“Mexico First” has been the open, avowed policy of the government of Mexico for a generation, and Mexico expects its former residents to be loyal to Mexico for the next 200 years.
Yet, when Donald Trump calls for an “America First” foreign policy, as he did in a speech this past week, he is denounced by pundits and the national security establishment for “nativism” and “demagoguery,” as if that policy is a novel and radical idea.
Well, not in Mexico.
I know that for a fact because I had it explained to me in Mexico City back in 2001 by a Mexican cabinet official. His name was Juan Hernandez and you may have seen him on television in 2008 when he was candidate John McCain’s presidential campaign liaison with Mexican-American voters. You see, Juan Hernandez is a dual citizen with dual loyalties, just like many of the 30-50 million Mexican Americans in the United States.
In my conversation with Hernandez in Mexico’s capital city, he explained quite eagerly and candidly the reasons for the Mexican government’s active encouragement of Mexicans to “go north” — legally and illegally. Senor Hernandez was the head of a department in the Mexican government called the Office of Mexicans Living Outside Mexico– an entire government agency devoted to communicating with and assisting Mexicans living in the United States.
Hernandez bragged about the many programs for encouraging and helping Mexicans to move north, programs that provided “survival kits” and maps for the journey, helpful hints on how to deal with the U.S. Border Patrol, and how to deal with American officials if apprehended on the border. He was not apologetic or shy about these “educational services,” and answered my questions freely.
Being surprised by the brazenness of this government official, I asked Hernandez, “Aren’t you a little bit ashamed or embarrassed to admit that your government is actively encouraging and helping people to cross the United States border illegally? He laughed. I remember his words clearly: “Congressman, really! The southwest is not two countries, it’s a region.”
Why does Mexico devote so much effort to promoting and helping millions of its citizens leave Mexico and start a new life in “el Norte”? Does the fact that the millions of Mexicans living in the U.S. send $25 billion dollars in cash remittances annually back to relatives in Mexico have anything to do with it– cash that provides 30 percent of Mexico’s foreign investment, rivaling tourism in importance to the Mexican economy?
Mexico sees Mexicans in the United States as strategic assets in every sense of that word. They are seen as extensions of the Mexican state and partners in Mexico’s plans,
Hernandez then explained that the Mexican government had recently changed its Constitution to allow dual citizenship and to allow Mexicans living outside Mexico to vote in Mexican elections. Mexico not only promotes emigration “northward” to grow the Mexican population inside the United States, it officially practices a policy of treating all Mexican-Americans as “Mexicans First” and Americans second.
Mexico officially conveys Mexican citizenship to the children of Mexicans born in the United States– they have dual citizenship from birth, and thus, they can vote in Mexican elections just like their parents. By law, this dual citizenship is conveyed to ALL Mexicans born in the U.S., and it does not matter if a Mexican immigrant becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen, he is still a citizen of Mexico.
Those policies cannot be dismissed as mere expressions of Mexican pride. They are indications of a policy of planned interference in American domestic affairs. The policy of dual citizenship is only the visible tip of the iceberg of a strategic plan for active and overt involvement in American politics to advance Mexican government interests.
Anyone who thinks I am exaggerating should do a little research and listen to the words of Mexican leaders. For example, Vincente Fox, President of Mexico from 2000-2006, proclaimed from a Texas stage that Mexico believes any person of Mexican descent owes a loyalty to Mexico “unto the seventh generation.”
The most interesting thing to me is not that these examples of Mexican nationalism are abundant and not hidden. The interesting thing is that so few American politicians are willing to talk about them or their significance.
And, of course, Mexican nationalism is officially welcomed and accommodated by the Obama administration’s “Welcoming New Americans” policy of officially abandoning assimilation as a bedrock goal of immigration policy.
But the real scandal in American journalism and American politics is how Americans are held to a different standard while Mexican nationalism is defended.
- Why is it that to the American news media, American academic institutions and American political elites, Mexican nationalism is good thing and a healthy thing, but American nationalism is dangerous and “extremist”?
- Why is an “America First” foreign policy politically incorrect, but Mexico and every other nation on the planet is expected to put its own national interests first and foremost in its relations with other nations?
When hundreds of people waving Mexican flags attack Americans attending a Trump for President rally in southern California, the media excuses the violence and the bullying as a justifiable expression of Mexican distrust of Trump’s policies.
Why is Mexican nationalism a good thing but putting American interests first needs defending? Why is building a fence or a wall to block illegal entry an unacceptable step in protecting American sovereignty, but it is just fine for the Mexican government to actively violate American sovereignty on a daily basis?
Back in 2006 when the Kennedy-McCain amnesty plan was being debated in Congress, similar events took place with Mexican flags prominently displayed in rallies supporting the amnesty legislation. In one scene captured by a news photographer, an American flag flown at a California university campus was taken down and then flown upside down by protesters waving Mexican flags. That photo and similar pro-Mexican images generated an understandable backlash that turned the debate around and defeated the amnesty plan.
“America First” is a policy that makes sense not only in US-Mexican relations, it makes sense across the board. Maybe the political elites who think differently are about to be taught a lesson.
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