Here is the third of my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon this week. Today’s was drawn by Michael Ramirez back in May, and it’s more applicable today.

Mexico's illegal alien hypocrisy

One of the complaints about the Arizona bill, as expressed by President Obama, was the terrifying scenario of some peace-loving Hispanic family going out to get some ice cream some evening and getting detained by the Arizona police for the crime of Driving While Hispanic.

Baloney.

The Arizona law specifically states that a person cannot be stopped merely because he looks like he’s not an American. That person must first be doing something that warrants police attention like shoplifting, speeding, violence, etc. And then only if the officer has a reason to suspect that the person in question was here illegally could he then ask about his citizenship. In Mexico, the police have the authority to detain and question anyone they like and ask about their citizenship, but I’ve already written about the problems with illegals crossing the southern border.

I said that this cartoon is more applicable today because U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton struck down parts of the Arizona law:

The provisions blocked by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton included one requiring a police officer to determine the immigration status of a person detained or arrested if the officer believed the person was not in the country legally.

Bolton also halted provisions requiring immigrants to carry their papers at all times and making it illegal for people without proper documents to tout for work in public places.

Opponents of the Arizona law are applauding this ruling of Judge Bolton. One of their arguments against the law was based on it creating a patchwork of laws in the U.S. instead of one coherent law, but the Arizona law is merely enforcing the federal laws already on the books. How is that creating a patchwork of laws? On the other hand, there are plenty of sanctuary cities in the U.S., cities that have declared themselves friendly to illegal aliens and provide them sanctuary from federal laws. That is where the true patchwork of laws is in effect, but the federal government doesn’t say “boo” about them because the federal officials agree with them, regardless of what the law actually says.

Law professor William A. Jacobson wrote about this ruling today:

The Judge’s reasoning, particularly that the status check provision violated the 4th Amendment even as to persons already under arrest, applies just as easily to [outstanding warrants, child support orders, and non-immigration identity checks].

With a federal government which refuses to take action at the border until there is a deal on “comprehensive” immigration reform, meaning rewarding lawbreakers with a path to citizenship, this decision will insure a sense of anarchy. The law breakers have been emboldened today, for sure.

As it stands this afternoon, it is perfectly rational for someone faced with the choice of obeying the immigration laws or not, to choose not to do so. The choice of lawlessness makes a lot more sense than spending years winding through the byzantine legal immigration system, because the end result will be the same but lawlessness gets you here more quickly.

When the law and the federal government reward lawlessness, something is very wrong.

And finally, Rush Limbaugh put it pretty succinctly — “It is no longer illegal to be illegal, but it is illegal to ask someone about their immigration status.”

Since today is Cinco de Mayo, our attention turns to Mexico in about the same way as we think of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, i.e., not much. As I see it, both of these days are just excuses to party. But I am neither Irish nor Mexican.

Your papers, please

But since our attention has turned to Mexico today, the topic of Arizona’s recent law making being in the state illegally a state crime will surely come up. And one common refrain from the left is the shock and horror of some cop demanding, “Your papers, please.” How like Nazi Germany! A quick search for the phrase and Arizona brings up many thousands of hits across the web as people hyperventilate over Arizona’s new law.

Evil, nasty Nazis! The new Arizona law must be evil incarnate, right? How could the government of Arizona pass such a terrible law?!? Even President Obama is speaking out against the cruel and unfair nature of this new law:

Indeed, our failure to act responsibly, at the federal level, will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.

In fact I’ve instructed members in my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation. But if we continue to fail to act at a federal level we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country. As a nation, as a people, we can choose a different future. A future that keeps faith with our history, with our heritage, and with the hope that America has always inspired the hearts of people all over the world.

And here goes our President again, obsessed with fairness.

But here’s the kicker: the law Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed closely mirrors the existing laws against illegal aliens that we already have, but aren’t enforcing, at the federal level. If Arizona’s new law is irresponsible and unfair, then so are the federal laws. The dirty little secret is that the federal laws are both responsible and fair. But the federal government doesn’t want to enforce it, as President Obama admits, and so Arizona decided to act.

“But how dare Arizona law-makers force people to carry documentation that they are in the state legally! That’s Nazi fascism!” Well, no. It’s just common sense. When I was recently in London, I carried with me my passport to prove I was both an American citizen and legally in the country. Mark Steyn recently wrote about the need to have documentation here in the States:

As I write, I have my papers on me — and not just because I’m in Arizona. I’m an immigrant, and it is a condition of my admission to this great land that I carry documentary proof of my residency status with me at all times and be prepared to produce it to law-enforcement officials, whether on a business trip to Tucson or taking a 20-minute stroll in the woods back at my pad in New Hampshire.

Who would impose such an outrageous Nazi fascist discriminatory law?

Er, well, that would be Franklin Roosevelt.

The Arizona law merely enforces the 70-year-old federal requirement. And no, the police will not be stopping people who are “too brown” and asking for “Ihre Papiere, bitte” in their best German accents. Only those people who have already be stopped by police for some reason may be asked to produce residency documentation. I guess it’s similar to seat belt laws in many states. These laws say you must have seat belts on when you drive, but the cops can’t stop you just because you aren’t wearing them. They have to stop you for some other reason first.

So on this Cinco de Mayo, drink your Corona cerveza and enjoy yourself. If you are in this country legally, you are most welcome, but please have your documentation with you as the federal law has required for many decades, and as the new Arizona law will soon require.

And if you are here illegally, don’t protest, march, or complain about how unfair the laws of this nation are. Just return to your mother country and reenter the United States legally this time. It’s that simple.

The Arizona legislature has passed a bill and sent it to the state governor for signing or veto. If this bill becomes law, it will be a crime in Arizona to enter the country illegally. It would also make the police question a person’s immigration status if they suspect he may be illegal. Of course, Mexican officials are in a tizzy over the bill.

The Mexican government criticized Wednesday a tough immigration law approved this week by Arizona legislators, saying it could result in rights violations and racial profiling and affect cross-border relations.

“Rights violations”? I didn’t realize that entering a country illegally is a right. And when the majority of illegals crossing into Arizona are Mexicans, focusing on Hispanics isn’t racial profiling as much as operating on a description of the perpetrator.

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department said in a statement relayed through Mexico’s U.S. embassy that it viewed the measure with great concern and said it “could have potentially serious effects on the civil rights” of Mexican nationals.

Again, nobody has the civil right to invade another country illegally. I find Mexico’s attitude on illegally crossing their northern border into the U.S. isn’t the same way they feel about people illegally crossing their southern border into Mexico.

Holding others to a standard while exempting yourself is the very definition of hypocrisy.

UPDATE (4/23/2010 3:18:09 PM): Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill into law. It will take effect in 90 days.

At work, a guy offered up a free hat to the first person to answer his question:

Goes to the first person who can correctly tell me who supplies the most oil to this oil-guzzling country.

Think you know the answer? So what’s your guess? Think it is Saudi Arabia? Lots of people sent him that answer. He awarded the hat to the first person who answered Canada. But he was wrong. Move your mouse over the grey block to reveal the real answer.

The largest supplier of oil to the United States is ourselves.

Country Oil*
U.S. 155,485
Canada 75,861
Venezuela 37,107
Mexico 35,486
Saudi Arabia 28,759
* in thousands of barrels per month

Data pulled from [link] and [link].

I cooked up a late breakfast yesterday for TPK and Miss V that I’ll share with you today. This is based on a recipe I learned while I was in Mexico, so I call it Desayuno Mexicano, or Mexican Breakfast. While the name isn’t all that great, the recipe sure is. Had I been smart, I would have taken pictures while I was cooking it up, but I failed to do so. I was too busy cooking.

Desayuno Mexicano

Ingredients:
1-3 eggs per person
1-2 strips of bacon per person
1-3 corn tortillas per person
1 clove of garlic per person
1 hot pepper (to taste)
t. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

The amounts are not fixed in stone, and this can be easily expanded to fit the number of people eating and the size of their appetites. Depending on your skill to “wing it” when it comes to cooking, you should be able to play with this recipe. So, on with the cooking steps.

I start by pulling my corn tortillas out from the freezer. I don’t use corn tortillas often enough to have them on-hand fresh since they keep nicely in the freezer anyway. Separate the tortillas on the counter to thaw. Blot them with paper towels if they get wet, or knock off the thin layer of ice that may have formed on the tortillas. We want them thawed, not soggy. When they are thawed, stack them up, and chop them into one-half to one inch squares.

Crack the eggs into a container large enough to hold them. Crush and toss in the garlic. You did get all the papery stuff off first, right? Add the oregano, diced up hot peppers, and black pepper. Mix it all up like you were going to make scrambled eggs. Now you are ready for the cooking!

Fry and crumble up the bacon in a large sauce pan. I normally freeze my packages of bacon. Freezing it lets me chop off one-eighth or one-quarter inch slices of bacon across the grain. When it cooks up, the bacon separates into nice little pieces on its own. So easy! Once the bacon is cooked up, move it off to a little dish. You can drain off most of the bacon fat, but don’t throw it out!

Since the pan is still hot and nicely greased with the bacon fat, add in the cut up tortilla pieces and toss, coating them evenly with the bacon fat. Yum. Stir and toss continually. If you need more lubrication, add back in some more of the bacon fat. If there is any bacon fat left over when the cooking is done, pour it into a pint mason jar, seal, and place in the freezer. It’s instant bacon flavor! Tossing out bacon fat is one of the seven deadly sins, so don’t do it!

Anyway, toss the tortillas until they start to crisp up and get a little golden color. I like some crunch in my tortillas, so I wait for them to crisp up a bunch. Do not get distracted at this point! You can go from the golden-brown stage to the opening-windows-and-turning-off-the-smoke-alarm stage in seconds if you walk away. As they are just beginning to crisp up, I’ll sprinkle 1-2 pinches of salt on them. Don’t go overboard! This dish already has bacon for saltiness.

Once the tortillas are crisped to your liking, give the egg stuff a quick couple of stirs to mix up the floating bits, and pour it into the hot pan over the tortillas. Add the cooked bacon bits back in, and give it a quick stir to mix them up. Then stop! Give the eggs a chance to cook and set up on the bottom. If you have a nice non-stick pan and a wide spatula, you can flip the entire mess over once after a few minutes. If you are not so brave, or your pan is nice, but not non-stick, then use your spatula to flip it over in the largest chunks you can manage.

Serve immediately when done. Stop anyone who likes to salt before tasting and explain just how bad an habit that can be. I will sometimes grate some cheese on top, or pour on some salsa or hot sauce if I didn’t have any peppers to add to the dish. Yum!

Miss V said this was the best version of the Desayuno Mexicano I had made so far. And I must agree with her. It was most tasty.

UPDATE (4/19/2008 11:55:04 AM): OK, here’s a video for the recipe:

Apparently Elvira Arellano has kept busy after being deported for breaking U.S. laws multiple times. USA Today quotes Arellano:

“For me it is very important that our government take a strong stand to defend all of us who decide to migrate to another country,” she said.

I could agree with this statement 100% if it had one extra word: “who decide to legally migrate to another country.” Omitting that one word makes a critical difference, since a government is to protect the legitimate and legal actions of the people.

But omitting the fact that she broke the law multiple times, Arellano is now trying to excuse her actions by telling people that the United States broke the law first.

“The United States is the one who broke the law first. By letting people cross over without documents. By letting people pay taxes.”

Ah. Let’s examine this logic. So if there isn’t a guard stationed at the back door of a bank, then it’s the bank’s fault, not the robber’s, that he broke through the door and got into the vault. One word summarizes this logic: mierda. While I certainly agree that the U.S. should do much more to lock down our borders, an unguarded border does not grant permission to people to pass over unlawfully.

As for paying taxes, it can certainly feel like a crime at times, but Arellano has it exactly backwards. Not paying taxes is breaking the law. If you work in the U.S., legally or not, the government wants and demands its take from your wages. Paying your taxes does not grant you any legitimacy if you broke the law getting here. And don’t forget that Arellano was arrested for using a Social Security number that was not her own. So how can Arellano say that the U.S. broke the law first, when it was she who stole a Social Security number first?

Frankly, I don’t accept the “they did it first” argument when it comes to breaking the law. Someone else breaking the law doesn’t grant you permission to break the law yourself. In any case, I don’t accept Arellano’s premise that it is the U.S. who broke the law first. But I suspect Arellano will continue with this nonsense claim in her attempt to play the victim card. And yet I find it ironic that Arellano went to the Mexican Senate to plead her case when Mexico’s immigration laws are harsher than ours, and they have their own problems on their southern border.

Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing.net pointed to a Newsweek article about teenagers in Mexico working for tips as they bag groceries at Wal-Mart. She described the practice this way:

Wal-Mart pays Mexican teens $0 an hour
The young (14+) teenagers that Wal-Mart employs as after-school baggers at its Mexican stores earn nothing at all — paid only in tips. Technically, this complies with local labor laws, while violating the hell out of their spirit.

The Newsweek article that Cory points to starts off with the following paragraphs:

Wal-Mart prides itself on cutting costs at home and abroad, and its Mexican operations are no exception. That approach has helped the Arkansas-based retail giant set a track record of spectacular success in the 16 years since it entered Mexico as a partner of the country’s then-leading retail-store chain. But some of the company’s practices have aroused concern among some officials and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that Wal-Mart is taking advantage of local customs to pinch pennies at a time when its Mexican operations have never been more profitable.

Wal-Mart is Mexico’s largest private-sector employer in the nation today, with nearly 150,000 local residents on its payroll. An additional 19,000 youngsters between the ages of 14 and 16 work after school in hundreds of Wal-Mart stores, mostly as grocery baggers, throughout Mexicoand none of them receives a red cent in wages or fringe benefits. The company doesn’t try to conceal this practice: its 62 Superama supermarkets display blue signs with white letters that tell shoppers: OUR VOLUNTEER PACKERS COLLECT NO SALARY, ONLY THE GRATUITY THAT YOU GIVE THEM. SUPERAMA THANKS YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING. The use of unsalaried youths is legal in Mexico because the kids are said to be “volunteering” their services to Wal-Mart and are therefore not subject to the requirements and regulations that would otherwise apply under the country’s labor laws. But some officials south of the U.S. border nonetheless view the practice as regrettable, if not downright exploitative. “These kids should receive a salary,” says Labor Undersecretary Patricia Espinosa Torres. “If you ask me, I don’t think these kids should be working, but there are cultural and social circumstances [in Mexico] rooted in poverty and scarcity.”

“Exploitative”? “Regrettable”? Poppycock! For almost two years I worked as a bagger at a grocery store, and I was never paid one thin dime in salary. I worked only for tips, just as these Mexican teenagers are doing. I was living in Germany during the early ’80s, and the grocery store in question was the military commissary on the U.S. Army base of Hanau. We almost always worked in groups of three baggers at each check-out stand, and we divided the tips equally at the end of our shift. The minimum wage during that time was $3.35 an hour, but we easily surpassed that each day. On a very slow day we’d make at least $5 a hour, and on really good days we could make $10 or more an hour. We only bagged on school days, and at most we worked four hours out of any day.

Was I being exploited? Heck, no! Had I worked as an employee of the commissary, I would have been paid minimum wage since I was unskilled labor. If I’d been a paid employee of the commissary it might have made concerned busy-bodies happier, but it would have meant making less money than I did working for tips. So are their warm-fuzzies worth my lost money? Since it would have been my lost money, the answer is clearly no.

Do I regret my time as an “exploited” bagger? Heck, no! I learned some very helpful life lessons at that job. In an hourly-wage job, it doesn’t matter how long it takes to complete each task since the pay is based on how long you work, not how well or how fast. But since I was paid per job and not per hour, it was well worth my extra effort to hustle and get things done faster. Faster bagging meant more people through the line, and that meant more money for me. I also learned that being pleasant and cheerful resulted in more and better tips than being surly and glum. I learned how to bag groceries efficiently, and the best way to clump similar items on the conveyer belt for the checker. And I really developed my forearm muscles by bagging.

Labor Undersecretary Patricia Espinosa Torres says, “If you ask me, I don’t think these kids should be working.” Yeah, let’s not teach teenagers anything about responsibility, commitment, hard work, or social skills through work. That’s the ticket. Doing so would make them self-sufficient, and then they wouldn’t turn to the government to wipe their behinds for them. I prefer teaching teens how to be good adults, and learning how to work is part of the process of becoming an adult.

Here’s another thing I noticed: nowhere in the Newsweek article was there a discussion of how much money the teenagers make by working for tips. If they were making less than minimum wage, don’t you think that would be reported? The silence makes me suspect that the Mexican teenagers working as baggers at Wal-Mart are making more than the Mexican minimum wage. And if that is the case, how exactly are they being exploited?

I believe that a good strong fence between both the U.S./Canada and U.S./Mexico borders would be a good thing. I see this as being the same, but on a grander scale, as putting a fence around your own yard. I don’t hate my neighbors, but I do like my privacy, and I don’t want people wandering around my yard just for the fun of it. I recently noticed that wasps had created some paper nests under the eaves of my roof, so I picked up a can of Wasp-Be-Dead and sprayed them. And since there was plenty left in the can, I wandered over to my neighbor, an elderly lady, and asked if I could check for wasp nests around her home. Yes, I’m just that nice. Besides, I like doing whatever I can to help her, and she has no problem with asking me for help when she needs heavy or tall things moved. But even though I have a good relationship with my neighbor, I would not consider wandering through her yard without asking permission first. That’s just being polite.

But illegal immigrants who cross over our borders are being worse than impolite, and they know it. That is why there are problems on the southern border. As part of a plan to stem the flood of illegal aliens crossing our southern border, Congress has passed a bill calling for 700 miles of fence to be built. This bill is waiting for President Bush to sign it, and I hope he does. But not everyone wants President Bush to sign the bill and start the building of the wall. Specifically, Mexico doesn’t want the wall to be built:

Mexico’s foreign secretary said Monday the country may take a dispute over U.S. plans to build a fence on the Mexican border to the United Nations.

Luis Ernesto Derbez told reporters in Paris, his first stop on a European tour, that a legal investigation was under way to determine whether Mexico has a case.

The Mexican government last week sent a diplomatic note to Washington criticizing the plan for 700 miles of new fencing along the border. President-elect Felipe Calderon also denounced the plan, but said it was a bilateral issue that should not be put before the international community.

A legal investigation to see whether Mexico has a case to stop our fence? The hell?!? This isn’t a matter of someone violating a mutually-signed community homeowners’ covenant banning fences, this is a matter of the United States limiting the illegal entrance of lawbreakers into its own country, and the United Nations be damned.

While I like much of what Warren Meyer of Coyote Blog writes, I have to disagree with his view that there is no difference between the Berlin Wall and a fence on our southern border. There is a difference — the one is designed to keep people in, while the other is to keep people out. The Berlin Wall kept people in East Germany against their will, much as a prison fence does to the inmates inside. But the proposed border fence is designed to keep people out, much like the fence around your property. And other than a difference of scale, is there any other difference between the border fence and the fence around your own home? I can’t think of one.

While I’m not a Catholic, I like how Pope Benedict XVI has decided to treat Muslims. From an article at National Catholic Reporter, John L. Allen, Jr. writes the following:

In his March 23 session with cardinals, much conversation turned on Islam, and there was general agreement with Benedict’s policy of a more muscular challenge on what Catholics call “reciprocity.” In essence, it means that if Muslim immigrants can claim the benefit of religious liberty in the West, then Christian minorities ought to get the same treatment in majority Muslim nations.

To take the most notorious example, if the Saudis can spend $65 million to build the largest mosque in Europe in Rome, in the shadows of the Vatican, then Christians ought to be able to build churches in Saudi Arabia. Or, if that’s not possible, Christians should at least be able to import Bibles, and the Capuchin priests who serve the Arabian peninsula ought to be able to set foot off the oil industry compounds or embassy grounds in Saudi Arabia without fear of harassment by the mutawa, the religious police. The bishop in charge of the Catholic church in that part of the world recently described the situation in Saudi Arabia as “reminiscent of the catacombs.”

I like the idea of reciprocity. I like the idea of telling Mexico that we will treat Mexican nationals in our country as well as Mexico treats foreign nationals in its own country. Or how about patroling our southern border the same way Mexico patrols its own southern border? And then we can let the terrorists know that we will treat their prisoners the same way they treat ours.

Michelle Malkin pointed out a paper published by J. Michael Waller of the Center for Security Policy titled, “Mexico’s Glass House.” In it, Waller points out how the Mexican constitution treats foreigners within its borders. Here are two of the points he makes in his paper:

  • Pursuant to Article 33, “Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country.” This ban applies, among other things, to participation in demonstrations and the expression of opinions in public about domestic politics like those much in evidence in Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere in recent days.
  • Equal employment rights are denied to immigrants, even legal ones. Article 32: “Mexicans shall have priority over foreigners under equality of circumstances for all classes of concessions and for all employment, positions, or commissions of the Government in which the status of citizenship is not indispensable.”

It is well worth reading the whole thing, and at just barely four pages, it won’t take long. Here is a portion near the very last that is well worth pointing out:

Mexico and the United States have much to learn from one another’s laws and practices on immigration and naturalization. A study of the immigration and citizenship portions of the Mexican constitution leads to a search for new policy options to find a fair and equitable solution to the immigration problem in the United States.

Two contrary options would require reciprocity, while doing the utmost to harmonize U.S.- Mexican relations:

  1. Mexico should amend its constitution to guarantee immigrants to Mexico the same rights it demands the United States give to immigrants from Mexico; or
  2. The United States should impose the same restrictions on Mexican immigrants that Mexico imposes on American immigrants.

These options are only notional, of course. They are intended only to help push the immigration debate in a more sensible direction. They simply illustrate the hypocrisy of the Mexican government’s current immigration demands on the United States — as well as the emptiness of most Democrat and Republican proposals for immigration reform.