Mona Charen with National Review believes that President Trump is endangering an important relationship.
It’s one thing to stress getting control of our borders. Even those who believe that immigration is a net positive for the nation agree that illegal immigration must be better policed. But cracking down on illegal immigration should mean getting our own house in order. It should mean policing all of our borders, not just the one with Mexico, and it should mean due diligence about visa overstays. Visitors who overstay their visas amount to at least half, and probably closer to 60 percent, of those entering the country illegally now. They arrive at airports, not across the Rio Grande. The great wave of illegal crossings from the south crested in 2007 and has declined steadily since. As immigration hawk Mark Krikorian noted in 2015, “Border crossings really are way down.” Well, some border crossings are way down, others not.
More Mexicans cross the border heading south now than north. In other words, net migration from Mexico is negative. One of the blessings the U.S. has always enjoyed is good neighbors. As Aaron David Miller put it, “The United States is the only great power in the history of the world that has had the luxury of having nonpredatory neighbors to its north and south, and fish to its east and west.”
One reason that fewer Mexicans are attempting to enter the U.S. illegally since 2007 may well be that NAFTA has succeeded in improving the jobs picture there. (Another reason is surely that the birthrate has declined, which always reduces emigration.) Fred Smith, founder and chairman of FedEx, estimates that NAFTA makes the U.S. $127 billion richer every year than it would be without it. So the two areas of maximum importance to stability and prosperity in our hemisphere, trade and mutual respect, are both under assault by our president.
It sounds oh so ominous, yes? Immigration is a net positive for us, and note the reflexive turning to a corporate head, Fred Smith. $127 billion per year. In your pockets. But not really.
Mona is a product of elitist schools and lives the beltway life where it is doubtful she ever gets out of town to see what the dirt people are really thinking or how they are living. She has neo-conservative proclivities, and supports a globalist agenda whether she knows it or not.
The perspective among the working class is quite a bit different. We’re told by the writers at The New York Times to remember the Avacado.
The tax would not end up being 20 percent of a $1 to $1.50 avocado, which would be 20 to 30 cents. That is because the import tax would only be on what is known a the dutiable value — the wholesale price of the avocado assessed when it crosses the border.
That does not include the cost of trucking it from the border to a grocery store in the United States, the store’s rent, the store’s bills for air-conditioning and other utilities, or the wages for the store’s staff. None of these costs would be subject to the tax, but can help determine the retail price of the avocado.
For the first 11 months of last year, the average wholesale price of avocados crossing the border was 50 cents apiece.
So a 20 percent tax on that wholesale price at the border would only add a dime to the cost of each avocado.
It takes four or five years for a newly planted avocado tree to bear fruit. If an import tax were to be imposed on foreign avocados, American farmers could not increase production quickly. That means many Americans might have to pay for taxed avocados imported from Mexico and elsewhere for a few years, or potentially do without.
It’s a sad state of affairs, this notion of doing without Guacamole while watching the super bowl. But sadder still is what middle America sees on a daily basis. Roofers, siding installers, brick layers, lawn services, janitorial services and other such services routinely beat out competition from American workers. Builders have to hire Mexicans or go out of business because the home buyers are only going to pay so much for homes.
So hire they do. And then these same workers are paid in cash – and only cash – in order to live in a cash-based system of life separate from the tax paying workers in America who foot the bill for everything from national defense to the very SNAP payments, welfare and other services used by Mexicans. Those people who come across the border for “love” sure do love their families, but not America.
The largest cost by far is health care. For those who make the unfortunate trip to the hospital, they sit in the ER waiting room with hundreds of Hispanics and Latinos who cannot be refused service, and so the Nurse Practitioners in ERs become their primary care physician. They don’t go without medical services. We all pay. Since we all pay, the government passed the so-called affordable health care act, which makes it affordable for just about no one and certainly not people who make a wage just above the poverty line. So in order to get medical care, Americans sustain thousands of dollars in penalties if they cannot afford insurance, and are thrown into the same pool as those who live in the cash-based society and pay no taxes at all.
Moving up the food chain, upper middle class America cannot compete with products made in Mexico (or China, for that matter), except when QA is important and industry has to buy American because the products made overseas or South of the border simply fail. America cannot compete because that’s the way the government has designed the economic framework.
Sarbanes-Oxley has ensured that products and services cannot be bought without the rigorous process dictated by the law, usually including the final decision that the low bidder always wins. The fact that the products fail, or the work has to be re-worked by company employees because vendors never do what they say they will do, means that contracting work out is almost always a losing proposition. This leads invariably to overworked Americans who redo the work that the corporatists think was done right the first time by a cheaper Mexican, Indian or Chinese.
The laws are made to enrich huge corporations like Monsanto (who have the resources to hire lobbyists and lawyers), and so the family farm is disappearing from the country. Monsanto and similar companies like Archer-Daniels-Midland hire Mexicans to do labor because they can place the costs of medical care for the workers squarely on the backs of the overworked middle class.
Mona turned to the CEO of FedEx for an assessment of immigration and his version of “free trade.” It isn’t surprising that the corporatists like it. But it’s important to remember that free trade, fair trade and the open market isn’t equivalent to corporatism. It isn’t free and fair when China, Vietnam or Mexico makes products free from the onerous downward pressure on business of the SEC, EPA, OSHA and other alphabet agencies, while the American worker has to waste a day on migratory bird training once per year in order to learn about the more than 800 species of protected birds in America and what procedures their company has in place to deal with that law. It isn’t free trade or fair competition when American power production must comply with the clean air act, while China can pollute the atmosphere with unmitigated and reckless abandon, that same pollution sent to the atmosphere and brought to American shores via the jet stream to be dumped on the homeland.
The American worker is smart enough to know when he is given the short end of the stick. It’s one thing to oppose collectivist arrangements like labor unions, which I have before while hailing the wonderful evolution of gun manufacturing to the South out of the Northeast. It’s another thing entirely to believe that the beach and mountain homes of the corporate executives and boards of directors proves that American is wealthy or prosperous, or benefiting from immigration.
There is also the matter of the difference in world view brought into the country by Hispanics and Latinos. I’ve dealt with this before.
“For historical reasons to do with the nationalisation of the land under Lázaro Cárdenas and the predominant form of peasant land tenure, which was “village cooperative” rather than based on individual plots, the demand for “land to the tiller” in Mexico does not imply an individual plot for every peasant or rural worker or family. In Mexico, collectivism among the peasantry is a strong tradition … one consequence of these factors is that the radical political forces among the rural population are on the whole explicitly anti-capitalist and socialist in their ideology. Sometimes this outlook is expressed in support for guerilla organisations; but struggle movements of the rural population are widespread, and they spontaneously ally with the most militant city-based leftist organisations.”
One of the reasons for this reflexive alignment with leftism has to do with the the mid-twentieth century and what the Sovient Union and allied ideologies accomplished. South and Central America was the recipient or receptacle for socialism draped in religious clothing, or in other words, liberation theology. Its purveyors were Roman Catholic priests who had been trained in Marxism, and they were very successful in giving the leftists a moral platform upon which to build. This ideology spread North from South and Central America into Mexico, and thus the common folk in Mexico are quite steeped in collectivist ideology from battles that were fought decades ago.
Thus it is no surprise that Hispanics and Latinos favor gun control by a large margin as we’ve shown here, here, here and here. Even if American really did benefit from open borders, it’s quite another thing to reap the rewards of that benefit while destroying the very cultural and religious fabric of the nation that sustains it liberties.
There are other forms of collectivist death wish, for example, the Starbucks CEO wishes to undermine the fabric of the nation using a different vessel.
I write to you today with deep concern, a heavy heart and a resolute promise. Let me begin with the news that is immediately in front of us: we have all been witness to the confusion, surprise and opposition to the Executive Order that President Trump issued on Friday, effectively banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, including refugees fleeing wars. I can assure you that our Partner Resources team has been in direct contact with the partners who are impacted by this immigration ban, and we are doing everything possible to support and help them to navigate through this confusing period.
It may in fact be difficult to maintain that same business model when women are forbidden from going to Starbucks without their husbands, and even then must wear hijabs to go out in public. Whether Muslim or our neighbors South of the border, the fundamental problem manifests itself, sometimes even accidentally, in the most earnest ways.
On the US side of the border, more Spanish than English can be heard on the streets and in local stores.
Even US border agents speak Spanish as they eat tacos and drink horchata — a milky Mexican drink made from rice or nuts — at a local eatery.
The prospect of Trump’s wall “hurts me because on that side are my people,” said Hector, 52, a carpet cleaner who declined to give his last name. “Those people, like me, come to work out of necessity.”
Now a US citizen, Hector said he entered the United States illegally 12 years ago.
Hector is a U.S. citizen, but his people are South of the border. Really, not much else needs to be said about that issue. If you don’t understand the problem, it’s one of perspective and it is irreconcilable. If Mona Charen is confused, Victor Davis Hansen is a much clearer thinker.
In the eyes of many in the Mexican government mass flight is a safety valve that has alleviated pressures on social services and demands for parity. Illegal immigration into the U.S. has ensured a powerful expatriate community that oddly appreciates Mexico the longer and further it is absent from it. It helps to drive electoral change in the U.S. in ways that Mexico approves. And, most importantly, illegal immigration results in about $25 billion per annum sent to Mexico in remittances (larger than foreign-exchange earnings from its oil revenues) — in many cases from the impoverished whose dependence on U.S. social services subsidizes such cash to be sent home.
The U.S. bears some culpability for open borders. Corporate employers enjoyed cheap labor, predicated on the state’s subsidization of immigrants’ health, legal, and educational needs. The Democratic party believed it could eventually turn the American Southwest blue through illegal immigration and subsequent demographic change. La Raza activists saw advantages in a revolving but permanent numerical pool of disadvantaged Mexican nationals who arrived without legality, English facility, and often a high-school diploma — and thus were in need of collective representation by often self-appointed ethnic leaders. And the American upper-middle classes soon assumed that they, in the previous manner of the aristocracy, could afford “help” and have industrious but otherwise inexpensive laborers tend to their lawns, clean their house, and watch their kids. How we readjust our relationship to resemble something to akin to the northern border where parity between the two countries makes border crossing a mute issue won’t be easy.
No, and it might be very painful and bloody. Either way, the worst is yet to come.