This section of DiscoverTheNetworks examines the immigration policies of Mexico. Though that nation's government has long criticized U.S. efforts to curtail the heavy northward flow of Mexican illegals, Mexico itself takes a hard line against those who would violate its immigration laws.
As Professor Michael Waller of the Institute of World Politics points out, Mexico deports more illegal aliens than the United States does. Under Mexican law, it is a felony to be an illegal alien residing anywhere in the country. Mexican immigration authorities keep detailed records of all foreign visitors. These visitors are explicitly banned from interfering in the nation's internal politics. Those who enter the country under false pretenses (e.g., with fake papers) are summarily incarcerated or deported, and those who aid in illegal immigration are also sent to prison.
Mexico welcomes only foreigners who will be useful to Mexican society. According to the nation's central immigration law:
- Foreigners are admitted into Mexico "according to their possibilities of contributing to national progress."
- Immigration officials must "ensure" that immigrants will not only be useful additions to Mexico, but that they have the necessary funds to sustain themselves and their dependents.
- Foreigners may be barred from the country if their presence upsets "the equilibrium of the national demographics"; if they are deemed to be detrimental to "economic or national interests"; if they have broken Mexican laws; and if they are not found to be “physically or mentally healthy."
- The Secretary of Governance may "suspend or prohibit the admission of foreigners” if he determines such action to be in the national interest."
Mexican guards at the Guatemalan border, the locale for most attempts at illegal entry, are notorious for the brutality of their treatment of would-be immigrants. The guards' use of violence, rape, and extortion against those seeking to cross into Mexico has, in fact, managed the border so well that the country has only a minimal illegal-immigration problem.
Though Mexico has condemned America's construction of a border fence designed to prevent illegals from emigrating northward into the U.S., in September 2010 it was reported that the Mexican government was building a wall in the state of Chiapas -- along the Mexican/Guatemalan border -- to stop contraband from coming into Mexico.
Mexico is also notorious for its aggressive efforts to promote the illegal emigration of its own citizens into the United States. As Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald observes, Mexican officials in the U.S. and abroad are involved in a massive and almost daily effort to facilitate the passage of Mexicans into the U.S. in violation of American immigration law, and to subsequently normalize their status as quickly as possible.
Toward that end, Mexico publishes a comic book-style guide -- the Guía del Migrante Mexicano (Guide for the Mexican Migrant) -- offering "practical advice" on how to breach the U.S. border safely and evade detection once across. This publication is distributed by Mexico’s foreign ministry and the Mexican consulates; it is also available online.
Mexican consuls characterize virtually any U.S. law-enforcement efforts against illegal immigration as discriminatory and inhumane. Moreover, they have advanced a “disparate impact” theory maintaining that police actions -- whatever their context -- are invalid if they fall disproportionately upon illegal Mexicans.
In November 2004, Arizona voters passed Proposition 200 -- which required proof of citizenship as a prerequisite for voting or for receiving certain welfare benefits -- over the loud protests of the Mexican consul general in Phoenix. After the law passed, Mexico’s foreign minister threatened to file suit in international tribunals for this allegedly egregious human-rights violation. In a similar vein, the Phoenix consulate supported the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s federal lawsuit against Prop 200.
In May 2005 Congress passed the Real ID Act, which stipulated that driver’s licenses issued to illegal aliens were inadmissible for aircraft-boarding and at federal security checkpoints. Mexico’s interior minister, Santiago Creel, described the law as "absurd" and "not understandable in light of any criteria."
Two months later, Mexico's former foreign minister Jorge Castañeda told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that his country would only cooperate with the U.S. on future security matters if America granted amnesty to its illegal aliens.
For further discussion of Mexico's multi-faceted efforts to undermine American immigration law, see Heather MacDonald's article, "Mexico’s Undiplomatic Diplomats," published in the Autumn 2005 edition of City Journal.
This section of DiscoverTheNetworks also examines Mexico's effort to gain influence in the United States by means of immigration, legal and illegal.