Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mexico is Our Neighbor, Arizona is Our 48th State

Mexico has a per capita gross domestic product of $10,211 ($14,495 using purchasing power parity). That puts it #46 on the list of nations. Not bad considering how many nations there are in the world. India, for example, has a per capita GDP of $1,124.

The United States ranks 9th with $46,381 per capita GDP. Canada ranks 18th with $39,668 per capita GDP. Clearly there is a big disparity in North America between the U.S. and Canada on the one hand and Mexico on the other.

Arizona was the last state admitted to the Union before Alaska and Hawaii. 74% of Arizonans speak English, 20% speak Spanish, and 2% speak Navajo. It's per capita GDP is $32,953.

At the U.S. minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, Mexican workers coming to the U.S. can make $14,500 or more a year working full time. For many that is better than they can do in Mexico, so why wouldn't they want to come? Once they are here, legally or illegally, why would they want to go back?

Even Felipe Calderon's family appeared to want to stay in the United States after meeting our President, and Calderon is the President of Mexico.

Calderon has been fighting a war against drug cartels since taking office in 2006. From December 2006 through May 2010 around 21,000 have been killed, including over 1,000 troops, police, and prosecutors and 58 reporters. That total number includes a lot of civilians caught up in the fighting, much of which is between rival drug cartels.

Getting away from the Mexican drug war is another reason to come to the U.S. Most of the people crossing the border to get away from the drug war are civilians, but some are drug cartel members seeking temporary or permanent sanctuary.

The NAFTA trade agreement held out the prospect of creating industrial jobs in Mexico that would improve Mexico's standard of living. But many of those jobs were in border cities, and those cities have been hit very hard by the drug war. And the trend these days is to send jobs to India and China where wage levels are even lower than in Mexico.

Beyond the obvious need for tighter patrols along the border, and more border agents to do that job, it is hard to know what to do. I certainly don't want to have to produce proof of my U.S. citizenship at traffic stops. And any law that purports to only require illegal aliens to produce ID is either disingenuous or is going to be ineffective, because how would the police know you're not illegal if you don't have ID?

Calderon's center-right government has gone to great lengths in the drug war and Calderon has been granted knighthoods by Spain, England, and Denmark. He needs and deserves our support.

Arizona needs our support too, and deserves it as our 48th state. Let the concerns about the new laws Arizona has passed be resolved in court. They've backed off the most objectionable provisions. I'm not joining any boycotts.

Whatever is done, we must remember that Mexico is our neighbor, and will forever be our neighbor. So, for example, the disrespect being shown by some to the Mexican flag must stop. And I don't approve of those using the U.S. Flag as some kind of protest symbol, that's disrespectful too.

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