A new and very smart commenter (and apparent supporter of amnesty for illegals) asks my rationalization for opposing illegal immigration:
Is your rationalization for kicking out all the illegals primarily driven by nationalism (saving the jobs and high living standards of the United States for its “natives”) or internationalism (the (somewhat dubious in my opinion) notion that a “safety valve” into the United States for masses of the impoverished underclass discourages economic development and alleviation of poverty within Mexico)?
Nationalism of course. But I don’t see why progressives should be assisting the Mexican elite with their shit project of exporting their poor to the US so they can hog all the money and not support their own citizens. And that is what the Mexican elite is doing. Most everyone who has studied the issue agrees on that.
In fact, one argument in favor of illegals is that if we don’t let them flood in here, the safety valve will be turned off, and there will be a revolution down in Mexico. Which will be bloody and violent, and which will end up coming over here. I’ve actually heard progressive people make this argument to me.
I think it’s absurd because Mexico already had a revolution. That’s why Mexico was quiet in the 1980’s while Central America was on fire with revolution. At the time, I asked a friend of mine why Mexico was not on fire with the rest of Mesoamerica. A wise woman, she thought a moment and said, “They already had their revolution.” Well of course.
Nevertheless, as they say in Mexico, there is a revolution about every 100 years or so. The The last revolution (1910-1920) was exactly 100 years ago. It ended feudalism and gave all Mexicans land on the ejidos. No matter how shitty things get in Mexico, you can always go farm on an ejido and not starve. It’s a common lie that people starve in Mexico. Almost no one is starving; obesity is a much bigger problem. There’s plenty of food down there but not much money.
Yet the revolutionary party, the PRI (The Party of the Revolution, literally) has gone stale and now forms a far rightwing elite state in many ways. The PAN is even worse. The PRD is a progressive party, but the last two Presidential elections they won were stolen right out from under them while the entire US media, both US political parties and the US government cheered and looked the other way. If the Left keeps being denied power via peaceful means, they may well take up the gun. That’s how the revolutionary process works.
It is certainly conceivable that if the valve were shut off, the elites could come under pressure to create a more fair society by having to share with the rest of the Mexicans. The challenge would probably be peaceful and not armed at this time. In the future it may become armed. The elites are very worried about this for good reason, and that is why they use the safety valve.
Mexico does have a revolutionary tradition, even embedded in the ruling party itself. This would make it difficult for the elite to resist peaceful revolutionary forces to make a fairer Mexico. In addition, Mexicans are violent people, do not fear death (and even seem to love it in a perverse sense – see below)*, and are quite willing to slaughter huge percentages of the population in revolutionary wars if need be.
The Mexican Revolution killed 4X as many Mexicans per capita as the US Civil War did. Most Americans think the Civil War was horrible. Most Mexicans think their Civil War was wonderful.
*On All Saints Day, Mexicans go to graveyards, carry little skulls around and in general have a great big Death Party with all sorts of morbid and ghoulish imagery. This is a fatalistic land where death is everywhere and no big deal, and life is rather cheap.