While conservatives argue for closing the southern border and enforcing the law to deport illegal immigrants, our opposition argues for a supposedly more humane approach of either completely open borders or the granting of amnesty to the twelve million who have already come to the US. That argument wins on the basis of understandable sympathy for poor people who want to escape crushing poverty in their native land, primarily Mexico; it makes the conservative argument sound heartless and cruel.
But is it really? An e-mail I received this evening from Eusebia Flores at Artcamp Artesanas Campesinas in Guerrero, Mexico argues the exact opposite -- that the lure of American dollars literally subsidizes the abandonment of Mexico and families by the men who could otherwise have helped transform the destitute Mexican economy:
Dear friends in the United States....
We are Mexican women from villages in the southern Mexico state of Guerrero.
Our brothers and husbands have left us for work in the US.
We strongly support closing the US-Mexico border to illegal entry.
We did not want our men to leave and we want them to return to us.
As we struggle as women, against the difficulty of our situation, we focus all effort on building a business to sustain ourselves and our children.
But we need the help of our husbands and our brothers to re-unite our families and to help us develop economic opportunity in the traditional fashion jewelry production industry that is the heritage of our parents.
Please close the US Border to illegal migration and send our men home to us. Thank you.
Best wishes from Mexico to all persons of good will.
We should continue to be friends and respect each other.
Artcamp Artesanas Campesinas
Tecalpulco, Municipio de Taxco de Alarcon; Guerrero, Mexico