons living in Texas. Their experience is not an awful lot different from many of the other ranchers in that border area.
Their lives have been completely turned upside down by this phenomenon, this elimination of the border, the fact that there is no longer a border, the "It is not really two countries, it is just a region'' philosophy. Their lives have been turned upside down. Their ranches are being destroyed. They are being essentially driven out of their homes.
Still More on Immigration & Illegal Aliens
Thomas G. Tancredo is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the Sixth Congressional District of Colorado.
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