THE BLOG

Border Stories: Canada vs. Mexico

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I saw this car window reading "ILLEGAL CANADIAN, PULL ME OVER," while walking my dog, and I got to thinking about the huge difference in our relationships with Mexico and Canada when it comes to immigration.

According to the Jan Brewer right, Mexico exports its crime and poverty up north, as the undocumented take jobs from Americans and drain the treasury with their profligate use of social services. While this conveniently ignores, among other things, the fact that Arizona crime rates are very low, let's say we at least agree on the fact that Mexicans are economic migrants. They wouldn't bother coming to a foreign land if they could find decent paying jobs at home.

Canada is also battling high unemployment, yet there is virtually no problem with Canadian illegal immigration southward, even though one of the states alongside their long and porous border is underpopulated North Dakota -- the only state with a labor shortage. If the lack of jobs weren't enough, Canada has that supposedly awful national health care system-- socialism by any other name. So why aren't they streaming south to get what the Republicans keep insisting is the best medical care in the world, not to mention pursue the American dream without all that Big Government red tape? They would fit right in, after all, as long as they learned how to say "about" a little differently.

Let's take a closer look at Mexico. They have weak unions and extremely inefficient tax collection. They own lots of guns -- and use them -- along with a harsh penal system. Clearly they have enormous entrepreneurial spirit -- the drug cartels are as big as many American corporations, and the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim, is Mexican. They have oil and mineral wealth. There's not a lot of enforced regulation on business, and immense pools of cheap labor. Social mores are conservative. Sounds to me like Mexico is a perfect example of what a society run on Tea Party principles would look like. And yet a whole lot of Mexicans don't seem to consider it paradise at all.

It would appear that the citizens of a heavily-regulated, quasi-socialist, gun-free, highly secular country have little or no desire to come to live in the United States in any significant numbers; while the citizens of a fairly violent, mostly unregulated, extremely religious, and wealth-concentrated country keep coming in droves.

Clearly, the anti-immigrant forces in the United States need to start agitating for a Mexico that looks and acts a lot more like Canada. That would mean advocating strict gun control, higher taxes on the rich, strong unions, and even bilingualism (who can argue that Mexicans shouldn't learn English?)

They better start soon, before a new wave of immigration starts. To Canada that is, made up of Americans whose unemployment benefits have been cut off. Maybe Ottawa will grant asylum based on a well-grounded fear of persecution from the Republican Party.