Despite unveiling a plan for the mass amnesty of illegal aliens in January, President Bush is still not satisfied that America is the “welcoming society” he likes to claim it is. Nor is his counterpart, President Vicente Fox of Mexico, with whom Mr. Bush palavered last weekend at what used to be American soil in Texas.
The upshot of the meeting was that Mr. Fox badgered Mr. Bush for even more amnesty for the millions of his countrymen who have already broken the law to get here, while Mr. Bush granted Mexicans unprecedented—and dangerous—privileges that virtually no other foreign nationals enjoy.
Those privileges include what the Washington Post described as allowing “millions of Mexicans with short-term visas to cross the border without being fingerprinted and photographed by U.S. authorities.” Swell. Little old ladies from Poughkeepsie have to be virtually strip searched when they fly to Peoria, but Mexican nationals may come and go as they please without scrutiny. So much for the “war on terrorism.” [Bush, Fox Settle Short-Term Visa Spat (washingtonpost.com) By Mike Allen, March 7, 2004]
Mr. Fox, for his part, was still not satisfied. He went into the meeting demanding an even more total and immediate amnesty than Mr. Bush’s plan grants. As the Washington Times reported last week, “The Mexican government is lobbying U.S. lawmakers and civic leaders for amnesty or guest-worker status for millions of illegal aliens now in the United States, working through a coalition of U.S.-based immigration rights associations, Mexican-American organizations and grass-roots Hispanic groups.” The coalition seeks “expanded education and health care benefits for Mexican nationals in this country, along with additional programs for labor, community development and access to services,” most of which will be paid for by American taxpayers, of course.[Mexico lobbies for alien amnesty, By Jerry Seper, March 4, 2004]
Mr. Bush was not so dim as to grant these demands (at least not yet) but he was eager to make Mr. Fox as happy as possible. Hence, his concessions on security procedures for Mexicans. The question naturally arises as to why he was willing to go along, when his amnesty plan has visibly backfired, has alienated both his own party and most Americans and blatantly contradicts his own insistence on the tightest possible security measures against terrorism.
The answer, of course, is politics. The president is desperate to win Hispanic votes in November—indeed, given his steadily sinking support in polls, he is desperate to win any votes—and both the January amnesty and the belly-flop in Texas were calculated to do just that.
What was not reported was what Mr. Fox is probably supposed to do for Mr. Bush—to help mobilize the millions of Mexican-American voters and the aforementioned “coalition” in the president’s support. Well, maybe he will and maybe he won’t. It probably depends on whether the Democrats can cut him a better deal and whether Mexican-American voters will support the Republicans at all. Past campaigns offer little evidence that they will do so in any large numbers.
What we are beginning to see in the politics of immigration these days is reminiscent of the latter days of the Roman Empire, when various wealthy candidates for the imperial purple would openly offer cash on the barrel to whichever soldiers would sell them the throne. Today, cash on the barrel certainly has its political uses, but the ability to deliver Hispanic votes may be even more valuable and perhaps easier to get.
As for Mr. Fox, he is less interested in our imperial throne than his own. He needs to curry the favor of the millions of Mexican-American voters who are also voters in Mexico itself, which is why he has been lobbying for amnesty so hard. Moreover, he also knows that what is going on in the American Southwest is no longer immigration or even invasion but what can only be called colonization.
What Harvard scholar Samuel P. Huntington writes about Mexican immigration into the Southwest in his recent article in Foreign Policy should be clearly understood by American voters whose votes have not yet been bartered and paid for:
“No other immigrant group in U.S. history has asserted or could assert a historical claim to U.S. territory. Mexicans and Mexican Americans can and do make that claim. Almost all of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah was part of Mexico until Mexico lost them as a result of the Texan War of Independence in 1835-1836 and the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. Mexico is the only country that the United States has invaded, occupied its capital—placing the Marines in the ‘halls of Montezuma’—and then annexed half its territory. Mexicans do not forget these events.”
Call it a “welcoming society” if you will, or immigration, invasion, or colonization. The Mexican term for it is “Reconquista,” and Mr. Bush seems determined to make it come true.