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April 22, 2006
The Humanitarian Argument For Border Closure

While conservatives argue for closing the southern border and enforcing the law to deport illegal immigrants, our opposition argues for a supposedly more humane approach of either completely open borders or the granting of amnesty to the twelve million who have already come to the US. That argument wins on the basis of understandable sympathy for poor people who want to escape crushing poverty in their native land, primarily Mexico; it makes the conservative argument sound heartless and cruel.

But is it really? An e-mail I received this evening from Eusebia Flores at Artcamp Artesanas Campesinas in Guerrero, Mexico argues the exact opposite -- that the lure of American dollars literally subsidizes the abandonment of Mexico and families by the men who could otherwise have helped transform the destitute Mexican economy:

Dear friends in the United States....

We are Mexican women from villages in the southern Mexico state of Guerrero.

Our brothers and husbands have left us for work in the US.

We strongly support closing the US-Mexico border to illegal entry.

We did not want our men to leave and we want them to return to us.

As we struggle as women, against the difficulty of our situation, we focus all effort on building a business to sustain ourselves and our children.

But we need the help of our husbands and our brothers to re-unite our families and to help us develop economic opportunity in the traditional fashion jewelry production industry that is the heritage of our parents.

Please close the US Border to illegal migration and send our men home to us. Thank you.

Best wishes from Mexico to all persons of good will.

We should continue to be friends and respect each other.


Eusebia Flores
Artcamp Artesanas Campesinas
Tecalpulco, Municipio de Taxco de Alarcon; Guerrero, Mexico

I assume that this message is legitimate; it came with contact numbers that match the communal business in Mexico, and a follow-up e-mail got a prompt response from the organization. They have posted their own protest against the normalization of border crossers on their site, demanding that the US send their men home in a humane manner. This page comes from the same server as their e-commerce site. The artisan community certainly exists; the Texas Women's University School of Management toured the facility recently. Take a look at the site for yourself to see whether you find this legitimate.

This should remind us that the draw of the illicit money offered by American businesses to the poor workers of Mexico and Central America not only takes potential work away from Americans and legal immigrants but also creates a cultural and productivity drain from those areas abandoned by the able men who cross the border. It has the potential to cause social damage for generations in Mexico and other nations. The businesses who offer the work for the men and women draw them from the opportunity to improve their own communities. The men who leave often do so for years, leaving the women behind to fend for themselves and their children.

As the women of Artcamp Artesanas Campesinas say on their site, they remain proud artisans who do not want anyone's charity but want their men back to help rebuild their community. American exploitation of Mexican poverty keeps the people of that country from investing their effort into transforming their nation economically so that they can sustain themselves without breaking American immigration laws. Shame on us for not providing a credible deterrent and for turning a blind eye to a practice that has created a modern serfdom while stripping Mexico of what could be the roots of a genuine middle class.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 22, 2006 10:10 PM

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» Draining Workers From Building Economies from The Strata-Sphere
Captain Ed Morrisey makes a great point on why we need a strong border (a wall if need be) along with a time limited guest worker program (for long term immigrants).  We need to stop draining the most motivated workers from our southern neigbors, sinc... [Read More]

Tracked on April 23, 2006 8:34 AM


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