AMLO Wrote a Letter

…to President Donald Trump on Trump’s decision to begin, early this month, imposing tariffs on Mexican exports into the US.  The letter can be read at The Wall Street Journal here.

I have a couple of thoughts on that letter.

We base our immigration policy on this thought. Human beings do not abandon their town for pleasure but for need.

For the most part, that’s true.  However, those departing the Caravan Triangle of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are not coming to the US for their need, whether amnesty or other—and neither are most of those who’ve left other nations and are trying to enter the US from Mexico.  Mexico—Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Mexico and that of his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto—have offered these “migrants” amnesty and opportunities for jobs.  These persons, though, have rejected those offers, insisting on entering the US instead.  Their rejection demonstrates they are not seeking amnesty or satisfaction of any other need at our border.

I proposed you to opt for development cooperation and help the Central American countries attract productive investments to create jobs and resolve this painful issue in depth.

What is Mexico doing along these lines?  Neither AMLO nor Nieto have identified any Mexican effort.  It is not the US alone who must act here.  And: what does AMLO propose, specifically?  The US already spends billions in American treasure, and none of it gets to those who need the help.  The money instead is intercepted by Triangle oligarchs and by NGOs whose ability to operate at all depends on their cooperation with those oligarchs.  What programs that actually would facilitate the ability of the citizens of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to help themselves does AMLO suggest—and what would Mexico’s role be such programs?

You are also aware that we are fulfilling our responsibility to stop immigration, as effective as possible and without violations to any human right, through our country.

I’m aware of no such thing.  I am aware that Mexico’s police and soldiers along Mexico’s southern border did erect barriers, ostensibly to prevent Triangle citizens from illegally entering Mexico (illegally under Mexico’s laws, which are—on paper—much more stringent than our own).  I am also aware that those police and soldiers then stood aside at the first bit of “migrant” pressure and allowed those people to tear down some barriers and bypass others and enter Mexico illegally. This was done on the orders of Mexico’s government.

I am also aware that those now illegal immigrants are actively aided on their travels north in their quest to illegally enter the US rather than collected and returned south of Mexico’s southern border.  It’s true enough that a couple of hundred travelers were rounded up and returned, and a big splash was made of this.  Out of the tens of thousands of such illegal aliens on the move, though—in easily tracked caravans—this roundup was purely for show and not anything serious.

I am also aware that no human right allows anyone to enter another nation without that nation’s prior permission, nor does the receiving nation have any obligation to grant that permission.  The human right AMLO so piously references does extend to helping these unfortunates in their home countries, and their fellows (and family members!) who stayed behind.  Which brings me to my first question: What is Mexico doing along these lines?

…you transform the country of fraternity for the world’s migrants into a ghetto, a closed space, where migrants are stigmatized, mistreated, persecuted, expelled and the right for justice is canceled….

This cynically offered ad hominem slur does Mexico no credit; although it does reduce AMLO’s credibility on the matter.  Our “closed space” enthusiastically accepts far more immigrants, persons who enter our nation legally, than any other nation on the planet—including Mexico.  Nor are any immigrants stigmatized: on arrival, they are welcomed with open arms and aided in assimilating.

Not even the illegal immigrants who make it past our border checkpoints—often with Mexican help—are mistreated or persecuted; although AMLO does choose to conflate requiring illegal aliens to comport with our law—including detention pursuant to deportation—with mistreatment and persecution.

Nor is illegal aliens’ right for justice in any way tampered with, and neither is the right for justice of our citizens and immigrants legally present tampered with—a right AMLO carefully elides.  Further, as AMLO surely understands, justice—true justice—includes consequence for illegal behavior.

With all due respect, even though you have the right to express it, the slogan “America First” is a fallacy because until the end of time, even over national borders, universal justice and fraternity will prevail.

With all due respect, even though AMLO has the right to express it, this distortion of the meaning of “America First” is a fallacy because, as Trump has said many times, America First does not mean America Alone or America Only.  We need the assistance of our friends in all endeavors on the world’s stage.  Including Mexico’s, but see the foregoing for the level of effort Mexico has been expending.

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