a rock and a hard place

this is from the "letters to the editor" of the morning news of northwest arkansas in the June 9, 2006 edition:

You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a Mexican in this country (a legal citizen of Mexico that has not applied for U.S. citizenship) there are so many of them around. Their migration is similar to fire ants of the south — and though many have made it farther north, the infestation is primarily in the south and west. Fortunately there are only 106 million Mexicans according to Mexico's 2000 census, we we only have 95 million to go and then Mexico will be completely empty.

Our government claims that as many as 25 percent are unemployed in Mexico, whereas the Mexican government says only 3 percent are. I tend to believe the Americans, though many of the employed may be grossly underemployed. So the good news is that we already have half of the unemployed Mexicans here already, so the migration should slow a bit; the bad news is that there are millions more to come, and many are pregnant.

Mexico is between a rock and a hard place because it isn't the place to go for the cheapest labor anymore, China and India handle that. Outsourcing to Mexico isn't the thing to do, though Mexico does have a free trade agreement with many of our trading partners which makes it a place to ship from, tariff free. Drugs seem to be their largest export, though those jobs aren't highly prized and none are safe. The largest percentage of Mexico's workforce is involved in the service industry, similar to the jobs they seek here in America. Service jobs are easy to hide from the government and are perfect for illegals. The Mexican government, nor anyone, seem to be investing in Mexico, which is one reason Mexicans don't even like living there, particularly poor Mexicans.

So with no work in Mexico, and America so close, there is every incentive to come here to work; for business to hire illegals and no incentive to not do so. There are almost no penalties for either, so it's a win-win situation for all involved. Building fences might slow the influx, but ultimately it will not stop it. The only thing to do is take away the incentives for all — but even that will seriously clog the court system, just like trying to deport all those that are here already. Ultimately people need to invest in Mexico, and develop the country so that there is no great advantage to picking fruit in south Texas, or plucking chickens in Springdale, AR.

I think the United States would be better served by funneling much of its Iraq money into Mexico, rather than wasting it trying to "fight them over there (al-Qaeda) so we don't have to fight them here" (Republican mantra). Terrorism is like crime. If we protected our borders here, terrorists wouldn't get in here, and we could still help other countries fight them over there if need be. That is help them, not do it for them.

Rob Kennedy
Fayetteville

~d