Saltillo is the capital of the state of Coahuila in northern Mexico. It has fine museums, colonial architecture and a relatively cool climate. It's certainly worth a visit. And, before we met, my wife lived there while obtaining her university degree.
Saltillo was also the scene last Friday, August 29th, 2003, of the most recent encounter between American and Mexican state legislators—the "Conferencia Legislativa Fronteriza"—the Border Legislative Conference. It was attended by American state legislators from Texas, Arizona and California, and Mexican state legislators from Coahuila, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon.
The meeting seemed to have run smoothly enough until after the 3 p.m. lunch break. When the delegates returned, a full-fledged debate over U.S. immigration policy ensued.
In the Mexican press, a front-page headline describing the conference read "Xenophobia divides the legislators". ("Xenofobia divide a legisladores" El Siglo de Torreón August 30th, 2003 [cached version])
In Mexico, "xenophobia" refers to any U.S. attempt, however feeble, to control its own border.
Ricardo Castro, a Mexican legislator from the state of Chihuahua, one of Mexico's more prosperous states, informed the conference that illegal immigration from Mexico to the U.S. cannot be stopped. Which means that Castro, like so many other Mexican politicians, doesn't want it to stop.
Another Chihuahua legislator, Victor Hugo Estala, called U.S. immigration policy "xenophobic, de-humanizing and racist."
Estala demanded to know why the U.S. government tolerates groups which "hunt illegals like animals in Arizona." He mentioned the Barnett brothers (the public-spirited owners of Cross Rail Ranch) by name (fame!), and attacked the newspapers of Arizona. Estala charged said Arizona newspapers with inciting Americans to form groups such as Ranch Rescue and American Patrol.
American Patrol, including its Arizona division "American Border Patrol" is already well known in the Mexican media, where it has been referred to as a "paramilitary group" They've even shown footage of Glenn Spencer on Mexican television!
Far from being a "paramilitary group" though, American Patrol is an activist organization informing the public. Its website derives maybe 99% of its content from articles in the mainstream media. Read American Patrol and you can see on a daily basis how far the balkanization of America has gone. As for American Border Patrol, its function is to carry out surveillance on the border and report the presence of illegals to the U.S. Border Patrol (and what's wrong with that?).
The infamous Barnett brothers—well, they're protecting their property. I've discovered that Vicente Fox protects his ranch, too. In fact, property owners in Mexico go to great lengths to keep out trespassers.
If anybody does object to the existence of groups like Ranch Rescue, the solution is simple: the U.S. government should control the border. If the border were under control, such organizations would never have come into existence.
The real issue is that Mexico's politicians (and their American collaborators) don't want anybody opposing illegal immigration.
If the Chihuahua delegation was really serious about human rights, they could be investigating the ongoing murders of young women in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. Or the Coahuila delegates could investigate the murders of Central American immigrants in the city of Saltillo itself.
But, being Mexican domestic issues, these weren't on the conference table…unlike U.S. immigration policy.
At the Saltillo conference, Chihauhua's indignant Estala [send him mail ] looked straight at the Arizona delegation and self-righteously demanded
"Why do the Americans not act with firmness to stop these aggressions? Why the rejection of everyone who resembles a Mexican?" [Full speech, in Spanish]
["Por qué los norteamericanos no actúan con firmeza para detener estas agresiones? ¿Por qué el repudio a todo aquel que tenga el aspecto de mexicano?"]
On questions of immigration, American officials tend to capitulate to Mexican officials. But in Saltillo, astonishingly, the Arizona delegation did not. They refused a Mexican demand to protest to Washington over the "hunting" of illegals in their state. The answer given by Arizona state representative Ray Barnes is worth repeating:
According to the Siglo,
The representative of the Arizona congress, 60ish Ray Barnes got red in the face and with unconcealed anger, rejected the appeal, saying that it was illegal according to the Constitution, that he had sworn an oath when taking office, and it was unjust of the Mexican legislators to ask him to violate his oath and abandon his charge, because they were defending something illegal.
"I think it's unfair that Mexican legislators ask me .... to defend something illegal....it's unfair that this legislative body accuse us of being discriminatory, because we refuse to violate the laws of the United States..." ("... no es justo que este cuerpo legislativo nos acuse de discriminatorios, porque nos negamos a violar las leyes de los Estados Unidos...")
But the entire American delegation did not close ranks with Ray Barnes. According to the Siglo story, the U.S. Hispanic legislators sided with the Mexican critics!
US Representatives divided among themselves
The legislators of Hispanic ancestry were not in agreement with their Arizona companions. One of them, from Texas, said that in his state the armed groups that hunt illegals act outside the law and will be punished, pronto! SE DIVIDEN LOS REPRESENTANTES DE EU
Los legisladores de ascendencia "hispana", no estuvieron de acuerdo con sus compañeros de Arizona. Uno de ellos, de Texas, dijo que en su estado los grupos armados que cazan ilegales actúan fuera de la ley y que "pronto serán castigados".
One of these "legislators of Hispanic ancestry," Texas' state representative Roberto Gutierrez, went off on a little tirade of his own:
"When have you seen, in the United States, a Canadian, legal or illegal, mistreated? Does the brown skin of the Mexicans disturb Americans since they're not as light-skinned as the Canadians?"
Ah, the Canadian Argument. I've heard this before..
We might as well admit it—Mexican immigrants and Canadian immigrants are not treated equally.
Mexicans are treated better than Canadians.
The "Canadian Argument" is completely wrong—but it's really just a smokescreen to avoid the real issue.
Another bilateral legislative conference is scheduled for mid-November in Tucson, Arizona.
VDARE.COM will be watching.
American citizen Allan Wall lives and works legally in Mexico, where he holds an FM-2 residency and work permit, but serves six weeks a year with the Texas Army National Guard, in a unit composed almost entirely of Americans of Mexican ancestry. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here; his website is here. Readers can contact Allan Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org.