In March 31, the last day of his Cancun summit with President Vicente Fox, President Bush was full of praise for his Mexican counterpart.
“I don’t know if people recognize (it),” Bush said, “but his government, all aspects of the Mexican government, came together to send a clear message to the American people (that) the Mexican government understands it has a responsibility . . . to protect the border.” The question is . . . which border?
To judge from Fox’s words, it isn’t the border that’s got Americans so concerned — that is, the one his country shares with us. Reiterating his government’s refusal to stop Mexicans from illegally crossing it, he declared that “We can’t infringe upon the right of people to move freely within our territory.”
The one Fox seems serious about protecting is the southern border — the one Mexico shares with Central America. So determined is he to maintain the integrity of that one that his government has detained and sent back some 240,000 illegal crossers from Guatemala, Honduras and other Central American nations.
President Fox touted this as though it were a big favor to Americans concerned about their sovereignty. Of course, it could be viewed as a big favor to someone else — to wit, his own northward-bound countrymen, who will have about a quarter-million fewer competitors for low-skill jobs in El Norte.
If that seems cynical, recall that on a visit to the U.S. in 2001 Fox declared to a red, white and green-flag-waving audience in Chicago that ‘‘Our push is to look for more and more rights, to more and more Mexicans — as many as possible and as quickly as possible.’’ These, of course, being Mexicans who have taken up residence here without troubling to observe the niceties of U.S. law.
Does that sound like someone who understands he has a responsibility to protect the border?