Mexican President Felipe Calderon has finally arrived for his first visit to the U.S. as president of Mexico.
As expected, Calderon's principal emphasis is on Mexicans in the U.S. "to strengthen the ties and deepen the dialogues with the Mexican communities" north of the border.
(Why don't U.S. presidents come here to Mexico to "strengthen ties" with us gringos who live south of the border?)
Despite the fact that it's Calderon's first presidential trip to the U.S., he is not visiting the President of the U.S., George W. Bush, as Vicente Fox used to. I guess he figures Bush is a lame duck. He's right about that.
Neither is Calderon visiting any of the presidential primary frontrunners. I don't think he's worried about the next president. Last week in an interview with the LA Times, Calderon said of the U.S. primaries that
"It seems to me that the most radical and anti-immigrant candidates have been left behind and have been put in their place by their own electorate."[Mexican president foresees friendlier U.S., By Héctor Tobar, February 7, 2008]
Nevertheless, Calderon has been very busy, visiting representatives of the "Mexican Community" and various American politicians who see things his way as well. It's been quite a productive visit, from his perspective.
We've become accustomed to Mexican presidents and other officials openly meddling in U.S. immigration policy (and to the fact that our own leaders don't seem to object). This trip was no exception.
However, Calderon is more prudent than Fox, who was politically tone-deaf. Calderon is quite shrewd, and guards his words more carefully, tailoring them to the particular venue in which he speaks. His goals are the same as Fox, but his tactics are more astute.
Much of Calderon's visit consisted of cultivating relationships with allies in the United States who can fight to keep the borders open in the future. As Mexico-watcher George Grayson put it,
"The reason he's in the United States is to exert influence directly and indirectly on U.S. policymakers in hopes that after the presidential election, there will be an expansion of the guest-worker program, there will be more visas issued to Mexican citizens and there will be a path to legalization for the illegal aliens already here."[Local immigration activists to meet with Calderon in L.A., By Stephen Wall, San Bernardino County Sun, February 11, 2008]
"the main organization of US businessmen, investors and US opinion leaders devoted to promoting the development and integration of the hemisphere."
That's a pretty good description. And who was in charge of the get-together?
"The meeting was directed by David Rockefeller, honorary president of the Council of the Americas".
Bilderberger David Rockefeller is not only the founder of the Council of the Americas, he was also a founder of the Trilateral Commission. Rockefeller had this to say in his Memoirs:
"For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it. "
Globalist Felipe Calderon must have felt right at home with David Rockefeller and the others in attendance. His U.S. visit had only just begun…
Calderon started February 11th at a private breakfast with New York governor Eliot Spitzer, champion of driver's licenses for illegal aliens. Yes, Spitzer was thwarted in his attempt, but Calderon knows his heart is in the right place:
According to the office of the Mexican presidency:
"During the meeting, the two [Calderon and Spitzer] agreed on the importance of promoting and guaranteeing respect for migrants' rights and exploring areas of opportunity that will foster economic, social and cultural links between New York and Mexico. For his part, President Calderon hailed the efforts by Governor Spitzer to provide Mexican migrants with access to public education and health services as well as to guarantee their work rights."
Translation: New York's Governor Spitzer is an illegal alien booster. (For photos of Calderon and Spitzer, click here.)
The Mexican president had a meeting with the Secretary General of the UN, a private meeting with Timothy F. Geithner, President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and he enjoyed a luncheon with financial leaders.
But Presidente Calderon didn't hog all the spotlight. The President's wife, First Lady Margarita, met with leaders of the "Esperanza del Barrio," a group founded to improve quality of life for Mexicans in New York.
Speaking to that group, Margarita "expressed her concern for the Mexican communities who reside in the United States, and she transmitted her interest to work from Mexico, through the DIF [Mexican government social program run by the First Lady] for the niñas [girls] and niños [boys ] who migrate unaccompanied."
Yes, there really are children who enter the U.S. illegally without adult supervision, it's a big problem and is very dangerous for the children. But shouldn't Mrs. Calderon be trying to stop unaccompanied children from emigrating rather than, in effect, encouraging them?
In Boston, President Felipe Calderon met with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, "thanked the governor for promoting public policies to expand Mexican migrants' rights," and invited him to visit down Mexico way.
The high point of Felipe's day was a speech he delivered at Harvard, at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. This was pretty special since Calderon himself is an alumnus of that institution, having received his Master of Public Administration from the JFK School in 2000.
Not that everybody welcomed Calderon's visit to his alma mater. There were 50 or so demonstrators, from the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement, Massachusetts Global Action, Boston May Day Coalition, and Harvard Students for a Democratic Society—accusing Calderon of stealing the 2006 election, mistreating Indians, and being a free trader. Some protestors however, from the Concerned Citizens and Friends of Immigration Law Enforcement were protesting Calderon's encouragement of illegal emigration from Mexico. [Calderón Visit Sparks Protests, By Mark D. Hoadley And Josh M. Zagorsky, The Harvard Crimson, February 12, 2008]
Calderon's Harvard speech (delivered in English) wasn't that earthshaking or controversial or radical, much of it in fact I don't consider objectionable. He discussed his administration, its accomplishments and the challenges it faces. Calderon pointed out that high demand for drugs in the U.S. is part of the drug cartel problem, and he's right about that. Near the end of the speech he called for the transformation of Mexico to a country with a high growth rate in which Mexicans can prosper:
"It is possible to transform Mexico from a nation that loses its best people to migration into a nation capable of generating opportunity for Mexicans on their own soil,", which is a worthy goal indeed.[Watch video here(scroll down for options) or click here for an MP3]
During the question period, however, the immigration question came more strongly to the forefront. The first questioner was a student who asked how Calderon could facilitate Mexican emigration to the U.S. while detaining Central Americans and Cubans in Mexico. Good question.
Calderon's answer was rather wide ranging. He said he didn't want Mexicans to emigrate but that it was an inevitable phenomenon, that our two economies are complementary, and that
"The American economy is suffering in these moments, but if they believe that the solution is to close the border, they are making a very large mistake"
Later, another questioner asked about the U.S. presidential primary, which led Calderon to launch into his characterization of the primary season as being marked by anti-Mexicanism:
"The worst thing that happened in this country is this anti-Mexican or anti-immigrant perception of people. We need to contain this."
Contain this? What's he talking about? Immigration is a public policy issue, American citizens have every right to discuss it, and it belongs front and center in a presidential campaign. That's neither "anti-Mexican" nor "anti-immigrant."
In Mexico, what they mean by "anti-Mexican" or "anti-immigrant" is an honest debate and discussion in the U.S. of immigration policy, particularly criticism of open borders. That's a debate they don't want us to have.[Text of Harvard Speech in Spanish]
On the morning of February 12th, Calderon arrived to Chicago where he met with Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Mayor Daley is another of Calderon's special American amigos. For one thing, Daley was "the first mayor of a non-border city to accept the matricula consular as valid identification."
So Daley too got invited to Mexico.
Also in the meeting with Daley, a letter of intent was signed to set up a joint program to certify Mexicans working in Illinois' food and restaurant industry.
Which probably indicates that they aren't currently certified to work in Illinois, doesn't it?
(For a photo of Calderon with "El Alcalde De Chicago", click here.)
Of course, a visit to Illinois just wouldn't have been complete without Calderon's paying a call on the Illinois Governor, illegal alien booster Rod R. Blagojevich.
(Click here for VDARE.COM's file on Blagojevich's encouragement of illegal immigration in Illinois.)
When Calderon met with Blagojevich, he was accompanied by Zacatecas state governor Amalia Garcia. Calderon gave the Illinois governor his seal of approval:
"During the meeting, the President congratulated Governor Blagojevich on the close relationship he has established with the Mexican community resident in Illinois, and particularly on the All Kids health program, medical coverage offered to all children in the state regardless of their migratory status. The Mexican President hailed the increase in efforts to ensure children's health, particularly those living in less favorable conditions, as in the case of Medical Insurance for a New Generation."
And, a recent educational accord between Mexico and Illinois was discussed:
"Zacatecas governor Amalia García Medina also thanked Governor Blagojevich for his government's support of the Mexican community and acknowledged the importance of the agreement signed by Federal Government through the Public Education Secretariat and the Illinois state education authorities. This agreement will permit the temporary hiring of Mexican teachers in this US state. It will also promote the growing exchange of information and educational and cultural experiences that will enrich the education systems of both countries and foster greater understanding. This mechanism will enable children and youth currently enrolled in bilingual programs to be taught by highly qualified Mexican teachers who speak both languages and are more familiar with their educational and cultural characteristics and will therefore be able to contribute to the success of their teaching-learning process. This institutional effort will also reinforce Mexico's cultural and educational presence and further strengthen links with Mexican communities in the state of Illinois."
So you see, you import so many Mexicans into Chicago that it's hard to assimilate them. Then obviously, the next step is you have to import Mexican teachers to teach the kids! And this in turn will "reinforce Mexico's cultural and educational presence". It all fits!
Despite the fact that Chicago is closer to the Canadian border than the Mexican border, it is the country's second biggest Mexican colony:
"The Chicago area is home to the second largest Mexican community in the United States. It is estimated that the student population of Mexican origin at Illinois schools exceeds 340,000." [President Calderón Meets with Governor of Illinois, Rod R. Blagojevich]
Calderon had to meet with members of the Mexican Diaspora in Chicago. And so he did, in a meeting with community leaders in which the Mexican president was begged by Chicago Mexicans not to forget them and to help them—in Chicago, of course, not Mexico! In Chicago, Calderon announced, just as he had back east, that "consulates on wheels" would be used to serve the various Mexican communities in the area. (He's talking about the matricula consular "Illegal Alien Get Out Of Jail Free" cards, among other things!). Calderon asked the Mexicans in Chicago for help:
"I need for you to help me define the tone that we should have, the argumentation and the government." By tone he refers to the tone of the lobbying in favor of illegals.
"If it [the tone] should be raised, we will do it, if the tension should be lowered, also, if it is necessary to take the matter to public opinion, we want to support you in establishing a new relationship with whoever governs this country [the U.S.]."[Pide Calderón ayuda a migrantes para enfocar posición, By Sergio Javier Jiménez, El Universal,February 12, 2008]
When Calderon spoke to a reception of the Chicago Mexican community, he really let loose:
"It is a great honor for me to be with you here today, it is a great honor because you have had to suffer much, because it has been your lot to face great adversity.
It is a story of heroism, because it is not easy to leave behind one day your land, home, and your Fatherland and to cross the border risking all. It is a story of heroism because each year more than 400 Mexicans die crossing the border, perhaps more than anywhere else in the world….
I come here, to Chicago, Illinois, because it is my duty as president, especially in such difficult moments that you are passing, a time of misunderstanding, of hostile treatment, of open discrimination in some cases. It is my duty to echo the voice of all mexicanas (female Mexicans) and mexicanos (male and unspecified gender Mexicans), the voice of all Mexico saying that we are here with you."
Notice the contrast between audiences. When he speaks to the Harvard folks, he talks about the economy and development and that kind of thing. When he speaks to a Mexican expatriate audience, he does also, but he adds the emotional appeal, whipping up feelings of victimhood, resentment and entitlement. Is Calderon saying that his gringo hosts, whom he so likes to schmooze on other occasions, are oppressors? [Vdare.com Note: He's also assuming that the Chicago Mexican community consists mostly of illegal border crossers. This may be true, but if an American politician made that assumption in public, it would racist.
Calderon talked about economic improvement in Mexico to reduce migration, sharing what he had said to President Bush in the latter's visit to Mexico:
That's a great sound bite, but I think Calderon has it backwards. As long as we don't fence off and secure the border, why would Mexican emigration diminish? On the other hand, securing the border would be the best way to help Mexico, because it would force Calderon and the Mexican political class to take responsibility for their own country rather than using the longstanding Northern Border Safety Valve which is harmful to both countries.
After leaving things in good hands in Illinois, it was off to California. There Calderon and the missus were received at the Sacramento Airport by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and wife California First Lady Maria Kennedy Shriver Schwarzenegger.
On the morning of the 13th of February, Calderon was received at the California Capitol by the Governator and Maria again, and met with various legislators among them Fabian Nunez. To the California legislators, the Mexican president touted immigration reform (amnesty) and continental integration (North American Union or something similar). According to Calderon, if there is not a migratory accord (i.e., a de facto recognition of Mexican control of U.S. immigration policy) both countries will not prosper.[Urge Calderón a congresistas participar en reforma migratoria, By Sergio Javier Jiménez, El Universal, February 13, 2008]
In his address to a joint session of the California legislature, Calderon delivered a message tailor-made for California, claiming that "Mexico and California are united by a common history and a shared destiny. We have very deep common roots, today one of every four Californians are of Mexican ancestry." He even pointed out that 17 California representatives and 9 senators were of Mexican ancestry.
Of course, he called for "legal and organized" immigration (i.e., amnesty), but at the same time he said that emigration from Mexico separates families and claimed that it takes the "bravest, youngest and strongest" out of the country. If so, why encourage it? Oh yes, in the same speech Calderon claimed that his government doesn't encourage it. So, once again, he's talking in circles.
And so it goes, on and on, the same stale rhetoric from the Mexican president, and the same coddling by the American political class. I too hope for Mexican economic improvements, but I just don't think that mass emigration is the way to go about it. If Felipe Calderon would use all the time, energy and political capital he employs to keep the borders open to make real reforms in Mexico, this would be a different story indeed. But he won't stop, until we make the first move.
Interestingly, I'm not the only one who thinks that way. There are more than you might imagine.
For example in all the hoopla about the Calderon visit, a California news article quoted Luz Maria Ayala. She and her husband are Mexican immigrant leaders in California, who were chosen to be among those meeting Calderon in California today. Luz Maria said she wanted to tell Calderon to put more effort into stopping Mexican illegal immigration to the U.S. She said:
"[Calderon] needs to focus on helping the workers in the rural areas who are really struggling. He needs to raise wages a lot. If people earned more money in Mexico, they wouldn't have to risk their lives to cross the border to come here to work."
I don't suppose Calderon's Harvard buddies will them him that, nor the American governors and mayors who hobnob with him.
Somebody ought to ask Calderon what he really wants—economic development in Mexico or the expansion of Mexican hegemony in the United States. If what he really wants is the former, he ought to stop wasting his time promoting emigration. But if what he really wants is the latter, in that case he's right on track with the program, with plenty of help from north of the border.
American citizen Allan Wall ( email him) resides in Mexico, with a legal permit issued him by the Mexican government. Allan recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here his "Dispatches from Iraq" are archived here his website is here.