By David Conde
It is pretty well documented that Mexico is running out of labor that it can export to the United States. After all, one-fifth of Mexico is already here and other than relatives coming to be with their families in the United States, there are few expectations that our southern neighbor can continue to export and supply the labor force that has enriched America’s rural and urban economic bottom-line.
Mexico’s birth rate stands at around 2.2 per couple that is barely enough to replace mom and dad. Masking this fact is the political drama created by an increasingly unstable and confusing view of Latinos in this country. Latino immigrants, mostly already here, are being used as props for the purpose of promoting a wall designed to be the replacement symbol for the Statue of Liberty. Portraying them as criminals, rapists and drug traffickers is the foundational rationale for “purifying” our southern border.
According to the President, this is so important as to require a government shutdown, have 800,000 federal workers go without pay and possibly declare a national emergency that would allow him to raid the military budget to get his wall. To be sure, there are no Mexicans coming because they and their families are already here. There are immigrants from Central America coming, but they are legally seeking asylum from the devastating violence created in part by the drug traffic bound for the United States. There is a question, however, as to why Mexico is allowing Central Americans to traverse their territory in caravans so that they can apply for asylum at the U.S. border.
It seems to me that the Mexican government can insist that only those seeking asylum in Mexico be allowed to come into the country. In addition to our northern and southern borders, the United States has many other ports and harbors available to asylum seekers. It is interesting that our political leadership is painting our country as a victim of drug traffickers when it is our appetite for narcotics and our own wealth used to purchase drugs that are driving the industry. American money is the source of corruption of our own institutions, those of other nations and as important, a destabilizing influence on governments.
Concerning drugs, there is very much a racial and ethnic component to the way the use of drugs is framed. I remember and have read the plight of Pachucos and the marijuana habits that landed them into serious trouble in our Southwest. I remember crack cocaine and how Blacks and Latinos were thrown in jail for long stretches. Now I hear that we have an opioid epidemic and that there is a lot of work being done to help the “victims” and wonder, what changed?
Latinos as a subject of a national crisis is a new phenomenon that stands to be repeated again and again going forward. This is because, regardless of motivations for and against the Latino community interests, the national pronouncements and positions are taken are increasingly indicative of its emerging political power in a new order and mainstream setting.
President Trump in a wacky way has set the table and put the Latino community front and center. His miscalculation is that in denigrating their existence as a people and as a culture, he risks his very own political survival. More than that, the President is not above the law. Hurting people for his personal and political gain and criminally betraying America to our adversaries will be called to account and justice served.