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MEXICO: El Sueno Americano
Millions of Mexicans dream el sueno americano--the American dream. By America is meant the US, but the dream originally applied to the Americas in general. In Europe it involved considerable expense and great risks. When I was a small boy in England, old people used the expression "When my ship comes home;" and spoke of South America "where the sidewalks are paved in gold." That was the dream of the conquistadors, who had a disease for which gold was the only specific remedy.
Later the gold rushes to California and Alaska were fired by the same illusion. Only a small percentage of the dreamers made a fortune in gold. The dreams were a disease, a grand illusion. Now millions of Mexicans are risking their lives to get into the US. Many die in the process. The strange thing is that they often pay the people who smuggle them across as much as $1,000, enough to start a small business, but they prefer to pursue their mad dream.
Sober voices are held in Mexico. The young Mexican who was sentenced to death in Oklahoma, then pardoned and returned to Mexico, has been giving speeches advising Mexicans not to try to enter the US illegally. It is not clear if Mexicans are listening. Meanwhile, Mexicans are pouring into the US, encouraged by the Mexican American politicians who want votes and by employers who want cheap labor.
The present US presidential campaign has shown no serious interest in international affairs, and both parties are chasing shamelessly after the Mexican-American vote. There has been no serious discussion of the social and economic effects of this mass migration. However, it concerns serious demographers like Diana Hull, who has sent me the two following items. Interestingly, the Green Party shows more honesty than either the Elephant or the Donkey: Diana Hull says;
*See first sentence of Green Party Platform below.
T.S. Ferenback, Fire and Blood, History of Mexico (McMillan 1973) says. Fewer than 100,000 people inhabited the entire territory from Louisiana to San Francisco and most of them were Indians. In 1821 the non-Indian population of what is now Texas totaled 4000 people, many of them American settlers. At the time of the annexation of Texas, the population was 212,000 people and about 1500 of those were Hispanic. There is no factual basis for the statement, "this area used to be Mexico." Chicano fantasies are now being passed on as real history.
The Green Party's Proposed Platform
We support the traditional right of the Chicanos to move freely across the U.S./Mexico border, a right that long pre-existed the U.S. takeover of jurisdiction in the Southwest. The U.S.-Mexico border should be recognized as a zone of bi-national interdependence where people are free to move for work, shopping, and recreation. Most immigrants come to the U.S. in response to cyclical demands in the labor market. Since labor demand drives the migration, most immigrants-legal or not-do not displace native workers. Keeping workers illegal just makes them more vulnerable to exploitation and illegal actions by employers. This makes them an attractive labor source which, in turn, increases their demand. This cycle of oppression and exploitation is the equivalent of a modern-day slave trade. Seasonal labor demands country-wide should be allowed to be filled by foreign workers using work visas, with these workers subject to US wage, tax, and labor laws. The Employer Sanctions provision of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act should be repealed as ineffective. Bi-national unions and hiring halls should replace the illegal and exploitative activities of labor contractors."
Ronald Hilton - 8/09/00