Invade Mexico?

John Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Thu Mar 15 20:03:22 MDT 2007

Invade Mexico?

by<mailto:rmcmaken at> Ryan McMaken
by Ryan McMaken

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In several past columns [<>1, 
<>3,], I have examined a 
variety of ways that the anti-immigration lobby has called on the 
government to monitor and regulate American citizens in the name of keeping 
out non-citizens. Everything from national ID cards to government 
surveillance of entrepreneurs have been pet causes of the anti-immigration 
forces, but one of the increasingly popular tactics within the lobby in 
recent years has been to speak of the immigration problem in military 
terms, that is, as an "invasion" and as causing a "state of emergency."

Those who fail to oppose immigration with sufficient vigor are spoken of as 
"the treason lobby" and anti-immigration advocates speak in favor of 
military action against Mexico if the Mexican government is improperly 
worshipful of American edicts. Mexico is spoken of as a grave threat, that 
it is plotting to annex the American Southwest, and that the immigrant 
invasion is comparable to the barbarian invasions of Rome. In short, it is 
a national emergency requiring a massive empowerment of the government to 
monitor, imprison, and regulate millions of American citizens – not just 
the illegals – in order to avoid the coming apocalypse.

At this point, I must make the obligatory disclosure that I am not in favor 
of mass immigration into the United States. In many ways, mass immigration 
does indeed add to the power of government by increasing the size of the 
welfare state. The fact that illegal immigrants are entitled by law to free 
emergency room treatment and public schooling, among other things, is a 
public policy disaster on a massive scale, and only invites more immigrants 
who plan to avail themselves of such amenities at taxpayer expense. 
Responses to this problem such as Proposition 187 in California and 
Proposition 200 in Arizona have both been excellent plans.

At the same time, politicians use immigrants in a variety of political 
ploys and make use of absurdly easy access to voting privileges for new 
immigrants in order to forward their own agendas.

This is facilitated by the problem of birthright citizenship (just one of 
the many disasters resulting form the Fourteenth Amendment) and its 
guarantees of access to public goods. The final clause of the Amendment – 
the part giving Congress the power to do pretty much whatever it wants 
whenever it wants – is undoubtedly the worst, but Section One’s guarantee 
of all legal rights of citizenship to anyone "born or naturalized in the 
United States" clearly needs to be eliminated with the greatest speed 

But none of this justifies the declarations of war against Mexico and other 
histrionics exhibited by some in the anti-immigration lobby who would have 
us believe that no amount of government intervention is too much as long as 
it gets those immigrant savages out of the country post-haste.

Consider the <>recent poll 
posted on Pat Buchanan’s web site asking readers "Which of the following 
pose the greatest threat to the American people?" Voters could chose from 
among France, Israel, China, Iran, and several other allegedly grave 
threats to "the American people." The winner of this poll was Mexico, (with 
41%, barely beating Israel’s 40%) indicating that many of Buchanan’s 
readers have concluded that immigration from Mexico is the greatest danger 
to national security of our age.

The responses of course prove nothing at all about Buchanan’s position on 
the matter, but his recent writings from a column promoting his latest 
of Emergency, provide some alarming insights into Buchanan’s 
<>view of Mexico:

A president like Teddy Roosevelt would have led the Army to the border 
years ago. And if [Mexican President Vicente] Fox did not cooperate, T.R. 
would have gone on to Mexico City. Nor would Ike, who deported all illegal 
aliens in 1953, have stood still for this being done to the country he had 
defended in war,

That fact that Buchanan refers lovingly to "Teddy" Roosevelt (a demagogue 
of untrammeled arrogance and an enemy of liberty 
<>according to 
Buchanan’s own magazine) is alarming enough, but the fact that he seems 
here to be advocating the invasion of Mexico City if the Mexican government 
doesn’t agree with his policy preferences is curious for one who claims to 
support a restrained foreign policy.

Buchanan’s militarism on the subject is not unique. There are those who 
refer to pro-immigrant groups as the 
"<>Treason Lobby." By this 
definition, Thomas Jefferson and all his followers ever since the days of 
the anti-federalists have been guilty of treason, but that clearly doesn’t 
bother people who throw around terms like "traitor" as regular people use 
"Republican" or "Democrat."

As one would expect from those who employ such militaristic rhetoric, the 
suggested solutions naturally tend toward granting the government vast 
power to rid the country of immigrants by any means necessary. Invading 
Mexico City is apparently on the table, as are regulations, fines, and 
imprisonment and other punishments for American citizens who dare engage in 
peaceful activities with non-government-approved (illegal) aliens.

This is of course, the identical attitude behind the War on Drugs, and what 
Ted Galen Carpenter calls the 
Neighbor Policy." Just as the anti-immigration lobby supports hefty 
punishments for Americans who chose to purchase illegal 
(non-government-approved) labor, The Drug War enthusiasts have long 
supported dire punishments for Americans who chose to purchase 
non-government-approved (illegal) drugs.

Add to this plenty of meddling in Latin America by the American military 
care of the American taxpayer, and one is looking at a virtual replay of 
drug policy in Latin America, except this time, the unachievable goal is 
stopping the flow of immigrants instead of stopping the flow of drugs. The 
result will be lots of new powers for the government, but American liberty 
will be the primary victim.

But then, liberty is obviously not a primary consideration for the 
anti-immigration militants. Consider Juan Mann, one of the more prodigious 
users of the phrase "treason lobby." When the 
ID plan was being passed into law, Mann’s problem with it was not that it 
created a massive new federal bureaucracy designed to store and track the 
personal information of all American citizens. No, Mann’s problem was that 
the REAL ID law wasn’t strong 
<>enough, and that it let too 
many immigrants off the hook.

The fact that the anti-immigration militants throw around phrases like 
"state of emergency" and "invasion" illustrates that this is just the 
latest "crisis" in American political affairs, much like the drug "crisis" 
of the 1980s or the demon rum "crisis" of the 1920’s calling for powerful 
and sustained government intervention.

It is especially disturbing when such militant rhetoric is trotted out, for 
new attacks on liberty are sure to follow. It is all the more dishonorable 
that Mexico is now being held up as a villain state ripe for additional 
international pressure and even invasion because its government doesn’t 
care to take orders from Washington as so many think it should.

Mexico, of course, has endured numerous actual military invasions from the 
United States, and has been the recipient of almost constant military and 
political meddling since Independence. To insinuate now that Mexico is 
America’s most powerful antagonist risks unintentional comedy. Yet, the 
right to dictate Mexican law is so assumed by American politicians that, 
when Mexico recently considered legalizing possession of small amounts of 
drugs for Mexicans, "[Mayor Jerry] 
a former San Diego Police chief, called the law 'appallingly stupid, 
reckless and incredibly dangerous,' and added 
view this as a hostile action by a longtime ally of the U.S.'"

Note that Sanders uses the language of war. Legalizing a peaceful activity 
for Mexicans is now "a hostile action" against the United States. The law 
never passed since the State Department was frantically turning the screws 
on the Mexican president, but the reality of Mexico’s assumed subservience 
was well illustrated.

The assertion that war needs to be declared on Mexico and the immigrants is 
characteristic of the anti-immigration movement’s efforts to convince 
itself and defenders of liberty that the ends justify the means. They will 
claim that the changes in law suggested above are just not likely to 
happen, and thus, militaristic, big-government solutions are the only 
answer. They will tell us that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot be changed, 
and that the present welfare system cannot be undone, and that voting 
rights for immigrants cannot be restricted for a variety of political and 
legal reasons. Indeed, they don’t even want to bother trying.

Even if their predictions of failure were incontestably true, which they 
most certainly are not, it would still not justify, either legally or 
morally, a new war on the American citizenry and on American liberties in 
the name of saving us all from immigrants. And it certainly doesn’t justify 
a declaration of war, rhetorical or otherwise, against Mexico or anyone else.

March 13, 2007

Ryan McMaken [<mailto:rmcmaken at>send him mail] teaches political 
science in Colorado.

Copyright © 2007

<>Ryan McMaken 
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