Dear Mr. president,
I have said a few unkind words about you recently.
I had an opportunity to watch the speech you gave to the members of the United States Congress. It was an important speech, punctuated by applause from the Democratic congressional delegation. It was a very telling speech, too, in more ways than one. I thought that the very fact of you coming, as the Washington Post put it, to “plead for help” in your country’s ongoing war with drug cartels, shows the complete failure of your nation in that regard. I thought that your “plea” for the United States to yet again introduce the thankfully demised failure called the “Assault Weapons Ban”, aside from being a blatant attempt to unduly influence the policy of the United States, betrays a move by your administration to shift the blame for the horrendous violence your country’s corrupt system is fostering onto the shoulders of my country. Mr. president, I thought that was simply insulting.
However, what was even more insulting to me was your slanderous treatment of the sovereign State of Arizona and its citizens. I could not believe that you would dare come into the hallowed seat of our Congress and assault the right of Americans to govern themselves. I could not see how you would dare come here begging for our money like a common pauper and in the same breath accuse the very American taxpayers, whose hard earned dollars you were trying to take, of racism. While you are not the only public figure to lie about the Arizona law without having the basic decency to have read it first, I found it difficult to grasp that you, as a foreigner, would dare stand at the podium of the U.S. Capitol and throw around falsities about it. Like I said, Mr. president, there were quite a few unkind words that I was eager to throw your way.
And then my thoughts changed. I guess your plea for us to adopt a different policy in respect to Mexican nationals affected me after all. Then I learned a few things I didn’t know before. And now, Mr. president, I am a convert. And because of that, I owe you an apology.
You were right, Mr. president, and I was wrong. Not in slandering the great state of Arizona, of course. That is still indefensible. Nor can your attempts to undermine our Second Amendment rights could ever be forgiven.
Yet you were right in calling for us to change our immigration policy, and I am willing to admit it.
So, from this point on, I am a strong proponent of the policies that are modeled on your own. Since you feel such a great degree of moral superiority as to come here and lecture us on the inadequacies of our system, you must be very proud of what you have at home. And now that I had a chance to familiarize myself with the Mexican Constitution, I am perfectly willing to humbly accept the relevant provisions. Moreover, because in your view it is such a perfect document, I would like to copy some of the articles verbatim, changing, of course, “Mexico” for “United States”.
I think we have something special here, Mr. president.
I especially like Article 33 of the Mexican Constitution:
the Federal Executive shall have the exclusive power to compel any foreigner whose remaining he may deem inexpedient to abandon the national territory immediately and without the necessity of previous legal action.
Or how about this one:
Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country.
That is reinforced by Article 8:
Article 8. Public officials and employees shall respect the exercise of the right of petition, provided it is made in writing and in a peaceful and respectful manner; but this right may only be exercised in political matters by citizens of the Republic.
I guess, prohibiting non-citizens from participating in Mexican political life is important enough to be required twice, right?
Or is it trice?
Article 9. The right to assemble or associate peaceably for any lawful purpose cannot be restricted; but only citizens of the Republic may do so to take part in the political affairs of the country.
Unfortunately, that means that the next very time you come here trying to influence our policies, you will be thrown out of the country, but you should not have any problem with that, right?
Article 32 also sounds fair, doesn’t it?
Article 32. Mexicans shall have priority over foreigners under equality of circumstances for all classes of concessions and for all employment, positions, or commissions of the Government in which the status of citizenship is not indispensable. In time of peace no foreigner can serve in the Army nor in the police or public security forces.
In order to belong to the National Navy or the Air Force, and to discharge any office or commission, it is required to be a Mexican by birth. This same status is indispensable for captains, pilots, masters, engineers, mechanics, and in general, for all personnel of the crew of any vessel or airship protected by the Mexican merchant flag or insignia It is also necessary to be Mexican by birth to discharge the position of captain of the port and all services of pratique and airport commandant, as well as all functions of customs agent in the Republic.
Mr. president, Article 27 sounds a bit extreme to my liking, but what’s fair is fair. I think we need to adopt it as well, wouldn’t you agree?
Only Mexicans by birth or naturalization and Mexican companies have the right to acquire ownership of lands, waters, and their appurtenances, or to obtain concessions for the exploitation of mines or of waters. The State may grant the same right to foreigners, provided they agree before the Ministry of Foreign Relations to consider themselves as nationals in respect to such property, and bind themselves not to invoke the protection of their governments in matters relating thereto; under penalty, in case of noncompliance with this agreement, of forfeiture of the property acquired to the Nation. Under no circumstances may foreigners acquire direct ownership of lands or waters within a zone of one hundred kilometers along the frontiers and of fifty kilometers along the shores of the country.
There are certain things at which I regretfully must draw the line, however. Here is what I read about some more Mexican immigration policies:
Foreigners may be barred from the country if their presence upsets “the equilibrium of the national demographics”
Mr. president, that is just racist. I’m sorry to say it, but unlike the Arizona law, this one actually is racist, no questions about it. I apologize yet again, but I have to insist that it doesn’t make it into our body of laws.
Other than that, we are on the same page, right? Sure, some of the provisions fly in the face of our Constitution, but that quaint piece of parchment does not seem to matter to anybody anymore. It certainly does not hold any weight for this particular administration nor for the Supreme Court nominee it has nominated.
Actually, wait a minute, Mr. president. I just realized something important. All of those laws of yours that I quoted. Don’t they talk about LEGAL immigrants to Mexico? Those whom your country openly invited? Those who obeyed all the rules and came to contribute to Mexican society? Those who have not broken any laws of your land?
No, Mr. president, I take it all back. Yes, our system is not perfect. Yet it is fair, and yours is discriminatory. Ours is based on the idea of equal justice for all, and yours has different justice for different people. Ours is race- and ethnicity- blind, and yours is outright bigoted. Ours is designed to ensure the rights of individuals, even foreigners, and yours serves the interests of the state, first and foremost.
So, Mr. president, you can keep your constitution and your laws. We don’t want them. It is true that we must fix some aspects of our immigration policy. We must strengthen it. We must reward those who follow rules and punish those who break them. However, we will do this in a way that respects individual rights of law abiding people, due process, free speech, private property and all the other ideals on which this great nation was based. We are still the United States of America, Mr. president. We are still the greatest and most just country on Earth. And we are still the country that attracts the best people the world has to offer. Mr. president, maybe you should give some thought as to why so many are so desperate to leave countries like yours in order to come here, to the United States.