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Mexican President Vicente Fox's little visit with President Bush at the Asian summit meeting in Bangkok this week got a bit upstaged by Mr. Fox's Malaysian counterpart and his comments about Jews ruling the world, but what happened between the Mexican and American presidents at the summit may have been a good deal more important than what filled the front pages.
A Knight-Ridder news story last week reported that "On the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Fox once again will press Bush for steps to make life easier for the millions of Mexicans who live in the United States illegally," and for illegals, the livin' is easy only when amnesty is on the political picnic table.
The story also noted that what Mr. Fox wants for the 3.5 million of his fellow citizens who now live in this country and are able to vote in Mexico should be a bit of "a tough sale" to Mr. Bush, who has the California election under his party's belt and a load of evidence that making life easy for illegal aliens is political suicide.
Americans who don't want amnesty were well advised to hold their breath until Mr. Bush was far away from Bangkok. In fact the two amigos did meet, discuss, and agree to "tackle the touchy issue of immigration" next month, the Los Angeles Times reports. Don't breathe yet. [Bush, Fox Make Amends| Leaders End Rift Over Iraq, Plan Talks On Immigration, By Maura Reynolds and Richard Boudreaux, Oct. 21, 2003, Los Angeles Times]
Mr. Fox was also reported last week to be considering holding his country's support for the U.S. resolution on Iraq in the U.N. Security Council hostage to Mr. Bush's support for amnesty. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that
"Legislation that would give legal status to hundreds of thousands of undocumented Mexican farmworkers has won strong bipartisan support, and Bush is reportedly leaning on Fox to use his U.N. vote to help his cause in Washington."
As it turned out, the Security Council vote was unanimous, so the Mexican bargaining chip was useless, but the story does tell us how desperately Mr. Fox wants amnesty.[ Mexico set to swap UN vote on Iraq |Fox, in trouble at home, lobbying Bush to back immigration bill now before Congress, Robert Collier, San Francisco Chronicle, October 16,2003]
The conventional explanation of his desperation is that Mr. Fox, once vaunted as the savior of Mexico, the man who would push it into the twenty-first century (more accurately, the nineteenth), is in deep political trouble. Last summer he lost 25 percent of his party's seats in the Mexican Congress, and getting amnesty would show everybody that somebody somewhere still takes him seriously.
There is another reason too, however, which is that the Mexicans who would really like to see the United States grant amnesty to millions of Mexican illegals are of course the millions of Mexican illegals who would get it. So grateful to Mr. Fox might they be that they would deliver their votes to him in the next Mexican election.
This is at least one reason why having millions of citizens of a neighboring foreign state living illegally in your country is not a good idea. It creates a powerful lobby that can be manipulated by and itself manipulates the foreign state.
Whatever Mr. Bush told Mr. Fox in Bangkok, there remain good reasons to worry what he will do later.
In the first place, aside from the Republican genius for missing the point of election returns, there is the pressure for amnesty from within the GOP itself. Arnold Schwarzenegger himself favors amnesty, and the "legislation that would give legal status to hundreds of thousands of undocumented Mexican farmworkers" of which the Chronicle spoke is sponsored by Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig and (everybody's favorite Republican) Ted Kennedy. There are several other Republicans in Congress who also support amnesty under one euphemism or another.
Then there's the pressure from Big Business. As this week's Economist reports, "the 'stupid white men' who run America's evil corporations have somehow found time to force the White House to retreat on a subject close to the hearts of liberals of all sorts: the rights of immigrants," and "Business has also begun to fight on behalf of the 11 million undocumented workers it surreptitiously employs" by pushing for legalization of their status.
The point is that it may take more than election returns to keep amnesty out of the statute books.
With the Mexican government, Big Business and major chieftains in both political parties backing it, don't bet your hacienda that Mr. Bush won't serve a little amnesty on his table.
[VDARE.COM note: Rosemary Jenks of NumbersUSA has prepared a table of the major provisions in the various immigration bills before the House and Senate. Roy Beck writes "All the sponsors of these three bills are publicly claiming repeatedly that their bills aren't amnesties but guestworker bills. But Rosemary shows clearly that they ARE amnesties because they give green cards (permanent residency) to huge numbers of illegal aliens. And that they are NOT guestworker programs because the workers don't ever have to leave."]
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[Sam Francis [email him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection of his columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control. Click here for Sam Francis' website.]