In the last month, two intriguing, some would say seminal, events in the history of Untied States-Latin American immigration came to pass. The first was the historic level of Latin support for the Republican Presidential candidate. In Iowa, New Mexico and Nevada many pundits believe that without a high level of Latin support President Bush would not have won a second term. The second, reiterated again in Chile this past weekend, is the Presidents steadfast commitment to the creation of a guest worker program that would allow Mexicans to work legally in the United States, while not fully emigrating.
At face value, both of these events could be perceive as benevolent. Growing support among Latinos for the Republicans is a rebuke to the Pat Buchanan-style Conservatives who view Mexicans as some kind of invading hoard destined to destroy our historic political culture. By voting Conservatively, Latino’s have proved to be much closer to their Anglo countrymen than most assumed and definitely not the radical negative force on our culture many doomsayers predicted. And, with the guest worker program, the government is finally beginning to acknowledge that the current “do-nothing” policy is broken. Upon deeper inspection; however, the real nature of Bush’s approach to immigration becomes apparent. What President Bush and his Machiavellian cohorts are trying to do is develop a strategy that allows them to have it both ways on immigration and at the same time relieve wealthy Mexican elites of any responsibility to improve the lot of the poor in their country.
To review, the proposed guest worker program allows Mexicans to register with the United States government, pay taxes and move freely between both countries. These guests, who would be drawn almost exclusively from rural Mestizo populations of North Mexico, would fulfill our need for low-cost menial labor particular in the home service and agriculture industry. Importantly, they will not be allowed to vote in the United States and, at least as of now, no program is in place to encourage them to fully assimilate into American society. In fact, the guest worker program may actually make attaining citizenship and setting down roots in the United States more difficult in the long run.
And therein lies the ruse the Republican Party is playing on the American and Mexican people. Remember, the hopeless people flooding the US border today are not the white Y Tu Mama Tambien-making, Salma Hayek's you see on TV, they are overwhelmingly disenfranchised Indo-Mexicans who have been a pawn in the political machinations of European-Mexican and American elites since very day Cortez laid waste to Tenochtitlan. This Republican proposal is yet another move in a sad legacy of actions whose purpose is to keep a seething revolution from boiling over and overthrowing the land holding, European-Mexican elites who control Mexico. In this great game, Bush has played the perfect strategic move; one clearly rooted in a deep understanding of what ails wealthy Mexican society. But he takes it to whole other level. By executing the guest worker program, Bush can pander to American Latinos and, at the same time, slow the growth of United States citizenship (and voting rights) among poorer, under-educated Mexicans immigrants, a group who undoubtedly would vote with the Democrats and ultimately want out of Mexico all together.
So what will happen when this program is passed? In America, overtime, the pattern would become clear, with the disenfranchised poor Mexican-Americans never allowed to voting rights in the U.S., American Latino political power would slowly swing to socially conservative, stable, assimilated Latinos. The poor, a migratory majority of Americano-Mexicans, would be stuck in a non-citizen, trans-national limbo of guest worker pass cards and constant north-south fluxations. All the while, Mexican elites are relieved of any responsibility to improve the lot of their rural poor because now instead of building trade unions and mass political action the poor must constantly be on the move in order to survive. Working furiously while on the American side and freely spending during their brief sojourns “home.” Anyway, you look at it this it is a win-win for rich landholders on both sides of the border.
So, despite the fawning press, this program is not charitable at all; it is a power play by the rich in D.C. and Mexico City to pander to the masses and at the very same time screw them over, shame on us for not protecting and encouraging such a basic American right, the right to have a say in how you are governed.