Are Anti-Deportation Politicians Perpetuating Prejudice?

Democrat John Lind was Woodrow Wilson’s special representative to Mexico during that country’s revolution in 1913. His prejudiced solution to Mexico’s internal challenges was to make Mexico more like the United States. He wrote, “And many would add that no peace in Mexico could or would be lasting so long as Mexico continued to be ‘Mexican.’” Both he and his bias-based solution failed. Mexico has and always will be Mexico.

I live in Mexico, not in some sterile Anglo enclave but in the mesquite-clad heart of northwestern Chihuahua. Our village has 1,182 residents, only five of whom (including my family of three) are Anglos. We have no house in the United States – our home is here. The nearest MacDonald’s is 170 miles from here. We are a village of three great traditions: pottery, baseball, and rodeos. I served a short stint as president of our local rural potable water commission (what was I thinking?) and learned some things about our village. We have a lot of empty houses and many that are rented out. A number of our residents have made the trek across the border to either escape some issues here or to work.

Last night we were invited to a dinner for some pottery-seeking Anglos. One gentleman asked me a simple question, “Why, after successful careers in the United States would you move full-time to Mexico?” We get some form of that question all the time from both family and friends. It is painted in sincerity and framed in prejudice.

You see for at least two hundred years the United States, its citizens, politicians, preachers, and even its diplomats have thought it superior to and better than Mexico. Anglo-Saxons are superior to Latins. Protestants are superior to Catholics. Football is superior to soccer. Taking charge is superior to taking time. Our revolution was superior to that of Mexico . . . and on and on and on and on. Oh, and I left out the most basic and super superior of all – living in the United States is better than living in Mexico.

Anyone having to move back to Mexico after living in the United States is certainly unfortunate. He or she is a tragedy needing to be protected, given sanctuary, and kept in the good life in the United States at all costs. I guess nothing has changed since the days of John Lind! Manifest Destiny is alive and well; the only difference is that now it applies to people instead of territory.

It matters not that there are family (still the single most important Mexican system) waiting here to welcome them home, that there are a dozen government programs set up to train, educate, integrate, employ, and otherwise sustain them when and as they return. It matters not that Mexico’s economy is the size of that of Great Britain and is growing incrementally. It matters not that more Mexicans are heading home than are heading north. It has simply become politically correct to shrink in horror at stories of deportation, because based on the bigotry that the United States is clearly and obviously superior to Mexico. It was to John Lind and it is to those of you who continue to carry the bucket filled with the polluted water of anti-Mexican bias. 

As for us, we love the United States, our families and our friends there. Personally I am a bit more partial to Wendy’s than MacDonald’s but this is now our home. We love it here. It isn’t because of the lower cost of living, but because of the higher sense of community. We love it here because Mexico abolished slavery long before the United States. We love it here because our house was threatened with a flood two years ago and what we experienced was a flood of neighbors working to help us. We love it here because we can tell you the first and last names and yes even the nicknames of every neighbor from here to the Catholic church and back. We love it here because a recent Pew Hispanic survey found that more than 70 percent of US illegal immigrants from Mexico are interested in a guest-worker program and then want to return home. Pew also tells us there are over 1,000,000 fewer Mexicans living illegally in the United States today than ten years ago.

We love it here because every July we celebrate the five cultures that are inter-woven into our community. We love it here because we love the mosaic and tapestry of the sky, desert, mountains, sunrises, and sunsets. Living here is like living inside a perpetual kaleidoscope. Please check your anti-Mexico bias at the door whenever you discuss Mexican immigration issues. Mexico is not the end of the world and it is not the end of the world to come home!