Is Crackdown on Illegals Working?


By: Warner Todd Huston

The New York Times is scolding us mean ‘ol Americans for hurting the Mexican economy. You heard that right, we are hurting them! The Times is mad at us because illegal Mexican immigrants are sending fewer U.S. dollars from here in the states back home to Mexico. The Times is all about the gnashing of teeth and the wearing of sackcloth because our so-called “flagging American economy” and our mean spirited “enforcement campaign against illegal workers” is hurting Mexican families who have grown used to the bounty of U.S. dollars being sent home form their law breaking relatives in the states. Can you say “Oh, Boo Hoo?” The Times even continues to use their new euphemism for this illegal leaching of our money to a foreign nation, calling it “remittances” instead of theft like it should be called.

The Times tries to make Americans feel guilty by claiming that the fact that these “remittances” sent home are drying up means that these poor Mexicans can’t pay for medicine and clothes.

For years, millions of Mexican migrants working in the United States have sent money back home to villages like this one, money that allows families to pay medical bills and school fees, build houses and buy clothes or, if they save enough, maybe start a tiny business.

But after years of strong increases, the amount of migrant money flowing to Mexico has stagnated. From 2000 to 2006, remittances grew to nearly $24 billion a year from $6.6 billion, rising more than 20 percent some years. In 2007, the increase so far has been less than 2 percent.

Yeah… as the old joke goes, “women and children hardest hit.”

And what is causing this dip in “remittances?”

Migrants and migration experts say a flagging American economy and an enforcement campaign against illegal workers in the United States have persuaded some migrants not to try to cross the border illegally to look for work. Others have decided to return to Mexico. And many of those who are staying in the United States are sending less money home.

Somehow the fact that illegal immigrants are having trouble stealing our money and sending it off to some foreign land where it benefits no American does not make me all that weepy. The Times assures us, though, that “in Mexico, families are feeling squeezed.”

… and where is the part where we should care about this, again?

The NY Times goes on to give us several pity party stories of illegals who had to return home “discouraged” because they found that our immigration laws were either being or were about to be enforced and that our economy is so bad — bad at lest according to the Times.

Now, the construction slump — along with a year-old crackdown on illegal immigration at the border and in the workplace, and mounting anti-immigrant sentiment in places — has made it even harder for Mexican migrants to reach the United States and land well-paying jobs.

Now, again, WHERE is the part where I should feel all weepy?

The Times gives us “enforcement first” advocates hope, not that they mean to do so.

But the events of the last year in the United States, political and economic, have also clouded the prospects of many illegal Mexican workers. New walls, new guards and new equipment at the border have dissuaded many from trying to cross and raised the cost for those who try to as much as $2,800. Workplace raids and stories of summary deportations stoke fears among Mexicans on both sides of the border.

Many of us have said for years that if we just enforce our own laws, many Mexicans will leave and many more won’t come here in the first place. The Times inadvertently proves us right. The Times even quotes an illegal as saying, “It’s really tough to go back,” he said. “Now they lock you up. Before, they grabbed you and sent you back. The laws were never this tough.” So, don’t tell me enforcing the laws won’t work.

Obviously the Times wants us to get all squishy and to soften our spines about ensuring the integrity of our border and controlling our rules of citizenship and immigration laws. But, somehow this report makes me feel better, not worse. Illegals are not feeling welcome here and, despite the Times’ best efforts to make us feel bad about hurting the women and children in Mexico, I find it all to be quite good news.

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