While European media feature several major stories a day on the immigration crisis there, America’s corporate media elites seem desperate to avoid the chaos caused by the breakdown of the rule of law on our own southern border.
Whatever the motivation of our elites, their purpose is clear: bury the issue.
After all, confronting the immigration crisis is Trump’s first priority, while the bipartisan Establishment’s first priority is to defeat him. To put it another way, his unprecedented popularity flows directly from his unflinching demand that U.S. immigration law be not only enforced, but strengthened, and that a wall protecting the southern border of the United States is indispensable to that goal.
For the Establishment, the logic is simple: to oppose Trump, oppose the wall.
While elites on both sides of the border have resorted to feigned mockery regarding Trump’s proposal, the Mexican people would hardly find it unusual. After all, virtually every family in Mexico builds a wall around their home as soon as they can afford one. Those walls, often topped with glass, barbed wire, or both, are as necessary to their daily lives, health, and safety as indoor plumbing.
Even liberals understand the necessity of walls. Five years ago, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat and second-generation Mexican-American, demanded an exception to zoning laws so he could build a six-foot high wall around his official residence. And Hillary Clinton’s family home in Chappaqua, New York, is surrounded by a high security fence complete with a guardhouse.
When it comes to walls, American liberals are not alone. Even European socialists have come to their senses. The European Union has now reversed its open-borders policy and has agreed to spend billions bribing Turkey to take back some of the thousands of “refugees” that it has poured into Europe over the past two years. Meanwhile, member countries build fences and walls with layers of razor-wire protected by armed guards to prevent another illegal inundation.
Like its counterpart in the U.S., Mexico’s powerful ruling establishment has condemned Mr. Trump’s proposal. But Mexico’s ruling party, the “Institutional Revolutionary Party” (PRI) has routinely condemned the United States for decades, in season and out of season. The reason is simple: the PRI and Mexico’s lavish insider network of politicians, businessmen, and financiers are one and the same, and their unique partnership has made many Mexican politicians and their favored allies some of the richest men in the world. Meanwhile, the Mexican people have remained impoverished, surrounded daily by a culture of violence, gangs, and bribes.
Long ago Lord Peter Bauer, one of the most noted economists of the twentieth century, explained how “democratic” tyrants stay in power. “Our poverty is your fault,” they tell the United States – pounding the table as they continue to oppress and to impoverish their people. This fomenting of hatred of America is a core plank in the propaganda platform of Mexico’s elites, and it saturates their government’s policy of encouraging migration, legal and illegal, into the United States. Poor Mexicans are told that America has exploited them for years, so, when they arrive in the United States, they should exploit every possible opportunity to benefit from the broad and generous welfare programs which the U.S. offers for the asking.
Here is where the wall comes in: those welfare benefits are also promised to their people by the government of Mexico. However, the corruptos (as Mexicans call their rulers) guarantee that they are never delivered. Instead, Mexicans working in the U.S. send back to their extended families tens of billions of dollars a year, resulting in an extensive Mexican welfare system, a courtesy extended to the Mexican elite establishment by its enthusiastic elitist counterparts in the United States.
These financial remittances are called remesas, and Donald Trump proposes that the U.S. impose a surcharge on each of them, since they constitute an indirect but de facto Mexican government welfare program designed to prevent unrest or even broader domestic violence at home – after all, we must recall, Mexico’s official “Institutional Revolutionary Party” is well-entrenched, and with rare exceptions has controlled the country for almost a century. The remesas provide a safety valve that reduces the threat of serious unrest, allowing the corruptos to keep the party going unperturbed.
Of course, the wall is only one ingredient in the restoration of the rule of law on both sides of the border. On the American side, legal immigrants and their employers will once more have an above-board, mutually rewarding relationship. But those on the Mexican side will prosper as well: while some enterprising Mexicans will continue to apply for legal entrance into the United States, millions more will stay at home and demand that their own government reform the current system that perpetuates poverty, violence, and crime.
Christopher Manion, Ph.D., served as staff firector of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs during the Reagan Administration.