Emancipation and Migration: Part 5 – History, NAFTA, and Law and Order

Over the last few posts several have raised some compelling questions.   Some have cited the need for “Law and Order” and cracking down on the illegal immigrants who bring crime with them.  They speak of how if we lose respect for “Law” the country will fall in to chaos.  I’ve tried to dig through some of the rhetoric and process it with biblical perspective. (Since most of my “Law and Order” friends cite biblical basis for locking up and deporting the “illegals!”)

To begin with, there is a unique relationship between the USA and Mexico.  As neighbors we have  at times had a shared history, some peaceful and some in war and violence.  In recent years, with NAFTA, we have increased our shared economics.  This shared history and shared economics must be take into account, they are foundational to the “push” and “pull” of migration.


Often times citizens of the USA (I say it that way, rather than “Americans” because Mexicans and Canadians are also North Americans)  believe that for some reason the USA has the corner on making a “Godly” and just nation.  I’m NOT complaining, I LOVE this country and YES, I KNOW – the USA has often been a source of hope and freedom to the world.  YET – we must not forget the impact of our “LAWS” on Mexico and other countries.

  • In the early 1819 the USA and Spain (and ratified in 1831 with Mexico) signed a treaty giving the US  Florida and the regions from present Texas to California were given to Mexico.  The Nueces River was established as the northern border of Mexico. (Where Galveston is today)
  • What is now the SW 1/4 of the US was forcibly and without legitimate reason stolen from Mexico.
    • In the 1820 and 30’s Mexico invited US citizens to settle in Texas.
    • In 1835 the Mexican Constitution outlawed slavery – it was at this time Texas declared its independence from Mexico. (Texans wanted to continue the “peculiar institution” in their new republic)
  • In 1845 President Polk declared his ambitions to expand the USA and the term “Manifest Destiny” was first invoked by a politician.
    • In the coming 3 years the US annexed Texas, and insisted the real boundary for Texas was the Rio Grande not the Nueces, which both the US and Mexico had recognized as the northern border of Mexico since the  treaty of 1819.  When Mexico refused to sell the rich territories of California and all the territory connecting it to Texas, the US created a pretense for war.
  • Mexico did, as part of the surrender, receive  payment from the USA  of  $15 million dollars at the very time when the discovery of Gold in California was becoming known across the USA

Since the early 1900 Mexicans have consistently helped meet demands for labor in the USA, during WW 2 the Bracero Program allowed Mexican workers to work while many men were serving in Europe or in the Pacific.   However after the war they were “thanked” for their service by being deported.  In 1954 “Operation Wetback” deported over 1 million mexican workers.


While most agree that NAFTA has helped the national economic picture for Mexico.  There is also great evidence that NAFTA was a key undermining the peasant farmers.  There are many reasons easily found on the web and in books.   Most agree that the flood of cheaper subsidized corn from the USA combined with the NAFTA mandated ending of subsidies to the peasant farmers launched the most recent wave of undocumented workers entering the USA, as these farmers were no longer able to sell their corn for even a meager profit.

I recently completed the book  ” The World of Mexican Migrants: The Rock and the Hard Place” by Judith Alder Hellerman.   This work looks at the lives of several migrants and lay out the impact of NAFTA and other economic realities.  It also dispels many of the myths and examines the effect migration has on the Mexican small towns as well.

One of the most common myths is that undocumented immigrants cause crime. A recent article in the LA Times shows that the crime rates in Arizona have been in decline, that undocumented immigrants have a LOWER crime rate than the general population, and that most crime committed by undocumented criminals (often drug lords) is against other undocumented persons.

Chief Harris of the Phoenix Police stated,

“proponents of cracking down on illegal immigrants vastly overstated that population’s criminality,  Saying that if you get rid of the illegal immigrants, you’ll get rid of 80% of the crime, which I’ve heard, that’s not true….  All you have to do in Arizona is come out with anything that’s anti-immigrant and you will be in good shape in the polls.”

The foundation of the “Law and Order” right is the (a) lawlessness of places like Arizona, and (b) belief that “RIGHT” is whatever is defined by the USA. But if these points are not valid, what happens?  One college friend wrote me and said,

“God has instituted governments because we are sinful and need rules for our own protection. If we continue to allow all sorts of illegal immigration then we are undermining our own foundation in this country and we’ll be far worse off in the future.”

Yes my friend I’ve read Romans 13 – but I’ve also read about Jesus allowing his disciples to break laws (re: the Sabbath) that were contrary to the basic needs of man.  This argument assumes that the laws of migration were made with consideration of God’s will.

What part of the annexation of Texas and the war for Gold rich California was made in consideration of the laws of God “for our protection”?

The USA stole the northern 1/3 of Mexico to support slave states and our thirst for expansion.

When did God give governments the right to control the movement of people?

Abram, Israel, The Exodus, Ruth and Naomi, Nehemiah, and even the child Jesus demonstrate to us how God honors people moving for the sake of economic need, security, mission, or even personal ambition.

As a country we were so offended when Soviet east Germany build a wall to keep people from leaving one country for another in oder to advance their economic condition.  The East Bloc built walls to try to protect their own economic interest.  This is the same reason we have spent billions fortifying our southern border.

What is God’s interest in a North American Trade agreement that destroys the livelihood of peasant farmers in Mexico? I could understand a trade agreement that allows a free movement of labor as well as a free movement of goods.   A friend asked me,  “What are the benefits we are getting out of not acting on issue? Is it just political??”     –  NOT acting benefits NO ONE –  but it is a hot political topic ..

A brief summary of the present situation:

There are 10 – 20 million “undocumented” or illegal immigrants in the USA.  Even if the present system was enforced the government could NEVER deport all the people here even if they wanted.  Hence the “cat and mouse approach” is costing billions with little result.

Undocumented immigrant workers provide much to the USA economy, In addition if there were some form of “FINE and DOCUMENT” process the Government could capture over 50 Billion dollars ($5,000 fines and filing fees for over 10 million persons).   Plus we could save money by not having to execute ridiculous work place raids and then pay for the incarceration of harmless moms and dads while the state is now having to pay to keep children whose parents are in holding.

This alone should convince people to see it is time to act.

The present policy fails both MORALLY and ECONOMICALLY

21 thoughts on “Emancipation and Migration: Part 5 – History, NAFTA, and Law and Order”

  1. This conversation……”there is nothing new under the sun….” First of all -all of the illegals that are working and paying taxes, do they file for their taxes? If not, the billions of unclaimed tax money that could be why the Governments state and federal are acting like molasses to correct rectify or make citizens of persons they know are not legal. There fore leaving the hate groups to spew out their fears dividing the masses ….still not bringing forth a solution. As far as the “racial Profiling” if you all can find a way to stop individual people not only policemen who have chosen to abuse their power “breaking the laws of to protect and serve”, please let me know. This has always been an on going problem in the African American community….well ever since we were stolen from Africa and our feet hit the shores of North America…..until just yesterday May 21, 2010. It is not anything new….What I do not like are the immigrants being treated like slaves being paid slave wages and being worked like slaves. I think if we could stop that we could stop greedy employers who under the guise of “helping the poor immigrant” but really helping themselves. If we could make the employer help the employee sign up to become legal immigrants and ensure these employees are being paid legal wages, it would stop alot of these abusive practices……I’m just sayin’….

  2. No one “stole” anything from Mexico. You are just repeating the standard liberal nonsense.

    In 1810, a ten year war started after Napoleon deposed the Bourbons and installed his brother on the throne (1808).The Mexican War for Independence severed control that Spain had exercised on its North American territories, (for more than 300 years) and the new country of Mexico was formed from much of the individual colonies that had comprised New Spain, including Spanish Texas.

    The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was fought from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836 between Mexico and the Texas (Tejas) portion of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas.

    Animosity between the Mexican government and the settlers in Texas (who were called Texians) began with the Siete Leyes of 1835, when Mexican President and General Antonio López de Santa Anna Pérez de Lebrón abolished the Constitution of 1824 and proclaimed a new anti-federalist constitution in its place. Unrest soon followed throughout all of Mexico.

    The war ended at the Battle of San Jacinto where General Sam Houston led the Texas Army to victory in 18 minutes over a portion of the Mexican Army under Santa Anna, who was captured shortly after the battle. The conclusion of the war resulted in the creation of the Republic of Texas.

  3. BTW, since you seem to think that Mexico, her people, and her government are so great, why don’t we adopt the same immigration laws as Mexico? Have you ever even looked into them?

    And instead of all the USA bashing, have you ever thought, even once, to write about the countries that actually do treat their citizens (and non-citizens) horribly?

    This is the greatest country by far. Rather than protesting, the Mexicans should be getting down on their knees and praising God that they are able to experience this place, even for a short time. It is spitting in the face of every citizen of the USA when illegals dare to protest in the street.

  4. Hey Ricky – you may think I’m “repeating the standard liberal nonsense.” but I know your just quoting Wikipedia… lol

    I’m not USA bashing – I said I love this country – which is why I expect more of her than other countries – also most Mexicans I know are “getting down on their knees and praising God that they are able to experience this place,”

    I wonder do you feel that undocumented migrants are spitting in your face when they fix your food or make your bed at super 8… ?

  5. Yes, I do. They should be deported and not be given any jobs here. They are criminals. What part of “illegal” don’t you understand?

  6. Actually, Riky wasn’t quoting Wikipedia. He was quoting “Yahoo! Answers.” If he had quoted Wikipedia, he would have noted that it was U.S. immigrants living in Mexico who decided to secede from Mexico and struck first against the Mexican military.

  7. Ricky – If you were born in a poor third world country you’d do the same thing and sneek into this nation of ours. In fact look at your ancestral roots and see what boat your family came here on. I don’t know if you love God but I do know that me and Marque do and I feel blessed to be able to share this nation with others in need. I don’t know enough about you to make judgements but you also don’t know enough about these people to make judgements either so you need to take the log out of your eye before you point out a speck of dust in another’s eye.

  8. Brandon,
    So what other illegal activities do you not have a problem with? Is it okay to steal if you’re hungry? Is it okay to rape if you’re horny? Is it okay to take another person’s house by force if you need shelter?

  9. Ricky, if you are going to respond please do so maturely because you kill your argument by saying “Is it okay to rape if you’re horny?” What do you think? This is about US citizens getting off their high and mighty horses and treating people like decent human beings. The only reason its legal for you to be here is because people who look like you and me came here years ago and said so. I will ignore your second two questions but what if you were hungry and you had absolutely no where to get food except to steal it from the grocery store? I want to know what Ricky would do in that instance. After you respond then think of the “illegal” immigrants that you want out of this country and what their lives feel like.

  10. First off Brandon, why do you assume I look like you? I am a 3rd generation Latino. My grandparents went through the system and immigrated legally. So before you start spouting your nonsense, why not show some respect for someone who actually knows what he is talking about?

    Rather than hate on the USA as you and Marque do, I love it and respect the laws of the land. If Mexico is so wonderful why don’t all my Latino friends return there? I actually wish they would. I am tired of the illegals among us making it so hard on those of us who are here legally.

  11. You didn’t answer my question though. My bad for assuming your white but you’d officially be the first non-white person I met even on the internet who agreed with the law.

    If you really want to get into assumptions then why do you assume I hate the USA. I served my coutry in the military and served overseas did you? Based on everything you say I could say that you hate Mexico and its people regardless if you are one or not since me and Marque apparently hate this coutry. I’m proud to live here and that contradicts nothing I have said so far. I don’t agree with many people in this coutry thinking its not ours to share however.

    It was nice talking to you Ricky but I must end this conversation as it is going nowhere and you chose not to respond to what I say. I may or may not read what you post but be assured I will not respond.

  12. That’s okay Brandon. That’s what liberals typically do when they are losing the argument — run away.

  13. BTW, I was waiting for you or any of the other pro-illegals to bother answering even ONE of my questions first. Since you didn’t answer mine, I didn’t bother answering yours.

  14. Riky – which of your questions have I NOT answered? I believe I’ve addressed them all either directly or in future posts.

  15. Then you aren’t reading my comments very well.

    Hey, here is a hilarious video from a recent AZ graduation ceremony:

  16. Riky – It was hilarious … how rude and uncivil Arizonans can be….?? if you watched the end most people stood and applauded, which means a minority was loud and disrespectful..

  17. You don’t think it is disrespectful for a professor to stand up and promote criminal activity to students?

  18. “I am a 3rd generation Latino.”

    Please forgive my ignorance–but would you explain what you mean by referring to yourself as “3rd generation Latino”?

    Could you just share a little personal narrative that will flesh out how you see the journey of your family versus others who come now?

    Where did your different grandparents come from? In which generation did your different ancestors come to the United States. What brought them?

    Aside from that–do you ever think the United States gives a mixed message to potential immigrants??? Something like, “Please come–but you might be arrested for trespassing?” Or do you think we have clear policy telling persons not to come–and that we have legal avenues for all to come who we want to come????

  19. Philip,
    Why do you want to know all this? So you can profile me?

    Ever notice how the left actually does what they accuse the right of doing.

    The worst racists in the world come from the anti-racist movement.

  20. “Why do you want to know all this?” Riky

    We each have a unique story. My grandfather came to the United States as a young man in the early 1900’s from England. His siblings went to South Africa, Australia, Canada and the United States. My other grandparents had been here generations and I don’t know their immigration stories. Both sets of grandparents farmed during the Depression–losing everything they had struggled to gain.

    You have a unique perspective. When you said you were 3rd generation I was not sure that meant your grandparents had immigrated to the United States. You are sharing your perspective. Sometimes sharing a bit of the story that has shaped how you look at things is a gift to others so we can hear each other.

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