Memo From Middle America | Lindsey Graham Wrong—Mexico Not A “Hellhole”, Doesn’t Need Northern “Safety Valve”
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As long-time VDARE.COM readers know, I resided for a decade and a half in Mexico. A few years ago, I moved back to the United States. Since my wife is from Mexico, we go back at Christmas and in the summer. Of course, I can follow Mexico on the internet, but these visits allow me to get a real feel for the country.

The violence in Mexico? It’s certainly a consideration for us. Coincidentally, it was getting worse about the time we moved to the U.S. Now, when we visit, we’re more careful than we used to be. We take toll roads and try not to drive at night. On this trip, there was violence in the metropolitan area where we used to live and now visit, but we did not personally encounter it.

But that’s what Mexican violence is like. It’s not like some imagine, with the whole country a free fire zone 24/7. It’s just that, in certain regions of the country, violence might erupt and you could be in the crossfire. The odds are quite low, but woe unto those to whom it happens.

Nevertheless, life goes on in Mexico. People live their lives and go about their daily business.

My family and I had a good summer visit. We spent time with my wife’s family, we saw old friends and neighbors.

We attended services in three different churches, two Protestant and one Catholic. I was even asked to preach a sermon in one of the Protestant churches, which I did, in Spanish of course.

We visited a children’s home, where we delivered sheets and towels that my church in the U.S. had donated.

We ate in favorite restaurants and bought things that aren’t available where we live

Lilia and the boys and I went to see the new Superman movie in a Mexican movie theater.

We also took a trip within a trip, by bus, to the city and state of Aguascalientes. Besides being a tranquil city, Aguascalientes has been called “The Cleanest City in Latin America,” and it may well be.

While there, I was asked by some Mexican pro-life activists to sign a petition. I told them that though I agree with them, since I’m not a Mexican citizen I shouldn’t sign it so as not to get them in trouble. (Mexico has a total ban on foreign participation in politics.)

Also in Aguascalientes, we visited a hunting supply store which was actually licensed to sell ammunition. There’s only one legal gun shop in all of Mexico, but there are stores licensed to sell ammo, and there are hunters in the region. (People who already have guns, that is. Guns, if properly maintained, last for many, many years.) The store’s manager lightheartedly told me he’d formerly been an illegal alien in the U.S. We bought our two sons bows and arrows.

Our bus was stopped by agents of the INM, (Instituto Nacional de Migración), Mexico’s immigration bureaucracy. We were sitting right at the front, and the agent got on and asked me for my identification. Fortunately, we had brought my Mexican visitor’s permit. No problem. I wasn’t offended at all. Why should I be, if I’m there legally?

At night, we watched the Mexican news broadcast.

(But before that we watched a rather silly but entertaining telenovela La Tempestad. As usual, the main characters were white, including former Miss Universe Jimena Navarrete—in her first regular televised thespian performance, pictured below. See its website here and the other major characters here.)Jimena Navarrete

The ongoing U.S. Amnesty/ Immigration Surge deliberations were widely reported and commented upon. I’ve noted some of that already:

This is something I learned a long time ago: Mexican society supports illegal immigration to the United States. The common view is that illegal aliens are mistreated in the US, we owe the illegals, and haven’t done enough for them. There are dissenting voices, but most Mexicans side with their illegal countrymen north of the border.

In fact, when you get right down to it, anything we do to control our border or Mexican immigration is going to be criticized in Mexico.

Nevertheless, in another sense, it’s all very distant. What I mean is that life goes on in Mexico and I have a suspicion that support for the illegals is a mile wide but an inch deep. Most Mexicans aren’t really obsessed with the topic.

In other words, if the U.S. ever had a government that really cared about getting control of the border and controlling immigration—as, for example, Israel’s government does—there would certainly be plenty of screaming in the Mexican media and among Mexican politicians, and of course they would try to meddle. But if the U.S. had a resolute Netanyahu-type president who cared about our sovereignty (it’s been a while since we’ve have one of those), there’d be nothing that the Mexicans could do. And they would adjust.

Some people argue that if the U.S. were to shut down Mexican immigration, there would be some sort of revolution in Mexico. But I don’t think that that’s a foregone conclusion. The Mexican economy is doing well, and Mexicans are having smaller families (see my Mexico's Demographic Transition—America's Opportunity). Mexico can handle the shutting of its northern “safety valve”.

It’s funny, but Americans on both sides of the immigration debate frequently portray Mexico in as bad a light as possible.

Immigration patriots try to make Mexico look bad so we control that immigration and stop it coming here.

Open Border promoters also portray Mexico as horrible—Senator Lindsay Graham, one of  the Eight Gangsters, recently called it a “hell hole”—so they can make you feel guilty if you don’t support mass Mexican emigration to the U.S.

Of course, Mexico is poorer than the U.S.—but its standard of living is higher than the world average.

Indeed, my personal impression is that Mexicans, on average, may be happier than Americans. A lot of Americans may freak out to hear that, but it could be true.

An Ipsos poll released last year reported Mexicans did claim to be happier than Americans. Why not just take Mexicans’ word for it?

More recently, an OECD poll revealed a higher life satisfaction in Mexico than in the U.S. Respondents in 36 countries were asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale of 1 to 10. Mexico placed #10. The United States placed #14. (The Swiss were #1.)

Why should we encourage immigration from a happier country (Mexico) to a country that, according to polls, is not as happy (the U.S.)?

Consider, too, that in the past couple of years, Hispanics in the United States had the most precipitous drop in the Harris “Happiness Index” survey. [Harris Poll: Only A Third Of U.S. Adults Qualify As Very Happy, UPI June 1, 2013 ] Could it be that, when Mexicans are being Mexicans in Mexico, with all its problems, it’s still their country and they’re comfortable with it? But when they emigrate to the United States, although they earn more money, they’re in a different country and, at some level, they aren’t as comfortable.

To complicate matters further, we now have millions of Mexican-Americans born in the U.S. and many of them (especially the younger ones) don’t really identify with the historic American nation, and are in fact encouraged not to. It’s a ticking time bomb.

Mexico and the United States are (still) two separate countries. We ought to respect the differences. I don’t think we ought to be meddling in Mexican internal affairs. I don’t think we should be allowing them to meddle in ours.

And I don’t think we should allow Mexicans to conquer us demographically.

I like to visit Mexico. But I want Mexico to remain a foreign country. I don’t want Mexico to become part of the US, nor the US to become part of Mexico.

Good fences make good neighbors.

American citizen Allan Wall (email him) moved back to the U.S.A. after many years residing in Mexico. Allan's wife is Mexican, and their two sons are bilingual. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his articles are archivedhere; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.

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