By DEXTER DUGGAN
PHOENIX — The surge in illegal-immigrant minors entering the United States shows an “unprecedented strategy” by Barack Obama that’s “almost like Hamas, using children as bait, as shields for political attacks,” a Mexican-American businessman told The Wanderer after making a trip south of the border.
The Latino minors sometimes are described in news media as facing serious dangers and even death on their way to the United States.
Reymundo Torres, who’s also president of the Arizona Latino Republican Association, drew the comparison with the Mideast terrorist organization during an interview just after he returned from a two-night business trip to Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora, the Mexican state just south of Arizona.
Torres said that neither he nor Mexicans he spoke with could say what their nations would do about the heightened immigrant influx.
The Mexicans thought he was from Mexico City, Torres said, because of his accent from having studied at university in the federal capital, until he explained he’s a Spanish-speaking American. “The accent is very distinguishable. It perks people’s ears up,” and is disliked by many other Mexicans, he said.
The immigration “surge . . . seems to put an emotional face” on Obama’s push for “comprehensive immigration reform,” said Torres, a Catholic and third-generation American whose family came to the U.S. legally from Mexico.
There were “unconfirmed reports” that advertising on Central American television said that if unauthorized immigrants reached the U.S., they could stay, Torres said.
“It seems pretty obvious the uptick in [the illegal immigration] flow is coming around the time” that Obama hoped to have “a real concentrated effort to bring comprehensive immigration reform back to the forefront,” Torres said during the July 22 interview, adding that this plan backfired.
“Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for the president, it seems to be blowing up in his face. . . . He’s always a man of concepts, but not of implementation,” Torres said.
Some Mexican politicians asked Torres what the U.S. intended to do, and he replied there was “no leadership coming from Washington” on the issue, although some leaders like Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry are taking positions.
On July 21 Perry announced he was deploying Texas National Guard troops to the Lone Star State’s southern border to oppose criminals’ entry.
Torres told The Wanderer that he asked, in turn, what Mexico intended to do to stop the flow or complicity in it, but “I never got a good response.”
He added that these were municipal officials he spoke with, not politicians on a higher level.
Still, he said, there was an attitude of “‘Not my concern’. . . . No country is their problem, as far as they’re concerned.”
This arises from a general Mexican foreign-policy stance of “nonintervention of any kind” in another country, and an avoidance of sending “peacekeeping” troops anywhere else, Torres said.
Overall, Torres said, there’s no unified national view on various issues among Mexicans, but he has to keep explaining this fact to friends in the U.S. who want to know where Mexico stands.
Not only are there different classes of Mexicans, but also drastic regional differences, he said, and even the fact that some areas don’t even speak Spanish.
In a previous Wanderer interview, Torres had said it’s like individual Mexicans think each person is “an army of one.”
The Wanderer mentioned an article posted July 11 at The Los Angeles Times website about illegal immigrants being transported to a Texas Catholic church. The Times quoted one man welcoming the illegal immigrants as saying, “I put myself in their position. How would I want to be treated?”
Torres replied, “What about the initial act of even coming here, the infringement of our national sovereignty?. . . How is it that we are giving them the moral upper hand” when the immigrants are not even legally supposed to be here?
“Why are we surrendering the moral high ground? It’s just baffling to me. . . . Poverty does not create moral superiority,” Torres said.
This interviewer recalled the words of 19th-century French political observer Alexis de Tocqueville about the disparity in wealth between the free state of Ohio and the slave state of neighboring Kentucky.
“On both sides [of the Ohio River],” de Tocqueville said, “the soil is equally fertile,” but slavery makes masters lazy and deprives slaves of the fruit of their labor.
Torres replied during his July 22 interview, “The soil, if anything, is even more fertile to the south of” the United States, but riches aren’t used wisely in “banana republics,” where leaders don’t care about their people.
This shouldn’t be acceptable as international behavior, he said.
As for economic reform in Mexico, Torres said “absolutely” it’s continuing. Just the week before this interview, he said, there was “one more step for allowing for foreign financing to permeate the Mexican energy industry,” allowing for energy exploration.
Mexico is viewed as being on a path to enlarge its middle class and prosperity.
As to the question raised in The Los Angeles Times article about treating others as one would want to be treated, readers may wish to ask hypothetically how fair-minded Canadians should be expected to react if hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens sneaked into Canada year after year and insisted on staying there. And now new waves of illegal Americans are pouring into Canada with their demands and bus tickets.
Would any fair-minded, moral person say the Canadians are obligated to welcome and provide for them all, or instead send them back home or jail them?
An Act Of Bravery
A letter to the editor in the Phoenix-area Tribune posted July 21 was from Californian Moses Valdez and said in part:
“I am a fifth-generation Hispanic and I am writing to the folks of Arizona for their act of bravery for trying to stop this idiotic policy of just letting anyone into our great country without proper documentation.
“Though we are the melting-pot nation of the world, we are no longer a country that can sustain or accept those that come in to break our laws and expect us to just open our good hearts for their needs. We just can’t afford it,” Valdez wrote.