Just Open the Damn Border

June 18, 2019

Mexicans have built an amazing country filled with culture and enterprise and awesome drinks. It’s no wonder so many Americans are moving here and so many locals have zero interest in heading north. This is wonderful place.

I’m back in Mexico for our annual family trip to Morelia and a bit of guest lecturing on Isla Mujeres. Every time I come to Mexico, I’m so knocked out by the beauty and hospitality of the country that I wonder what all those Trump racists are going on about. And then I remember, racism.

If Donald Trump had ever taken a break from his rich boy bubble and traveled south of the border for an extended period (not camping out at a luxury hotel in Cancun), he might not have branded Mexicans “murderers and rapists.” If he had actually gotten to know the people of this amazing country, instead of surrounding himself with the sycophants that kiss his orange ass, America might have a completely different view on immigration. Instead of inciting crowds of morons to chant “Build the wall!” he might be encouraging Americans to “let them in!”

PinataCozy

We started our trip here in Guadalajara. We’re in Morelia now, soon to head to Mexico City, before hopping a ferry to the isla. Each step of our experience here is always filled with encounters with the most generous and lively people. They might not have much, but they are happy to share what they have with a visitor. On Sunday, we attended a baptism of baby daughter of a sister of a wife of a cousin. We were welcomed warmly and then invited to the fiesta afterwards and showered with tequila and chicken mole and made to feel like we had been members of the family for generations. Cozy played with the niños for hours, including having a go at the piñata, as if they were all her school mates. The grandfather of the baby told me how honored he was to have my family attend. It was the exact opposite of what you hear about Latin America on Fox News.

It was then when I realized what a mistake it is to try and keep these folks out of the United States. We should be inviting them in by the droves. America needs more kindness, more parties, more commitment to children, more family. America needs more Mexicans! We have plenty of room! And bring your crazy tequila drinks!

Unfortunately, the hate mongers have driven an idiotic narrative about criminals, cultures of corruption, MS-13, and welfare cheats. I seriously doubt any of these folks have ever even been to Mexico, other than possibly a stop in Puerta Vallarta on some luxury cruise. Spend two weeks here and then tell me we don’t want a taco truck on every corner.

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There’s two important facts these immigration hawks ignore. The first is that  America had an “open border” policy its first 148 years and the country was fine. The Immigration Act of 1924 (modeled on the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882) was heavily pushed by the Ku Klux Klan and effectively choked off immigration from non-Northern European countries.  It was the law that told a ship full of 937 Jewish refugees escaping Hitler in 1939 to turn around. Campaigning for the law, a Klan leader declared at their 1924 convention, “I would build a wall of steel, a wall as high as Heaven, against the admission of a single one of those Southern Europeans who never thought the thoughts or spoke the language of a democracy in their lives.” Sound familiar?

Before that law, people would just show up and America was happy to have them. We knew this country was being built and we needed hard working people from wherever who were ready to invest some sweat equity. There was no “right way” of immigrating before 1924. People just decided to join our team and get to work. But even after 1924, the southern border was completely porous with people going back and forth at will, no check points, no border patrol. Before 9/11, the same was true with our northern border. You didn’t need a passport to go to Canada and they didn’t need one to come here. This nation was built on open borders and we were great!

The second thing these Trump ass-lickers ignore is that, despite our Russian puppet president’s declaration about “criminals flooding across the border,” clear research shows that immigrants (especially undocumented immigrants) have LOWER crime rates than the general public. They come here and work their asses off, paying billions in taxes, and often not able to access the services that citizens can. If someone comes here and commits a crime, bust them, but also bust the CEOs that are robbing your 401K while you sit there watching Tucker Carlson.

The reality is that many Mexicans, especially from the state of Michoacán where we are now, headed northward after George Bush negotiated and Bill Clinton signed NAFTA in 1994. The trade agreement forced many Mexican farmers to buy overpriced seeds from Monsanto, putting most out of business. Nobody was hiring in Guatemala, so they made their way to Estados Unidos. Many of their children are now my students and kicking ass.

Research also shows that they have greater mobility in America. They may come here with just the clothes on their back, but their dedication to the American Dream allows their children to go to college and start businesses of their own. My wife walked across the Arizona border as an “illegal” and is now teaching at a university, working towards her doctorate. I would bet my house that the average DACA kid has added more to America than the average troglodyte in a “Make America Great Again” hat.

Ever wonder where that stereotype of the “lazy Mexican” comes from? It’s called projection. Mexicans and other Latin Americans are working countless shifts or in horribly unsafe conditions, while white people sit around whining about “illegals.” We’re the lazy ones. Their work ethic shames everybody else and instead of thinking, “Man, I’d really benefit from having those people on my team,” xenophobes have to make up some classic racist shit about “invasions.”

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Trump’s stupid claim that you can’t have a country without secure borders ignores reality. For most of America’s history we didn’t have “secure borders.” Tear down the walls, open the doors, and beg these wonderful people to come in. Let’s start the fiesta. Make America great again.

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