Arizona: More economics than race |

Arizona: More economics than race

William Hamilton / Central View
Grand County, CO Colorado

Currently, about 460,000 illegal aliens from Mexico and points south are in Arizona. Arizonans contend the illegal aliens are adversely impacting their standard of living. Is this simply an Anglo vs. Hispanic conflict? Or, is the underlying problem one of economics?

Recently, Washington Post columnist George Will observed the United States is the only “developed” country with a 2,000-mile-long border with a “developing” country. What happens when a woefully undeveloped region, such as northern Mexico, shares a virtually unguarded border with a highly developed U.S. state, such as Arizona?

Answer: People stream from the developing country into the developed country seeking a higher standard of living. If the stream is allowed to become a flood, the standard of living in the developed country spirals downward toward the standard of living in the developing country.

This would suggest the root cause of the current chaos in Arizona has more to do with economics than race. Race, of course, is always the Obama administration’s knee-jerk response to any issue.

Based on Mexico’s climate, geography, minerals, and her people, Mexico ought to be one of the world’s most prosperous and powerful countries. She has great people with the ability to become skilled workers. Tourists love her balmy climate. Mexico has beautiful coastlines on two major bodies of water. She has silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, wildlife, fish, timber, petroleum and natural gas in abundance.

Overall, Mexico has sufficient rainfall; however, northern Mexico is extremely dry. But that’s a water-distribution problem. The kind of problem an effective government could solve by building dams, by piping water from wet regions to dry regions. But Mexico does not have an effective government.

Instead, Mexico has a long history of bad and corrupt government which, according to the CIA World Fact Book, has led to: “a scarcity of hazardous waste disposal facilities; rural to urban migration; raw sewage and industrial effluents polluting rivers in urban areas; deforestation; widespread erosion; desertification; deteriorating agricultural lands; serious air and water pollution in the national capital and urban centers along the U.S.-Mexico border.” No wonder her people want to leave.

But the chances of getting Mexico to fix its governance problem are somewhere between slim and none. So, what are the people of neighboring Arizona to do? Wait for the U.S. government to do its sovereign duty and secure the border? Fat chance the Obama administration will do anything other than complain that Arizona’s new immigration law is misguided and try to use Arizona’s dilemma for partisan political advantage.

CNN’s Jack Cafferty says: “What’s misguided, Mr. President, is the federal government’s ongoing refusal to enforce the laws that are already on the books. Read the Arizona law. Parts of it are word-for-word the same as the federal statutes which continue to be all but ignored.”

Columnist Peggy Noonan writes: “Arizona is moving forward because the government in Washington has completely abdicated its responsibility. For 10 years – at least – through two administrations, Washington deliberately did nothing to ease the crisis on the borders because politicians calculated an air of mounting crisis would spur mounting support for what Washington thought was appropriate reform – i.e., reform that would help the Democratic and Republican parties.”

Cable news pundit, Rich Galen, suggests Mexico, by warning its citizens that it is now dangerous to travel in Arizona, is taking hypocrisy to a new high. Excuse me, if you want to experience dangerous travel, try Mexico where drug cartels slaughter not just each other, they kill and/or kidnap thousands each year.

Unfortunately, the flood of illegal immigrants is making Arizona more like northern Mexico when what is needed is to make northern Mexico more like Arizona. Meanwhile, the citizens of Arizona are doing what they can to defend their standard of living. The fault lies with the Mexican and U.S. governments, not with Arizona.

– Syndicated columnist William Hamilton majored in Government and Law at the University of Oklahoma, earned a master’s in International Affairs from The George Washington University, a Ph.D. from Nebraska, and is a graduate of Harvard’s JFK School of Government.

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