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27.1.17

A Run On The Border

In order to get a US B-1 visa, my wife had to pay a $135 non-refundable fee, stand in line for two hours outside the embassy, go through a one-hour interview, wait a day to learn if she'd been approved, then waited three more days to get her passport back with the visa stamp.  All of that was after she had assembled a pile of documents to prove who she was and that she was legally married to me.

I, on the other hand, have gone every year for the past nine to file a request to stay one more year in Indonesia.  It costs about $700/year, requires about two weeks worth of paperwork, then an appointment at the Immigration Office to get photographed and fingerprinted, then a wait of two weeks more to receive my resident card and passport with visa.  Every five years, I have to go out of the country - usually Singapore - and re-enter.  No particular reason given.  To get my wife as my sponsor - a sponsor is required until five years after getting Permanent Residency - I had to file an equally large pile of paperwork showing what a good boy am I.

Now ask me if I give a rat's ass about Mexico whining that they can't send their criminals and terminal medical cases to the US hassle-free.

Furthermore, being from Texas, I've spent most of my life seeing people run the border, die in the sparsely populated and arid parts of Texas, get hit by cars trying to dash across freeways, and live in hovels with 20 or 30 other indocumentos so they could wire a few bucks home once a week.

I even shot a news story about a couple of dozen people who literally roasted to death in a truck trailer.  The coyote - people smuggler - had taken their money (usually about $300 each), then ditched the trailer on a rural road, where the people suffocated or died of heat stroke.  I don't recall if the coyote was ever caught, but I will bet that it wasn't a high priority.

When NAFTA, the North American Free-Trade Agreement, was first conceived, one of the selling points was that building up Mexico's economy with American factories would keep folks at home.  Didn't work.  Instead, the numbers grew at a constant pace.

You see, Mexico is a shithole, to be polite about it.  The Spanish upper-class owns everything and has all the money.  The indigenous Indians are viewed as scum and an annoyance, and the country is happy to pawn as many off on the US as they can to avoid an all-out revolution at home.

To be fair, Texas and Mexico were once a single country, and the jobs that Mexicans take in the States were once shunned by locals because they were low-paying and menial: dishwashers, bar backs, gardeners, etc.

Then the economy cratered because the corporations found that they could save a lot of money hiring cheap labor elsewhere.  Even after shipping products back to the States and paying the almost non-existent tariffs, it was still more profitable than complying with all the regulations and union demands back home.

Enter Donald Trump.

Ever since the US economy started collapsing, Americans have been more and more desirous of those menial jobs that the Mexicans used to take.  Any income is better than none.

Additionally, the Spanish Mexicans weren't going to spend any money on border stops leaving Mexico if they didn't have to.  Thus, entire populations of Central and South America started making their way up north to cross the non-existent border to the States.  That eventually included dozens of other countries outside the Americas, who would jump off the plane in Matamoros and cross on into Texas like they were running to the store for milk.

To all this, add the drug mafias reaping huge profits because the so-called War on Drugs had made prices so high in the States, and most recently Middle Easterners with less than honorable intentions once they had crossed the line.

Along comes Trump, who says he is going to shut down the so-called border, and Mexico starts wailing and gnashing its teeth - one because they are going to get stuck with all those indocumentos who didn't make it over the line, and two because the factories moving back home means the Spaniards are going to have to face a bunch of hungry, pissed-off Indians who are envying the rich folks' stuff.

The peso is cratering to all-time lows.  The Mexican government is desperately swinging at Trump (and missing).  Mexico is also faced with having to deport all those foreigners who didn't get across, don't have money or skills, and are also hungry and angry.  This is not to mention that many of the foreigners are criminals, terrorists and/or diseased.

If I were a Spanish Mexican, I would be changing my underwear every hour, and gathering from the stories, it sounds like they are.  Kind of a reverse Montezuma's Revenge.

To add insult to injury, many of the States have now legalized marijuana and prices have dropped, with cultivation at home.  No need for imports.  Guess what?  The once mighty drug mafias are hurting too, and they have lots of guns and wiseguys who are looking for new targets, like tourists,thus further damaging the Mexican economy.

Mexico has little or no negotiating power at the table.  The US wins politically at home, with increased jobs, rising middle class and enhanced security.  Mexico is in a lose-lose position, watching all the jobs leave and being stuck with the bill for all the riff-raff that they happily allowed in, thinking they could hustle is all off to the US.

I have no sympathy for the Spaniards.  For too long, they have literally shit all over the indigenous population figuring they had the US as a release valve.  They also did little or nothing about the drug mafias because they were reaping huge amounts of money in bribes and graft, none of which went to building up the country.

Mexico is the last unreformed European colony in the Americas, a process started in the US 250 years ago.  Even Mexico's tiny southern neighbor, Belize, has all but severed from the British throne.  Though not directly controlled by Madrid, the Spanish upper-class in Mexico has maintained itself in a vacuum propped up by the US over the centuries.

That chicken is about to roost.

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