February 8, 2006: To What Extent Are National Governments Involved In Legal and Illegal Immigration For Their Own Interests?
The international controversy over the Danish cartoons continues to rage. One of the latest developments in Canada has been the publication of the cartoons in a student newspaper at the University of Prince Edward Island. No major media outlet in Canada has followed suit.
Future immigration implications of this controversy for immigrant-receiving countries may become more apparent in the coming weeks. The Danish example seems to show that cultural and religious differences can be difficult to bridge successfully within a single society—–despite the claims of multi-culturalists.
Meanwhile, another international controversy which has raged for years, has developed a new twist. This one is the illegal immigration issue between Mexico and the U.S. Recent actions taken by Mexican officials show the indirect or direct involvement of the Mexican government in illegal migration of Mexicans to the U.S.
Just over a week ago, American authorities in Washington protested the publication of maps to be used by illegal Mexican migrants who are trying to cross the Mexico-U.S. border in dangerous areas. Seventy thousand of the maps were to be distributed in public areas, bars and restaurants frequented by migrants in Mexican border towns and villages.
The maps (in poster form) provide details of the terrain and cell-phone coverage. They also provide locations of water stations set up by a U.S. charity called Humane Borders and of emergency beacons erected on the U.S. side by the American government. The maps also show how long it takes to walk or drive to nearby cities and indicate with red dots where hundreds of migrants have died in the past.
The Mexican government has denied direct involvement in this project. It says the scheme is the work of Mexico's National Human Rights Commission which, it claims, is independent of the Mexican government and does not receive government funding.
However, just last year the Mexican government published a comic-book style guide for illegal migrants on how to cross the border and how to avoid detection. It included advice on when and where to enter, what clothing to take on the journey and other practical assistance. (See Immigration Watch Canada's web site: News Articles-American: January 6, 2005 for the full text of this book.)
Furthermore, Mexican President Vincente Fox has been highly critical of recent U.S. announcements about building 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. He has referred to the fence as a “Berlin Wall” and predicted that it will fall. He has also pressured the U.S. to establish a guest worker programme which could eventually grant amnesty to between 10 and 20 million illegals (mostly Mexican) currently working in the U.S.
His action is undoubtedly related to the fact that migrants from Mexico send back to Mexico an estimated $16 Billion each year—Mexico's second largest source of foreign currency after oil exports.
U.S. immigration critics have repeatedly complained that this issue is a matter of national sovereignty. Its military, they argue, should not be on foreign soil, but on its border with Mexico to stop the vast numbers of illegal aliens, most of whom are Mexicans, but who also include citizens of many other countries.
Critics note that illegals may benefit American businesses looking for cheap labour, but that employing these people is against the law and that these businesses should be fined heavily for violating American law.
Research has shown that immigration (illegal and legal) has major negative effects on the U.S. It depresses wages, causes competition between immigrants and American low-wage earners for jobs and deepens poverty in the U.S. According to Harvard University Economics Professor George Borjas, by the year 2005, immigration in general (both legal and illegal) had caused a massive $200 Billion annual re-distribution of income from labour to business interests. Illegal immigration was responsible for $50 Billion of that.
U.S. Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff has said that the maps “will entice more people to cross, leading to more migrant deaths and the further enrichment of criminal human trafficking rings that prey on the suffering of others”. “No government, including the government of Mexico, should facilitate or encourage its citizens to try to enter the U.S. outside established legal procedures.”
A number of Canadians are aware of China's use of its citizens to spy on Canadian industry. This, as well as the Mexico-U.S. dispute, raises the very important question: To what extent are national governments involved in legal and illegal immigration to Canada for their own national interests?
Canada's new immigration minister should take careful note.
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